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Our best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2017.  The past year was another good one for WBACH and we thank ALL of you, listeners and advertisers, who helped to make it so.  May this, WBACH's 25th anniversary year,  be a great one.


12/16: Beethoven's (Estimated) Birthday

December 16 is the day on which Beethoven's birthday is traditionally observed.  But there's a catch:  nobody knows exactly WHEN Beethoven was born!  The only surviving record (piece of paper....not the vinyl platter than spins on a turntable) is of his baptism, and that was on December 17, 1770.  Apparently, in those days, baptisms tended to occur the day after a child's birth, so that's how the December 16th "birthday" came to decided upon.  A few interesting Beethoven links to try:


Wikipedia's Beethoven entry.


The Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Germany (his birthplace).


The American Beethoven Society.


And for the children.....the Classics For Kids page about Beethoven. 



As you make your plans for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, remember that WBACH will have the musical accompaniment:  "The Joy of Christmas."  39 hours of continuous Christmas music, with only minor interruption.  The broadcast begins at 9am on Sunday December 24th and runs all the way through to the end of Christmas Day.  Whatever you have planned for the holiday, small gathering, packed house, or quiet time alone, leave on the radio and enjoy all of the wonderful music that we'll be sending your way.  Merry Christmas from all of us at WBACH!


[note for our online listeners.....the World Classical Network, whose programming we carry via the Listen Live link....will begin its continuous Christmas music at 6pm 12/24, continuing all the way through Christmas Day]


Time to Spring Forward

This Sunday, March 12, we make the switch to DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME .  Remember to set your clocks AHEAD by one hour before going to bed on Saturday night.  We'll lose an hour of sleep but we'll get it back on November 5 when Standard Time returns.....mark your calendar!  And BTW....it's SAVING, not SAVINGS.



January 27 is the birthdate of the great Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.  Though he did not live a long life(died about a month before his 36th birthday), the fact that Mozart started composing at a very young age (5) means he was able to leave behind a large number of works.  It seems as though there’s something in Mozart’s music that appeals to virtually any listener of classical music.   We hope that the links below will help you to learn more about this amazing composer.  And don't forget to listen in for Mozart's music every weekday morning at 9:00 when WBACH presents the "Mozart Block at Nine O'clock."


The Wikipedia entry about Mozart.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica has an extensive section about Mozart, including video and sound clips.

Here's the site for the Mozart Society of America.  It contains links to some of the many Mozart-related societies worldwide.

The Mozart Project has a good listing of his works and also contains an excellent chart/graph showing some of the events that were happening in the world during Mozart’s lifetime.

You’ve heard performances on WBACH by the Camerata Academica of something called the “Salzburg Mozarteum.”  Ever wonder what that is?  Here is the English version of the Mozarteum’s website.


And for the children....and those who are teaching them.....here’s the Mozart section of the Making Music Fun (MMF) website.



WBACH History

As WBACH celebrates its 25th anniversary, we thought you might like to know a little bit more about the station's history.  The timeline below is based in part upon station records and in large part on personal recollections.  Corrections are welcomed.  Please use the Feedback form on this website for any comments or questions.




FCC assigns new frequencies to communities around the U.S. which did not have "local" FM service.  One of these frequencies, 99.3, is assigned to Kennebunk, Maine.




License for 99.3 ends up in the hands of veteran Boston-area broadcaster Alexander Tanger and his wife, Brenda.  Tangers are no strangers to classical music as a radio format:  son "Woody" Tanger owns the commercial classical stations in Detroit, Miami and Philadelphia while son Douglas has recently put on the air the original WBACH station in Gloucester, Mass.   The Tangers’ Vega Corporation begins construction on what will become WBQQ in February.  Studios are constructed in the Lower Village of Kennebunk and a transmitting facility and tower are erected near Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport. 


WBACH makes its debut in Maine on Wednesday, November 27, the day before Thanksgiving.  Station operates with a very small staff, using a syndicated (by tape) classical format produced by a San Francisco radio station.  Music is mastered onto 8mm videotapes and played "bach" via a computer-controlled automation system....very avant garde for the early 1990s!


Tangers use announcer voices from their family's other stations for station identifications, etc.  The voice of Scott Hooper, then working at the Tangers' original WBACH station in Massachusetts, is heard in Maine for the first time.




In May, another commercial classical music station makes its debut in Maine:  WAVX (106.9, Thomaston).  Then known as the "Classical Wave," the station would eventually become WBACH's home several years later.  Studios are located along the Rockland waterfront, with a transmitter site in Thomaston, near the Rockland line.




Construction begins on another Tanger-owned radio station, 104.7 licensed to Kennebunkport.  Years later this will be a home for WBACH.


In August, crews from the ABC radio networks descend upon the station.  WBACH's studio becomes the recording studio for former First Lady Barbara Bush and her "Mrs. Bush's Storytime" radio series.


October 10, Scott Hooper arrives as WBACH's Operations Manager and (future) morning host.  Planning begins for "Breakfast With Bach" but first a CD library must be built up.


In December, 104.7 goes on air as WQEZ, broadcasting a light Rock format. 




The live morning show "Breakfast With Bach" makes its debut on October 30.  The taped programming from the San Francisco station is used at other times of the day.




WBACH celebrates its 5th birthday by opening the studios to listeners who wish to visit.  More than 200 stop by.




Ownership of WBACH transfers from the Tangers' Vega Corporation to Mariner Broadcasting, headed by WBACH's general manager Louis Vitali. 


Live programming expands with the addition of an afternoon show, hosted by radio veteran Gary Dixon.


The taped format which the station had been using is no longer produced and the tapes are getting old.  In an effort to bring a quality sound to WBACH, Mariner begins using the satellite-syndicated "Classic FM" format, a collaboration between Sony and Warner Bros.  New York City radio veterans such as Dennis Elsas and Candace Agree are heard in Maine for the first time. 




In January the famous Ice Storm of '98 knocks WBACH off air, but only long enough for the generators to kick in.  Station continues broadcasting on generator power for nearly a full day.  No damage to any equipment.


Early in the year, the owner of the Portland area's commercial classical station, WPKM(106.3, Scarborough), puts the station on the market.  Mariner acquires 106.3, transfers its operations to the Kennebunk facility and places the WBACH programming on its air.  This marks WBACH's  first expansion, the beginning of what will one day be known as "Maine's Classical Network."


With the 106.3 acquisition, WBACH also inherits its jazz host, Arnold Olean.  "Classic Jazz" becomes a Saturday evening fixture on WBACH and remains so to this day.


"Classic FM" fails, potentially leaving WBACH without a major source of programming.  To the rescue comes Charles River Broadcasting, owners (at that time) of Boston's legendary classical music station WCRB.  Charles River's "World Classical Network" brings to a number of stations around the U.S. satellite-delivered programming  featuring the WCRB talent.  Announcers such as Laura Carlo, Ray Brown, Mark Calder and Dave MacNeill are now heard on WBACH each day,  leaving a few vacationers wondering how Laura/Ray/Mark/Dave got from Waltham (MA) to Kennebunk every day.


Late in the year, an unexpected development:  owners of Thomaston's WAVX (106.9) show interest in selling the station.  Mariner agrees to purchase.  Call letters are changed to WBQX.  Station staffs are blended.  WBACH's afternoon host Gary Dixon leaves and is replaced by 106.9's afternoon host Jay Lundstrom, who moves to Kennebunk to assume his additional duties as WBACH's Production Director.




WBACH debuts its website wbachradio.com


Laurena "Reeny" Gilbert, who had worked at 106.9 during its early days, returns to Rockland as that office's operations manager.  She produces many of the sponsor announcements heard on the station and would eventually become an on-air host.




In September, the National Association of Broadcasters names WBACH "America's Classical Station of the Year."  Quite an honor for that upstart little station from Maine!


Mariner Broadcasting sets its sights on one final expansion of WBACH, to be made final in the new year.




Mariner purchases WMDI-FM (107.7, Bar Harbor) and replaces the station's non-classical format with WBACH.  The company's four WBACH signals now sweep from Seacoast New Hampshire along the entire Maine coastline to portions of Atlantic Canada.    106.9's signal helps the station to reach far into the interior of Central Maine as well, and 107.7's signal carries WBACH from the Downeast coast to Bangor.  Rough estimates  place WBACH as reaching more than 75% of the populated areas of the state.  Mariner opens a more centrally-located office and local studio for 107.7 in downtown Ellsworth.


On September 11th, WBACH breaks format to provide news coverage following that day's terrorist attacks.  Station receives kudos for returning to tasteful musical programming in the evening.  Great care is taken to make the "sound" of the station appropriate for the mood of the day.   




Mariner Broadcasting sells its radio holdings, including the four WBACH stations, to Nassau Broadcasting.  This New Jersey-based company is in a major growth phase and also acquires several Portland-area radio stations at the same time.




Nassau Broadcasting acquires Boston's WCRB.  Programming from the World Classical Network, which was sold to another party, is discontinued on WBACH and WCRB assumes control of the musical programming for both WBACH and itself.  WCRB staff announcers continue to be heard during some of the time periods on WBACH.  In addition, WBACH's Scott Hooper becomes WCRB's midday announcer, broadcasting from Maine.




Nassau Broadcasting re-assigns various of its Maine stations to different frequencies.  WBACH is removed from 99.3 and 106.3 and placed on 104.7, reducing the station's "reach" in portions of Southern Maine. 




Nassau sells off WCRB to longtime Boston public station WGBH.   Most of the WCRB announcers are not retained.    Programming decisions for WBACH become local again, and the station promotes its Rockland operations manager "Reeny" Gilbert to evening host.




Laurena "Reeny" Gilbert retires from fulltime work at WBACH in September.  She continues hosting evenings and efforts begin to locate a small studio at her home.   On December 7th, while "tracking" (radiospeak for pre-recording the announcer's portion of a radio program) Laurena suffers a stroke and is left unable to speak clearly.  Various industry friends of the station pitch in to help cover evenings, and eventually former WCRB host (and alumnus of the original WBACH operation in Massachusetts) Mark Calder becomes permanent evening host.




Creditors initiate a Chapter 7 proceeding against Nassau Broadcasting.  Stations, including WBACH, continue operating.  Financial problems are at the corporate, and not the local, level.




Chapter 7 action is converted to a Chapter 11.  Agreement in bankruptcy court forces Nassau Broadcasting to dispose of all of its broadcast holdings by auction.  Nassau's nearly 50 radio stations, from Maryland to Maine, are sold off piecemeal.   The 3 Maine stations on which WBACH was heard eventually wind up in the hands of 3 different owners.  Only Binnie Media, the new owner of 106.9, agrees to keep the station classical.  The other two stations drop the format on September 13th and November 30th, respectively.  WBACH is now only heard on 106.9 which, fortunately, has always been its most powerful signal.


Binnie Media assumes control of 106.9 WBACH at the end of November.  Station is re-affiliated with the World Classical Network.   




Binnie Media installs new DIGITAL transmitter on its Country-formatted station The Wolf (WTHT, 99.9, Auburn).  The HD format allows several different programs to be fed to receivers which incorporate the newer technology "HD Radio."  WBACH's programming is placed on WTHT's HD-2.  Central Maine listeners with the new generation HD radios can now hear WBACH's programming almost as sharp as if they were standing in the studio with the announcer.


WTHT has a low-power translator in the Greater Portland area (W245AA, 96.9, Portland), and in April, WBACH's programming is placed on that station.  Though the signal range is limited, WBACH has a strong in-Portland signal for the first time in its history.  The event is promoted via WBACH's first ever television commercial.




After more than 20 years, the WBACH operations center in Kennebunk is closed and WBACH moves in with the rest of Binnie Media's Maine stations in Portland's Time and Temperature Building.  May 17th is the final broadcast from Kennebunk.


On November 27, WBACH celebrates 25 years of bringing classical music to Maine.


- - - - - - -



Alexander Tanger, who first put WBACH on the air in 1991, passed away two years ago at the age of 94 following a very full career in broadcasting (see Boston Globe obituary here).  Mr. Tanger had left Brooklyn College in the 1930s because he couldn't afford the books.  Much later in life, he returned to that school and completed his degree.  Mr. Tanger was selected as the class speaker at his 2001 college commencement, and his touching remarks can be seen and heard here.


Gary Dixon, WBACH's original afternoon host, passed away last year (2015) at the young age of 65.  Gary remained a listener to, and a champion of, WBACH until his death.  We were fortunate to have seen him and swapped stories with him shortly before he passed.




Scott J. Hooper,

WBACH Program Director

27 November, 2016


WBACH's 25th Anniversary!!

25 years ago (November 27, 1991), WBACH's brand of classical music was heard in Maine for the first time.  A great big THANK YOU to those who have kept us going all these years.  Whether you are one of our listeners who make WBACH a part of your daily routine (or your vacation routine if you're from away!) or you are one of the many businesses who help us financially through the purchase of advertising, we appreciate all the support you have given to WBACH and to classical music.  May we continue to bring you the classics for many more years to come!


Look elsewhere in this section of the website for a HISTORY of WBACH timeline.


Have a thought or comment?  Feel free to leave it here.



Happy Thanksgiving!

A very Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here at WBACH!   We have a lot for which to be thankful this year.....very dedicated listeners and exceptionally supportive advertisers.  You've all helped to keep Classical Music alive on the radio here in Maine.  Here's hoping you have a wonderful holiday weekend.  Oh, and when you shop at our sponsors on Friday (and Saturday, and Sunday, and....well, you get the idea) please let them know how much you appreciate their support of WBACH. 


Time to Fall Bach

This weekend we'll get to recover the sleep we lost in the Spring, as we revert to STANDARD TIME in the early hours of Sunday, November 6.  Remember to set BACK your clocks by one hour before bedtime on Saturday, and then enjoy the extra bit of sleep! 


FYI.....Daylight Saving Time returns on Monday, March 20, 2017.


Best Ways to CONTACT Us.

There are several ways to contact WBACH with your comments or questions.  The FASTEST way is via our Feedback Form.  You'll find that under the About WBACH menu on any page, and we'll even provide a quick link to it right here.  Feedback comments are routed directly to our Program Director, Scott Hooper, for disposition.


If you represent a non-profit organization and have an item for our CALENDAR, send it to us by using the Submit An Event form, located in the WBACH Events menu.  Here's a quick link to it right here.


If you have an inquiry about ADVERTISING (e.g. your business wishes to support WBACH via the purchase of advertising time) please call the local WBACH sales office nearest you:

GREATER PORTLAND AREA - (207) 797-0780 (Portland office)

MIDCOAST/CENTRAL MAINE - (207) 594-9283 (Rockland office)


If it's a serious matter and you believe a member of MANAGEMENT should know about it, go to our Station Info section, located in the About WBACH menu.  There's a form, with a drop list of the various management personnel, at the center of the page here.  Your concern will be routed directly to that individual, not to a third party.


And finally, a note about our TOLL-FREE number...............


1-866-59-WBACH (599-2224) is our CONTEST line, though some directories have it misprinted as our Request line.  It is answered when a contest is taking place on the air. 






The founder of one of Classical Music's most widely-recorded and best-recognized performing ensembles has passed away.  Sir Neville Marriner died 10/2 at age 92.  In the late 1950s Marriner, then a violinist with the London Symphony, joined with others and organized a chamber ensemble named for London's church of Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, at which the ensemble rehearsed and held its first performances.  The ensemble, of course, is the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (which, by the way, voted to remove the hyphens from the its name many years ago!).  Sir Neville had many other musical affiliations in his long life, including time in the U.S. as founder and director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and as music director of the Minnesota Orchestra.  But it is with the "ASMF" that he was most closely associated.  Under his direction, the ASMF recorded possibly more standard Classical repertoire than any other performing ensemble and those recordings are still widely available.  We mourn Sir Neville's passing and are grateful for the legacy of recorded classical performances which he has left us.  Some appropriate links follow.


by Scott J. Hooper, WBACH Program Director

3 October 2016


New York Times obituary here.

Obituaries from U.K. newspapers: the guardian here. and in The Telegraph here.

ASMF website here.

Wikipedia page about Sir Neville Marriner here.


WBACH Welcomes Former MPBN Listeners

Maine Public Broadcasting has made a major change to its radio programming as of May 9th and its Classical offerings are no longer available to many Mainers with standard FM radios.  If you are one of those displaced listeners, please know that you don't have to go without your daily dose of classical music!  WBACH is here for you with classical music 24/7, on signals which can be received on any FM radio (96.9 in Greater Portland and 106.9 in Central and Midcoast Maine).  We welcome all new listeners!


Birthday: Brahms & Tchaikovsky

TWO noted composers were born on the same date, May 7, just a few years apart:


Johannes Brahms, 1833 

Though we tend to think of him as "Brahms, the composer," he was also a virtuoso pianist.  He also gets credit for being the first of the major composers to be recorded.....an experiment conducted by a representative of Thomas Edison.  Click on the lines below for some interesting web links:


Wikipedia article on Brahms

The American Brahms Society (hosted by the Univ. of New Hampshire!)

Another Brahms fan site with all sorts of information

And why not?  Here's the website for what was, in Brahm's day, the University of Breslau (the reason for his famous "Academic Festival Overture")  



Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, 1840  

Brahms was celebrating his 7th birthday when Tchaikovsky was born.  Criticized by some Russians as composing music that was too "Western," Tchaikovsky had a brilliant career that left us a wonderful assortment of music, including the great ballets that are so loved to this day.  Tchaikovsky also has the distinction of having visited the United States and of having been on scene for the opening of Carnegie Hall in the 1890s.


Wikipedia article on Tchaikovsky

An extensive research project about the composer and his works

All you need to know about entering the International Tchaikovsky Competition (in case you were thinking about it) 





February 3 (1809) is the birthdate of composer Felix Mendelssohn.  Mendelssohn is another that started young....he began taking piano lessons at six and is said to have performed in public for the first time at age nine.  Like Mozart and Schubert, whose birthdates we recently observed, Mendelssohn only lived into his 30s.  And he was certainly more than just a composer!  He was a pianist, organist and conductor, and is credited with the rediscovery of Bach's music.  Hard to imagine there was a time when J.S. Bach's music was almost unknown, but that was true by the time Mendelssohn had come along.  Ironically, Mendelssohn's music went the same route for a time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but he is now considered one of the great composers of the so-called Romantic era.  Below are a few interesting links which will help you to learn more about Felix Mendelssohn:

The Wikipedia article about Mendelssohn.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica article, including some audio and video clips.

Of all places, the Library of Congress holds many of Mendelssohn's manuscripts.  For whatever reason, the site hasn't been updated for some time, but it's still an interesting place to visit. 

Here's a Mendelssohn site for younger listeners and those home-schooling their children.

Mendelssohn directed the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig for many years.  That orchestra is still thriving, and our link is to its English site.  You'll have to poke around a bit to find info on Mendelssohn's years there.





Saint-Saens' Birthday

October 9 is the birthdate of composer Camille Saint-Saens, born in Paris on that date in 1835.  It's wrong to call him simply a "composer" as he was so much more.  He learned the piano at a very early age, writing his first piece for that instrument before his 4th birthday.  Saint-Saens studied not only composing but also the organ, and paid the bills, so to speak, for many years as a church organist at various Paris churches.  During our Civil War years he served as a professor of piano, and he holds the distinction of being one of the first of the major composers to write a musical score to accompany a movie.  Saint-Saens traveled extensively in his later years and that allowed him to show off another talent:  writing.  He published several books about his travels, wrote a collection of poetry and even penned a one-act stage play.  That's one very full lifetime!   Here are some interesting links related to Saint-Saens:

His biography on Wikipedia

A Saint-Saens page from across the pond (BBC)


A different angle on his life.....from a friend named Pyotr :-)


The Piano Society's Saint-Saens page

And this article wouldn't be complete without a performance of his great Symphony #3 "Organ." Myung-Whun Chung conducting the French Radio Orchestra.  The video quality isn't the best but the director goes to great length to highlight the MANY instruments....not just the organ.....that make the piece the powerhouse that it is.



Listen to WBACH on HD Radio

Most of the time you hear us referring to TWO frequencies on which WBACH can be heard in Maine:  96.9 (Greater Portland) and 106.9 (Midcoast).  But to borrow a line from Yoda, "there is another!"  With the right equipment you may be able to hear WBACH in a quality so good you might think you're sitting in our studio.  We're taking advantage of newer radio technology called "HD Radio" to bring a remarkably sharp, clear, digital signal to listeners in parts of Central and Southern Maine.  It involves 99.9FM, but don't run to tune your radio just yet.  Read on..........


HD Radio has been around for awhile, but only now are more and more stations taking advantage of it. HD allows a single FM radio station to transmit digitally several different programming services simultaneously, while still transmitting an analog signal of its main service. Let's use our situation as an example. WBACH's programming is being sent as the HD2 service of our 50,000 watt sister radio station WTHT, 99.9, Auburn, long known for its Country format as "The Wolf." A person tuning in 99.9 with an ordinary FM radio will hear only the Wolf's format. But a person using an HD radio can SELECT between the Wolf (99.9, HD1) or WBACH (99.9, HD2). And because the HD service is a digital transmission, the audio quality is far better. Almost CD quality, with no interference. A digital signal is either "there" or it isn't. No hiss, no dropouts, no "picket fencing."


We face a big problem, though. The electronics industry hasn't exactly done a very good job of educating the public about HD radio, and as a result even some retailers who carry HD-capable radios don't even know what they are. You must approach any potential purchase of an HD radio as an educated, informed, consumer. A great place to start is at the website hdradio.com which has lots of information about the technology. If you're REALLY curious about how it all works, technically, try this Wikipedia entry on the subject.


Before we go any further, it's important to know that there are two great myths about HD radio, which have resulted in a) people shying away from investing in a new radio and b) people being sold the WRONG type of hardware.


MYTH #1: "HD radio is the same thing as Satellite Radio." Not true. HD Radio is an all-digital broadcast by your LOCAL FM radio station, providing LOCAL information and entertainment. It is not an electronic jukebox beamed in from space.


MYTH #2: "It costs money to use HD radio." Not true. HD radio is a technology, not a subscription service. There are NO FEES of any sort to listen to HD Radio. Yes, there are up-front costs to invest in a new HD-capable receiver, but that is YOUR receiver, and once you own it you may listen to ANY radio station (WBACH, we hope!) that is broadcasting in HD.


So, how expensive is an HD radio? There's hardware to fit just about any circumstance and any wallet. Want to blow two grand on an HD-capable home theatre system? Knock yourself out! But you can also spend under $100 for a fine, HD-capable table radio. There are replacement tuners for your existing stereo system, small pocket-sized radios, converters for car stereos and replacement car radios. The hdradio.com site has a whole list of them! But remember....the radio must say that it is "HD" capable. Just because it looks sleek and modern, and just because it does the "wave" does NOT necessarily make it an HD radio.  Our Program Director, Scott Hooper, has a small HD Radio about the size of a credit card (though thicker).  The wire to the earbuds is also the radio's antenna.  He likes the fact that he can take WBACH in CD quality anywhere (and the under-$50 price is not to shabby either!)  


You've done all your research, you've heard how great HD radio sounds, you really want to hear WBACH in digital clarity......now what? Here are the steps to follow:


1) Check out 99.9's coverage map here: Coverage Map. If you are within the station's signal range, continue on to the next step.


2) Using an ordinary FM radio, tune in 99.9. You should hear the Wolf's country format. How's the signal? If it's outstanding or even if there's a LITTLE noise/interference, continue on to the next step. If reception is questionable, reposition the radio and/or try a better antenna. If reception still isn't good, then an HD radio probably would not work for you.


3) Purchase an HD-capable radio from your favorite retailer. Use the guide at hdradio.com to find a source. Remember what we said above: many retailers have not been properly educated about this technology. Do not let them sell you anything other than an HD-capable radio, and be sure there's a Return Policy in place before you spend anything.


Good luck. And if you DO make the investment in an HD radio, let us know about it.  We love to hear details, such as what model you purchased and how it sounds.  Thanks to those of you who have been updating us about your HD radio experience.



August 22 was the birthday, in 1862, of French composer Claude Debussy.  He's considered one of the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  To learn more about him and his music check out some of these interesting sites:


The Wikipedia article about Debussy is HERE


HERE is a link to an organization devoted to the study of the composer's music, the Centre de Documentation Claude Debussy.


For our younger listeners, HERE is Debussy's biography on the Classics For Kids site.


The Debussy portion of the Piano Society's site is found HERE.


Debussy spent over ten years at the Paris Conservatory (Conservatoire).  Ever visited its site?  HERE it is, in English.




Wagner's Birthday

May 22 is the birthdate, in 1833, of composer Richard Wagner.  Actually calling him "composer" only gives part of the picture of a very complex man.  He was also a conductor, theater director and controversial writer.   Not all composers can claim to have had a performance hall built specifically for them, but Wagner could:  the Bayreuth Festspielhaus (Bayreuth Festival Theatre).  Below are a few links to help you learn more about this Composer Plus:


Wikipedia entry about Wagner

Site for the annual Bayreuth Festival

Archives of the Richard Wagner Foundation

And a pretty fair Wagner Opera site from a NYC teacher who's a big Wagner fan


Prokofiev's Birthday

Late April marks the birthdate of composer Sergei Prokofiev.  We put it that way because in some biographies you'll see April 23rd listed as his birthday, while other sources say the 27th.   HE told people it was the 23rd......but a birth certificate that surfaced after he died listed the 27th.  Prokofiev is remembered for his work as a composer of diverse works from Symphonies and Piano Concertos to ballet ("Romeo and Juliet") and opera ("War and Peace").  And of course he also gave us the all-time family favorite "Peter and the Wolf" for narrator and orchestra.   Many forget, or don't realize, that Prokofiev was more than just a composer.  He was also an accomplished pianist and conductor.


Learn more about one of the greatest of the 20th Century composers by clicking on these links:


Wikipedia's Prokofiev article 


The Serge(i) Prokofiev Foundation, begun by Prokofiev's first wife, Lina 


The International Prokofiev Competition website, from Russia (English page)


AND FOR THE KIDS......of all ages..............

Here's a performance of "Peter and the Wolf" that should leave a smile.  It's the Boston Symphony Youth Orchestra, a very very unusual narrator and a hall filled with children and their parents.  Enjoy!



by Scott Hooper



January 31 is the birthdate (in 1797) of composer Franz Schubert.  It's probably wrong to simply place the "composer" label on him, though.  Among other things, he was a musician (primarily violin, viola and piano), a choirboy (well, until his voice cracked), and a teacher (at his father's school).  He even served as a torchbearer at Beethoven's funeral.  But he is best known for his compositions.....symphonies, string quartets, masses, and especially songs, more than 600 of them.  Schubert is another example of a composer who didn't live a very long life.  He passed away at age 32.  But he packed a lot of composing into those few years.  Here are some links to help you learn a bit more about Schubert:

The Wikipedia article about Schubert.

The Schubert Institute (UK), or SIUK, has lots of information about the composer, his life and his music.

Got some time?  This site has digital copies of more than 500 of Schubert's letters, musical scores and other documents.

Something for the children.

Some interesting quotations from the composer.




Johann Strauss, Jr. Birthday

October 25 is the birthday, in 1825, of Johann Strauss, Jr.  Though we often refer to him as "The Waltz King" (and he certainly did much to popularize the waltz as a dance form) he composed so much more.  The list of his dance music alone numbers over 400.  And of course he left behind several wonderful operettas.....Die Fledermaus (The Bat) is probably the one that everybody recognizes.  He was exceptionally popular in his day (think of today's rock stars), even among the other major composers of the day.  A favorite example of this was an occasion at which the great Johannes Brahms was asked for his autograph by Strauss' stepdaughter.  Brahms took her autograph fan, sketched out the first few bars of the Strauss 'hit' waltz "On The Beautiful Blue Danube" then wrote below it "Alas, NOT by Johann Strauss, Jr" and signed his name.  Here are a few interesting Strauss links:


The Wikipedia entry for Strauss.


The Johann Strauss Society of Great Britain (excellent site). 


The Johann Strauss Society of New York's LIST of all of Strauss' compositions.  Note this is a .pdf file and your PC must have a reader (e.g. Adobe Acrobat) capable of opening such a file.


Visiting Europe soon?  Here are some of the Strauss-related places you could visit.


And something for the CHILDREN.....the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's "DSOKids" page about Strauss.




Dvorak's Birthday

September 8 is the birthdate of Antonin Dvorak....born in 1841  Though he is identified as a Czech composer, there is a definite American connection to some of his greatest music. His Symphony #9 "From The New World," his "American" String Quartet, and his cello masterpiece, the Concerto in B-minor, were all written during the years he spent living in the United States.  And many do not know that he was actually employed here for a time.....not at WBACH but as the director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City.  Some interesting Dvorak links are below from which we hope you will learn more about this great man.

His biography on the Wikipedia site.

UK-based "Mfiles" (Music Files) site with bio and suggested recordings

Dvorak Society page.  Not strictly Dvorak but an interesting Czech music resource.

His publisher....the famous Boosey & Hawkes

And why not....the home page for the community of Spillville, Iowa, whose Czech community Dvorak visited during some of his time in the U.S.




The WBACH TV Commercial!

With the launch of our new Portland-area signal came WBACH's first-ever television commercial.  Haven't seen it yet?  Just click here (make sure your browser's security software "allows" content from Vimeo) and enjoy!


The Paul Parent Garden Club on WBACH

The Paul Parent Garden Club

Paul Parent has been on the radio providing gardening advice to listeners in New England for the last 29 years.


Paul's expert gardening advice is now heard on stations all over the country with one half million loyal listeners.


Listen to Paul Parent each Sunday morning from 6am-9am on Classical 96.9 & 106.9 WBACH.


Check out his website here






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