FEATURED ARTIST: Rick Simpson FEATURED ARTIST: Rick Simpson FEATURED ARTIST: Rick Simpson FEATURED ARTIST: Rick Simpson

September 22, 2017

Photo: John Pitman

I started working at All Classical Portland in 1983; 2013 marks 30 years at the radio station. I haven’t always been Music Director; that post I’ve held since 2006. But prior to that, I’ve been an on-air announcer both part-and-fulltime, and practically from the beginning, I’ve managed the vast classical library. In 1983 that was exclusively on LP, but gradually, the library transformed into an all-CD collection, and I’ve listened to nearly every one of the 25,000 CDs on our shelves. Now, as music director, I work with the programming team and our producers to carefully craft each hour of music almost every day. This is a big job, to be sure, previewing all the available pieces of music and adding new pieces and performances to the library. 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.

Though serving principally as music director at All Classical Portland, John also hosts overnights on Saturdays and Sundays, and fills in as on-air host during the week as needed.

Latest blog entries from John Pitman:

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


Composer Jack Gallagher

American composer Jack Gallagher (born in Brooklyn in 1947), is a Grammy®-winning composer of works for a variety of instruments, including several orchestral works.  Some are of a large scale, such as his Symphony No. 2, ‘Ascendant’, while others, such as his Berceuse (lullaby) are diminutive but make as much of an impression.  Part of… More


Bel Canto Paganini: Rachel Barton Pine takes on the Caprices

Nicolo Paganini dazzled audiences in his time with his unprecedented virtuosity, made women swoon (and men envious), and helped to create the myth that he must have sold his soul for such abilities.  In truth, Paganini was a gifted creator of original melodies, as well as variations on opera arias and popular tunes of his… More


Simone Dinnerstein takes Mozart to Havana

American pianist Simone Dinnerstein, who first received critical acclaim for her recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, has made collaboration a major part of her career since that first, solo recording. She has created recordings that bridge the worlds of classical music, jazz and folk. Her longtime collaborator and arranger, composer Philip Lasser, has been with… More


Emerson Quartet bridges the centuries (Music of Britten and Purcell)

The members of the Emerson String Quartet are keeping plenty busy, both onstage and in the studio. They’re touring, too: the four members of the Grammy® – winning chamber ensemble were in Portland recently (presented by Chamber Music NW), and will return in July. It’s all part of a well-deserved celebration of the group’s 40th… More


Jennifer Higdon’s Majestic music

On the heels of their triple-Grammy® – winning CD of Michael Daugherty’s music (Tales of Hemingway), the Nashville Symphony Orchestra continues its commitment to American music with this showcase of Jennifer Higdon works.  All Things Majestic (Naxos) includes the eponymous composition, which was written for the Grand Teton Music Festival.  It certainly captures the splendor… More


A Sibelius Saga in Minnesota

In the 19th century, millions of people from European countries emigrated to the United States. A large number of Finns settled in the upper Midwest, especially in Minnesota and the Great Lakes regions. Here they fished, farmed and established communities which thrive today. So, it was no surprise that many Finnish-descended Minnesotans should turn out… More


Youthful Chopin, youthful pianist

The Canadian pianist, Jan Lisiecki (lee-SHYETS-kee) first garnered the attention of critics in 2010 (the bicentenary of Chopin’s birth) with a recording of the Polish composer’s piano concertos. The recording caught Deutsche Grammophon’s attention, and they signed the teen pianist right away. Mozart and Schumann works soon followed. Now Lisiecki (whose parents are Polish) returns… More


Arvo Pärt Festival (Cappella Romana) review

This February in Portland, Oregon, Cappella Romana and Director Dr. Alexander Lingas, presented the first-ever festival in North America dedicated to the contemporary composer, Arvo Pärt. The Estonian composer’s music is arguably the most performed of any living composer. It was a slight departure for Cappella Romana best known for their performances of Byzantine, Russian… More


Benjamin Grosvenor’s “Homages”

The young British pianist, Benjamin Grosvenor, is an artist whose recordings have featured in All Classical Portland’s programming for the past few years. “Dances” was a disc that make a creative connection between such disparate styles and eras as Bach and Granados. “Homages”, Mr. Grosvenor’s newest, also extends a hand across the centuries, but some… More