July 20, 2018

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:


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

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

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

All In: Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra in the 21st Century

Conductor Teddy Abrams has a longstanding connection to Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, as the music director of the Britt Festival. He also the heads the Louisville Orchestra, which has a history that is near-legendary in the realm of recorded music. In the 1950s, the mayor of Louisville, along with like-minded civic leaders, felt that… More

Amit Peled’s Peabody Cello Gang

Here’s one for listeners who love the sound of the cello. A whole gang of them. Amit Peled is an Israeli-born cellist who, at 6’ 5” could have pursued a professional basketball career (he considered it), is now a professor of music at the Peabody Conservatory of Music of the Johns Hopkins University. He’s taking… More

Winter Songs by Ola Gjeilo

One of the highlights in our recent, four-day Festival of Carols, was this new recording by Norwegian-born composer, Ola Gjeilo (YAY-lo). Mr. Gjeilo’s inspiration is varied, going back to his youth: classical, jazz, film music, and also non-musical inspiration, such as architecture. “Winter Songs” is to some extent a “Christmas” album, but not exclusively. To… More

Avital Meets Avital

Avi Avital is an Israeli mandolinist, and Deutsche Grammophon artist, who is most accustomed to playing classical works such as those of Vivaldi (in 2015, I interviewed Mr. Avital about his Vivaldi in Venice CD, which can still be heard on the Music Blog page).  With this latest release, Mr. Avital branches out, but also… More