Photo: John Pitman

I started working at All Classical Portland in 1983, just a few months after graduation from Benson Polytechnic, and the same year that 89.9 FM began broadcasting. Much has changed since that first summer that Portland gained a new classical music station! In fact, we didn’t call it “All Classical Portland”. 89.9 FM was owned by the school district, and the call letters were KBPS (“BPS” for its location: Benson Polytechnic High School). Moving up from weekends to weekdays, part-time to full-time, and from a music librarian to Music Director (2006), I’ve been witness to tremendous growth in the organization, and seen the facilities move twice: In 1992, from a classroom to a stand-alone building at Benson, and 2014 to our beautiful, current location on the Willamette.

As music director, I work with the programming team and our producers to carefully craft each hour of music almost every day. 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. As of January 2018, I’m back on weekends, hosting throughout the afternoon, and evenings with The Concert Hall, a series that draws from that library of 25,000 CDs of fantastic recordings. It’s my pleasure, and privilege, to share this great music with you.

Latest blog entries from John Pitman:

John Pitman Review: Conspirare’s The Singing Guitar

The Austin, Texas-based choir, Conspirare, give voice to poets and writers from across the spectrum of nationality and gender in their latest recording, The Singing Guitar. Founder and director, Craig Hella Johnson, commissioned new works from composers such as Reena Esmail, Nico Muhly, and Kile Smith that highlight the words of the Sufi poet Hafiz,… More


Simone Dinnerstein’s “An American Mosaic”

John’s latest conversation with American pianist Simone Dinnerstein on her second recording made at home during the pandemic: An American Mosaic. The title is for the multi-movement piece written for her by Richard Danielpour who, finding himself isolated during lockdown, found solace in Ms. Dinnerstein’s recordings. Each movement is a portrait of groups of people… More


John Pitman Review: “Babel” Speaks Clearly Through the Language of Music

Program Director John Pitman discusses the second release by the Calidore String Quartet, which contemplates the intersection of music and language. Violinist Estelle Choi, one of the four founding members of Calidore, shares how “the desire to explore the innate human drive for communication,” became the focus of their new recording. Choi describes the inspiration… More


John Pitman Review: Jonathan Biss completes Beethoven journey

As a part of the celebrations this year of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig Van Beethoven, program director John Pitman is interviewing some of today’s top artists involved in the newest recordings of his music. American pianist Jonathan Biss has just completed a 9-year journey exploring the piano sonatas of Ludwig Van Beethoven…. More


John Pitman Review: Silenced Voices

String Trio debuts with “Silenced Voices” (Black Oak Ensemble) 2020 (specifically, January 27) marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the WWII concentration camp that is symbolic of the persecution and murder of millions of Jews and other groups by the Nazi regime.  In addition to the handful of people who survived the… More


John Pitman Review: Sound of Silence, Miloš returns

The Montenegro-born guitarist Miloš has just released his fifth album, and the first in about 3 years. Sound of Silence (Decca) is, in a way, autobiographical: in 2016, just after the release of his Beatles-inspired disc, Blackbird, Miloš began experiencing a tightness in his hand that affected his ability to play. He eventually stepped away… More


John Pitman Review: Violinist Margaret Batjer and the LA Philharmonic

Violinist Margaret Batjer has been associated with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for a number of years. In their first CD for the Swedish BIS label, Batjer and the LACO begin with a new violin concerto by Quebec-born composer, Pierre Jalbert. With movements titled “Soulful, mysterious”, and “With great energy”, Jalbert’s concerto is in good… More


John Pitman Review: Self-titled debut – Pianist Wei Luo

To introduce a pianist saying that he or she started lessons at the age of five is probably not going to raise eyebrows. However, to say that this particular pianist advanced at such a rate that she entered the Curtis Institute at age 13 is something that might catch notice. That’s the first part of… More


John Pitman Review: Sharon Isbin’s “Souvenirs”

Guitarist Sharon Isbin has recorded nearly everything in her instrument’s repertoire. Still, it’s refreshing to hear that, when an artist such as Ms. Isbin revisits a work (such as the Vivaldi D Major concerto), she gives us an interpretation with subtle differences from what came before. On “Souvenirs of Spain and Italy”, Isbin partners with… More


New York Polyphony’s “Lamentations”

New York Polyphony‘s bass, Craig Phillips, shares the story of how his group rediscovered music of the 16th century composer, Francisco de Peñalosa, and how that composer’s “Lamentations of Jeremiah” are so perfectly suited to his group’s voices, that it seems Peñalosa wrote the work for them. On the recording, New York Polyphony include works… More


X
X