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Remembering Leon Fleisher
by Jonathan Palevsky

Sunday night was a sad evening for anyone who loves classical music in Baltimore and beyond. Leon Fleisher, the man who was the classical music soul of our fair city died at age 92. 38 years ago when I first came to this country to pursue guitar studies at Peabody, he was already there and had been there for 2 decades. I didn’t know Leon Fleisher well, but I had the opportunity to interview him a number of times. I also had the pleasure of his phenomenal recorded legacy and the privilege of sharing it with the WBJC audience. I hope you will indulge me in a memory or two.

Several years ago the students of Leon Fleisher’s studio embarked upon a project to play all of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas in one day. I interviewed both the maestro and his pupils. Talking to Leon Fleisher about Beethoven was beyond fascinating and his students’ insights were also special. When the day came for the event I was only able, due to my commitments at WBJC, to hear the first four sonatas at 10 am and the last five…starting at about 9 pm. Leon Fleisher, then in his 80’s was there for it all. If his students were going to play these pieces he would be there to listen to them…all 32 sonatas worth!

After many years of not being able to use his right hand Leon Fleisher was able to return to two handed performance. The CD to celebrate this occasion was entitled Two Hands and created quite a stir in the classical music community. WBJC offered Leon Fleisher our studios so he could conduct interviews with stations across the country. I recorded a chat with Mr. Fleisher for local broadcast and engineered everyone else’s interviews. It was heartwarming to hear the admiration from my fellow radio hosts for this great musician. People who had never met him or seen him perform live were moved by his CD’s and for some LP’s!

My last interview with Leon Fleisher occurred two years ago when he performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto # 12 with the Baltimore Symphony. When he walked into the green room he said to me, “you are very busy”! It’s true! I was and am very busy…the fact that Leon Fleisher obviously listened to WBJC was very touching. We had an amazing conversation which was in retrospect rather autumnal. I edited down the original 9 minutes to 4 and kept the complete conversation for the web. On Saturday July 25 I wanted to honor Leon Fleisher’s birthday (July 23, 1928) on Music in Maryland and took the extended interview and illustrated it with musical examples. All of the excerpts are Fleisher’s performance with one exception! (If you can figure out which I will be impressed!) I think it’s a nice piece of work which honors his memory.

For the last several years I have been wondering how I would feel on this day. This is a sad day during a sad time. We have lost an old and good friend. Thankfully we have some amazing things to listen to, be moved by, learn from and enjoy. Leon Fleisher dead at 92, “he was a man, take him for all in all,
we shall not look upon his like again.”
Programming Notes
Part of our ongoing commitment to keeping local arts alive and thriving during the pandemic is bringing local performances to you via the airwaves.

Music in Maryland is featuring the Shriver Hall Music Series every other Saturday evenings at 6pm. Also keep an ear out for upcoming Community Concerts at 2nd and IN Series performances!

And you can now hear the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra on WBJC! Sundays at 1pm in the special series BSO Encore, powered by PNC, we feature live performance recordings from the first two seasons of Marin Alsop's tenure.

The Met has generously offered up an Encore Series for us to broadcast!

August 8, 2020 – Donizetti: Don Pasquale @1pm 

August 15, 2020 – Mozart: La Clemenza di Tito @1pm

August 22, 2020 – Bellini: Norma @1pm

August 29, 2020 – Massenet: Thaïs @1pm

September 5, 2020 – Tchaikovsky: The Queen of Spades @1pm

Your continued support for opera keeps the Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcasts and other live performances on the WBJC Operafest coming to you on Saturdays throughout the year. 

Join Judith Krummeck for an interview series on WBJC devoted to the world of books — from different genres, to book awards, to local and national authors — everything to do with books. Booknotes is made possible by YOU, our members.

This month:

April 2015 saw the uprisings in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. Five Days by Baltimore born writer and New York Times bestselling author, Wes Moore, traces the stories surrounding these events.

Listener's Choice

John Scherch plays your requests every Friday evening during our long-running request show, Listener's Choice. You can request your favorite music anytime by emailing listenerschoice@wbjc.com or by visiting us on Facebook. You can even call in during the week (410-580-5800) and we'll make sure John gets your request!
From the Blogs
By Kati Harrison

Joan Tower, a composer and pioneer for women composers graciously joined me to talk about her Concerto for Orchestra which was performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Marin Alsop’s first year as Music Director of the BSO. This performance is part of WBJC’s BSO Encore Powered by PNC broadcast series. Enjoy!

By Kati Harrison

Academy Award winning composer John Corigliano generously spoke with me about his early Piano Concerto and To Music. Both compositions were performed by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Marin Alsop’s first year as Music Director of the BSO. These performances are part of WBJC’s BSO Encore Powered by PNC broadcast series. Enjoy!
By Dyana Neal

The Securing Older Adult Resources Program (SOAR) is a division of the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition that works to improve the financial well-being of older adults through research, community outreach programs, and direct service benefits, including financial coaching and counseling. Recently, I spoke with Francine Hyman, a Financial Counselor at SOAR, about the agency’s work. Click here to listen!
By Judith Krummeck

  Baltimore born Wes Moore—a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Rhodes scholar, decorated US Army combat veteran, and New York Times best-selling author—is the CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, a poverty-fighting nonprofit organization. I spoke with Wes by phone.  
Getting a new car? Don’t trade-in, donate!

Before you head to the dealer, plan to donate your older vehicle to WBJC. Usually the value you'll receive for your donation will meet or exceed what the dealer will offer you as a trade-in and is fully tax-deductible. We also take boats and RVs!

Call 855-WBJC-CAR or donate securely online.  Click here to see how easy it is!
John Scherch will be narrating IN Series's A Fairy Queen, an episodic podcast opera in the style of a classic radio drama, which will inaugurate their virtual season on INVision, the Logan Operahouse Without Walls, on September 12. The opera is based on and uses the music from Henry Purcell's The Fairy-Queen, itself a retelling of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Music from the production will be on Music in Maryland on September 5th.

More information can be found at https://invision.inseries.org/series/a-fairy-queen
By Judith Krummeck

 It has been inspiring to see how organizations have evolved and adjusted to continue to be responsive to their clients during the COVID-19 response, and the Enoch Pratt Free Library has been a stellar example. I spoke by phone with the President and CEO, Heidi Daniel. Click here to listen!
By Diana Ross

We’re solidly in month #5 of this crazy world, and the WBJC offices are still in “essential staff only” mode. Our college remains pretty much closed until further notice.

What this means for you, our fabulous members:

Membership staff (and all non-air staff) are sneaking in to the offices on reduced hours. We are mainly working from home still. Email is the best way to reach us, but you’re always welcome to call 410-580-5800 and one of the air-staff will try their best to either help you out, or get us a message.

Our outgoing mail is NOT moving in a timely fashion. Not only is our college mailroom on extremely reduced hours, many of the Baltimore Post Offices are operating at a reduced capacity because of sick staff. Everything is behind!

CD premiums are still on backorder from NAXOS. Some are tied up in production in Germany, others are in the US warehouse, but all are backlogged due to COVID19 closures. We haven’t forgotten you, and yes, we’re frustrated too!

Contracts are behind… (everything to do with the college is delayed) so we do not have a current mailing house or warehouse for logo premiums. As soon as we get this tacked down, remaining logo premiums will be sent, as well as paper acknowledgements for all gifts made after July.

**If you need something formal for taxes before we’re back to normal operations, please sign up for MyWBJC and you can generate an official tax receipt. (instructions below)**

We still can’t have Volunteers in. So the state of the Fall Drive doesn’t look good. We will more than likely have another online-only drive. Stay tuned for more info!

Mainly, we want you to know that we all appreciate your patience while we navigate the normally slow bureaucracy that has ground to a halt due to the state of the world right now!
MyWBJC is the online Membership Portal that allows WBJC members secure access to their own membership account. Members can view several years of giving history, update contact info, edit/adjust Sustainer pledges, add/delete/update credit cards, and print on-demand tax receipts

If you have already signed up, click this link to log-in:

If you have not already signed up for MyWBJC:

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  • Fill in your information to request access to MyWBJC.
  • Affiliation: 01
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