Frank Dominguez

The Genesis of Concíerto

Frank Dominguez

Frank Dominguez, WDAV General Manager and Content Director, Host, Concíerto

When Hispanic Heritage Month ends in mid-October, it will coincide with an important milestone for me: the 5th anniversary of the debut of my bilingual classical music program Concierto.

Back then I had been working at WDAV for sixteen years, and had never thought of producing such a program. It was our general manager at the time, Ben Roe, who asked me if I was bilingual, and whether I could produce a classical music program in Spanish. My response was, “Sure… but why?”

Ben explained the potential he saw in such a program to attract a new audience based on the demographic trends evident in the region and the country. I set about the task, and the result has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my career.

Even though the idea had evaded me, I knew that classical music was loved by many Hispanics and had always been an important part of their cultures. My parents, who immigrated to this country in 1948 with the equivalent of a grade school education, did not know much about classical music. But they knew enough to tune the radio to WQXR in New York where I grew up, and soon realized how drawn I was to the music as a child.

I also had working class relatives who listened to classical music, like my older cousin Frankie who had a bust of Beethoven in his bedroom. And we had neighbors who were passionate about the music like Domingo, who was a doorman on the Upper East Side, but never failed to buy season tickets to the Metropolitan Opera.

On Concierto we alternate classical music by Spanish and Latin American composers with more familiar fare from the likes of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, but performed by Hispanic and Latino musicians and ensembles. In this way we demonstrate the deep roots classical music has in Spanish-speaking countries. The bilingual presentation adds an element of authenticity, and hopefully announces to newcomers that they are welcome.

Now five years later Concierto is heard on about 35 stations nationwide, ranging from San Juan, Puerto Rico to the San Fernando Valley in California. The feedback we get from listeners is overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Spanish speakers are delighted to hear their cultures represented in a different and positive way, while English speakers are pleased to discover appealing repertory and artists unfamiliar to them.

I would never have imagined it when I started working at WDAV, but I sure am glad.


Listen to Concierto on Sunday evenings at 10:00 p.m. on WDAV Classical Public Radio.

Are you in the Charlotte area? Tune into 89.9FM Classical Public Radio.
Prefer to stream? Listen live at or on Apple and Android apps.

WDAV has Olympic Fever

With the Summer Olympic Games starting Friday, the world will be focused on London as athletes from across the world compete for medals in sports from rugby to table tennis. WDAV is turning our focus to the British capital, too. Join us from Friday, July 27 to August 12 for a festival of English music and performers!

The Line Up

FRIDAY: The Opening Ceremonies

  • Our festivities kick off Friday morning with Matt Rogers as he plays each of the Olympic Themes written by composer and conductor John Williams – one per hour of Matt’s program.
  • At noon, Matt brings you the Mozart Café featuring – what else? – Haydn’s “London” Symphony as the main course, plus recipes from Charlotte’s Big Ben Pub.
  • At 5pm, Fred Child hosts Beethoven’s Ninth: Live from London, a special concert to kick off both the BBC Proms – the world’s largest classical music festival – and the London Olympic Games. The broadcast begins with a music-rich pre-game, which includes highlights of the BBC Proms as well as colorful comments from Daniel Barenboim, Olympic athletes, and London locals. Then hear conductor Daniel Barenboim lead the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in Beethoven’s last and greatest symphony.

JULY 28-AUGUST 12: The Games

Hear a feast of music by English soloists, conductors and orchestras, and works by composers ranging from William Byrd, John Dowland and Henry Purcell to Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten and William Walton.

  • Each weekday at 2pm you can hear a different English Artist Spotlight. We’ll feature a recording by English classical musicians such as pianist Stephen Hough, conductor John Eliot Gardiner, and trumpeter Alison Balsom.
  • Enjoy a different complete symphonic work by an English composer each weeknight on the Symphony @ 7.

It’s a “jolly good show” chock full of English classics from July 27 through August 12.

And keep checking our blog for more Olympic surprises!

-Frank Dominguez
Program Director

Happy Birthday Mexico (and “Hola,” Hispanic Heritage Month)!

Today Mexicans are celebrating their nation’s bicentennial, and it’s also the start of Hispanic Heritage Month here in the US. So today we’re sampling selections from a new 2-CD set called Mi alma Mexicana My Mexican Soul – featuring the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas led by their founder, the dynamic young conductor Alondra de la Parra.
You can hear more from conductor Alondra de la Parra this Sunday afternoon at 5 when WDAV premieres her exciting four part series, Mexico at 200, for Hispanic Heritage Month. It’s a retrospective of Mexican symphonic music, from the avant-garde of the past to the rising stars of the present.
And be sure to join me Saturday nights at 10 for music by Spanish and Latin American composers and performers on Concierto presented in English and in Spanish.

Remembering a Friend of Classical Music in Charlotte

Last Sunday, the Charlotte-area arts community lost one of its more beloved figures, Dr. George Stegner. For decades he was a music teacher at Queens University (then College) in Charlotte.
He was also well known to Charlotte Symphony patrons for his 37 years of writing the detailed and enlightening program notes for the CSO concerts. He and his wife, Jackie, were a constant presence at local music events. If you bumped into them at a concert, they were always available for pleasant chats about music.
The Stegners supported WDAV from the very beginning. I have many fond memories of George phoning me here at the station to chat about the music I was currently playing on the air, or a piece of music that he felt WDAV listeners would enjoy. And it was always a highlight of my day whenever I saw George and Jackie at the concerts.
I will always hold George dear in my heart. And I am comforted to know that I will still be able to see Jackie at the Friends of Music at Queens concerts.
Details about Dr. George Stegner’s wonderful life are here.

– Ted Weiner, WDAV Music Director

Holiday specials begin on WDAV

Call me crazy, but while other folks are anticipating the turkey and gravy, the favorite side dishes made from family recipes, and the overall feast of goodwill that is Thanksgiving, I look forward to the start of the holiday specials on WDAV.
As Program Director for the station, one of my responsibilities is setting up the broadcast schedule. That means I personally select the holiday specials which we’ll carry, and I decide where on the program schedule they belong to bring good cheer to the maximum number of listeners.


CSO On Campus

The Charlotte Symphony is continuing an innovative project for a second year with some of the area’s major arts groups as partners. CSO on Campus is a series of multi-disciplinary events presented in collaboration with the Levine Museum of the New South and the Mint Museum of Art, and taking place on six local college campuses, including Davidson College.
The programming draws from exhibits at both museums – Changing Places: From Black and White to Technicolor at the Levine Museum, and Loïs Mailou Jones: A Life in Vibrant Color at the Mint Museum of Art – and consists of lectures, exhibits and performances in a variety of venues.
According to CSO Executive Director Jonathan Martin, “It is especially important in these times that cultural organizations work together. It produces richer, multi-layered cultural expressions for the local community.”
There’s a complete schedule of events at the Charlotte Symphony website.

Alicia de Larrocha Dies at 86

A diminutive Spanish pianist with a giant talent passed away Friday night. Alicia de Larrocha was beloved as an interpreter of both Mozart and Spanish composers, and played with a lightness and subtlety that seemed to match her small stature. She gave her first recital at five, had her orchestral debut at age nine, and continued her career until just a few years ago when she formally retired. In addition to her role as a concert artist, she was a capable and respected teacher and arts administrator at the Frank Marshall School in Barcelona, where she herself studied with the founder as a child. Read about the highlights of her career and her approach to music making by clicking here.

Reflections on WDAV’s 30th

WDAV’s 30th anniversary has special significance for me, and not simply because I work at the station.
I’ve been here in one position or another long enough to be considered a “veteran,” but many of my co-workers, such as Ted Weiner and Rachel Stewart, have been here even longer. Even our most youthful music host, Jennifer Foster, who started as a student announcer, has been here longer than I (although she has left and come back a few times).
But I’d have fond memories of WDAV even if I’d never had the privilege of working here. My first recollection of WDAV traces back to my last night as a single man.