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.

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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
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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Conrad Tao on Crossover
8:20 am
Sun June 2, 2013

Crossing Boundaries from Past to Future: Pianist Conrad Tao on Crossover

Conrad Tao, pianist
Ruimin Wang

He's only 18 years old, but has experience way beyond his years.  He's a virtuoso pianist, a composer and an accomplished violinist.  And now he's a music festival founder and curator.  He's Conrad Tao.  As comfortable with Ravel and Rachmaninoff as with Reich, Eno and Meredith Monk, it seems he can do anything he wants to, and do it with excellence.  Did we say he's only 18?

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Crossover
9:03 am
Sat April 6, 2013

Drama And Comedy On Crossover: Huberman's List And Singing Pirates

Violinist Bronislaw Huberman

We've all seen the "Drama And Comedy" masks meant to depict the full range of emotions that entertainment causes us to feel.  This week's Crossover could certainly use those masks as a trademark.

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Crossover
8:06 am
Sat March 30, 2013

Singing Her Heart Out: Vocalist Dianne Reeves on Crossover

There are a ton of great jazz vocalists in the world, but there's only one Dianne Reeves. Since age 11, she's been singing her heart out, garnering three Grammy awards for three consecutive CDs - the only vocal recording artist in any category to do that. And to top that off, she won yet another Grammy for her work on the soundtrack for George Clooney's 2005 film, Good Night and Good Luck.

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Stojowski, Solti, Leinsdorf
10:49 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Three Great Specials: Friday Evenings on HD-2 and the Classical Stream

Conductor Erich Leinsdorf

Celebrate the start of Spring with three great specials on Friday evenings: A documentary about Zygmunt Stojowski on March 22, a celebratory concert honoring Sir George Solti's 100th birthday on March 29, and a look at the life of Erich Leinsdorf on April 5 and 12 - all on WRTI HD-2 and the All-Classical web stream.

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Crossover
6:43 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Piano Virtuoso Emanuel Ax on Crossover

Pianist Emanuel Ax

This week's Crossover guest is one of the most well-known pianists in classical music - Emanuel Ax.  Mr. Ax is a multiple Grammy winner in both solo and chamber performances, and has enjoyed a career that has spanned over four decades.

Emanuel Ax was born in Lviv in western Ukraine in the summer of 1948, and raised in Poland.  His first piano teacher was his father, who started him on the keyboard at age 6.  At 7, he started official studies at the Miodowa School in Warsaw, eventually winding up in Winnipeg, in Manitoba, Canada when the family moved there two years later.  There he studied piano in school, and as a member of the Junior Music Club of Winnipeg.

In 1961, the family moved once again to New York City, where Mr. Ax began studies at Juilliard under Mieczyslaw Munz, eventually winning the Young Artists Award in 1973.  He came to prominence in 1974, after winning the first Arthur Rubenstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv.  He followed that in 1975 with the Michaels Award for Young Artists, and the Avery Fisher Prize in 1979.  From there, he has embarked on a career that has taken him around the world, performing solo, and with some of the most prominent chamber ensembles and orchestras in classical music.

Since 1973, Mr. Ax has been Yo-Yo Ma's main duo recital partner.  He also formed a quartet with Ma, Jaime Laredo and Issac Stern, releasing several CD's for Sony/CBS before Stern's death in 2001 adjourned the ensemble.

Emanuel Ax's latest CD is called, "Variations: Haydn, Beethoven and Schumann," on the Sony Classics label.  The pianist points out that each of these sets of Variations is unusual, “each revolutionary in its own way.” He has also discovered that they go very well together in a concert program. Now, surely to the worldwide delight of fans of virtuoso classical piano performance, he presents them together on a recording as well.  In the world of the pianist, says Mr. Ax, “we’re so centered on the sonata style. What’s nice sometimes is to look at other ways to deal with structure, other ways to deal with expression, other ways to deal with forming your thoughts.” 

Emanuel Ax will perform on Tuesday March 19th at 8 pm at the Leffler Performance Center at Elizabethtown College, as part of the Gretna Music series.  Tickets and information here or call 717-361-1508.

Listen for Jill's conversation with pianist Emanuel Ax, and music from his latest CD, "Variations: Haydn, Beethoven and Schumann," on Crossover, Saturday morning at 11:30 am on WRTI-FM, with an encore the following Friday evening at 7 pm on HD-2 and the All-Classical web stream at wrti.org.

Crossover
6:52 am
Sat March 2, 2013

Turkish Bass Burak Bilgili on Crossover

Last week's guest on Crossover was Turkish Bass Burak Bilgili. Turkish? Not necessarily the first nationality that comes to mind when you think "opera singer." But, wait till you hear that voice!

A 2004 graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Bilgili made his international debut in 2002 - while still a student at AVA - as Duke Alfonso in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia at La Scala. His Metropolitan Opera debut was May 7, 2004, when he sang Leporello without either a full-stage or orchestra rehearsal in the final performance of Don Giovanni that season. When he took his solo bow at the end of the performance, the audience roared in appreciation. He returned to the company in 2009 as Ferrando in Il trovatore.

Starting Saturday evening, March 2nd, Bilgili will appear in the lead role in the Academy of Vocal Arts' production of Don Quichotte. Performances run through March 9th at AVA, and March 12th and 14th at Haverford's Centennial Hall. The production will also be heard as a Sunday Opera Special on March 10th at 3 pm on WRTI and the all-classical stream at wrti.org.

Crossover
4:40 am
Sat February 2, 2013

Crossover Goes to the Movies with Angele Dubeau and La Pieta

This week, Jill speaks with a returning favorite guest, acclaimed Canadian violinist Angele Dubeau. Dubeau and her all-female string ensemble, La Pieta, recently released an album dedicated to the music of the movies. Silence, on joue! A Time for Us, gets its subtitle from the Nino Rota composition used in the Franco Zefirelli film, Romeo and Juliet. The ensemble effortlessly glides through movie music from John Williams to Erich Korngold, from Cinema Paradiso to the Lord of the Rings, and much more, with the same attention to performance as it gives to Bartok, Vivaldi, Glass, Cage, and others.

Listen to Crossover on Saturday mornings at 11:30 am on WRTI-FM, with an encore Friday evening at 7 pm on WRTI's all-classical web stream and HD-2.

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