This Week At The Classical Station

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, January 1, 2023
New Year’s Day

This evening Preview! offers a look back at three of the interviews we featured during 2022. Music critic Anthony Tommasini, violinist Hilary Hahn, and conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto offer insights into their life and work as world-class musicians.

New releases and local arts news. Every Sunday on Preview! 6 p.m. Eastern.

This morning Great Sacred Music rings in the New Year with music sung by the Czech Philharmonic Chorus, the Choir of St. Clement’s Church, Philadelphia, and Sospiri. Also on the playlist is music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Francis Poulenc, and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Great Sacred Music. Beautiful choral and organ music. Every Sunday morning. 8 a.m. Eastern. Right after Sing For Joy. With Rob Kennedy.

Thank you for making our End Of Year Fund Drive so successful! It was wonderful hearing from so many of you.

Happy New Year from the staff and volunteers of The Classical Station!


Saturday, December 31, 2022

The 2022-23 season of Metropolitan Opera Saturday matinee radio broadcasts continues on New Year’s Eve with a program all about great beginnings, featuring glorious voices from operatic history in their very first performances on the Met stage. “Met Debuts on the Air” showcases artists whose house debuts happened to be captured – by design or by luck – during live Saturday matinee broadcasts. From Risë Stevens and Astrid Varnay, to Hermann Prey and Kiri Te Kanawa, listeners will hear unforgettable moments across nine decades of Met broadcast history.

“Met Debuts on the Air” begins at 1 p.m. Eastern.


On December 31 we observe the birthdays of Russian-born American violinist Nathan Milstein (1904-1992), Sir Stephen Cleobury (1948-2019),  and American composer Jennifer Higdon (1962-).

Milstein was considered one of the great violinists of the 20th century. Dr. Cleobury was Director of Music at King’s College, Cambridge from 1982-2019. Before his untimely death, Sir Stephen chatted with us about the King’s College Choir’s recording of the Durufle Requiem. Dr. Higdon is the Milton L. Rock Chair in Composition Studies at The Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia. You can hear a conversation we had with Jennifer on our Conversations With Composers page on this website.

Photos: Nathan Milstein by Larry Davis. on; Sir Stephen Cleobury by Benjamin Ealovega; Jennifer Higdon by J. Henry Fair

Friday, December 30, 2022

The Metropolitan Opera presents
Met Debuts
Saturday, December 31 at 1 p.m. Eastern

On December 30 we observe the birthdays of Russian composer Dmitry Kabalevsky (1904-1987), English conductor Sir David Willcocks (1919-2015), and American composer Nancy van de Vate (1930-).

Besides being a composer of some note in Soviet Russia, Kabalevsky wrote music for children in an effort to connect them with serious music. Sir David Willcocks was one of the most respected and influential choral conductors of the 20th century. His seventeen years (1957-1974) as music director of King’s College Choir, Cambridge, inspired choirs and choral directors worldwide. A prolific composer, New Jersey native Nancy van de Vate is a resident of Vienna where she teaches composition at the Institute for European Studies.

Photos: Dmitri Kabalevsky, author unknown on; Sir David Willcocks by Maggie Heywood; Nancy van de Vate, Unknown Author, American Composers Alliance

Thursday, December 29, 2022

If you work for or have retired from a company with a matching gift program, your contribution to WCPE, The Classical Station can make twice the impact on the Great Classical Music you rely on and the programs you love! That’s because your employer can match your gift dollar for dollar. Some companies even double or triple the amount of your gift, all at no cost to you! Both Sustaining and single contributions can be matched.

Visit our Matching Gift page to see if your employer participates. Thank you for your support.

This evening the Thursday Night Opera House features Leonard Bernstein’s Wonderful Town, Trouble in Tahiti, West Side Story, and Candide. American conductor, composer, and pianist Leonard Bernstein changed the way we listen to music. Tune in and let Bernstein’s sharp rhythms, eloquent melodies, and true American style help you ring in the New Year!

The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Eastern. Dr. Jay Pierson hosts.

On December 29 we observe the birthdays of Spanish cellist Pablo Casals (1876-1973) and Welsh conductor Grant Llewellyn (1960-).

A native of Catalonia, Spain, Pau Casals i Defilló was quite simply one of the greatest cellists of the 20th century. Maestro Llewellyn is the Music Director Laureate of the North Carolina Symphony and the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne.

Photos: Grant Llewellyn/Michael Zirkle; Pablo Casals from Library of Congress Photographs, Public Domain on

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

We’re within striking distance of hitting our End Of Year Fund Drive Goal. Your response to our letters and on-air appeals has been magnificent! Thank you so much!

If you plan to send in a check via the United States Postal Service, make sure it is postmarked today, December 31, in order for it to be tax-deductible on your 2022 tax return. If you prefer to speak with a member of staff, call any time.  800-556-5178. You can also give securely online here on our website and on our app.

The staff and volunteers of The Classical Station wish you a very Happy New Year!

On December 28 we observe the birthdays of Portuguese composer João Domingos Bomtempo (1775-1842). and English violinist Nigel Kennedy (1956-).

The son of an Italian court musician, Bontempo was the first Director of the National Conservatory of Portugal. Kennedy is at home with a variety of musical genres, including classical, jazz, and klezmer.

Photos: João Domingos Bomtempo, 1814 portrait by Henrique José da Silva in Museu Nacional da Música on; Nigel Kennedy/Nicholas Hudek

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Why do our listeners support The Classical Station? Because it is an oasis of calm in unsettling times. Because it is always there. A constant companion.  Thank you to everyone who has sent in a contribution for our End Of Year Fund Drive.

With just 5 days left in 2022, there’s still time to make your tax-deductible contribution to The Classical Station. If you are mailing us a check to WCPE, P.O. Box 828, Wake Forest, NC, make sure it is postmarked by December 31.  Give securely online or on our app. Or call anytime. 800-556-5178.

The staff and volunteers of The Classical Station thank you for your support of our great classical music and wish you a very Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2022

Like many non-profits, we count on our End of the Year Fund Drive to raise the money we need to balance our budget. For those of you who have never been to our studios in Wake Forest, North Carolina, I, as a Canadian of Scottish descent, want to reassure you that we are extremely frugal with the money you give us. While everything works and does what it is supposed to do, there’s definitely nothing fancy or extravagant about the station’s furnishings and fittings. Most of it is donated or bought second-hand. Indeed, our very first 1,000-watt transmitter was built from army surplus parts. Our focus is on bringing you great classical music 24 hours a day.

This photo shows the Wide Orbit screen on the left, our WaveCart screen on the right, and then a rack containing 4 CD players we use if the automation system malfunctions. The music always keeps playing at The Classical Station.

To that end, we have spent significant amounts of money on a state-of-the-art automation system and top-of-the-line music scheduling software over the years. We use Wide Orbit Automation For Radio  to broadcast our great classical music online on our website, on our app, and on dozens of streaming platforms. MusicMaster handles the scheduling part of bringing our programs to you.  The photo shows a printed playlist from which our announcers work. This is the end result of MusicMaster’s work. This sophisticated, powerful database application also allows the Music Director to manage our library of over 14,000 CDs and downloaded tracks. (Yes, downloads are becoming the new way of delivering classical music. Physical CDs have been in a death spiral for many years.)

My point is simply that we have always spent money on bringing the music to you. And we do not intend to change that approach. Give securely online, on our app or call 800-556-5178. Remember that you can call and speak with a real live human being 24/7 here at The Classical Station. That’s one of the things that makes us special.

After you have made your gift, be sure to select a Thank You Gift. Or if you prefer, you can donate a portion of your gift to the WCPE Education Fund. Thank you for your support of the music you love so much!

Monday Night at the symphony (with 'Monday Night' in flowing script)This evening Monday Night at the Symphony features the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra which was founded in 1895. Paavo Jarvi, Jesus Lopez-Coboz, Eric Kunzel, and current Music Director Louis Langree, lead a program of music by Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Leo Delibes, and more.

The concert begins at 8 p.m. Eastern.