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: Leif Ove Andsnes’s ‘Poetic Tone Pictures’

All Classical Portland’s Program Director John Pitman has long admired the artistry of Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, having featured his recordings regularly over the past 30-plus years. His newest release is especially exciting because it includes rare recordings of the complete Poetic Tone Pictures by Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. In his latest interview with John, Mr…. More

John Pitman Review: Hilary Hahn’s ‘Eclipse’

All Classical Portland Program Director John Pitman shares his latest review of a new album by violinist Hilary Hahn, which includes Dvořák’s Violin Concerto, the Violin Concerto by Alberto Ginastera, and Pablo de Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy for violin and orchestra. The album, Eclipse, is available now on Deutsche Grammophon. As American violinist Hilary Hahn states,… More

John Pitman Review: Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s “Song”

All Classical Portland Program Director John Pitman shares his latest review of a new album by British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason. The album is called “Song,” and is available now on Decca Records. Back in January 2022, (which simultaneously feels like yesterday and a decade ago) I interviewed both Sheku and his sister, Isata Kanneh-Mason, about… More

John Pitman Review: Summerland – Premieres by William Grant Still

All Classical Portland Program Director John Pitman shares his latest review of a new collection of works by William Grant Still. Regarded by many as the most important black classical composer of the 20th century, and indeed called “Dean of Afro-American Composers” in his lifetime, William Grant Still (1895-1978) remains an important figure in the… More

John Pitman Review: Corazón – An American cellist’s impressions of Latin America

All Classical Portland Program Director John Pitman shares his latest conversation with American cellist John-Henry Crawford. Corazón is Crawford’s second release and reflects the cellist’s own experiences in performing in Mexico and Central America, as well as visiting family members there, such as his brother who is a member of the Peace Corps. Corazón reunites… More

John Pitman Review: Simone Dinnerstein’s Trilogy is complete, with Undersong

Program director John Pitman shares his latest conversation with pianist Simone Dinnerstein, where they discuss her new CD titled Undersong. Dinnerstein chose this word, an archaic term meaning “refrain”, which can be found both in the individual pieces (Schumann’s Arabesque, and Kreisleriana; Couperin’s Les Barricade Mysterieuses), and throughout the entire program. Hear more of their… More

John Pitman Review: Víkingur Ólafsson explores Mozart & Contemporaries

In his newest recording for Deutsche Grammophon (released September, 2021), Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson explores Mozart’s music in the context of composers who came before him and who helped Mozart shape his distinctive and immediately recognizable style. Ólafsson speaks with program director John Pitman about how he made connections between Mozart and Carl Philipp Emanuel… More

John Pitman Review: Sheku and Isata find their “Muse”

“Muse” is the name of the debut recording by cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, and his sister, pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason. The siblings have recorded together before, in the 2020 release, “Carnival of the Animals”, and have performed live many times. “Muse” includes two major 20th century cello sonatas, by Samuel Barber (1932); and Sergei Rachmaninov (1901), as… More

John Pitman Review: Berlin-based Seong-Jin Cho Returns to Chopin

John Pitman, All Classical Portland’s Director of Music and Programming, interviews pianist Seong-Jin Cho about the sixth and latest album. Returning to the music of Frédéric Chopin with Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2, Cho’s CD was recorded in April of 2021, in Hamburg and London. Seong-Jin shares with John the process, and the special challenges,… More

John Pitman Review: Record label gives Jean-Yves Thibaudet “Carte Blanche”

To mark a milestone birthday and celebrate a new chapter in his relationship with the label, French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet was given “carte blanche” by the Decca classical label to choose personal music that he has never recorded before—a selection that reflects on the people and pieces that have impacted his life as an artist… More

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