FEATURED ARTIST: Clifford Paguio FEATURED ARTIST: Clifford Paguio FEATURED ARTIST: Clifford Paguio FEATURED ARTIST: Clifford Paguio FEATURED ARTIST: Clifford Paguio

May 29, 2017

Photo: John Pitman

I started working at All Classical Portland in 1983; 2013 marks 30 years at the radio station. I haven’t always been Music Director; that post I’ve held since 2006. But prior to that, I’ve been an on-air announcer both part-and-fulltime, and practically from the beginning, I’ve managed the vast classical library. In 1983 that was exclusively on LP, but gradually, the library transformed into an all-CD collection, and I’ve listened to nearly every one of the 25,000 CDs on our shelves. Now, as music director, I work with the programming team and our producers to carefully craft each hour of music almost every day. This is a big job, to be sure, previewing all the available pieces of music and adding new pieces and performances to the library. It’s a job I love doing. When I’m not programming, I’m interviewing musicians from around the world to add to All Classical Portland’s online offering of reviews, spotlights and insights.

Though serving principally as music director at All Classical Portland, John also hosts overnights on Saturdays and Sundays, and fills in as on-air host during the week as needed.

Latest blog entries from John Pitman:

Emerson Quartet bridges the centuries (Music of Britten and Purcell)

The members of the Emerson String Quartet are keeping plenty busy, both onstage and in the studio. They’re touring, too: the four members of the Grammy® – winning chamber ensemble were in Portland recently (presented by Chamber Music NW), and will return in July. It’s all part of a well-deserved celebration of the group’s 40th… More


Jennifer Higdon’s Majestic music

On the heels of their triple-Grammy® – winning CD of Michael Daugherty’s music (Tales of Hemingway), the Nashville Symphony Orchestra continues its commitment to American music with this showcase of Jennifer Higdon works.  All Things Majestic (Naxos) includes the eponymous composition, which was written for the Grand Teton Music Festival.  It certainly captures the splendor… More


A Sibelius Saga in Minnesota

In the 19th century, millions of people from European countries emigrated to the United States. A large number of Finns settled in the upper Midwest, especially in Minnesota and the Great Lakes regions. Here they fished, farmed and established communities which thrive today. So, it was no surprise that many Finnish-descended Minnesotans should turn out… More


Youthful Chopin, youthful pianist

The Canadian pianist, Jan Lisiecki (lee-SHYETS-kee) first garnered the attention of critics in 2010 (the bicentenary of Chopin’s birth) with a recording of the Polish composer’s piano concertos. The recording caught Deutsche Grammophon’s attention, and they signed the teen pianist right away. Mozart and Schumann works soon followed. Now Lisiecki (whose parents are Polish) returns… More


Arvo Pärt Festival (Cappella Romana) review

This February in Portland, Oregon, Cappella Romana and Director Dr. Alexander Lingas, presented the first-ever festival in North America dedicated to the contemporary composer, Arvo Pärt. The Estonian composer’s music is arguably the most performed of any living composer. It was a slight departure for Cappella Romana best known for their performances of Byzantine, Russian… More


Benjamin Grosvenor’s “Homages”

The young British pianist, Benjamin Grosvenor, is an artist whose recordings have featured in All Classical Portland’s programming for the past few years. “Dances” was a disc that make a creative connection between such disparate styles and eras as Bach and Granados. “Homages”, Mr. Grosvenor’s newest, also extends a hand across the centuries, but some… More


Tchaikovsky is conductor’s “Beloved Friend”

Being Russian, conductor Semyon Bychkov seems naturally to be drawn to the music of his countrymen, including Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. However, the maestro would argue that Tchaikovsky’s music is everyone’s music. While the Tchaikovsky Project that Mr. Bychkov has just launched has personal meaning for the conductor, and is embarking on this multi-year, multimedia endeavor… More


Kirill Gerstein offers Transcendental Liszt

Pianist Kirill Gerstein, a favorite of Portland audiences for his orchestral and solo recital appearances, has just released a CD that illustrates both the pianist’s abilities and those of the composer of these works.  Franz Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes simultaneously pay homage to his good friend Chopin (Etudes, Opp. 10 and 25), and Bach, while propelling… More


Ginastera turns 100 (Yolanda Kondonassis and the Harp Concerto)

“Beauty is the emergence of a spiritual climate in which each artist is transfigured through the impulse of creation. It becomes universal” – Alberto Ginastera Last year, American harpist Yolanda Kondonassis brought Alberto Ginastera’s Harp Concerto, Opus 25 to Portland, when she performed it with the Oregon Symphony. Recently, as part of the centennial of… More


America Again: Lara Downes explores the fabric of the nation in music

When Lara Downes crafts a recording, she explores not just themes in music, but meanings and expressions.  In my conversation with Lara, America Again was prompted by one of the many shootings that took place earlier this year, and so she put aside the project she’d been working on, to reconnect with America, its music,… More