WQXR AND LINCOLN CENTER ANNOUNCE “MOSTLY MOZART FESTIVAL ON WQXR” Week-Long Radio Festival Brings Treasured Summer Series to the New York City Radio Waves Monday, August 10 – Sunday, August 16
Featured Programming Includes Reimagined Presentations of Originally Scheduled In-Person Performances:
Opening Night “Mashup”: An innovative program seamlessly weaving Mozart’s Requiem and Estonian
composer Arvo Pärt’s Te Deum, to create a space for connection and reflection as the Festival begins
Inside Blue: a one-hour documentary on the critically acclaimed opera about police brutality and racism,
featuring the broadcast debut of musical highlights from Blue’s world premiere at the
2019 Glimmerglass Festival, alongside commentary from composer Jeanine Tesori,
librettist/director Tazewell Thompson, and musicologist Naomi André
Closing Night Broadcast: A celebration of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, recreating his legendary
1808 Akademie concert, featuring pianist Inon Barnatan, soprano Dorothea Röschmann, and the
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Mostly Mozart Festival and
Cincinnati Symphony Music Director Louis Langrée
Additional Highlights Include:
“Mostly Mozart Across the Boroughs,” a series of opening day pop-up outdoor performances across all
five New York City boroughs, featuring artists Anthony McGill, Curtis J. Stewart, Mazz Swift, Sugar
Vendil, and The Villalobos Brothers, to stream live on WQXR’s Facebook page
“Black Experience in the Concert Hall: The Mozart Effect,” a conversation with Black classical
musicians on race and racism in classical music and their relationship with Mozart’s music, led by WQXR’s
Terrance McKnight, with violinist Sanford Allen, vocalist Julia Bullock, tenor Lawrence Brownlee,
cellist Alvin McCall and vocalist, conductor, and 10-time GRAMMY winner Bobby McFerrin
Dedicated Mozart programming on WQXR each day, archival concerts every evening,
and an additional set of intimate concerts inspired by Mostly Mozart Festival’s late-night series,
“A Little Night Music,” hosted by WQXR’s Helga Davis
Full programming schedule available here
(New York, NY — August 3, 2020) — WQXR, New York City’s classical music station, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts today announced a partnership to bring the annual Mostly Mozart Festival to the New York City radio airwaves Monday, August 10 through Sunday, August 16.
“Mostly Mozart Festival on WQXR” will reimagine Lincoln Center’s iconic summer series— cancelled for the first time since its founding in 1966 due to COVID-19—as a weeklong multimedia festival that celebrates Mozart’s prodigious talent along with conversations on some of the most urgent social issues of our time. Momentous events and premieres scheduled for this year’s in-person festival will be recreated through archival performances and new artist interviews.
Broadly accessible on air at 105.9FM and online at www.wqxr.org, the Festival invites a new generation of audiences to experience the joys of classical music. On opening day, a series of pop-up outdoor performances across all five New York City boroughs will stream live on WQXR’s Facebook page, and later in the week “Camp Wolfgang” will offer day-long programming for children. Throughout each day, WQXR’s hosts will share music and stories about Mozart and his legacy. Each night, WQXR’s Terrance McKnight will present full-length archival concerts and a range of programming that illuminates how racism and inequality have shaped classical music, and celebrates Black artists’ contributions and innovations to the artform. Highlights include an exploration of the life and career of African-French composer and violinist Joseph Boulogne (“Chevalier de Saint-Georges”) and his unique place in Western classical music history during the time of Mozart, and Black Experience in the Concert Hall: The Mozart Effect, a conversation with Black artists discussing their relationship to Mozart and their experiences within the classical world.
“Mostly Mozart Festival on WQXR” will begin with a special opening night “mashup” of Mozart’s eternal Requiem—the movements he penned himself—seamlessly interwoven with the timeless music of Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, featuring his elegiac Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten, ethereal Te Deum, and Mozart-Adagio (Aug 10, 8pm ET). The program is inspired by the Lincoln Center commission Divine Connection that was set to open the Festival and have its world premiere this summer with direction by Elkhanah Pulitzer and choreography by Chanel DaSilva, and contemplates how communities of people unify and collectively experience rites of passage through music and ritual, creating a space for connection and reflection at the Festival’s outset.
The centerpiece of the festival is a radio documentary about the opera Blue (Aug 14, 8pm ET), which was originally scheduled to have its New York City premiere at Mostly Mozart this summer. Hailed by The New York Times for its “elegant” libretto, “vibrant performance from an orchestra of nearly 50 players,” and “superb” cast, Blue centers on a Black family in present-day Harlem coming to terms with the sudden death of their teenage son at the hands of a police officer. The documentary will pair exclusive musical highlights from the opera’s debut at the 2019 Glimmerglass Festival, enriched by commentary from its creators, composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist/director Tazewell Thompson. Musicologist Naomi André will offer context and insight into Blue’s creation and enduring resonance. Their voices will be interwoven and richly scored with music from the opera, bringing the story to life in an immersive narrative audio experience.
The Festival closes with an epic recreation of Beethoven’s legendary 1808 Akademie, the most important concert of the iconic composer’s lifetime (Aug 16, 5pm ET). The program underscores Beethoven’s humanistic message: his ideals of democracy, liberty, equality, and fraternity, and the balance that he strove for between force and love. Though this presentation had been intended to be performed by the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, led by Renée and Robert Belfer Music Director Louis Langrée, the broadcast was recorded on March 1, 2020 with Langrée conducting the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and featuring the May Festival Chorus prepared by their Director of Choruses Robert Porco.
The Akademie concert—which Beethoven organized on his own and also served as piano soloist— illustrated his mastery as a composer of symphonic, sacred, and theatrical works, as well as his virtuosity at the keyboard. It may have been the most important “new music” concert in history: on the program were the world premieres of his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies and the Choral Fantasy, as well as the first public performance of the Fourth Piano Concerto. The program also showcased three movements from his Mass in C, the dramatic concert aria Ah! Perfido, and an improvised Fantasia. Pianist Inon Barnatan is soloist in the concerto and the Choral Fantasy, and extemporized his own Fantasia in the style Beethoven. Soloists for the Choral Fantasy and Mass in C are soprano Janai Brugger, mezzo-soprano Joyner Horn, tenor Thomas Cooley, tenor Victor Cardamone, and bass Nicholas Brownlee.
ADDITIONAL FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:
- “Mostly Mozart Across the Boroughs”: pop-up outdoor performances across all five boroughs of New York City featuring clarinetist Anthony McGill, violinist Curtis J. Stewart, violinist Mazz Swift, pianist Sugar Vendil, and multi-instrumentalists The Villalobos Brothers. Performances will stream via WQXR Facebook live. (Aug 10, starting at 10am ET)
- “A Little Night Music”: Intimate late-night concert broadcasts featuring archival concert performances from the Mostly Mozart Festival series of the same name, as well as recordings from several chamber musicians, soloists and other artists who would have appeared in person this summer. Hosted by Helga Davis nightly at 11pm ET (Aug 10 – 15) and featuring the radio premiere of a new recording of an excerpt from The Black Clown, a music-theater piece adapted from Langston Hughes’ poem, created by Davóne Tines, Michael Schachter, and Zack Winokur, which had its New York Premiere at the Mostly Mozart Festival in 2019. (Aug 14, 11pm ET)
- “Black Experience in the Concert Hall: The Mozart Effect”: WQXR’s Terrance McKnight hosts a conversation with Black classical musicians about their relationship to Mozart’s music, bringing awareness to their experiences in the industry, and looking towards the future of classical music. Guests include violinist Sanford Allen, the first Black instrumentalist in the New York Philharmonic; genre-defying vocalist and conductor Bobby McFerrin; vocalist Julia Bullock; tenor Lawrence Brownlee; and Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra cellist Alvin McCall. (Aug 13, 7pm ET)
- “Joseph Boulogne: The Chevalier of Music and Revolution”: A retrospective of the largely untold story of the extraordinary African-French composer and violinist Joseph Boulogne (“Chevalier de Saint-Georges”), whose artistic excellence and virtuosity matched any of his contemporaries, Haydn and Mozart among them, and whom John Adams referred to as the most accomplished man in all of Europe in riding, shooting, fencing, dancing and music. (Aug 12, 8pm ET)
- “Camp Wolfgang” for Kids: A one-day virtual event for young children with concerts, Pop-Up Classrooms, crafts, and more, presented in partnership with Lincoln Center Education. (Aug 13, starting at 11am ET)
- Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin shares his favorite Mozart performances and talks about the composer’s influence on his life on WQXR’s Sunday noontime show, “This Week with Yannick.” (Aug 16, 12pm ET)
- Featured archival performances by celebrated artists throughout the week including Lawrence Brownlee, Martin Fröst, Renée Fleming, and Pekka Kuusisto.
“WQXR is proud to collaborate with Lincoln Center to bring audiences the iconic Mostly Mozart Festival at a time when we need the uplift, reflection and connection that music and the arts can provide,” said Matt Abramovitz, Vice President of Programming, WQXR. “While building on the creativity of the original live festival, Mostly Mozart Festival on WQXR allows us to use our platform to not only bring deeply moving and inventive musical performances to a broader broadcast and digital audience, but also to present critical conversations about the urgent issues of our time. We are especially proud to offer a closer look at Blue as part of our Festival programming; a work that is so resonant with the current moment. Combining Mozart’s enduring legacy with the most forward-thinking artistry of today is what’s made this festival so vital in New York City, and WQXR is glad to carry on that legacy this summer.”
“While gathering together for live performances remains on pause during the global pandemic, we are delighted to be partnering with WQXR to reimagine this New York City summer staple for the current time, sharing and celebrating Mozart’s innovative spirit, creativity, and joy through the radio airwaves,” said Hanako Yamaguchi, Director of Music Programming at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. “The rich week of offerings provides a window into the concert hall experience, reminding audiences of the power of music and the arts to connect us all, as well as their innate ability to speak to important issues of today—from the timely opera Blue about racial injustice, to the unconventional and contemplative “mashup” of Mozart and Pärt, culminating in an epic and triumphant Beethoven experience. We are thrilled to bring these groundbreaking musical works and artists, and surrounding conversations, to the homes of listeners across the five boroughs and beyond.”
“Mostly Mozart Festival on WQXR” will air on WQXR 105.9 FM for listeners in the New York and tri-state area and will stream at WQXR.org. Programming from the Festival will remain available on-demand for 30 days.