Heather McDougall

Classical Music Director

Heather McDougall is a cellist and a native of the Philadelphia area, who took the long road to WRTI. "Two decades ago, Chicago came calling, and then Dublin...a great many musical adventures were had on both sides of the Atlantic along the way, and then 2019 turned out to be the year I found my way back to Philly. And what a brilliant moment to return – the city is just soaring artistically."

Heather programs the classical music heard on WRTI.  "Our job in classical radio has never been more exciting. We're in a golden age of music-making; the array of stunning string quartets emerging on the scene every year just takes my breath away. We're spoiled...in the best way possible!"

Heather's background includes public media project management, overseeing production and managing partnerships for radio programming and podcasts, distributed nationally and internationally by the WFMT Radio Network-Chicago.

She has collaborated with a wide array of creative organizations, including the Poetry Foundation, Radio New Zealand, Shanghai Conservatory of Music and European Broadcasting Union. She called Ireland home for more than a decade – much of that time working in the radio and music divisions of RTÉ, the national public media organization.

As an arts manager, she has also focused on festivals and community engagement – with roles at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Heather has a B.M. in Cello Performance (Eastman School of Music), B.A. in Linguistics (University of Rochester) and M.Phil. in Digital Humanities and Culture (Trinity College Dublin).
 

Ways to Connect

Getty Images/Alex Wong

WRTI proudly remembers Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with special classical music and jazz programming honoring the remarkable legacy of the civil rights leader and visionary, born 92 years ago. Below are details about what we have planned.

Getty Images/Carson Ganci

Looking for an extra dose of hope, good tidings, and cheer this holiday season? Never fear, WRTI is here! A sleighful of music is on its way and your WRTI companions Bliss, Mark and Melinda are on hand every step of the way.

December 21, 2020. Let’s face it—holiday music can divide a room faster than Santa’s globe-circling sleigh on Christmas Eve. This is the time of year we set aside our usual debates, about cheesesteaks and such, and find ourselves either relishing in the cozy nostalgia and cheery jingle of holiday music or feeling a bit worn out by it all.

Getty Images/Andreas Rentz

Join us as we mark the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven with some of his most treasured works, as well as much that he inspired in the generations that followed.

Traveling may be on hold, and the gathering of friends and family may not be around the usual table this year, but no matter where you are and what you’re feasting on, WRTI’s Thanksgiving Day soundtrack is your perfect companion.

September 21, 2020. "Beauty will save the world." Those are the words of cellist Camille Thomas, whose new album, Voice of Hope, speaks to this very idea. This album concept, at first glance, might have been at risk of feeling overly saccharine. It turns out, it’ll take no more than nine seconds before the opening Kaddish by Ravel pulls you in and you know this is no lightweight endeavor from Thomas.

August 24, 2020. Fire up the time machine and let’s go back to November 1934. It was a troubling time. Americans were enduring the depths of the Great Depression and Winston Churchill’s chilling observations about the “rapidly darkening European scene” were foretelling the WWII horrors to come. Yet, even against this worrisome economic and sociopolitical backdrop—artistically—New York City was still alive.

August 17, 2020. Sir Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto was born into a world of global turmoil and personal strife for the composer. Against the backdrop of the grim aftermath of WWI, the concerto was composed in 1919 during a period of illness for Elgar. A short time later, his wife Alice died in the wake of the piece’s troubled premiere.

July 13, 2020. Bastille Day! Le 14 juillet! Fête nationale! Yes, the national day of France is this week and while we may not be able to hop readily onto Air France and saunter down the Champs-Élysées, we can nevertheless mark the occasion with a very French album of the week, Compositrices.

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