Monthly Archives: December 2018

Ideal Christmas gift for the music lover: The joy of classical music via digital radio

by Mark Gresham | 23 DEC 2018

Dear metro-Atlanta classical music fans: Do you miss listening to classical music on your old analog radio in the car, kitchen, or livingroom? Have no fear: while our most beloved programming has vacated the main analog radio signal in favor of talk radio programming, it’s fully available on WABE’s digital sub-channel 2. You just need the means to grab it from the airwaves and feed it to your starving ears. It’s not that hard, though it mans a shift in technology. You reliable old 1929 Philco radio can’t get it, but there are ways.

Tommy Joe Anderson

WABE Radio’s Tommy Joe Anderson

This past Thursday, ArtsATL published my brief Q&A with WABE Radio’s Tommy Joe Anderson. (Read it here.) Anderson talks about the the great shift of classical music programming to one of the station’s digital subchannel, and what that means for the avid listener who misses hearing it in the familiar, old-fashioned way. But there’s more to it than what would fit in that brief Q&A, a few more specifics for the listener who wants to recapture the sublimeness and variety they remember in classical music broadcasts of yore. It’s all there, just waiting to be heard, just in a new way.

Here’s Anderson’s advice for the various ways in which to listen to WABE’s HD2 all-classical music channel, including some devices that will make great Christmas gifts for your favorite classical music lover — including yourself, of course! He follows that with a list of the panoply of programs available on WABE 90.1-2.

First, about various devices and means of listening:

• Use your Smartphone, tablet or computer: At no cost, using your Smartphone or other online internet connection. From your computer go to WABE.org and at the the top of the webpage, click on the WABE On-Air (or) WABE Classics and choose WABE Classics to start listening to the All-Day Music, at no cost.

You can most easily use your Smartphone connection by downloading the free WABE Mobile App from the Google Play Store or iTunes. Once loaded, click on the WABE logo and select LIVE WABE or MUSIC WABE. Press LIVE MUSIC and the click arrow at the bottom of the screen, and you are ready to listen. You may then make use of a Bluetooth device to act as a speaker, if you do not want to use ear buds or your cell phone’s speaker. There are many different models ranging in price from $30 -$75.

• HD-Radio: These are available in many new cars and in a various array of audio components and portable versions. My suggestion to most new HD listeners is to get the Sangen HDR-16 that is available at Amazon for only $99. It is portable, stereo and also has AM/FM access.

• Internet Radio: These are radios that use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for connection. They are more expensive, but can capture stations world-wide (100,000+), including our local WABE 90.1-2. My suggestion for this is the medium priced Grace Digital Encore ($195-$229) at Amazon.

Now that you know how to get it, here’s what Anderson lists as the current panoply of “Classical Music All Day” that can be heard on WABE’s HD-2 channel 90.1-2:

The all-day classical music programming on the WABE 90.1-2 weekly schedule includes such orchestras as:

  • Pittsburgh Symphony
  • New York Philharmonic
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Los Angeles Philharmonic

Many popular nationally syndicated programs such as:

  • Performance Today (including the Weekend Edition)
  • The Metropolitan Opera
  • American Opera Series
  • From the Top
  • The Chamber Society of Lincoln Center
  • Live From the Grand Teton Music Festival
  • Carnegie Live
  • The Record Shelf
  • Pipedreams
  • Center Stage from Wolf Trap
  • Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival

Locally WABE produced programs such as:

  • Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
  • Second Cup with Lois Reitzes
  • Atlanta Music Scene
  • Spivey Soiree
  • Strike Up the Band

With “Classical 24” filling out the schedule in the off hours. ■

Read Mark Gresham’s Q&A with Tommy Joe Anderson on ArtsATL

Evans Mirageas departs Atlanta Symphony, goes full-time at Cincinnati Opera

by Mark Gresham | 18 DEC 2018

Evans Mirageas in front of Music Hall in Cincinnati

Evans Mirageas in front of Music Hall in Cincinnati

This past summer, Evans Mirageas was posed with a tough carer decision. As full-time vice president of artistic planning for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Mirageas has been flying back-and-forth from Atlanta to Cincinnati to fulfill a part-time role as artistic director of the Cincinnati Opera. The topic of going full-time with Cincinnati Opera was first brought up in June by its general director and CEO, Patricia Beggs. Mirageas and Beggs decided to revisit the question at the end of the company’s season, which takes place in summer months when the ASO is in the break between their own seasons. Ultimately, Mirageas chose to go with being at the helm of Cincinnati Opera full-time.

After the news leaked back in October, I sat down with Mirageas for a conversation which resulted in a substantial Q&A published yesterday on ArtsATL. If you haven’t already, go read it first.

As is typical, there was a little more in our discussion which didn’t make it into that article, which was already on the long side. The following excerpts, which of necessity hit my cutting room floor as I paired down the Q&A for ArtsATL, are what could be called a pair of “bonus tracks” for readers of that article.

Read Mark Gresham’s Q&A with Evans Mirageas on ArtsATL

First, Mirageas on the current status of Cincinnati Opera, which played a large role in his decision to go for it:

What has happened to Cincinnati Opera is it has grown from a company that presented four grand operas in one theater to now a much more diversified and expanded menu of three grand operas in our main theater, a chamber opera or Baroque opera or new opera in a slightly smaller theater, and a whole new line of operas on contemporary subjects in non-conventional spaces. With great plans going ahead to the future, the company’s also about to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2020. So I answered [Beggs’] question in the affirmative, that I thought there was a way we could do this.

With the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming 75th anniversary season in 2019-20, for which he had essentially finished his planning work before departing, Mirageas had a few additional things to say about that season and beyond, as a kind of philosophical reflection on the orchestra’s past and future:

What I’m excited about, as far as the 75th anniversary of the institution is concerned, is that the ASO at 75 has already begun to re-imagine itself as a leader in the community, a bellwether for this community’s cultural arts in a way that perhaps it hasn’t enjoyed since the headiest days of the early days of Mr. Shaw. Because when Robert Shaw came here in the late 1960s [to be the orchestra’s music director] it was at the height of the civil rights movement. He came here in part because this was the city of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Of course tragic events ensued and Shaw never really got to have the collaboration he dreamed up with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We honor his memory every year but for Atlanta and for Shaw at the time, it was a season of new beginnings. He created, of course, our first chamber chorus and then our Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, which just carried our name worldwide. He was at the ground level of the creation of our digital recording project, which of course made us worldwide stars on Telarc with both symphonic and choral literature.

The orchestra grew under Yoel Levi by leaps and bounds in technical prowess. It consolidated and went in new directions with repertoire with Robert [Spano] and Donald [Runnicles]. In other words, the evolution, as it were, from just 50 to 75, a 25-year span, which is the blinking of an eye for any institution of longevity, has been enormous. As we look at 75, I think it is a tremendously significant time for the institution because we are on the cusp of Robert handing over the reins to whoever will succeed him. [That person] will be only the fifth music director in an orchestra that is 75 years old. With all the new activities that we have already undertaken, with the broadening of our repertoire, with the fact that we are more and more a citizen of Atlanta, again I think 76 and beyond is going to be amazing for this institution.

EarRelevant will be keeping an ear and eye on Mirageas and his continued artistic adventures in Cincinnati and elsewhere. ■

Read Mark Gresham’s Q&A with Evans Mirageas on ArtsATL