Fanfare Contributor Bio
My passion for classical music began in the early 1970s, during my high school years in Baltimore. I was fortunate to have a remarkably gifted French-language teacher, Bob Rivkin, who included Faust, Carmen, Symphonie fantastique, and other French masterworks as part of his curriculum. My first LP purchase was the EMI André Cluytens stereo recording of Faust. Tens of thousands of LPs and CDs have followed, much to my wife’s chagrin.
My professional career began in Baltimore as an attorney. But during that time, I also hosted a Saturday afternoon opera show on WBJC-FM, taught music appreciation courses, and reviewed concerts for the Baltimore Sun. I was fortunate to have Henry Fogel hear my show, and like it enough that when my wife and I moved to Pittsburgh, he recommended me to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. That led to my 11 year association as their program annotator and pre-concert lecture host. During that time, I also hosted a weekly opera show on WQED-FM.
In 2005, my wife Carolyn and I moved to Atlanta. Since that time, I have worked with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. I am their program annotator, and host the orchestra’s weekly pre-concert talks, as well as a radio show on Atlanta’s AM-1690, Meet the Classics. I also write program notes for several other American orchestras, as well as the Savannah Music Festival.
During my years in Baltimore, my close proximity to Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York gave me the frequent opportunity to see performances by such giants as Leonard Bernstein, Carlos Kleiber, Klaus Tennstedt, Karl Böhm, Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, Carlo Bergonzi, Alfredo Kraus, Leontyne Price, Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Horne, etc. As part of my radio career, I have interviewed many great singers, including Bergonzi, Franco Corelli, and Sherrill Milnes. My work with the Pittsburgh and Atlanta Symphony Orchestras has allowed me to collaborate closely with Mariss Jansons, Robert Spano, and Donald Runnicles.
Because my passion for classical music began with opera, but my writing and teaching career has focused on orchestral (and to a lesser degree, chamber) music, my interests are wide-ranging. In terms of recording purchase and interest, I tend to favor historic issues and reissues. Non-musical interests include my writing companions (our three shelter dogs), and chasing white balls around Atlanta area golf courses.