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: Benjamin Grosvenor Schumann & Brahms

All Classical Portland’s Program Director John Pitman recently spoke with British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor, whose new recording touches on the relationships of Johannes Brahms and Robert and Clara Schumann. Grosvenor chose works that link together Brahms as a young man meeting Robert and his wife, pianist and composer, Clara Wieck Schumann, and Brahms later in… More

John Pitman Review: Mao Fujita Takes On Mozart

Pianist Mao Fujita was born in Japan and now lives in Europe, where he is studying with Kirill Gerstein. Mao was invited to the renowned Verbier Festival in Switzerland a couple of years ago, on the strength of having a number of Mozart’s piano sonatas in his fingers. The Festival asked Mao if he could get… More

John Pitman Review: Eldbjørg Hemsing’s ‘Arctic’

Arctic is a new release by Norwegian violinist Eldbjørg Hemsing that asks questions, through music, about the effects of climate change on the Arctic region, and on the life that exists there. Ms. Hemsing, who grew up near the Arctic Circle, says “the Arctic is often misrepresented as stark and uninhabitable wasteland.” Yet Hemsing explains… More

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

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