Joe Patti

Classical Host

It's his parents' fault. For Joe's sixth birthday, they gave him a transistor radio. All of a sudden, their dreams of having a doctor or lawyer (or even a fry cook) in the family went down the tubes.

For more than three decades, Joe has been defiantly disappointing his parents, to the benefit of radio listeners across the tri-state area. From Trenton to the Jersey shore, and from Philly to Wilmington, he's been programming, producing, and performing in almost every radio format, even winning an award or two along the way.

After having worked with such Philadelphia stars as Hy Lit, Sally Starr, and Johnny "Green Grocer" Lerro during his career, and having made some major noise as the operations and programming head for a South Jersey AM/FM combo, Joe thought it was time for a new challenge. Almost simultaneously, the opportunity to work as production manager at WRTI arrived. "Divine intervention," he says.

Joe is WRTI's production manager as well as a substitute classical host.

Ways To Connect

"Forgetting borders" is what he calls it in the liner notes of his latest CD. He's mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital, and that CD on the Deutsche Grammophon label is, Between Worlds.

The disc is a journey with, and a tribute to, those 20th-century classical composers who used music based on folk traditions in their own works. A genre-defying tour of the globe, the program on Between Worlds ranges from Dvořák, Bloch, Villa-Lobos and Piazzolla to folk dances from Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Spain and Cuba.  

Virtuoso classical guitarist Jason Vieaux tends to go anywhere his mind can take him. From J.S. Bach to Issac Albeniz, to David Ludwig to Astor Piazaolla, to Pat Metheny to Duke Ellington, it's hard to pin Jason Vieaux down. But, perhaps, that's his plan.

Montenegrin guitarist Miloš Karadaglić, or simply Miloš ("mee-lohsh") is taking the classical guitar music world by storm.

His debut CD from 2011, Mediterráneo, in the space of just a few months, topped classical charts around the world, became an internationally best-selling sensation, and earned Miloš Gramophone’s prestigious Young Artist of the Year Award.  Not a bad start.

When you think female trumpeters, Alison Balsom usually comes to mind first. But there's another lady that's about to give Ms. Balsom a run for her money. Enter Norwegian-born Tine Thing Helseth. In urgent demand as a fast-rising soloist, the 26-year-old trumpeter, whose first name is pronounced "tina ting," has already performed with  the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and the list goes on...

Virtuoso violinist Anne Akiko Meyers tells the story of seeing an old Jack Benny routine on TV. Mr. Benny had two violins: an el cheapo model, and an expensive Stradivarius. He wanted to show the difference between the two instruments.  The comedian launches into Mendelssohn on the el cheapo and gets, "...squeak, SQUEAK, SQUONK, squeal..." Benny then picks up the Strad and plays the same piece. "...Squeak, SQUEAK, SQUONK, squeal..."   Yes, comedy. But Meyers' point was that it's not really the instrument that makes the artist.

The more you look and listen, the more you realize that classical music and jazz tend not to stay in separate lanes.  Sometimes they won't even use turn signals.  A good example is "With A Gentle Touch," from the CD, Classic Encounter by the Ramsey Lewis Trio with the Philharmonia Orchestra under James Mack. Warning: this is a habit-forming tune, as is the whole CD.  

WRTI celebrates Passover with two great specials: A Musical Feast for Passover with Itzhak Perlman: Wednesday, April 16 at 7 pm on WRTI HD-2 and the All-Classical stream at wrti.org, and The Passover Story with Theodore Bikel: Saturday, April 19 at 11:30 am on Crossover.

Network For New Music, the award-winning new music ensemble and organization based in Philadelphia, looks at the music of the eclectic composer and pianist John Harbison at concerts and workshops from April 4 to 6, featuring music inspired by jazz, poetry, and American popular song.

When Bach wrote his Inventions and Sinfonias BWV 772-801, he described them this way, "An Honest Guide by which lovers of the clavier, and particularly those with a desire to learn, are shown a plain way, not only (1) to learn and play neatly in two parts, but also, with further progress, (2) to play correctly and well in three obligato parts; and, at the same time, not only to obtain good musical themes, but also to develop them well; above all, however, to achieve a cantabile style of playing, and along with it, to gain a strong foretaste of composition."

The biennial Philadelphia Flamenco Festival, the second so far, continues through March 16th. Check it out here! But be prepared. Flamenco has a tendency to change your life in a heartbeat.

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