Monday, September 30, 2019

Get to Know New York Polyphony

Two-time Grammy-nominated male vocal quartet New York Polyphony released their latest album on September 6. You may have heard it featured on 90.9 WGUC’s New at Noon! Whether you think you enjoy Renaissance vocal music or not, you must give this album a listen. It features music by a few composers you’ve likely never heard of, but should get to know – Francisco de Peñalosa, Francisco Guerrero, and Pedro de Escobar. Just days before the release, I had the opportunity to chat with the group’s bass singer, Craig Phillips. He told me how this album came about:

He went on to explain why the composers on this album are frequently overlooked:

I asked him how New York Polyphony attempts to gain interest among the younger generation in this less-than-mainstream music.

The origins of New York Polyphony sort of happened by accident:

The group has a few favorite composers to perform:

You may be wondering what’s next on the agenda for New York Polyphony. They have a busy and exciting year ahead!

If you frequently read Clef Notes, you may recall that I enjoy asking the people I interview what they like to do in their free time. I must say that Craig Phillips has the best answer so far!

Be sure to tune to 90.9 WGUC for more from New York Polyphony!

Monday, September 23, 2019

On the Next Music Cincinnati...

Coming up this weekend, it’s a new Music Cincinnati broadcast from 90.9 WGUC. Featuring the Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church Organ Concert Series, this special is sure to delight both aficionados and those new to the power contained within this age-old instrument. Brenda Portman is resident organist and executive director of the organ concert series, and Neal Hamlin is the director of music.

The Opus 3671 organ at Hyde Park Community United Methodist in Cincinnati was built by Casavant Frères in 1990. It has nearly 5,000 pipes and was designed in the French tradition fulfilling the dual role of choir and main organ. The upcoming Music Cincinnati broadcast highlights this organ during the 2018–2019 concert season. This instrument draws talent from across this globe. This past season welcomed organists Thomas Heywood, Eric Plutz, and Bálint Karosi.

What music can you expect to hear on this broadcast? A variety! You’ll enjoy everything from a Passacaglia and Fugue by Bach, through the nineteenth century with Louis Vierne, Felix-Alexandre Guilmant, and Debussy, and the twentieth century with Dale Wood, Ernest MacMillan, and William Walton. The organists are some of the world’s best. Thomas Heywood is known as the first Australian to make his living as a professional concert organist. He teaches at the University of Melbourne and is organist and director of music at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Brighton. He is known for his transcriptions, and this program features his arrangement of Debussy’s Clair de lune. Eric Plutz teaches organ at Princeton University. He has recently become known for learning the complete organ symphonies of Louis Vierne in anticipation of the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth in 2020. He performed Vierne’s Sixth Symphony at Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church as part of that project, of which the first movement is featured on WGUC’s Music Cincinnati. Bálint Karosi is known as an organist, composer, conductor, and harpsichordist. He currently serves as director of music at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Manhattan. He’s recorded several Bach albums and is known for his interpretations of Bach’s work, including the Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582 featured on this month’s Music Cincinnati.

This Music Cincinnati is one not to be missed! Tune into 90.9 WGUC Sunday, September 29 at 8 p.m., or listen online at, via the WGUC app, or your smart speaker. Not available at 8 p.m. this Sunday? Never fear! This program will be archived at the week following, and you’ll be able to listen to it at your convenience! 

Monday, September 16, 2019

Meet Andy Ellis!

If you’re a regular listener to 90.9 WGUC, it’s likely you’ve heard a new voice weekdays from 4 to 9 p.m. Andy Ellis returned to the WGUC staff in August, and it’s been an absolute pleasure to have him on our on-air team. You may wonder why I say that he “returned.” Listen to a recent interview Andy did with Brian O’Donnell to find out more about Andy, and his history with 90.9. And if you haven’t already, tune in to hear Andy and help us welcome him back to Cincinnati!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Meet Nicola Benedetti!

Did you hear Wynton Marsalis’ new violin concerto that he wrote for Nicola Benedetti recently on New at Noon? If not, you’ll want to be sure to check it out! I recently had the opportunity to chat with Nicola about how her collaboration with Wynton for this CD project came about:

She went on to talk about her initial impressions after first performing the piece:

I commented that it sure sounds like a fun piece to play!

To me, even though this piece is a violin concerto, it sounds much different that what we often here in some of the standard repertoire. I asked Nicola how it’s similar or different to more traditional repertoire that she’s played:

She got an early start in life playing the violin:

When she’s not practicing or performing, she has a favorite pastime:

Be sure to tune to 90.9 WGUC weekdays at noon for the latest tunes from the classical music world.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Music to Help You Get Out of the Door in the Morning

If you’re anything like me, getting out the door in the morning is no easy task. Between getting my toddler up and dressed, my husband’s lunch packed, and taking the dog out, it’s a wonder I have time to get my own self ready and get to work on time. I find myself setting the alarm earlier and earlier to make sure I can get everything done in the morning! Having my kitchen radio set to 90.9 WGUC as I rush around certainly helps calm my nerves and it also helps give me a little “kick” as I clear my head and start the day. What do you listen to in order to help you get out the door in the morning? Check out this playlist of a few of my favorites, beginning with a few to delicately wake me up, followed by a few to really kickstart my day!