Matt Rogers

And the Oscar For Best Original Score Goes To…

Matt Rogers, Reel Music host

Matt Rogers, Reel Music host

Each year, as movie lovers prepare their red carpet parties and office Oscar pools begin their wagers, Matt Rogers hosts an Academy Award edition of Reel Music. During the show, he previews the scores of this year’s nominees and revisits the music of past winners. But it’s his commentary on the scores and his prediction for Best Score winner that have made this show a favorite of listeners.

The big question: Who does Matt think will win this year? We talked with Matt Rogers for his take on this year’s nominees, his thoughts on what makes a perfect score, and for a hint – just one little hint! — for his pick for best score this year.

Of Note: Each year you’ve hosted Reel Music, you’ve guessed the winner of Best Original Score. What’s your track record?
Matt Rogers: Well, I was doing fine until last year. There really wasn’t much of a soundtrack to Gravity, but I guess what there was of it worked so well in the film that it won. I had picked Philomena by Alexandre Desplat, who is nominated again this year for two scores.

Of Note: What are your thoughts on the nominated scores this year? 
Matt Rogers: Alexandre Desplat has two great scores this year [for The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game], but people are also talking about Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score [for The Theory of Everything], which, if it won, would give Desplat his eighth loss in nine years. Ouch.

Of Note: If you’re stranded on a desert island with one movie soundtrack, what is it? Why?
Matt Rogers: Star Wars. Hands down. Every note of it is nostalgic for me since that saga was a huge part of my childhood. I could listen to it over and over.

Of Note: Who are some of your favorite score composers?
Matt Rogers: Bernard Herrmann is really responsible for my love of movie music. When I was a kid, I saw the 1959 version of Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Herrmann’s score captivated me. It remains one of my favorite movie soundtracks of all time. John Williams is of course a favorite as well. He’s very versatile. He can produce something as subtle as Lincoln or something as bombastic as Superman, and it all works.

Of Note: What makes for an effective film score?
Matt Rogers: I think it depends on the movie. I mentioned Gravity. In that film, you don’t want the music to draw your attention away from the tension on screen. You almost want to be unaware of the score. With Indiana Jones or Star Wars, the more in your face it is, the better it is.

Of Note: Who is your favorite Oscar host?
Matt Rogers: Billy Crystal was so good in the 90s. There’s never been anyone as good since. Who could forget him wearing the Hannibal Lector mask and being rolled out on stage?

Of Note: Are you going to give us a hint for your pick for Best Original Score?
Matt Rogers: Hah! Not a chance. You have to tune in and hear for yourself. I will tell you that we have Neil Lerner from the Davidson College Music Department back with us this year. He always offers great insights on the nominated scores and composers. Be sure to listen in!

Listen to Reel Music’s “WDAV at the Oscars” on Friday, February 20, 2015 at 9:00 p.m.

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

Reel Music: Kristen Anderson-Lopez

Oscar-winning songwriter Kristen Anderson-Lopez talks with WDAV’s Matt Rogers about her work in the Disney blockbuster “Frozen.” Anderson-Lopez, who shares her Oscar nomination with her co-writer and husband Robert Lopez, discusses the creation of the story and the music of “Frozen,” including their writing of the hit, “Let It Go.”

Anderson-Lopez hails from the Charlotte area, and she tells Matt how her path took her from Charlotte Country Day High School to the Hollywood red carpet.

“The things that make you shine are often the things that are scariest to share because they’re risky, because they’re different.”
- Kristen Anderson-Lopez

200th Anniversary of Beethoven’s 8th

On February 27, 1814, Beethoven premiered his Eighth Symphony – or, as he called it, “my little Symphony in F” – in Vienna. Now WDAV celebrates the “little Symphony” on the 200th anniversary of its debut.

Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony is much lighter than his Seventh was or his Ninth would be. It’s an odd distinction, considering this cheerful symphony was written during a difficult period in his life when his health faltered and a romantic relationship ended. Accentuating the contrasting styles of his works, the Vienna premiere of Beethoven’s Eighth actually began with a performance of his Seventh, leading the audience to create a direct comparison. Their response? Much of the public preferred the more serious predecessor. Explaining the cause of the relative unpopularity of his new work, Beethoven supposedly said of his Eighth Symphony, “That’s because it is so much better.”

On February 27 at 2:00 p.m., tune into WDAV to hear host Matt Rogers play Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony in honor of the 200th anniversary of its premiere.

Learn more: Notes on Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony (NPR)

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!

 Cheerio,
-Frank Dominguez
Program Director
frdominguez@wdav.org