This Week At The Classical Station


Photo: Ian B. Kennedy

Sunday, March 29, 2020

On March 29 we observe the birthdays of English composer Sir William Walton (1902-1983) and English organist E. Power Biggs (1906-1977). Sir William Walton was one of the most important 20th-century British composers.  English-born E. Power Biggs was a prominent concert organist who was very active in the middle of the 20th-century. Read his obituary at


This week Great Sacred Music asks for your support of The Classical Station on the last day of our Spring Membership Drive. Our playlist includes music sung by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, the Houston Chamber Choir, and the Robert Shaw Festival Singers. Also on the playlist is choral music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Sir Michael Tippett, and Henry Purcell.

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

Stained glass: Good Samaritan window in Chartres Cathedral/

Saturday, March 28, 2020

What would you like us to play for you this evening? The Saturday Evening Request Program is our ever-popular weekly request program. It’s six hours of music you have chosen. Click Music Request and let us know what you want us to play. Short works? Yes. Long works? Yes. You are the Music Director for Saturday evening. The program usually is over-subscribed by 2 p.m. on Saturday, so get your request in as soon as you can. Our All Request Fridays will resume on Friday, April 3.

You may call 919-556-0123 after 1 p.m. Eastern and tell the announcer what you would like to hear. Then, after 6 p.m., check What’s Playing to see when your request will be played.


The 2019-20 Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast season continues with a recorded performance of Jules Massenet’s gripping romantic tragedy Werther, a performance from 2014 starring Jonas Kaufmann and Sophie Koch. German tenor Jonas Kaufmann sang the title role of Werther, a young poet tormented by an impossible love. French mezzo-soprano Sophie Koch made her company debut in this production as the dutiful Charlotte, who struggles to deny her attraction to Werther. Lisette Oropesa appeared here as Charlotte’s younger sister Sophie, and baritone David Bizic was Charlotte’s dependable husband Albert. Alain Altinoglu conducted the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

Werther will be heard on The Classical Station at 1:00 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, March 28. Listen on 89.7 FM in Central North Carolina, online or on our apps. Tell your smart speaker to “play the Classical Station.”

Scene from Werther. Photo: Ken Howard/Met Opera

On March 28 we observe the birthday of Dutch conductor Willem Mengelberg (1871-1951), English composer and organist Sir William Harris (1873-1973), Bohemian-born pianist Rudolf Serkin (1903-1991), and American bass Samuel Ramey (1942-). While Maestro Mengelberg was primarily associated with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, he found time to conduct the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from 1921-1930. Sir William Harris was Organist of Saint George’s Chapel, Windsor from 1933-1951. Besides being a famous pianist of his generation, Mr. Serkin was associated with two major American institutions, the Marlboro Festival, and the Curtis Institute. Acclaimed for his roles as Faust in the Gounod and Boito operas, Samuel Ramey is currently Distinguished Professor of Opera at Wichita State University’s School of Music.


Friday, March 27, 2020

We’ve collected links to Classical Music Videos and Streams by some of the thousands of musicians and and musical organizations who have been shuttered during the pandemic. We play their performances regularly here on The Classical Station. If you would like us to add an artist or group to this list, email us.

Photo: WCPE String Quartet/NCCMI

On March 27 we observe the birthdays of French composer Vincent D’Indy (1851-1931), American composer Ferde Grofé (1892-1972), and Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007). A student of Cesar Franck, Paul Marie Théodore Vincent d’Indy taught Darius Milhaud, Cole Porter, Albert Roussel, and Erik Satie among others. Ferdinand Rudolph von Grofé came from a very musical family. He was well-known in the 20s and 30s as the arranger for the Paul Whiteman Band. One of the 20th-century’s greatest cellists, Mstislav Leopoldovich Rostropovich was also highly-regarded as a conductor.


Thursday, March 26, 2020

All of us here at The Classical Station are very concerned about the plight our wonderful musicians find themselves in. Thousands of concerts, recitals, master-classes, and so many more events cancelled or postponed indefinitely mean that these talented artists are suddenly without any income. With that in mind, I asked JoAnn Falletta, the distinguished artistic director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and one of the world’s great conductors, to offer a message of encouragement for these challenging times. Please share it with a musician as well as your family and friends. ~Rob

Photo: Cheryl Gorski

This evening the WCPE Opera House asks for your support with a special program of three hours of arias from some of your favorite operas. The curtain goes up at 7 p.m. Eastern. Listen on 89.7 FM in Central North Carolina, streaming everywhere on our apps and online. Tell your smart speaker to “Play The Classical Station.”

Don’t forget that we have more opera for you on Saturday. The Metropolitan Opera’s radio broadcasts continue with recorded performances of the scheduled opera. This week the Met is presenting Massenet’s gripping romantic tragedy Werther, in a performance from 2014 starring Jonas Kaufmann and Sophie Koch. Curtain time: 1 p.m. Eastern.

Photo: Scene from the 2017 production of Werther/Ken Howard, Metropolitan Opera

On March 26 we observe the birthdays of South Korean violinist Kyung Wha Chung (1948-) and French conductor and composer Pierre Boulez (1925-2016). Besides being well-regarded for her recital performances and recordings, Ms. Chung has been on the faculty of The Julliard School since 2007. Pierre Louis Joseph Boulez was a champion of the music of the first half of the 20th-century. He also was in demand as a conductor with stints at the BBC Symphony and the New York Philharmonic.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

The classical music we play twenty-four hours a day here on The Classical Station means different things to different people. Some listeners love Mozart. Some folks say we play too much Mozart. Some people would like us to play more Bartok. Others don’t want to hear anything composed after 1900. But the one thing everybody seems to agree on is that classical music takes our minds off our cares and worries about the COVID-19 epidemic and all the shocking news that comes with it – all of that “noise” fades into the background as we listen to beautiful classical music.

That’s why we want to express our gratitude to all of you who are supporting this unique radio station during our Spring Membership Drive 2020. You keep the music of Mozart, Bach, Brahms, and so many other composers, playing. Your support lets us program the recordings of great orchestras such as the London Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Atlanta Symphony, and countless others. Performers such as Joshua Bell, Stephen Hough, Rachel Barton Pine and so many more delight us with their artistry. You make all of this possible. From the bottom of our hearts, “Thank you.”

Photo: Public Domain Pictures

On March 25 we observe the birthdays of Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957), Hungarian composer Béla Viktor János Bartók (1881-1945) and Czech conductor Zdeněk Košler (1928-1995). Arguably one of the greatest conductors of the 20th-century, Maestro Toscanini was well-known for his work with the orchestra created especially for him, the NBC Symphony. What do Ralph Vaughan WIlliams and Béla Bartók have in common? Their love of folk music. Bartók was one of the first ethnomusicologists. Active in the latter half of the 20th-century, Maestro Košler was well-known for his opera performances.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

On March 24 we observe the birthdays of American pianist Byron Janis (1928-) Canadian violinist Angèle Dubeau (1962-). Byron Janis studied with Vladimir Horowitz. He is known for his interpretation of the music of Frederic Chopin. A distinguished violinist in her own right, Ms. Dubeau and La Pietá, the ensemble which she founded in 1997, are highly-acclaimed both in Canada and worldwide.

Photos: Ms. Dubeau/; Mr. Janis/

Monday, March 23, 2020

This evening instead of Monday Night at the Symphony we’ll have Break The Announcer. This is a tradition on the Monday evening during our Fund Drives. Our longtime volunteer announcer, Andy Huber, will match your gifts to The Classical Station for as long as his bank account holds up or until 10 p.m., whichever comes first! Join in the fun and Break The Announcer beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern.

You can enjoy the concert beginning at 8 p.m. on 89.7 FM in Central North Carolina and streaming everywhere online and on our apps.

Photo: WCPE Photo Services

Are you homeschooling your children while school is closed? Our programming is ideal for the Music component of your lesson plans. Our announcers love the music they play. Better yet, you can schedule your Music lesson anytime convenient for you. All you have to do is consult What’s Playing to see what your children will be hearing.

In addition to listening the beautiful music with them, enrich your lessons by showing them the birthdays for the day. Our birthday posts here and on Facebook have links to source material about the composers and performers. For even more enrichment, search Spotify and YouTube for composers and performers. There’s a wealth of material you can use. Finally, please share your Music lesson tips and ideas on Facebook. Together we will get through these difficult days.

Photo: Lucelia Ribeiro/Flickr

On March 23 we observe the birthdays of German composer Julius Reubke (1834-1858), Austrian composer Franz Schreker (1878-1934), French composer Eugène Gigout (1844-1925), English composer Edmund Rubbra (1901-1986), and English mezzo-soprano Dame Janet Baker (1953-). While Herr Reubke died very young at the age of 24, he will be forever remembered by organists for his monumental composition entitled Sonata on the 94th Psalm. Herr Schreker was known as an opera composer. A pupil of Camille Saint-Saëns, Monsieur Gigout was an organist who taught Léon Boëllmann and André Marchal among others. A prolific composer, Edmund Rubbra wrote 11 symphonies and many other works in a variety of genres. Active from the 50s to the 80s, Dame Janet Baker was highly regarded for her interpretations of baroque as well as contemporary music.