Gregg Whiteside

Classical Host

Gregg was the host of WRTI's morning drive show from 2012 until his retirement from WRTI in January, 2021. He began producing and hosting The Philadelphia Orchestra In Concert broadcasts in 2013, joining the Orchestra in Hong Kong for the first-ever live international radio broadcasts from that island in 2016, and in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for two historic broadcasts in 2018. You can still hear Gregg as host of the Orchestra broadcasts every Sunday and Monday on WRTI.

Before arriving in Philadelphia, Gregg was the national voice of live broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic, and produced and hosted intermission features at The Metropolitan Opera, while hosting the morning show at WQXR in NYC for many years.

Gregg also narrated the PBS special Pavarotti and the Italian Tenor, Classic Views video magazine, the feature film Royal Kalibur, and the documentary Montserrat Caballe, Beyond Music.

Gregg hosted live, national 9/11 tributes from Riverside Cathedral in New York, and Manhattan’s Pierpont Morgan Library, along with F. Murray Abraham and George Plimpton.

In addition to Hong Kong, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Gregg has produced and hosted live broadcasts abroad from London, Venice, Vienna, Hamburg, and Haifa.

 

Ways to Connect

This Sunday afternoon at 1 pm, join us for a rebroadcast of a Verizon Hall concert from this past February, which featured the return to Philadelphia of André Watts, who joins forces with the revered Maestro Raphael Frühbeck de Borgos for a performance of Beethoven's grandest piano concerto, the Fifth - the "Emperor." Also on the program, Hindemith's Concert Music for Strings and Brass, a delicate orchestration by Stokowski of Bach's "Sleepers Awake," and the most popular of Liszt's symphonic poems, Les Preludes.

Chris Lee

We look forward to your company this Sunday at 1 pm for an archival broadcast concert from November of 2011, when then-Music Director Designate Yannick Nézet-Séguin stepped forward to increase his time with The Philadelphia Orchestra and its audiences, and directed an impressive Italian-themed program, featuring Tchaikovsky's Francesca da Rimini, Mendelssohn's 4th Symphony, Verdi's Overture to La Forza del Destino and Respighi's Pines of Rome!

Guest Conductor Jaap van Zweden takes the podium to conduct The Philadelphia Orchestra in an all-Russian program from last April. You'll hear two major works: Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence, inspired by the sights and sounds of Italy, and performed in an expanded version for the full strings of The Philadelphians, and - the work that saw Sergei Prokofiev at the pinnacle of his career - his Symphony No. 5, composed in the final days of World War II. It’s a symphonic masterpiece!

Yannick Nezet-Seguin is on the podium this Sunday at 2 pm in a recorded concert from this past May, which featured Hilary Hahn's return to Philadelphia for Korngold's Violin Concerto. This colorful and cinematic score grew out of Korngold's success in Hollywood while writing many of his treasured film soundtracks.

Also on the program, trademark fanfares, folk melodies, and thunderous crescendos punctuate Mahler's First Symphony, along with humorous folk tunes and inventive orchestrations.

Join us this Sunday, September 15th at 2 pm on WRTI as Sir Simon Rattle taps into an historic connection that The Philadelphia Orchestra has enjoyed with the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, conducting his final two symphonies without interruption, right after intermission. 

Before intermission, Curtis grad and piano superstar Lang Lang will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3.

"O mio babbino caro," from Giacomo Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, sung by soprano Miriam Gauci, with the Belgian Radio and Television Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Alexander Rahbari, is featured on CD 2 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

The soprano aria "O mio babbino caro" (Oh, my dear Papa) from Puccini’s only comic opera Gianni Schicchi, is one of Puccini's best-known and popular arias in opera. It’s sung with lyrical simplicity by the young woman Lauretta against a backdrop of hypocrisy, jealousy, double-dealing, and feuding in medieval Florence, after tensions between her father Schicchi and the family of Rinuccio, the young man she loves, has reached a breaking point that threatens to separate her from Rinuccio.

Here, she expresses to her father her love for Rinuccio, and begs him to reconsider his feelings for the young man’s family, threatening to go to the Ponte Vecchio and throw herself into the Arno River if she can’t marry him. It’s a very persuasive plea, and dear Papa finds a way!

The Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 of Johann Sebastian Bach, performed by the Swiss Baroque Soloists, is featured on CD 1 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

The six instrumental works presented by Bach to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt in 1721 are among the finest musical compositions of the Baroque era. The Third in the set is scored for three violins, three violas, three cellos, and basso continuo, including harpsichord. The Margrave not only never paid Bach for his work, but he failed even to thank him. This third concerto is a highlight of one of the happiest and most productive periods in Bach's life.

Even though he didn't call them the "Brandenburgs" himself, Bach still thought of them as a set. Compiled from short instrumental sinfonias and concerto movements he had already written, Bach re-worked the old music, often re-writing and elaborating where he saw fit, and creating in the process some of the most brilliant and enjoyable of any of his works.

The Prelude and Liebestod from Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, performed by the ​Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Johannes Wildner, conductor, is featured on CD 2 in the WRTI 60th Anniversary Classical 3-CD set.

There are those who feel, quite frankly, that the Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde is the greatest piece of music ever written. The final climax of the music drama probably inspired by Wagner’s affair with Mathilde Wesendonck and the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, is certainly one of the peaks of the operatic repertory. Here, before our very ears, we experience the beginning of the move away from conventional harmony and tonality, and witness Wagner laying the groundwork for the direction of classical music in the 20th century as early as 1857!

The very first chord in the piece, the Tristan chord, is of great significance in the move away from traditional tonal harmony as it resolves to another dissonant chord! For me, the anticipation of final release in that last chord of the Liebestod is almost unbearable; but, when it finally comes, the lasting sense of ecstasy is as spine-tingling and blissful as anything in all art. I dissolve every time I hear it, and ask myself, “How could any human being have written this?”

Simon Rattle will be on the podium this Sunday at 2 PM for a performance from late May of Beethoven’s "Pastoral" Symphony, with its vivid scenes of gathering thunderstorms, wandering brooks, and breezy country sides.

We’ll also hear Webern's Passacaglia and three fragments from Alban Berg's shattering opera Wozzeck, both of which received their U.S. premieres in Philadelphia as part of Stokowski's vision for 20th-century music.

Soprano Barbara Hannigan, in her Philadelphia Orchestra debut, will perform scenes from Ligeti's thrilling opera, Le Grande Macabre, in character as the Chief of the Secret Political Police. Her performance, vocally, dramatically, and comically, was one of the highlights of the season!

During intermission, Susan Lewis's interview with the versatile and supremely gifted Barbara Hannigan is not to be missed! Gregg Whiteside is host and producer. That's this Sunday, September 8th from 2 to 4 PM.

Detailed program notes and video here.

PROGRAM:
Webern: Passacaglia
Berg: Three Fragments from Wozzeck
INTERMISSION
Ligeti: Mysteries of the Macabre
Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, ("Pastoral")

Simon Rattle: conductor
Barbara Hannigan: soprano

Jillian Edelstein/EMI Classics

Join us this Sunday at 2 PM for Brahms' radiant Second Symphony, written in a burst of creativity over just a few short months. Also on the program is Elgar's spirited Cockaigne Overture ("In London Town") drawing its character from the sometimes bawdy urban sounds of marching bands, church bells, and merry revelers.

And...Curtis graduate Jonathan Biss returns to perform Mozart's rarely heard Piano Concerto No. 13. Guest conductor Donald Runnicles will be on the podium, from a wonderful concert at Verizon Hall in late April. Don't miss it! Sunday, August 25, 2 to 4 pm on WRTI. Gregg Whiteside is host and producer.

Program Notes

PROGRAM:
Elgar - Cockaigne Overture ("In London Town")
Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 13, K. 415
INTERMISSION
Brahms - Symphony No. 2

Donald Runnicles - Conductor
Jonathan Biss - Piano

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