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Since I grew up among artists and performers in New York and New Mexico, I am, as a critic, the black sheep of my family. Had I known what I was going to be when I grew up, I might not have majored in Classical Civilization at Yale; but I did cut my teeth on the violin and recorder (both instruments are still recovering), sang very loudly if with little finesse in choruses throughout my childhood, and terrorized a whole sequence of voice teachers when I belatedly started studying opera at the age of 24, figuring that, since I was already living in Europe surrounded by singers at that point, I might as well go with the flow. Fortunately I never quit my day job. I love Verdi with an unreasoning passion but also feel strongly about Schubert, Mahler, Barber’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915” and an awful lot of Steve Reich. While listening to recordings, I like to spin yarn. On a spinning wheel. Seriously.

By Nancy Kerr  |  March 26, 2009; 5:00 PM ET
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Dear New Lady-on-the-classical-beat!!!!I don't know whether anybody else will bother to welcome you and your ideas---and eventual comments, but I will!!I just wanted to say---- I hope, in your writings, and enthusiasm for your topic, that you will NOT get too, how shall I put it, uppity and exclusive in your commentaries.while presenting, via radio, classical music, for 36 -that's 36 years, in the Washington area,I found that enthusiasm for the music, among the audience members, was very much directed to the "popular" forms.Mozart was always a winner,heavy-weight Bartok was very much a restricted response.There is a group of classical music devotees who will always think that their knowledge, whereever acquired, gives them a superior standing.They call it "serious music" when they refer to classical sounds.Well, it IS serious for the artist, the orchestra members, the conductor- because they want to present the very best of a wonderful, long-standing form of music.But, I found,time and again, that people want to be ENTERTAINED by it.The vast majority of my "assembled ears", during my years of associating with them in hundreds of different ways, were NOT snooty,nor did they consider themselves to be in an exclusive "club".In fact, the ones I encountered, who DID feel that way, usually detested me and the station I represented, for not rhapsodizing in gurgling prose about Stravinsky, but rather, sticking to the,ah, simpler delights of more "accessible" sounds!!!Classical music, on the radio, locally, where I live now, (South West Florida), has been removed and replaced by talk-news.I am not surprised. It was presented in a VERY stiff, formal manner, and made no attempt to attract a wider audience.Classic-FM, in the U.K., followed the pattern of the former WGMS,and has been hugely successful over the years.I am willing to bet, Good Lady, that if YOU write and enthuse about your topic in a totally comfortable, even humorous way, you,too, will win a loyal support.But start using them thar big adjectives to describe the intriguing nuances of John Cage's Four Minutes of Silence and I will feel forced to remind you, firmly that---a Rossini a day keeps the Stockhausen away!!!Good Luck and---Thanks for your patience in reading this!Dennis Owens

Posted by: formermorningmogul | March 30, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Welcome and thanks for adding to the joy of classical music and those who appreciate it here in Washington and worldwide!

Posted by: Thad2 | March 30, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Welcome! As a lifelong [amateur] pianist, chamvber music junkie, and incurable ham, I endorse every one of my old acquaintance Dennis Owens' words above.
Classical composers were once (if not longer) ordinary mortals who put their pants on one leg at a time and were devoted to keeping food on their families' tables. And as Dennis said, their primary objective had of necessity to be ... to entertain.

Posted by: davidbigzoo | March 30, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

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