WQXR Announces Special Roster of Guest Hosts from Within and Beyond the World of Classical Music
WNYC Host BRIAN LEHRER, Renowned Chef MARCUS SAMUELSSON, Opera Star THOMAS HAMPSON, and Acclaimed Violinist KELLY HALL-TOMPKINS to curate and share their own playlists
Radio series runs Thursdays at 7pm, October 15 – November 12
on WQXR 105.9 FM and WQXR.org
(New York, NY — October 13, 2020) — As Terrance McKnight — host on WQXR, New York City’s classical music station — embarks on a brief leave of absence to start work on a book about race and classical music, he’s leaving listeners in good hands. For five consecutive Thursday nights from October 15 – November 12, McKnight has invited five of his friends and fellow New Yorkers to take the host’s chair and curate their own classical music playlists.
The lineup is as follows:
October 15: The series kicks off with Brian Lehrer, host of the legendary, Peabody Award-winning eponymous show on WQXR’s sister station, WNYC. Making his WQXR debut, Lehrer — who plays the flute in his spare time — will share a variety of wind repertoire from home and abroad.
October 22: Acclaimed violinist Kelly Hall-Thompkins, who was named a “New Yorker of the Year” by The New York Times and featured in Smithsonian Museum for African-American History, will share the music that first brought her to the genre and continues to inspire her, including works by Debussy, Mahler, and Brahms.
October 29: Award-winning chef, international restaurateur, and New York Times bestselling author Marcus Samuelsson will focus on composers of African descent (with a special nod to his adopted home of Harlem), with a side of food-inspired repertoire as well. The evening will include everything from ragtime, blues and stride to works by Florence Price and Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges.
November 5: World-renowned operatic baritone and champion of art song Thomas Hampson will share some of his favorite arias and songs.
November 12: A fifth guest host will be announced in the coming weeks.
The guest host series airs Thursdays from October 15 – November 12 at 7pm on WQXR 105.9 FM in New York and on wqxr.org.
In addition, WQXR hosts Paul Cavalconte and Lauren Rico will fill in for McKnight throughout his leave of absence.
Guest Host Bios
Winner of a Naumburg International Violin Competition Honorarium Prize and featured in the Smithsonian Museum for African-American History, Ms. Hall-Tompkins is a violin soloist entrepreneur who has been acclaimed by the New York Times as “the versatile violinist who makes the music come alive,” for her “tonal mastery” (BBC Music Magazine) and as New York Times “New Yorker of the Year.” She has appeared as co-soloist in Carnegie Hall with Glenn Dicterow and conductor Leonard Slatkin, in London at Queen Elizabeth Hall, at Lincoln Center and with the Symphonies of Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville, Oakland, recitals in Paris, New York, Toronto, Washington, Chicago, and festivals of Tanglewood, Ravinia, Santa Fe, France, Germany and Italy. She was “Fiddler”/Violin Soloist of the Grammy/Tony-nominated Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. Inspired by her experience, she commissioned and developed the first ever Fiddler solo disc of all new arrangements, “The Fiddler Expanding Tradition,” which is featured in the new documentary “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” on the 55-year history of the musical. As founder of Music Kitchen-Food for the Soul, Kelly Hall-Tompkins is a pioneer of social justice in classical music, bringing top artists in over 100 concerts coast to coast in homeless shelters from New York to Los Angeles and in internationally in Paris, France. Music Kitchen will present the World Premiere of the Forgotten Voices Song Cycle in Association with and coming soon to Carnegie Hall. Ms. Hall-Tompkins is a newly appointed faculty member of the Manhattan School of Music.
Lauded as a Metropolitan Opera Guild “Met Mastersinger” and inducted into both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Gramophone’s “Hall of Fame,” baritone Thomas Hampson is one of the most respected and innovative musicians of our time. With an operatic repertoire of over 80 roles sung in all the major theaters of the world, his discography comprises more than 170 albums, which include multiple nominations and winners of the Grammy Award, Edison Award, and the Grand Prix du Disque. He received the 2009 Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, and was appointed the New York Philharmonic’s first-ever Artist-in-Residence. In 2010, he was honored with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he has served as Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America.
Hampson also enjoys a singular international career as an “ambassador of song,” maintaining an active interest in research, education, musical outreach, and technology, continually expanding his pedagogical activities. He is the Artistic Director of the Heidelberg Lied Academy and collaborates with the Barenboim-Said Academy Schubert Week in Berlin each year. Through The Hampsong Foundation, which he founded in 2003, he employs the art of song to promote intercultural dialogue and understanding.
Brian Lehrer is host of The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC Radio’s daily call-in program, covering politics and life, locally and globally. The show airs weekdays from 10am-noon on WNYC 93.9 FM, AM 820 and wnyc.org. The Brian Lehrer Show was recognized with a 2007 George Foster Peabody Award for “Radio That Builds Community Rather Than Divides.” The New York Times called Lehrer a “master interviewer.” Time magazine called the program “New York City’s most thoughtful and informative talk show.”
Lehrer is also a commentator on local and national issues on television and in print. He has appeared on TV channels including CNN, MSNBC, Fox Newschannel, C-SPAN, NY1, and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. He has written op-ed pieces for publications including The New York Times, The Daily News, Newsday, and Slate. In addition to the Peabody, Lehrerhas won numerous awards, including seven Associated Press New York Broadcasters “Best Interview” Awards since 2000 and “Best Talk Show” by the Garden State Journalists Association in 2009 and 2011.
Marcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind many restaurants worldwide. He has won multiple James Beard Foundation awards for his work as a chef and as host of No Passport Required, his public television series with Vox/Eater. Samuelsson was crowned champion of Top Chef Masters and Chopped All Stars, and was the guest chef for President Obama’s first state dinner. A committed philanthropist, Samuelsson is co-chair of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), which focuses on underserved youth. Author of several cookbooks, in addition to the New York Times bestselling memoir Yes, Chef, Samuelsson also co-produces the annual Harlem EatUp! festival, which celebrates the food, art, and culture of Harlem. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Samuelsson converted his restaurants Red Rooster Harlem, Marcus B&P in Newark, and Red Rooster Overtown in Miami into community kitchens in partnership with World Central Kitchen, serving over 200,000 meals to those in need. His podcast titled This Moment with Swedish rapper Timbuktu is out now. His newest cookbook, The Rise, will be released fall 2020.
WQXR is New York City’s only all-classical music station, immersing listeners in the city’s rich musical life on-air at 105.9FM, online at WQXR.org, and in person through live events and performances. WQXR presents new and landmark classical recordings, as well as live concerts from New York City’s concert halls and performance venues, and broadcasts essential destination programs including Carnegie Hall Live, Metropolitan Opera Saturday Matinee Broadcasts, New York Philharmonic This Week, New York in Concert, This Week with Yannick, and the Young Artists Showcase. WQXR also produces podcasts that reach new audiences for the artform: The Open Ears Project, Helga, and — in partnership with the Metropolitan Opera — the critically-acclaimed opera podcast, Aria Code. As a public radio station, WQXR is supported through the generosity of its members, donors and sponsors, making classical music relevant, accessible and inspiring for all.
# # #