Voice of the Arts
The Pittsburgh Philharmonic's Music Director Daniel Curtis talks about the Zoom sessions he is doing with the orchestra to stay connected and to prepare for their 2021-22 season. Next season, the Philharmonic is also launching a multi-year initiative to feature the music of Black American composers.
Miles Wallace, the Artistic Director of the Con Spirito Concert Series at Thiel College in the David Johnson Chapel, looks back at the thirty concert presentations over the past two decades during the pandemic year while the programs are on hiatus. The Con Spirito series is named for the woodwind ensemble that serve in residence at WQED-FM and concertized in 38 states, played New York to New York Times acclaim and toured China. The French horn was the late Lori Johnson Wallace. Following his degrees at Wittenberg and Yale, he served as assistant organist to Robert Sutherland Lord at the University of Pittsburgh then Miles was organist and choir director at First Lutheran Church where he met his wife in the Choir. Miles became a Vice President at Federated Investors and formed his own consulting company. He serves now as a board member at Thiel.
In February 2021, Penguin Random House is publishing a new book: A Tip for the Hangman by Allison Epstein. A Tip for the Hangman tells the story of Christopher Marlowe getting recruited to spy on Mary Stuart during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. WQED-FM talks with Allison about her book, which will be available in written form and as an audiobook.
Jim Bonner, Executive Director of the Audubon Society of Western PA, describes trends in the Audubon Society's bird counts over recent years. In addition to updating WQED-FM on how the bald eagles are doing, he explains which bird species is currently the most under threat and how we can help to ensure that all local bird species continue to live in a healthy ecosystem. Funding from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) has helped the Audubon Society with a number of projects, such as maintenance on Beechwood Farms and conservation of large, old oak trees.
The Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Media's Executive Director Kyle Houser gives WQED-FM a glimpse at the dozens of classes and workshops they currently offer. He also describes the variety of ways that funding from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) supports the organization's programming and operations.
WQED-FM's Anna Singer spoke with Kris Rust about the 14th annual Let Freedom Sing Concert celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King on January 16, 2021 at 7 pm. Solo vocalists Anita Levels and Michael Warren, spoken word artist Vanessa German, and the Dr. J Piano Trio and Boys Choir from the Afro American Music Institute perform a program safely live streamed over Youtube and Facebook from Pittsburgh's historic Hill District. The concert will culminate with a virtual performance by an interfaith, intergenerational choir directed by Dr. Herbert Jones and made up of singers from Pittsburgh, PA and Lexington, NC.
On January 8, 2021, musicians from more than two dozen local bands collaborated to record the song "SOS 2020", spreading awareness of the impact that the pandemic has had on the live music industry. WQED-FM talks with the songwriter, Eric Rodger, about how this Save Our Stages project came to fruition and what he hopes it will accomplish.
The Pittsburgh Youth Chorus' Executive Director Lee Saville-Iksic talks about the chorus' programs and upcoming activities, including a collaborative project with the Hill Dance Academy Theatre called Crossings. He emphasized the importance of grant funding from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD), especially as the organization rolls out significant changes to their business model. A native of Pittsburgh, Mr. Saville-Iksic has a strong background in choral music education and conducting, and he became Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Youth Chorus in 2019.
Melissa Hiller, Director of the American Jewish Museum of the JCC, talks about the importance of grant funding from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD) for the museum's operations. Her favorite past exhibits include a retrospective of Jane Haskell's artwork and a display of artwork depicting Fred Rogers. Ms. Hiller also talks about the professional path that led her to her current position.
Laura Gordon helped co-found the Band of Brothers Shakespeare Company in the Johnstown area. Laura talks about the Company's ongoing, very successful sonnet project in which actors and members of the community make videos of themselves reciting Shakespeare's sonnets. She also talks about her experience in London studying with the Royal Shakespeare Company.