Rachel Stewart

WDAV Previews the Symphony Seasons

This week Jennifer Foster will host two season preview programs – for the Charlotte Symphony and the Winston-Salem Symphony. She’ll take a look at what’s coming up on their classics series and will excerpt some of the planned concert works. She’ll also play recordings by some of the guest artists such as guitarist Jason Vieux and cellist Lynn Harrell and talk to WSS music director Robert Moody.
The Charlotte Symphony Season Preview airs Thursday 9/10, 10 a.m., and the Winston-Salem Symphony Season Preview airs Friday 9/10, 10 a.m.

Charlotte Symphony Musicians Ratify Contract

The Charlotte Symphony Board and musicians have agreed to a new four-year contract which reduces the number of paid working weeks in the Symphony season. The parties negotiated the contract in the face of significant financial challenges facing the Symphony as part of an effort to restructure and stabilize financial operations. The text of the Charlotte Symphony’s press release follows.


Erich Kunzel Dies at 74

kunzel_long150.jpgErich Kunzel, whose name is synonymous with the classical pops genre, has died in a hospital in Maine where he lost his 4 month battle with cancer of the pancreas, liver, and colon. He was 74.
Kunzel led pops performances in Cincinnati for 44 years, and was at the helm when the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra was founded in 1977. He was a revolutionary in the pops genre bringing in jazz artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman as soloists when it wasn’t commonplace for such musicians to perform with symphony orchestras. His concerts were theatrical extravaganzas, and under his leadership the Cincinnati Pops maintained some of the highest concert attendance in the world year after year, week after week. Kunzel will also be remembered as an excellent arranger and often arranged film scores for the Pops to play.
The Cincinnati pops has created a special Web page to remember Erich Kunzel. You can also read more here. We also hope you’ll share your thoughts and remembrances in our comments section.

Wish They All Could Be California Classical Radio Stations

It’s 9:30 at night in Palm Springs, Calif., and I realize I have had the Southern California classical radio station, KPSC 88.5 FM, on the radio all day. OK, I set it for the dog, truth be told, since classical music on WDAV 89.9 FM is what they play for him at Camp Wagging Tails back home, and what I play for him at my condo while I am at work, on account of his mild (now) separation anxiety. Dulcet tones soothe the savage beast. Seems to work. And besides, who does not want to awaken from their afternoon nap to the sound of applause, hello? Especially now for him, in Dodger’s desert dog-days of summer 2009: too many hard, loud, freaky hours of SoCal freeways in an un-air-conditioned, 42-year-old Comet, with no roof to speak of? Who signed him up for this? OK, I did, against my better judgment. But all is well.
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photo by Jennifer Foster, WDAV


Palm Springs, California: Another Saturday Night?

We ended our San Diego stay, a petite week, by one more festive visit to Dog Beach before heading up the coast. Sure enough, exiting the accursed I-5 to the Pacific Coast Highway, we saw signs to Doheny Park and Laguna Beach, and the Beach Boys started belting out “Surfin’ Safari.” I did not plan it, honest, my playlist did it on its own. I kept the volume a tad down for fear of being considered uncool by California standards, but beefed it back up when I saw a restored woody with a rehabbed surfer at the wheel headed back down PCH to Doheny. What are North Carolina license plates in Orange County, Calif. worth if you can’t play your tourist music as loud as you want, hmm? Anyway, I put some 20-year-old ghosts to rest in Laguna, then got caught in Pageant of the Masters traffic, thence sucked up toward L.A. before deciding to barrel east on the 10, to the welcoming hospitality of John Gilmore, M.D. ’69 & Cie in Palm Springs.
John Gilmore, M.D., Davidson ’69, and Dodger’s new best friend Antonio pose with the ripe grapes at ACE, me everso charmingly retro Palm Springs home.


The Hoover Dam

We left the Grand Canyon for Vegas—300 miles at temps up to 114 at the Hoover Dam and no AC in my dam (sic) car. The prospect of enlivening music was a salve, for distraction if nothing else, the icey bandana on my neck long dessicated. I cued my iPod roadtrip playlist, and finally, finally, on the third rendition of the Eagles, “Already Gone,” it dawned on me that I had somehow mashed a button that played the same friggin’ song over and over, and I did not know which button. I was booking it down the macadam trying to beat the heat (ha!), and my Pioneer instruction manual was in the trunk. So I reverted once again to my aforementioned and simple-minded “Caliente/F.M.” vintage 1989 compilation cassette, since there was no radio I could find out in the tumbleweeds and dust devils. By the time I got off I-40 at Seligman, Ariz., for an 85-mile detour on old Route 66, I was tired of even that personal favorite playlist.
Happily, Seligman is a comfy, kitschy little 66 town with vintage 50s and 60s melodies—even some 30s and 40s Depression-era folk music—wafting from the kind-hearted ticky-tack “caf├ęs” and auto garages-cum-souvenir stores.