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

March 23, 2020. Twentieth-century English composer Ruth Gipps was a consummate musician of the broadest skillset. She came of age during World War II and navigated her 50-year career, from the 1940s to '90s, not unlike many musicians of today’s gig economy.

mikroman6/Getty Images

It’s long been said that the Irish punch above their weight. And this goes for much beyond their propensity to produce fine boxers.

March 16, 2020. Composer Ina Boyle (1889-1967) lived all of her 78 years in one idyllic place—her family home, Bushey Park, in Enniskerry, a village at the foot of the Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains. While a mere 25 miles to Dublin, it was dramatically disconnected to the capital city’s social and cultural life.

Matt Genders Photography

About 100 years ago, composer and teacher Nadia Boulanger was among the most influential, newsworthy figures in the world of classical music, leaving an indelible mark on countless composers of the 20th century and the craft itself.

January 20, 2020. As we’re on the cusp of the Chinese New Year, what better choice for the week could there be than China’s premier classical ensemble, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, in its debut release, Gateways, on the Deutsche Grammophon label.

January 13, 2020. At first glance, Whose Heavenly Touch throws no surprises. Here is a comprehensive, predictable set of songs by English composer John Dowland (1563-1626), complete with the most beloved titles — including "Flow, my tears," "Come Again!" and "Come away, sweet love." But wait! With a closer look and listen, some interesting curiosities emerge.


December 30, 2019. Here at WRTI, Johann Sebastian Bach is a morning ritual. Weekdays, around 8 am, host Gregg Whiteside invites us to breakfast with the Baroque master, during Breakfast with Bach. Bach has actually been a daily repast for many musicians and non-musicians alike.

October 14, 2019. It’s all in the family—a phrase that has rung true many, many times in classical music, past and present. Looking back to the 18th century, the extended Bach family and the Haydn brothers, Joseph and Michael, have long been evidence of music as a family affair.

October 7, 2019. As we near the end of National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), WRTI rolls out an array of orchestral showstoppers from Mexico’s finest composers.

September 3, 2019. With the start of the 2019-2020 season just around the corner, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra organization will soon be celebrating a big anniversary —80 years young! To mark this milestone, as well as WRTI’s Back to School Week, we’re bringing to you the PYO 2014 live recording as our Classical Album of the Week.

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