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.

Contact John Pitman

Latest blog entries from John Pitman:

album cover for "lamentationes"

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


cd cover with cartoon of man playing violin

Augustin Hadelich links Brahms to Ligeti

German-American violinist Augustin Hadelich says that he is attracted to the idea of contrasts in music, and in making choices of repertoire. Mr. Hadelich tells program director John Pitman that despite those contrasts, often similarities arise by putting two disparate works together. In this case, Mr. Hadelich leads with the familiar and beloved concerto by… More


American rapture

Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis: American Rapture

Yolanda Kondonassis is a harpist that may be described as “fearless”, as she enthusiastically takes on any idea that contemporary composers send her way. A while back, Ms. Kondonassis made a wonderful recording of the Ginastera concerto. Now, she shares what may become the first great harp concerto of the 21st century: a commissioned work… More


Lara Downes

Lara Downes is making “Holes in the Sky”

A few years back, American pianist Lara Downes found a quote by Georgia O’Keefe that stuck in “my head and my heart”, which inspired the title for her new collaboration: “I want real things – live people to take hold of – to see- and talk to – music that makes holes in the sky… More


Llyr Williams

Beethoven Unbound:  Complete sonatas featuring Llŷr Williams

Any time that a pianist undertakes to record a complete set of anything in classical music, it’s bound to be an endeavor taking considerable time and effort.  Take on the 32 piano sonatas of Beethoven, plus all the other solo piano pieces by one of music’s giants, and I imagine that it must be daunting. … More


violinist smiling

Hilary Hahn: Bach Partitas and Sonatas

Early in her career, violinist Hilary Hahn took on music that many before her wouldn’t approach until they were a little older.  She chose three of the six unaccompanied violin works of J.S. Bach, a set regarded as the pinnacle of solo violin repertoire.  Now, 21 years later, Hahn returns to complete the set.  Naturally,… More


Eternal Light cd

Eternal Light:  Morten Lauridsen

We of the Pacific Northwest consider Morten Lauridsen “one of our own”, as his roots can be traced here. Lauridsen was born in Colfax, Washington, lived not far from Mount St. Helens as a boy, and was in the first graduating class of Beaverton High School. While Lauridsen has spent much of his time teaching… More


Benjamin Appl

Bach arias sung by German baritone, Benjamin Appl

Baritone Benjamin Appl, who was born in Bavaria and now performs in recitals and concerts around the world, was introduced to the music of Bach as a chorister at the age of 6. His new CD, titled simply “Bach”, does what Mr. Appl did here in Portland in January: Taking us, the audience, on a… More


Rachel Barton Pine

Blues Dialogues with Rachel Barton Pine

Rachel Barton Pine long ago established herself as a violinist willing to step outside the normal realm of the classical canon to explore a broader landscape of music. Pine’s performances of metal bands such as Metallica (she actually formed a band of her own, Earthen Grave), are one example of how she embraces music that… More


Nadine Sierra

There’s A Place for Us: Soprano Nadine Sierra

American soprano Nadine Sierra, 2018 winner of the Metropolitan Opera’s prestigious Beverly Sills Artist Award, has just signed on to Deutsche Grammophon. The daughter of parents passionate about music who sought a better life in the United States, Sierra’s debut CD reflects her own roots, as well as the experiences of composers from throughout the… More


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