Press Room

June highlights for 105.9 WQXR, Q2, and The Greene Space

Classical 105.9 WQXR – New York City’s sole dedicated classical station – will broadcast the New York Philharmonic’s long-awaited New York premiere of Ligeti’s absurdist opera, Le Grand Macabre, on June 10. The station will also will launch a new series – The Best of ‘The Vocal Scene’ with George Jellinek – on June 5. 

On June 24, WQXR will go live from The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, the station’s street-level, multiplatform, acoustically state-of-the-art broadcast studio and performance venue, with a sneak preview of the Caramoor International Music Festival.  A dazzling array of artists from this summer’s festival line-up will perform before a live studio audience, and the evening will be presented live on 105.9 WQXR, as well as on a live video webcast from

Q2, the station’s 24-hour contemporary classical music stream, will present 24-Hour Finn, an all-Finnish music day, on June 8: a comprehensive introduction to the contemporary music of Finland, featuring works by three generations of living Finnish composers.



WQXR 105.9 FM

Live Broadcast of Le Grand Macabre

On Thursday, June 10 at 9pm, as part of New York Philharmonic This Week, WQXR will present a live broadcast of the New York Philharmonic’s new staging of György Ligeti’s landmark 1975-77 opera, Le Grand Macabre.  Though one of the most accessible and frequently performed contemporary operas, Ligeti’s seminal masterpiece has never before been heard in its entirety in New York.  The live broadcast will be accompanied by a wide range of web-exclusive material to deepen the experience of this historic concert, including video podcasts of the orchestra in rehearsal and of designer Douglas Fitch at work on the sets, as well as an original article about the opera, available at On Thursday, May 27, the New York Philharmonic’s Music Director Alan Gilbert will join John Schaefer on Soundcheck, WNYC’s daily talk show about music, to discuss the production. Q2 will provide further background on the Transylvania-born Ligeti with Curious György: an immersive two-week festival exploring Ligeti’s multifaceted sound and story that will air weekdays from noon to 4pm, starting on May 17. All of these features will be available on and


The Best of “The Vocal Scene” with George Jellinek

On Saturday, June 5, WQXR will debut a new series, The Best of “The Vocal Scene” with George Jellinek, to air each Saturday at noon through July 31.  A former music director of WQXR and the author of such books as Callas: Portrait of a Prima Donna, George Jellinek, who passed away in January, was best known for his weekly syndicated radio feature, The Vocal Scene.  For the three and a half decades that WQXR produced The Vocal Scene, until his retirement in 2004, Jellinek used his show as a platform to chat with opera singers and other prominent classical musicians, and to compare recordings of arias and excerpts with his typically insightful commentary.  The program “allowed him to dip into his encyclopedic knowledge about singers and singing – and into his own huge record collection,” as the New York Times obituary noted. In the New Yorker, long-time listener Janet Malcolm remembered Jellinek’s voice as “inflected by cheerfulness, kindliness, [and] intelligence,” finding it “at least as integral to the pleasure of the program as…those of the opera singers.” The new series will present highlights from the beloved host’s many years on the air, focusing as he did on vocal music and especially opera.


WQXR Live from The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space

**Tickets for performances in The Greene Space are available at **

Orchestra of St. Luke’s Subway Series Kick-off Concert

On Thursday, June 3 at 7:30pm, members of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s will kick off their annual subway concert series with a special free performance at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, WNYC/WQXR’s new studio and performance venue. The set will feature Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and other Mozart favorites. The evening will also include a food drive on behalf of City Harvest to help New York’s City’s hungry and homeless.


Caramoor 2010: A Sneak Preview

On June 24 at 7pm, WQXR will present a sneak preview of this summer’s Caramoor International Music Festival, featuring a dazzling array of live performances by some of the artists featured in this year’s festival line-up.  In a live broadcast and video webcast from The Greene Space, WQXR host Terrance McKnight will be joined by Caramoor’s General Director Michael Barrett to introduce some of the luminaries participating this year.

These include bel canto specialist Will Crutchfield, Caramoor’s Director of Opera; Grammy Award-winning jazz clarinetist/saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera; New York City’s innovative amplified string quartet, ETHEL; the Jasper String Quartet, winners of the Grand and Audience Prizes at the 2008 Plowman Chamber Music Competition; Grand Prize Winner of the prestigious Concorso Internazionale Voci Verdiane “Città di Busseto”, Takesha Kizart, whose “powerful, lustrous, silky, caramel-hued soprano wields impressive ease and elegant control” (New York Times); Avery Fisher Career Grant-winner and principal clarinet of the Metropolitan Opera, Anthony McGill; soprano Angela Meade, described as “nothing short of a revelation” (Opera News); and pianist Vassily Primakov, whose recording of Chopin’s Mazurkas was named “Best of the Year 2009” by National Public Radio.

This lively evening of music and talk will be broadcast live on WQXR and presented as a live video webcast at and


Q2  –

24-Hour Finn

On Tuesday, June 8, Q2, the station’s 24-hour contemporary music stream, in partnership with the Finnish Music Information Center in Helsinki, New York City’s Consulate General of Finland, and two leading Finnish record labels, Ondine and Alba Records, will present 24-Hour Finn, a 24-hour Finnish festival providing a comprehensive introduction to the contemporary music of Finland through the works of three generations of living Finnish composers.

Representing the older generation is Einojuhani Rautavaara (b. 1928), one of the best-known and most frequently performed of his country’s living composers.  Often labeled a “mystic”, he is a complex and contradictory figure whose best-loved works include the concerto for taped birdsong and orchestra, Cantus Arcticus (1972), and Angel of Light (1994), his seventh symphony.  The music of his contemporary, Aulis Sallinen (b. 1935), is less experimental in sound, with a clear diatonic style that often evokes the cold expanse of Finnish landscapes.  Commonly considered the natural successor to Sibelius, Sallinen incorporates traditional Finnish melodies and folklore into many of his works, including his 1988 opera Kullervo, which is based on a national epic.

If Rautavaara and Sallinen are the godfathers of Finnish music, the next generation set new trends.  Jouni Kaipainen (b. 1956) studied under Sallinen and Rautavaara’s student Paavo Heininen, though his musical

roots are more expressionistic. Kaipainen’s early works tended to have a spiky, modernist sound, but as he matured he developed a more Classical aesthetic, while reflecting his love of Debussy.  The music of versatile Jukka Tiensuu (b. 1948) has been performed and recorded by the Arditti Quartet and Ensemble Intercontemporain, among others; as well as his electro-acoustic music, Tiensuu has composed for kantele (a zither-like Finnish folk instrument), choir, orchestra, and jazz ensemble. 

Kaija Saariaho (b. 1952) has achieved super-stardom both in Europe and the US. She synthesizes a variety of influences in her work, especially the French post-serialism of IRCAM and Darmstadt and the spectral music of Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail.  Voted Musical America’s Musician of the Year 2008, she was described as being “among the few contemporary composers to achieve public acclaim as well as universal critical respect.”

All five of these great exponents of their art are alumni of Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy, and Q2 juxtaposes their work with music by the illustrious school’s current crop of student-composers, giving a foretaste of the next generation of Finnish talent.  By providing this unprecedented opportunity to hear three generations of living composers in context, Q2’s special programming event on June 8 offers unique insight into Finland’s rich contemporary musical heritage.


Composer Introductions: Gabriela Lena Frank

On Monday, June 28, Q2 continues its Composer Introductions series, with a weeklong focus on the work of Guggenheim Fellow Gabriela Lena Frank.  Frank’s work often draws on her multicultural roots, especially on Latin American idioms, and a recording of her Inca Dances received the 2009 Latin Grammy for best Contemporary Classical Music Composition.  Previous subjects of this series have included Caleb Burhans, Missy Mazzoli, and Valentin Silvestrov, and New York classical/rock crossover artist Christopher Tignor was featured at the end of May.


Tickets for performances in The Greene Space are available at

A full list of programming highlights, ordered chronologically, follows below.

WQXR, Q2, and The Greene Space: June programming highlights:

Thursday, June 3, 7:30pm
Orchestra of St. Luke’s Subway Series Kick-off Concert (The Greene Space)
Live performance, also available as a video webcast at
Saturday, June 5, noon
Inaugural episode of new series, The Best of “The Vocal Scene” with George Jellinek (WQXR)
Tuesday, June 8, all day
24-Hour Finn: all-Finnish music day offers introduction to three generations of living Finnish composers (Q2)
Thursday, June 10 at 9pm
New York Philharmonic This Week presents NY premiere of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre (WQXR)
Saturday, June 12, noon
Second episode of new series, The Best of “The Vocal Scene” with George Jellinek (WQXR)
Saturday, June 19, noon
Third episode of new series, The Best of “The Vocal Scene” with George Jellinek (WQXR)
Thursday, June 24 at 7pm
Sneak preview of Caramoor Festival at The Greene Space (The Greene Space)
Live performance, radio broadcast, and video webcast at
Saturday, June 26, noon
Fourth episode of new series, The Best of “The Vocal Scene” with George Jellinek (WQXR)
Monday, June 28 throughout the week (series)
Composer Introductions features Gabriela Lena Frank (Q2)


WNYC Radio is New York’s premier public radio franchise, comprising WNYC FM, WNYC AM, and WQXR, as well as and As America’s most listened-to AM/FM public radio stations, reaching more than one million listeners every week, WNYC extends New York City’s cultural riches to the entire country on-air and online, and presents the best national offerings from networks National Public Radio, Public Radio International, American Public Media, and the British Broadcasting Company. WNYC 93.9 FM broadcasts a wide range of daily news, talk, cultural and music programming, while WNYC AM 820 maintains a stronger focus on breaking news and international news reporting. Classical 105.9 WQXR is New York City’s sole 24-hour classical music station, presenting new and landmark classical recordings as well as live concerts from the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic, among other New York City venues, immersing listeners in the city’s rich musical life. In addition to its audio content, WNYC produces content for live, radio and web audiences from The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, the station’s street-level multipurpose, multiplatform broadcast studio and performance space.  For more information about WNYC, visit

Q2, available at, is a music station dedicated to exploring contemporary composers and the modern classical music movement.  Q2 offers not only recordings by some of the most passionate and plugged-in musical minds of today, but also notable live events from venues around New York, including WNYC’s newly-opened broadcast studio and performance venue, The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, and (L)e Poisson Rouge. Q2 may also be accessed through iTunes or on WQXR 105.9’s HD Channel 2.

For further information, please contact:

Jennifer Houlihan, WNYC/WQXR: [email protected], (646) 829-4497

Glenn Petry, 21C Media Group: [email protected], (212) 625-2038

#          #          #

Return to Press Room