Monday, May 31, 2021

Richard Hawley: A Gentle Notion

Clarinetist Richard Hawley spent 17 years as Principal Clarinet here in Cincinnati and he retains a love for the City. 

His new album, with duo partner, Conor Hanick, A Gentle Notion, includes music from Grammy-winning conductor Jennifer Higdon along with some classic clarinet/piano repertoire. 

Richie Hawley called to chat about the new album, the pandemic year, and his beloved companion, Gidget, the French Bulldog.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Summerfair 2021

Since the Summer after the Summer of Love, Summerfair Cincinnati has celebrated the beginning of the season with Art, Music and Nature. They’ve been steadfast through heat, cold, wind, rain — and more than one emergence of cicadas.

Now they can say, after a year of pandemic that Summerfair is still standing, welcoming the Summer of 2021 Friday-Sunday June 4-6 at Coney Island.

Jayne Utter, Managing Director of Summerfair told us all about it:

Monday, May 17, 2021

Taking The Sting Out Of The COVID-19 Vaccine

People who signed up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio were treated to some classical music to help take the sting out of getting the shot.

WGUC and Cincinnati Public Radio partnered with the Urban League for the City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County “Get Out The Vax” campaign Sunday, May 16.

“Cincinnati Public Radio is always looking for ways to provide a service to the community. We were proud to partner with the Urban League,” said Cincinnati Public Radio Vice President of Content Jenell Walton. “WGUC hosts Elaine Diehl and Brian O’Donnell were on the air encouraging listeners to stop by the Urban League to get vaccinated.”

WGUC evening host Andy Ellis was at the Urban League headquarters at 3458 Reading Road to greet listeners and visitors during the vaccine clinic.

“I realize getting a shot is not the most exciting thing in the world,” Ellis said. “WGUC music was playing during the event. It was fun to see so many people smiling when they walked inside the building, heard the classical music and realized they were in for a special treat.”

Ellis was joined by Cincinnati Public Radio Community Events and Volunteer Coordinator Katie Query.

The partnership was also an opportunity to introduce classical music to new audiences. WGUC Classical Music Director Jessica Lorey created a special playlist for the community engagement event. Several African American compositions including William Grant Still’s “Miss Sally’s Party,” James Tim Brymn “Cocoanut Grove Jazz,” and Devonte Hynes “For All Its Fury: Press” were part of the specially curated playlist.

WGUC promoted the event on its social media channels and over the air. Visitors also received a swag bag filled with a WGUC mask, pop sockets and other goodies.

The Urban League pop-up vaccine site is open each Sunday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. You do not need an appointment. If you’d prefer to make an appointment, text the word vaccine to 797979.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Craig Hella Johnson: The Singing Guitar

By Brian O’Donnell

Craig Hella Johnson is known for crafting musical journeys that create deep connections between performers and listeners.

Johnson is Music Director of the Cincinnati Vocal Arts Ensemble and conductor emeritus of the Victoria Bach Festival and he’s also Artistic Director of Conspirare, a grammy award winning virtuoso choir who released a beautiful project not long ago called The Singing Guitar - it’s the choir along with 3 guitar quartets - LAGQ, The Austin Guitar Quartet, and the Texas Guitar Quartet, and cello by Douglas Harvey. Johnson curated a program woven together by exquisitely crafted music for voices, guitar, and stories of women.

I recently spoke to Craig about this gorgeous project:

Monday, May 3, 2021

Nia Franklin: Chrysalis Extended

On WGUC, we often highlight “new” composers, especially during our New At Noon segment. I’d like to use this blog introduce you to an up-and-coming composer who you DEFINITELY need to check out: Nia Franklin.

Yes- the Nia Franklin who in June 2018 was crowned Miss New York 2018 AND the Nia Franklin who on September 9, 2018  was crowned Miss America 2019! Did you know she attended East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, and graduated with a degree in music composition then earned her Master of Music from University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2017?

Just this year, she had one of her large-scale pieces, “Chrysalis Extended” performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra!

More than a beauty Queen, Nia is firmly at the front of the line when it comes to up-and-coming composers. In her own words:

“Even though I am a black miss America, I’m also the Miss America who composes. I’m the miss America who sings opera. I’m the miss America who cares about her community and the arts. It’s important to celebrate that that’s who I am, my heritage, the culture I come from. Our differences make us special and we should celebrate them.”

Keep an eye (and both ears) out for this composer... if anyone is set for a meteoric rise in the world of classical music, its her.