Love fest Concert

January 16, 2019

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:

Zealot Chronicles: An Oratorio for Tolerance (Donald Nally, conductor)

Winner of the 2018 Grammy for Best Choral Performance, The Crossing has just recorded an oratorio with a text that resonates with our times. Conductor Donald Nally is John Pitman’s guest, discussing “Zealot Chronicles, an oratorio for tolerance” by Lansing McLoskey. The composer based the text on “Twelve Canticles for the Zealot” by Nigerian Nobel… More

Ronn McFarlane: Celtic Lute

Lutenist Ronn McFarlane calls Oregon his home, but his music-making takes him around the world, performing traditional music for his instrument, and newly-composed pieces with his band, Ayreheart. His newest release, “Celtic Lute” is the result of his 40-year love affair with Celtic music, and on this disc he lends his unique voice to Scottish… More

Notorious RBG in Song

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has always loved classical music.  Especially opera.  More than once, people have captured her on their camera phones at Santa Fe Opera (you can find this on Facebook and You Tube).  Now there’s a CD that sets her words, and those of friends and family to music.  Soprano Patrice… More

Image of Lara for Lenny CD

Lara Downes celebrates Lenny’s 100th

In this anniversary year – the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth – many record labels are releasing new performances of his music, as well as his own discography.  Many of them are of his music:  West Side Story, Mass, and other major pieces.  Pianist Lara Downes took a more intimate approach in her disc. … More

Joshua Bell CD cover

Bell’s Scottish Fantasy

Back in 2011, American violinist Joshua Bell became the first music director of London’s Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, since its founding by Neville Marriner.  Bell and the orchestra already had a longstanding relationship:  Around the time of the violinist’s 19th birthday, he recorded Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Academy.  Now it feels… More


Hopes and Dreams (The Lullaby Project)

In April, the Oregon Symphony presented a remarkable and powerful concert as part of its “Sounds of Home” series, where young mothers experiencing housing insecurity, had the opportunity to write lullabies for their children.  These were performed by OSO musicians.  Their concert was inspired by Carnegie Hall’s “Lullaby Project”, which recently released a CD under… More

Cover image of Circles CD

Dinnerstein encircles Bach, Glass

American pianist Simone Dinnerstein’s newest CD pairs Bach’s Concerto in G minor with a newly-commissioned one by Philip Glass.  Ms. Dinnerstein shares the story of how she asked Mr. Glass for a new concerto, Bach’s influence on both pianist and composer, and the process of bringing the concerto to life.  Hear more in the pianist’s… More

Cover of new Ravel CD

Ravel’s “Choreographic Symphony”

Kazem Abdullah is an American conductor (he hails from Indiana, studied at Tanglewood and Peabody), and was General-Musikdirektor of the Symphony Orchestra in Aachen, Germany from 2012 to 2017.  Maestro Abdullah has also been to Oregon:  About ten years ago he subbed for one of Carlos Kalmar’s concerts. Based on the new recording (a live… More

Image of CD of Mozart Violin Sonatas

Tomas Cotik explores Mozart

Violinist Tomas Cotik, Assistant Violin Professor at Portland State University, is also an internationally-renowned concert and recording artist.  He has done extensive study of fellow Argentine Astor Piazzolla, in several acclaimed recordings (Naxos); a complete series of Schubert’s violin works (Centaur); and now the violin sonatas of Mozart. Mr. Cotik has been a guest in… More

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