This Week At The Classical Station

Photo: Dale Marie Muller, Roberts, Montana

This Week At The Classical Station

by Rob Kennedy

Sunday, January 2, 2022

This evening on Wavelengths we’ll hear music for viola and piano by American composer Libby Larsen, along with a work written by Joan Tower for percussionist Evelyn Glennie.

Wavelengths brings you the best in contemporary classical music every Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern. Ed Amend hosts.

This evening Preview! revisits some of the best classical recordings of 2021. We’ll hear music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Astor Piazzolla, and Florence Price, in performances by pianist Andrew von Oeyen, conductor John Jeter, and JoAnn Falletta leading the Buffalo Philharmonic. Rob Kennedy speaks with retired New York Times music critic Anthony Tommassini about composer Virgil Thomson

Preview! brings you the best in new classical recordings and arts news every Sunday at 6 p.m. Eastern. With host Steve Thebes.

This morning Great Sacred Music includes music for Christmas sung by Polyphony, the Tallis Scholars, and the Bach Choir of Bethlehem. Also on the playlist is music by Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederic Handel, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The Reverend Bob Innskeep will offer a commentary on the much-loved hymn Blessed Assurance.

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

GSM_01_02_22_Notated On January 2 we observe the birthdays of Russian composer Mili Balakirev (1837-1910), English composer Sir Michael Tippett (1905-1998), and American clarinetist David Shifrin (1950-).

Balakirev influenced a generation of Russian composers with his compositional techniques and nationalistic bent. A life-long pacifist, Sir Michael Tippett is perhaps best known for A Child of Our Time, which was the composer’s reaction to the horror of Kristallnacht. Mr. Shifrin has served as principal clarinetist with the Cleveland Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, the Honolulu and Dallas symphonies and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and New York Chamber Symphony.

Photo: Sir Michael Tippett, Unknown Author, Schott & Co., Fair Use,

January 1, 2022
New Year’s Day

The Metropolitan Opera’s Saturday matinee broadcasts ring in the New Year this afternoon with a new production of a timeless fairy-tale: Cinderella. This adaptation of Jules Massenet’s delightful Cendrillon, sung in English and in 90-minutes for family audiences, brims with the wit, charm, and magic of Charles Perrault’s beloved story. Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard stars as the rags-to-riches title girl, with Emily D’Angelo as her Prince Charming, Jessica Pratt as her Fairy Godmother, and Laurent Naouri and Stephanie Blythe as her feuding guardians. Maestro Emmanuel Villaume conducts the ravishing score.

Cinderella will be heard at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

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!


Friday, December 31, 2021

The Metropolitan Opera presents
Jules Massenet’s Cinderella
Saturday, January 1 at 1 p.m. Eastern

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 2021 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 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

Thursday, December 30, 2021

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.

On December 1, we were facing a deficit of $333,000. Your generous contributions have reduced that to $43,000. With just 2 days left in 2021, 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!

On the final Thursday Night Opera House of 2021, we’ll travel to Paris where a rich widow must marry one of her countrymen or lose her late husband’s fortune. Although the action takes place in Paris, Franz Lehár’s Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow) is the quintessential Viennese operetta. First performed at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien on December 30, 1905, it was the composer’s first major success, leading to Der Graf von Luxemburg (1909), Paganini (1925), Der Zarewitsch (1926), Der Land des Lächelns (1929), Schön ist die Welt (1930), and Giuditta (1934).

Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station” at 7 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

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Because All Request Friday falls on New Year’s Eve, and the Saturday Evening Request Program falls on New Year’s Day, the deadline for requests this week is today at 6 p.m. Eastern. Call 919-556-0123 or submit your request here on this website or on our app.

We look forward to hearing your selections. Thank you for making these programs such a wonderful listening experience. Happy New Year!

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 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

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

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. The 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 just in case 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!

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

Monday, December 27, 2021

Just five days left in 2021 for you to make a tax-deductible end-of-year contribution to The Classical Station. We started the month of December looking at a deficit of $333,000. Over the last three weeks listeners from all over the United States, and, indeed around the world, have sent in their contributions via the United States Postal Service. Hundreds have clicked made their gift to us online on our website or via the Donate button on our app. And, many listeners have called us at 800-556-5178 to have a member of staff take down their information. To all of you, a huge, heartfelt “Thank you!”

We have $79,000 to raise this week to finish 2021 in the black. What part of this amount can you help with? If you are a Sustaining Member of The Classical Station, please consider raising your monthly gift by a couple of dollars. Believe me, it will help so much to get us where we need to be.

Have you read Deborah Proctor’s most recent email? It’s the letter with the story about the great ice storm of 2002 and how your support kept The Classical Station on the air when most of our local TV and radio stations had lost their power.

Thank you so much for your support! We could not do this without you.

This evening Monday Night at the Symphony features the Cleveland Orchestra.  On the program is music by Antonín Dvořák, Anton Bruckner, and Richard Strauss, in performances led by Christoph von Dohnányi, George Szell, and Music Director Franz Welser-Möst.

Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station” at 8 p.m. Eastern. Michael Huber hosts.

Photo of the Cleveland Orchestra by Roger Mastroianni