Thursday, April 9, 2009

Radio Free St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

On a recent working vacation to Los Angeles I was struck by the excellence of KUSC, its classical music station. I have been listening to it on my laptop ever since I got back home. And I have been thinking how it makes sense that our great musical director here in St. Louis, David Robertson, is from Santa Monica. The degree of intelligence and daring of David and of KUSC seem comparable to me.

I listen to KDHX in the car when I am home, so I really don't have a very updated sense of St. Louis classical radio, but my memories of Classic 99 are not particularly intense. Either I have been missing something or the station is about to move in a much more exciting direction, because KFUO-Classic 99 is about to start doing live broadcasts of David Robertson's band!

On Saturday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m., the station will broadcast live from Powell Hall The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra ’s performance of Thomas Adès’ Asyla (a St. Louis premiere) and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, “Choral,” directed by David Robertson and featuring guest vocalists Heidi Grant Murphy, Jennifer Dudley, Brandon Jovanovich and Jonathan Lemalu, with the Saint Louis Symphony Chorus under the direction of Amy Kaiser.

KFUO also will broadcast a loooooong pre-concert show from 3-7:30 p.m. that will include a discussion with Fred Bronstein, the new SLSO honcho, a highly energetic populist who probably is behind this new partnership.

But that's not all! as they say on the infomercials.

Beginning July 1 and running through September 9, KFUO will broadcast a weekly SLSO Summer Series hosted by David. The series will feature music by the SLSO from archival recordings (love those archival recordings!), as well as more recent live recordings made during David’s tenure as music director (can't wait to hear those!), from the 2005-06 season to the present.

The 11-week SLSO Summer Series may beheard on Wednesday evenings beginning at 8 p.m. St. Louis time, with rebroadcasts on Fridays at midnight. Since I have an adult social life on Wednesdays but spend Friday nights doing something with my tot, Classic 99 is about to meet its most fanatical Friday night devotee. Let the bootlegging begin!

Since all broadcasts may be heard live on and David and the Symphony are treasured internationally in the art music scene, St. Louis classic radio is about to grow its online listening audience - big time.

I am learning from the press release I am cribbing all this from that Classic 99 is owned and operated by the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. Love ya, Lutherans. Happy early Easter. I'll see ya, or hear ya, on May 9 and all summer long.


Thats my sketch of SLSO percussionist Tom Stubbs, colored by Leyla Fern King.

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