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

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.

So, your Independence Day weekend may be a little different this year, but one thing is the same: WRTI is here for you. We have classical and jazz fireworks planned for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Details from playlists and special shows for each day are listed below.

June 1, 2020. Complices is the title of our Classical Album of the Week, and for the non-Francophiles among us, that translates to "accomplices" or "partners." So, you may be wondering—who are these accomplices? Everybody I asked about this assumed what I did—that it must refer to the two featured artists themselves, cellist Jean Guihen Queyras and his collaborator, pianist Alexandre Tharaud.

Unsplash/Aaron Burden

Join WRTI on Memorial Day as we mark the occasion and honor those who serve with a line-up of American music and local artists you won’t want to miss!

April 27, 2020. With the sun higher in the sky and the chill in the air fading away, the promise of spring is all around us, even if we aren’t celebrating it quite as we would hope to. If there could be a compensation prize for bearing up at home, with so many uncertainties and having to watch the tulips bloom from inside, it's surely this gem—Philadelphia violinist Elena Urioste’s new album, To the Spring.

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.

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