Classical music – from NIN to Iceland

One of my favorite shows on the radio is ‘Classical Music’ with Jim Svejda on fm 91.5 here in L.A. (yes, it is simply called ‘Classical Music with Jim Svejda’ – i guess not to be confused with the other shows on KUSC, called ‘Classical Music with Rich Capparella’ or ‘Classical Music with Kimberlea Daggey’ and so on). It’s on at 7:00 pm, and goes on for an astonishing 5 hrs – every night of the week! Of course he also hosts ‘Sunday Night at the Opera’ (3hrs) and ‘The Record Shelf’ on saturday evenings.. !!

I tuned in a while back, and found him interviewing Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, talking about their Oscar nominated score for ‘Social Network’.. and only last night he had a piece by Icelandic composer Jon Leifs. Boy does he get around. Turns out he had most (if not all) of the Oscar nominated composers this year on his program, and every time i tune in, he manages to surprise me. He turned me on to New Zealand’s Jack Body – a fantastic composer that wrote, among many works, some fantastic pieces for treated piano called ‘Five Melodies’ which can be found played by pianist Dan Poynton, on the Rattle record label.

The thing that’s intriguing about his show, apart from his incredible knowledge of the genre – he’s been at KUSC since 1979 – is the vast variety he covers. AND the enthusiasm with which he conveys it. He has an amazing way of getting you SO interested in the piece you are about to hear, you find yourself listening in the car, sitting in the driveway (well, before the days of the streaming iPhone app, at least) for a good while, before finding the perfect spot to miss as you run inside and dial in the live stream on the web (if you don’t own a radio, like me). Btw.. a lot of his shows are archived here and well worth checking out.

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