March 23, 2018

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:

Rachel Barton Pine: Elgar and Bruch Violin Concertos

American violinist Rachel Barton Pine practically grew up with the Bruch Violin Concerto No.1; in her conversation with me about her new CD, Pine says that the Bruch was her first “grown up” concerto, after having learned Bach and Mozart.  Though Pine has explored the full landscape of classical repertoire for her instrument, this is… More

All In: Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra in the 21st Century

Conductor Teddy Abrams has a longstanding connection to Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, as the music director of the Britt Festival. He also the heads the Louisville Orchestra, which has a history that is near-legendary in the realm of recorded music. In the 1950s, the mayor of Louisville, along with like-minded civic leaders, felt that… More

Amit Peled’s Peabody Cello Gang

Here’s one for listeners who love the sound of the cello. A whole gang of them. Amit Peled is an Israeli-born cellist who, at 6’ 5” could have pursued a professional basketball career (he considered it), is now a professor of music at the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University. He’s taking… More

Winter Songs by Ola Gjeilo

One of the highlights in our recent, four-day Festival of Carols, was this new recording by Norwegian-born composer, Ola Gjeilo (YAY-lo). Mr. Gjeilo’s inspiration is varied, going back to his youth: classical, jazz, film music, and also non-musical inspiration, such as architecture. “Winter Songs” is to some extent a “Christmas” album, but not exclusively. To… More

Avital Meets Avital

Avi Avital is an Israeli mandolinist, and Deutsche Grammophon artist, who is most accustomed to playing classical works such as those of Vivaldi (in 2015, I interviewed Mr. Avital about his Vivaldi in Venice CD, which can still be heard on the Music Blog page).  With this latest release, Mr. Avital branches out, but also… More

Holiday Programming Details

All Classical Portland continues to bring a richness to the season with special holiday programming features. Throughout the month of December, the hosts of All Classical Portland weave together a calming and uplifting Tapestry of Holiday Sounds which gracefully reflects the sense of joy and peace associated with this special time of year. Tune in anytime to share… More

Fantasia (violinist Anne Akiko Meyers)

American violinist Anne Akiko Meyers has long loved the works of Finnish composer, Einojuhani Rautavaara.  For years, Meyers dreamed of commissioning a work from him for her instrument.  In 2014, she reached out to the composer, who responded almost immediately and set to work.  What Meyers soon received was a beautiful, haunting, and evocative work… More

Tomás Cotik: Piazzolla Legacy

Violinist Tomás Cotik (toh-MAHSS ko-TEEK), Assistant Professor of Violin at Portland State University, was born in Argentina.  But that doesn’t mean that he grew up loving the tango.  It took living in another country – Germany, to be exact – to develop that love for his home country’s signature musical style.  Mr. Cotik chats with… More

TROIKA: Cellist Matt Haimovitz and pianist Christopher O’Riley

Cellist Matt Haimovitz has never been content to just “be quiet and play the music”. That statement, often fired at musicians when they express their opinions, has been heard with greater frequency in recent years. One could argue that a musician is paid to play; but it can also be argued that music as an… More

Alma Espanola: Isabel Leonard and Sharon Isbin

This is a special recording on a number of fronts.  In the first place, it’s the premiere by these two artists, both of them winners of multiple Grammy awards, recording together after collaborating for several years in concert.  Second, this is the first recording in about 40 years devoted exclusively to Spanish songs for voice… More