Voice of the Arts
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.
Alan Stanford, Adaptor and Director of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol," discusses the 2020 PICT radio play production, the cast and special features, sound design and music, production process at WQED, the meaning of the play and its relevance to today, the 150th anniversary of Dickens death, whether his visit to Western Penitentiary in Pittsburgh inspired the chains of Marley's ghost in the play, whether Dickens is the greatest English author of all and theater superstitions including the ghost light left as a single bulb onstage when everyone goes home.
Pittsburgh Ballet Theater Artistic Director Susan Jaffe speaks with WQED-FM's Jim Cunningham about PBT's "Fireside Nutcracker" and much more.
Sara Botkin long time voice on WQED-FM during the fundraising drives and President and Financial Advisor in the Botkin Family Wealth Management firm discuses her singing career and her work with the investment management company. Sara tells the story of her escape from the World Trade Center on 9/11. Sara began her career in finance with AON Corporation in New York City, where she worked on the 105th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center. Sara has helped raise awareness and funds for March of Dimes, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, The United Way and the American Heart Association. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Washington County. Sara has recorded three CDs including An Angel's Christmas and Breath of Heaven using them for great causes: helping Pittsburgh’s WQED-FM 89.3 raise over $20,000 by donating the discs.
Pianist and Conductor Walter Morales talks about his Chatham University Beethoven Sonata series and its latest installment. He also updates the happenings for the Edgewood Symphony and gives post pandemic travel suggestions for his homeland of Costa Rica in this conversation with Jim Cunningham.
December 13th at 3pm, Resonance Works Pittsburgh presents "Verdi by Vegetables: The Movie." "Verdi by Vegetables" explores Verdi's life, loves, and losses in a time of Italian political upheaval and his music's profound impact on opera history. Rigoletto! La Traviata! Aida! Verdi's entire operatic canon plus the Requiem beautifully sung by... puppets made of produce. It's a hilarious, informative, and tasty afternoon of opera. Resonance Works Artistic and General Director, Maria Sensi Sellner, spoke with WQED-FM's Anna Singer to talk about this unique event.
Susan Medley, Music Director of the Pittsburgh Concert Chorale, has been rehearsing online since mid-September, so they can present a Virtual "Sounds of the Season" Concert online on Friday, December 11 at 8:00 pm. (It's free.) The singers have recorded themselves and compiled their videos into a virtual choir. Susan says " It's pretty amazing how well it is coming together, particularly since they weren't hearing each other as they were singing. I am assembling the audio part of it and Janine Michael, the sister of two of the PCC singers, is putting the "Brady Bunch faces" on the screen and adding some other video as well. It's incredibly labor-intensive putting the final product together, but it's keeping the choir singing in some way and the singers have really enjoyed making music and seeing each other on screen every week."