Not long ago, a listener sent me a message saying how much he enjoys Sunday Baroque. He identified himself as an “old rocker” who grew up in the 70s and 80s but who, nevertheless, finds himself newly captivated by baroque music. It reminded me of an interview I heard recently with travel expert Rick Steves, in which he talked about the “transformational” experience of travel. He pointed out how when you go to someplace new, somewhere you’ve never been and may have questions about, and where you may not even speak the language, it can transform you. That “old rocker” listener’s comments demonstrate that music can be transformational, too. Someone might assume he won’t like classical music because rock has been his staple genre, but when he listens to Sunday Baroque he finds the music comforting, appealing, even familiar.
Not everyone is as fortunate as I was to have classical music in my life from the beginning, but I hope some will find their way to it through Sunday Baroque and feel welcome and … transformed. I remind myself often that there is ALWAYS someone hearing this music for the first time, just as I am still discovering music and genres I didn’t know I’d enjoy. How about you? Do you recall your first introduction to classical music? Were you like the “old rocker” who found his way to baroque music or the broader classical music tradition later in life? How did that happen? Was it transformational in some way? Please share your story!
The Autumnal Equinox is almost here — Fall begins on Friday, September 22. Baroque era composer and violinist Antonio Vivaldi famously honored each season with a Concerto, and an accompanying sonnet for each. In his AUTUMN Concerto, Vivaldi depicted “The peasant celebrates with song and dance the harvest safely gathered in,” “cooling breezes,” and hunters who “emerge at dawn, ready for the chase.”
Vivaldi’s FOUR SEASONS are among his most famous compositions, and some of the “greatest hits” of the baroque era. But did you know that another Italian composer also wrote FOUR SEASONS, accompanied by sonnets, at roughly the same time as Vivaldi? (maybe even a little earlier) His name was Giovanni Antonio Guido, although we know much less about his life than we know about Vivaldi’s. As you welcome the new season, I hope you’ll enjoy listening to Giovanni Antonio Guido’s musical take on AUTUMN.
This is a milestone week, and I’m feeling sentimental.
On September 6, 1987 I hosted my first radio program! It was a local show on WSHU Public Radio in my hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut and the manager there entrusted me with the responsibility and privilege of being a radio announcer despite my complete lack of experience. Armed with my newly minted degree in music, I had never even set foot in a radio station before that week, and it was truly seat-of-the-pants learning. “Sunday Morning Baroque” was born on that day. It was a 90 minute “filler” program between two network shows, airing from 8:30-10am, and the only instructions given were to “play baroque music.” When I opened that microphone for the first time, it was terrifying and thrilling. If only there were a tape of those first few shows! It changed my life.
Suzanne at the WSHU studio (1999)
Listeners like you responded enthusiastically, and Sunday Morning Baroque lived and grew and expanded on WSHU. On September 6, 1998 — eleven years to the day later — the newly renamed “Sunday Baroque” was launched as a national program on four pilot stations in addition to WSHU: WGUC Cincinnati, KBAQ Phoenix, WETA Washington, DC, and WUSF Tampa. Today, more than 170 stations across the United States broadcast the program to hundreds of thousands of listeners, and Sunday Baroque is still growing as we continue to welcome new stations and new music lovers.
Reflecting on these 30 amazing years, it’s clear that listeners like you are the core of our success and growth by every measure. Your calls, letters, emails, and Facebook interactions have provided encouragement, feedback, motivation, guidance and inspiration. You have touched my heart with your countless stories of how the music on Sunday Baroque has entertained, comforted, inspired, amused, and illuminated you in some way. You played the music for your family, and now your kids tell me they grew up listening to the program! And your financial support of Sunday Baroque on your local public radio station has literally made it all possible.
Thirty years ago this week I could never have imagined the path that has unfolded. So while this is technically my sentimental journey, I am profoundly aware that YOU are my treasured traveling companion.
Thank you for taking Sunday Baroque along with you!