Jill Pasternak

Classical Host

Jill joined WRTI in 1997 after working at the former WFLN for ten years. Her background is impressive: she's a professional harpist, a graduate of The Juilliard School of Music, and a former Fulbright Scholar.

As staff harpist at Radio City Music Hall, and with the City Center Ballet in New York, Jill performed with numerous symphonic and chamber ensembles in recordings, on radio, and on Broadway. She also worked for the Rockefeller Foundation developing the New World Records label, and was an assistant editor for Stereo Review magazine and Nonesuch Records. Her work as a writer and producer of training videos led Jill to earn a graduate degree in public media and also to start hosting at classical radio stations including WMHT-FM in Schenectady, N.Y., and WQXR in New York City.

Along with varied speaking engagements, Jill continues to "harp" on all things musical in the Delaware Valley. She is the proud mother of a son, an international businessman, and a daughter, a professional chef.

Jill can be heard weekdays from 2 to 6 pm, and on Crossover on Saturdays from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. 

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WRTI 60th Anniversary Limited-Edition CDs
4:41 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

60th Anniversary Classical CD Highlight: Beethoven, Romance No. 2 in F

Takako Nishizaki

Ludwig van Beethoven's Romance No. 2 in F Major, Op.50, performed by Takako Nishizaki, violin, with Kenneth Jean conducting the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, is featured on CD 1 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

This is the second of a pair of works written for solo violin and orchestra. A favorite with concert artists, it is pensive and beautifully melodic, highlighting the sonic qualities of the violin at its best and allowing the soloists a wide range of emotional options.

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Crossover
6:52 am
Sat September 7, 2013

Itzhak Perlman's Eternally Beautiful Music For The Soul

The distinguished violinist Itzhak Perlman offers a glimpse into the classical Jewish Cantorial repertoire, and beloved liturgical and traditional works in new arrangements backed by chamber orchestra and Klezmer musicians. Mr. Perlman is joined by his dear friend and colleague, Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot.

While rooted in the Cantorial-liturgical tradition of Jewish music, the ten tracks on Eternal Echoes: Songs And Dances For the Soul encompass a wide range of sonic modes and musical moods. The CD has just the right mixture of happy and sad, and laughter through tears.

Crossover
8:54 am
Sat August 31, 2013

America The Beautiful: The Immigrant Experience

Quiara Alegría Hudes

They say America is a country of immigrants. And it is that immigrant experience that we explore and celebrate on Crossover this week.  A smash Broadway hit, In the Heights details the life and survival of a family and their pursuit of happiness in the “promised land” of America. Set in the Washington Heights barrio of New York City, the characters wrestle with the heartache and the joys and the drama of “making it” in a country that is not their native land.

Philadelphia native and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Quiara Alegria Hudes, received a Tony Award for her book of the show, and she recalls the other honors and the differences in the creative process. In The Heights will be at the Walnut Street Theatre from September 3rd though October 20th.
 

In the same vein, we reprise a conversation from 2010 with virtuoso guitarist Manuel Barrueco. A native of Cuba, he studied at the esteemed Esteban Salas Conservatory in Cuba, came to the United States as part of the Cuban exodus, enrolled in Baltimore’s, Peabody Institute, and in 1974 became the first classical guitarist to win the Concert Artists Guild award.  He has recorded over a dozen albums for EMI and with every major orchestra along with Deep Purple and The Police.

Crossover
4:29 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

The First Call: Tenor Sax Larry McKenna

Tenor sax Larry McKenna
Melissa Gilstrap

Here in Philly, whenever someone needs a tenor sax player, the first call is to jazz great Larry McKenna. It's been that way for so long that most know his number by heart. And it's not just jazz bands that make that call.

It was that way when he backed Sinatra at the Latin Casino; when he was part of the "MFSB Orchestra" for Gamble and Huff backing Patti LaBelle, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and other Philly greats; when director Alan Parker needed music and a player for the Nicholas Cage film, Birdy, and many other instances.

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Crossover
9:53 am
Sat July 27, 2013

Rachel Barton Pine: Violin Lullabies That Won't Put You To Sleep

The big news this week was the birth of Prince George Alexander Louis, the new Duke of Cambridge. Plenty of sleepless nights certainly await the Royal parents; so this new collection of lullabies may be just what the royal doctor ordered.

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Crossover
4:29 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Guitarist David Cohen: Healing And Helping Through Music

Guitarist David Cohen with Jill Pasternak, July, 2013

This week we feature a musician who has gone well beyond his role as an entertainer to become an active member of humanitarian causes he believes in. In an effort to fight hunger, David Cohen co-founded the Ocean Grove Music Arts Festival from which all proceeds go directly to the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties in New Jersey.  

He also initiated the website PhiladelphiaClassicalMusic.com to promote classical music in the area, and established PhiladelphiaGuitarNews.com with the same goal in targeting guitar players in Philadelphia.  

His newest album David Cohen: Guitar pays homage to his late wife, Tatyana, who recently lost her battle against ovarian cancer.  The CD is an intimate celebration of love and life and the brave battle she and so many other women have fought.  A portion of the proceeds of the album will support the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, where David assists in the development and implementation of patient and family- centered care philosophy and practices. Saturday, July 20, 11:30 am to 12 noon.

Crossover
2:49 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Diva DiDonato: The Wow Factor

David Zobel

Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, the brightest new light on the operatic horizon, graces us with her new release, Drama Queens, on the Virgin classics label. Her interpretation of works by Baroque composers such as Orlandini, Handel, and Monteverdi knocks your socks off. And in a blazing red silk gown, she breathes life into her ancient "heroines" - jealousy, tenderness, and passion - unchanging in the scheme of life.  Saturday, July 6, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm on Crossover with host Jill Pasternak.

Crossover
4:44 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Wanamaker Organ Day LIVE On WRTI: June 29, 11:30 AM

Join us for a special edition of Crossover on Saturday, June 29th, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm - broadcast live from this year's Wanamaker Organ Day at Macy's Center City - the free, day-long musical extravaganza in celebration of the world's largest pipe organ.

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Crossover
9:07 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

The Reluctant Trailblazer: Philadelphia Orchestra Harpist Edna Phillips

Emil Rhodes, Family Collection

Harpist Edna Phillips was only 23 when she joined The Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski in 1930. The story goes that the orchestra was looking for a second chair harpist, and Phillips' teacher at Curtis, Carlos Salzedo, insisted that she audition.

She was somewhat reluctant.  After all, she'd only been playing the harp for five years, coming to the instrument late in life after spending time with the piano.  But sometimes all it takes is being in the right place at the right time.

After her audition, Stokowski revealed that the orchestra's principal harpist had been badly injured and would not be returning.  He wanted Phillips to fill the chair.  This would make her not only the first woman in The Philadelphia Orchestra, but the first woman to be a principal player in ANY American orchestra.

In Phillips' later years, she was chair of the Bach Festival of Philadelphia where she hired Mary Sue Welsh, a retired editor of children's books. The two would become close friends.  At one point, Phillips suggested to Welsh that they work together on a memoir of her life as a harpist. But, when Phillips passed on in 2003, Welsh tossed it aside.  

Eventually, Welsh returned to the idea, and started working on a Phillips biography, talking to the harpist's family, friends, and co-workers, and using archival material.  Recently published, the book is called, One Woman in a Hundred, and is part of the University of Illinois Press' "Music in American Life" series.

Listen for Jill Pasternak's conversation with author Mary Sue Welsh on the life and times of Edna Phillips, and hear excerpts from the author's taped conversations with the harpist, along with music performed by her, on Crossover, Saturday, June 22nd at 11:30 am on WRTI-FM and the All-Classical stream at wrti.org, with an encore the following Friday evening at 7 pm on HD-2 and the All-Classical stream.

Crossover
3:57 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Here Comes the Judge: Organist Paul Jacobs

Organist Paul Jacobs

A good friend of WRTI returns this week. Acclaimed organ virtuoso Paul Jacobs stops by to tell us about the International Organ Competition at Longwood Gardens June 18th through 22nd. He'll be one of five judges deciding the fate of ten young organists who've been vetted, from hundreds of entries, to move on to the preliminaries. Only five will make it to the finals to compete for the $40,000 Pierre S. DuPont First Prize.

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