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.

Can Classical Music Facilitate Learning?

Concierto, the two-hour bilingual classical music radio show, began as a way to draw new listeners to classical music and to celebrate Hispanic composers and performers. While it’s been successful in that mission – it’s currently carried by 45 stations around the country – it’s also succeeding in another mission. Education.

Frank Dominguez

Frank Dominguez, Concierto host

Frank Dominguez hosts Concierto in Spanish and English. He introduces each piece in Spanish, and back announces it after each piece in English. Due to this format – and to his impeccable accent – Concierto has been discovered to be an educational tool. Learn more in the story by Davidson College below.

Read story: Proof That Classical Music Facilitates Learning? WDAV Hosts ‘Concierto,’ The Nation’s First Bilingual Classical Music Program by Morgan Orangi, Davidson College

Listen to Concierto: find the show on a radio station near you, or download the app for via the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Music, Composed by Brushstrokes

On November 11, 2014, Davidson College will host Arts Jubilee, a showcase of arts and crafts created by members of the college staff. Among the paintings in the show will be Mi Concierto, a work by Myelita Melton, associate producer of WDAV’s bilingual show Concierto and host of the station’s weekend programming. The work was inspired by her work with Concierto, and she offers insight into how her love for the arts crosses genre and medium while inspiring both.

Myelita Melton

Myelita Melton

WDAV: What inspired you to create “Mi Concierto”?
Melton: The music on Concierto evokes great memories from my adventures traveling in Latin America. After high school I lived with a family in Mexico and attended an instituto to learn Spanish. Since then, I’ve been fortunate to visit several Latin American countries, including Cuba. Mi Concierto is a reflection of the people I’ve met, the places I’ve seen, and the music I’ve enjoyed.

WDAV: Describe Mi Concierto’s style and the images you’ve selected.
Melton: Stylistically, Mi Concierto is a combination of Mexican folk art and French Impressionism with lots of added texture. I have filled it with iconography easily recognizable to Latinos, no matter where they come from. These include Concerto’s sun logo, along with religious icons like a “sacred heart” and a peace dove. In honor to the indigenous people of Latin America, I’ve placed a quetzal bird in the center. Its feathers were used in ceremonial headdresses. It still soars in the mountains of Central and South America. The quetzal perches on a conga drum above Quetzalcoatl, the mythical feathered serpent worshiped by the Maya centuries ago. Quetzalcoatl is carved on pyramids in Yucatan. Lastly, the musical images represent the wide spectrum of musical genres Concierto features.

WDAV: Describe some of the important imagery in Mi Concierto.
Melton: That’s the calla lily. It comes in all colors and is found throughout the Americas. It’s often included in paintings by Latin American artists. For me, it’s a very personal image because of a shop keeper in Costa Rica who gave me a long-stemmed, white one at the terrifying summit of Sierra de los Muertos (Hill of the Dead) when I was there in 2007.

WDAV: Do you listen to music while you paint?
Melton: Of course! If the painting is vibrant, I’ll choose something up tempo like mambo, samba, or salsa, but if the piece is somber, I’ll select something from the Romantic era.

WDAV: When did you begin painting?
Melton: I have always been an artist. My family says I started entertaining before I could crawl. When I was little I loved to draw! My favorite thing was a big box of 54 Crayola crayons that came with a sharpener on box. Back then a new set of crayons gave me a kick, now I get the same thrill from new paint brushes.
My artistic adventure is unusually comprehensive. My early experience in theater propelled me into recording. Producing a documentary film in 1990 and operating a cable ad company enabled me to develop artistically as a videographer, editor, photographer and copywriter. Those talents and speaking Spanish became my springboard to jobs in television news and radio. But my creative drive doesn’t stop there. Since 2000, I have written and published a series of 13 industry-specific Spanish books. Even though I’ve only been painting for a couple of years, I think it’s a natural progression in my “all-inclusive” artistic journey.

WDAV: What Paintings Are You Exhibiting in the “Arts Jubilee”?
Four of my paintings are in the exhibit: Appassionata, Árbol de Vita (Tree of Life), Damaged Goods, and Mi Concierto.

Event Information:
November 11 2014, 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Chambers Lilly Family Gallery
Davidson College