Friday, May 30, 2008

New City

More soon on my travels, but know that I have arrived safely to San Antonio. I look forward to catching up with everyone soon, and NOT spending time in my car. Internet access is still fairly limited until next week, so I will post whenever I can then.

New Lit

Danse Macabre XVII Erzählungen
featuring coloratura fiction from

Felicia Florine Campbell
E.T.A. Hoffmann
Joshua D. Miner
John Tait
Wayne Lee Gay
J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Steven Kilpatrick
Taylor Collier
A.H. Erdely-Siebenburgen

is now available for your summertime reading pleasures at

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Means the world

It was awesome to spend a few hours with friends at Mangia Qui tonight. We got together to celebrate great food, drinks and friendship.

No doubt we'll all see each other again, whether its in Central PA or in Texas, or whereever we find ourselves...but the people here have been special, so it was sweet to hang with them once more before I depart.


Nice day in DC with excellent meetings and food. When I got home, I changed and caught the midnight show of Indina Jones 4 - very good, and quite enjoyable!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I'm sadden to hear of a cellist's death in Georgia, the family is from Wichita and I saw David and his siblings grow up...there's more about it here.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Beware of caninetesttudedinezenographs with your dog! He could end up looking like this:

If you go to the vet with your parents, don't believe that this is a side effect!


Enjoy this unique performance of Benjamin Britten's Serenade...score here for French horn and dog!

Everyone is a critc? Good boy!


The Dallas Stars won their game Saturday, I gave a talk for Concertante, then Sunday I saw a friend from NYC here to pick up her car I'd been storing and took her to Mangia Qui, the Pens won the eastern division to make the finals of the Stanley Cup with a 6 to 0 shutout, and I am still cleaning and packing.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Welcome to the over 36,000 visits to ClassicallyHip in just under 4 years!
We're read internationally, and have made over 900 posts so far.

Keep an eye out with moving updates and activities, projects and as always friends.

Musical memories

Talking with Barb last night at Eckels, I smiled as we talked about concerts. I mentioned I would be back in the midstate for some concert talks and other musical projects over the next year.
She told me about hearing Josh Bell in recital back in the 80s, and had a twinkle in her eye - and was proud to say she remembered it.
I love the power of music, concerts and performers.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

From Jennifer

The Las Vegas Design Center
Invites You to Art Walk 2008
Hosted by
Scandinavian Collection
Join us…
Wednesday, May 21st
Building B - Suite B-158
Cocktails/ Hors d’oeuvres / Live Artists

The art walk will begin in the Scandinavian Collection showroom, B-158, where artists will be on-hand painting and sketching

Additional art pieces will be displayed throughout the 1st floor of Bldg B for guests to view

A percentage of proceeds will be donated to the Safe Nest organization
Please bring a guest and RSVP to


I'm reminded by a friend, "Breath by breath, trusting in the True Nature of Being, every world is my world."
I'm very much looking forward to this journey and melting away the classless, disrespectful part of life that surrounded me, and focus on the magic of music.


Tomorrow night my friend Paul and I are playing at Eckels in Mechanicsburg. Come out, its one of my final appearances in the midstate as a Pennsylvanian!
Listen to us on an original tune by Paul Zavinsky, What More Can I Do?

Here are some shots of us playing last week for volunteers.


Springtime in New was a perfect spring day and everything went splendid. It was nice catching up with friends and projects.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Job Search 3

So last month I was a finalist (1 of 2) for Texas Public Radio's Host/Producer position in San Antonio (30th Market).

I went down and had a chance to see the city, meet the staff, and learn more about the place in general. I had previously been to San Antonio for a cigar sales convention in 2000, and more recently in 2004 for a public radio convention.

Turns out, we all clicked. (The fresh guacamole the night before my interview, made by the charming Tanya pictured right, certainly helped!)

I have accepted the job and yesterday gave 2 weeks notice at WITF. I'll start next month at TPR as the new afternoon host (2 to 6pm) for KPAC. It's an all classical station and I'm very excited to have new adventures.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Job Search 2

So last January I was a finalist (1 of 2) for Buffalo's WNED (market #52) Program Director. As I scoped out the area by emailing my friend Gabe DiMaio, who worked at WBFO as assistant PD, I found out he was the other candidate! (picture at right is NOT from Buffalo in January, believe me!)

There were two phone interviews, and I had to listen to the air signal, doing what essentially were air checks - and discovered alot I liked, and lot I questioned.

Later in the month, I went up and met the staff and was interviewed, wined and dined. (The studios are seen right with a now former announcer.)

After a month of waiting, they chose Gabe.

It was fun to get up to Buffalo, but there was enough wackiness that it didn't seem right. I was bummed because a dear friend and brilliant conductor, JoAnn Falletta is the conductor there, and I would have loved to worked with her on a regular basis.

Everyone also kept mentioning the TV station as "an 800 pound gorilla" and their falling ratings.
I truly believe things work out the way they should.
As cool as Buffalo could have been, it wasn't meant to be.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Job Search 1

In December I was a finalist (1 of 4) for KUHF's Director of Cultural Programming in Houston (market #6).
I spent a day meting the staff and talking with the management. I had met Dean Dalton previously at a PRPD in San Antonio, and he knew my friend Joyce DiDonato when she was at Houston Opera.
Talking on the phone for the interview, we also had a good friend Andy Trudeau in common, when I worked at National Public Radio.
The day was long, flying out of Baltimore direct to Houston (see John on the plane upper right hand corner). A limo picked me up and took me to the University of Houston (John in the limo, pictured left). Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to see my old professor Andrzej Grabiec who teaches there, but I did get to see the studios and hear a taping for an upcoming Christmas show (including the Revels!) [The Irish Tenors taped for a show that day as well, seen below left]
A lunch followed with the key players. Afterwards a few more questions and it was back to the airport.
They selected St. John Smyth for the gig, which probably bodes well for them and me. As it turns out, I had much more to offer other stations, as you'll read in the next few days. [Cool radio scultpure, they call "The Head" at KUHF's studios, pictured below right]

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I'm profoundly saddened by the death of violinist James Ceasar.
[Jim is pictured at the right in the Brevard Festival Orchestra with conductor Henry Janiec and soloist Robert McDuffie]
In some ways, I've always been a Ceasar student. My first private teacher was Les Morrison, who taught me in 5th grade, and was one of Jim's students in Derby (Les was a high school senior himself, who wrote difficult etudes for me to play!)

In 7th grade, I took lesssons from Teresa Hiser, and went from 4th chair second violins to concertmaster. Teresa was a knockout, I had a big crush on her, and remember her playing Mendelssohn Concerto for me, and helping her figure out her teaching schedule! She was one of Jim's students, both her and her best friend Dana Venable, were stars at Wichita State, from Derby. (Dana is now married to a good friend, Galen Wixson, a fabulous cellist turned orchestra administator in Arkansas.)

After Teresa I went to Larry Dissmore, who was studying at WSU with Nancy Luttrell - a student of Jim's, and couldn't fit me in her schedule my freshman year in high school, so a year with Larry was productive (and I went to the back of the 1st violin section in high school.)

The next year, and throughout high school, I studied with Nancy Luttrell, associate concertmaster of the Wichita Symphony and stand partner of Jim Ceasar's for a long time, besides student. (I also rose to 3rd chair first violins [an outside seat behind the concertmaster for the next two years, and then became concertmaster] in Youth Symphony I was in the firsts, winding up in 5th chair my senior year.) Jim retired before I got to college and Andrzej Grabiec took over at WSU and at the Wichita Symphony.

Later when Grabiec left WSU for Rochester, there was a revolving door of teachers, so I went back to Nancy. It was Nancy who suggested I go study myself with Ceasar at Brevard Music Camp in North Carolina. I did for two summers, as an A.D. student and the following summer as a counselor. It was alot of playing, and alot of fun. Jim was always quick to point out that I focused on fun, but he certainly had lots to teach me.

It was two summers there that I really saw his best side, playing with kids and making a real difference - and telling stories - from the Glenn Miller Band to George Szell, who had him play in the Cleveland Orchestra. Jim took the job at Wichita State and taught several generations of violinists - I even ran into a Ceasar student when I moved to Harrisburg, who plays in the York Symphony.

After those two years, I studied with Jim off and on, for a lesson here and there, often before an important performance, and we also became social friends. At one point I lived a few blocks away, and he would invite me over for dinner. It would always be awesome food, and stories about Heifetz, Jack Benny or something local - I got alot of good perspective on conductors from Jim.

Later I had a roommate in college who Jim took a liking to who was from Norway (Jim's wife was Norwegian) and he would invite us both over, usually to try and set us up with Norwegian exchange students (unfortunately Ras and I were too old for these beautiful blonde high school students) but we always had fun.

Jim was a great man, teacher, husband and musician.

He was a mentor, friend and hero. I'm proud to say I knew Jim and loved him.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Blast from the past

I had the most charming experience last night, reconnecting with a friend that I have known since elementary school, but hadn't seen since the summer after our senior year in high school.
It was really sweet to catch up over dinner. From family to friends, old memories and laughter it was wild as we talked and remembered stories - sharing things that the other had forgot, and appreciating the background we have.
We also had laughs about age, pets and loves. There was something profound talking with someone that knew so much about each other - we never dated, but just from the fact we went to school for so long, it just makes me smile.
It was also wonderful to find out what was going on the last 20 years - while we had heard about each other through mutual friends, we hadn't been directly in touch. Now that our paths have crossed, I think it will be a case of more communication and hanging out.