Voice of the Arts
Guitarist John Marcel Williams is appearing soon on the Pittsburgh Concert Society YouTube Channel for the 78th season. Now at Curtis Institute, John grew up in Steubenville, Ohio. He's worked with Sharon Isbin at Aspen, with Manuel Barrueco, at Peabody and Oberlin, plus he appeared with the Wheeling Symphony in the Elmer Bernstein Concerto. Now he works with Jason Vieaux and David Starobin in Philadelphia. John offers tips on the best cheesesteaks in Philadelphia and tells us about his guitars and strings. He's a fan of Jimi Hendrix but it was the Romeros and Julian Bream who got his fingers moving at the library.
WQED-FM's Anna Singer spoke with Pittsburgh Festival Opera Artistic Director Marianne Cornetti about their Digital Valentine's Day concert, taking place February 14, 2021 at 7:30pm, on the Pittsburgh Festival Opera website - www.pittsburghfestivalopera.org.
Pianist and creator of "From The Top," Christopher O'Riley, remembers his mom Ceci Sommers, former manager and on air personality at WQED who died on February 2, 2021. Chris recalls her personality, her interest in politics, reading, her wit, passion and at times acerbic nature. Chris fills us in on his latest musical projects from his home in Los Angeles, remembers Joanne Rogers and much more in this conversation with Jim Cunningham.
Virginia and Matthew O‘Riley remember their mom Ceci Sommers, long time Station Manager of WQED-FM. Ceci served as producer and host of the Sunday Arts Magazine at WQED-FM. She founded the Vita Awards, WQED-FM Musical Kids and initiated "Q the Music," providing music in the airport and subway. She renovated the radio station with a grant from Miles, later Bayer Corporation, establishing the Bayer Broadcast Center for the Arts. She interviewed Tiny Tim and Pavarotti as well as many other luminaries. She raised thousands of dollars for WQED-FM and TV, served as chair of the Great TV Auction and worked for WQED as Vice President and head of Public Relations. She arrived in Pittsburgh in 1972 when her late husband Jack Sommers was hired as a producer from WTTW in Chicago and then founded WQED-FM which Ceci took over as manager when Jack died in 1976. She served as Vice President of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, worked for Bethlehem Haven, the Middle East Peace Institute and many non-profits. Ceci has four children and four grandchildren. Virginia lives in Charlotte, North Carolina where she manages Book Buyers book store and Matthew works in Pittsburgh as a trainer for new and existing employees at PNC bank.
The New Light Congregation and the Sing a New Light series present "The Choral Torah: 5 Books in 4 Parts." The online program on February 6 features an all-sibling vocal quartet called The Four Hermaneutics performing the music of Josh Ehrlich. WQED-FM talks with composer Josh Ehrlich and Event Producer Susannah Perlman to find out more details.
WQED-FM's Anna Singer spoke with co-directors Irena Alby and Cornel Gabara about Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Park's online production of "Love's Labour's Lost" - streaming for 5 performances from February 11-15.
The Three Rivers Young Peoples Orchestras' (TRYPO's) Executive Director Lindsey Nova updates us on the organization's recent activities--and they've been busy! Mrs. Nova believes strongly in making a difference in the lives of TRYPO students, and support from the Allegheny Regional Asset District has been an important part of fulfilling that mission.
The Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall is located on 300 Beechwood Avenue in Carnegie, PA. WQED-FM talks with Music Hall Director Melanie Paglia about the importance of RAD funding for the hall as well as the professional path that brought her to managing the 425-seat theater.
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.