Mark Pinto

Classical Host

A Philadelphia native, Mark grew up in Roxborough and at WRTI has followed in the footsteps of his father, William, who once hosted a music program on the station back in the '50s.

As an undergraduate at La Salle University, Mark hosted their radio station's only classical music program. He went on to become the weekend overnight host at WFLN-FM for seven years until the station changed format in 1997.

In addition to his undergrad degree in communications from La Salle, Mark also holds a graduate degree in library science from Drexel University.  He is currently the Adult Services Director at Phoenixville Public Library, where he has worked since 1997. Jill Pasternak, Rolf Charlston, and Jeff Duperon (so far) have made appearances at the library, lecturing to roomfuls of admiring and appreciative fans. Mark brings his cataloging skills to WRTI, where he assists Jack Moore with entering new classical CDs into the station’s database.

Mark is an active volunteer with the Chester County Pops Orchestra.  At his church, he coordinates the lector (liturgical reader) program and also serves as cantor and member of the tenor section of the choir. He sings with other choral groups around Montgomery and Chester counties, including Musica Concordia, which is directed by Kile Smith's wife, Jacqueline. Mark is also available for weddings, funerals, etc...

Hear Mark on Saturdays from 12 to 1 pm and from 5 to 6 pm as host of WRTI's Classical New Releases program.

Ways to Connect

Like hands and gloves, brass music and Christmas were made for each other. This new album from the always imaginative Canadian Brass is an affectionate tribute to the classic animated TV specials that continue to delight young and old during the holiday season. 

A little night music, please. Actually, there's a lot of it to enjoy on this beautifully conceived and performed two-disc set dedicated to the art of the piano nocturne. The French word means "nocturnal" or "of the night."  Though far from being lullabies, these single movement miniatures typically do begin and end softly and reflectively. But like an evening’s sleep interrupted by a bad dream or bout of insomnia, there is often much restlessness and turmoil within.

Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, performed by Capella Istropolitana, is featured on CD 3 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

This iconic masterpiece by West Chester, Pa. native Samuel Barber began its existence in 1936 as the slow movement of his only String Quartet. Barber immediately recognized the expressive possibilities of his music and rearranged the movement for string orchestra later that same year. A continuous ebb and flow of sustained-note cadences that only gradually resolve produces an effect of a great heaving or sighing.

The deep sadness the music evokes has led to the work’s performance as an anthem of mourning for heads of state and during national tragedies. It has also been used to great effect in many film soundtracks.

The Lark Ascending, by Ralph Vaughan Williams, performed by David Greed, violin, and the English Northern Philharmonia conducted by David Lloyd-Jones, is featured on CD 2 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

Has there ever been a musical portrait of such beauty, grace, and tranquility? Inspired by George Meredith’s poem, this gorgeously meditative piece, originally written for violin and piano, was rearranged for violin and orchestra by Vaughan Williams in 1920. Between folksong-like orchestral interludes, the solo violinist takes flight playing soft, fluttering ascending and descending pentatonic (five-note) scale patterns, “ever winging up and up.”

Vaughan Williams’s free use of rhythm in the cadenzas enables the soloist to “lift us with him as he goes,” vividly depicting the song and motion of the lark as he takes wing out over the horizon.

The Wunderkind has come of age! Gustavo Dudamel, the young, Venezuelan conductor known for his flashy and energetic performances with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, and, since 2009, as music director with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has turned in a deeply considered performance of Gustav Mahler’s profoundly personal symphonic statement.  The recording captures the 32-year-old (31 at the time of this live concert recording) tackling repertoire conductors 20 years his senior are just now finding themselves ready to take on.

Tune in this Saturday, June 15th, after the opera, when Mark Pinto will host a special New Releases. He's stretching out and broadcasting for us Mahler's last completed symphony, the Ninth. We can't spill the beans on whose recording it is, but it's gotten raves! You will not be disappointed.

If you have the time to tune in just for this monument of orchestral literature, get to your radio or point your browser to by about 4:15 pm.

I admit I approach any new recordings of these, my favorite Tchaikovsky symphonies, with a bit of trepidation. Over the years I’ve encountered one too many recordings, as well as concert performances, that lay on the incurable Romanticism a bit too thick. Thematic presentations are muddled and tempos are stretched so that each movement, regardless of the tempo indication, seems to plod at the same pace.

It’s as if some conductors believed that Tchaikovsky, who always wore his heart on his sleeve, needed help expressing his feelings.

Let me make one thing clear: I am not a gamer. I am, however, an admirer of the recordings of La Pieta, the Canadian all-female string orchestra, and their leader, violinist Angele Dubeau. In particular, I appreciate their impeccable musicianship and the good taste of the arrangements that are composed for the ensemble. In recent recordings, they've championed the music of notable contemporary composers Philip Glass, John Adams, and Arvo Part, all favorites of mine.  

Landing at No. 1 of a 2008 top-10 list of works by living composers in the U.K. was The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace by Karl Jenkins. I was fortunate to be in the audience last fall as the Main Line’s Wayne Oratorio Society performed it in concert. I was transfixed.

Commissioned for the new millennium and premiered in 2000, The Armed Man uses the medieval French song “L’Homme Armé” (The Armed Man), the basis of innumerable 15th- and 16th-century Mass settings.

This world-premiere recording of two chamber masterpieces by Philadelphia native son Vittorio Giannini definitely rates a “Wow!” When I aired his compelling Piano Quintet on New Releases a couple of months back, I found myself continually turning up the volume in the studio as each ear-catching phrase poured forth.