Classical Through the Night (HD-2)

Monday though Sunday, 10 pm to 6 am on HD-2 and the Classical Stream
  • Hosted by Andrea Blain, Scott Blankenship, Melissa Dundis, Valerie Kahler, Kevin O'Connor, Steve Seel, heard on HD-2 and the classical stream

Enjoy a variety of  expertly curated classical music every night from 10 PM to 6 AM, streaming at WRTI.org, on our mobile app, and on your favorite smart speaker. Currents hosts include:

Andrea Blain
Andrea Blain was born and raised in the Midwest, but lived in Northern Ireland for 33 years, working as a freelance musician, teacher and journalist. She joined the BBC in 1998 and worked in various capacities in the areas of classical music, religion and ethics and current affairs. She plays violin, viola, piano and organ. A lifelong interest in orchestral and choral conducting has been the catalyst for her involvement over the years with a variety of ensembles including orchestras, choirs and theatre groups. She was an adjudicator for the Association of Irish Musical Societies and conductor of the Belfast Bach Consort. Being the only member of her string quartet, Avalon, prepared to talk to audiences about their Irish/Classical musical fusion led her eventually to a radio microphone, and she has never been far from a studio since then. Andrea is delighted to join the C24 team, and has learned a great deal from all of them, all of it good.

Scott Blankenship
Scott Blankenship started his radio career in college when he began working as a volunteer at a local cable radio station, announcing alternative and new rock music. His love and appreciation of classical music began at public radio station KVNO in Omaha, where he spent 13 years in various on-air and management roles, five of those years as the morning drive-time host.

Melissa Dundis
Melissa Dundis worked for more than five years as an on-air host and eventually music director at KVNO in her hometown of Omaha, Neb. Her interests shifted from Julie Andrews and Paul Simon to Bach, Dvorak and Villa-Lobos. Her love of music and radio and how it positively influences our world continues to expand with her desire to know more about the best musicians and composers who ever lived. She plays classical guitar, and enjoys writing songs and singing in her free time.

Valerie Kahler
Valerie Kahler started playing cello and piano in 3rd grade, but didn't officially fall under the spell of classical music until high school when she began exploring her parents' LP collection. There, tucked between the Herb Alpert and an abandoned children's record, she found an album of the Los Angeles Philharmonic with Zubin Mehta. She played the A side (Ravel's Bolero and Tchaikovsky's Marche Slave) over and over again, mesmerized by the changes of color the composers could produce with different instruments, and by the images the music conjured in her imagination.  Thanks to teachers and professors with high expectations and a taste for demanding repertoire, Valerie was able to explore orchestral, chamber and vocal music from the inside out, all through high school and college. At some point during an unfocused pursuit of a bachelor's degree, she wandered into the studios of KNAU (now Arizona Public Radio) in Flagstaff, Arizona. A stint as a volunteer in the music library inevitably led to being placed, unwillingly, in front of a microphone. It became surprisingly less terrifying each time, so she stayed. Ten years later, she packed her bike and her cat into a small pickup truck and drove to St. Paul, Minnesota to work for Classical24. When she's not playing classical music or talking about classical music, she's likely to be reading, sewing, singing or cooking. Valerie shares her life with her partner John, an artist, and their two cats: Mirra and Dieter.

Kevin O'Connor
Kevin O'Connor grew up in a household where his father and boisterous Irish uncles would often noisily debate what was to be played on the turntable: Between the three brothers, and depending on the mood of the day, it wavered between Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson and Gordon Lightfoot. (The brothers also hailed from Toronto). Kevin's career arc seemed to follow suit, spinning and selling classical, jazz, folk and pop music on the radio, and briefly in retail, for the past three decades.  A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, he migrated do the Pacific Northwest, landing the requisite free-form overnight shift at his college station, KBSU, Boise. This was the first among many rungs in a public radio career that has always permitted him to express his passions for great music and explore his mercenary tendency toward spreading the message to anyone who will listen. For the past 18 years, he has served as music director and afternoon host at KBEM. He is also an avid cyclist and walker.

Steve Seel
Steve Seel possesses a broad knowledge of many musical genres, having hosted radio programs ranging from classical to jazz and even avant-garde music at radio stations around the country. Steve began his love affair with public radio at the age of 24 working whatever shifts he could at his hometown station of WUSF-FM in Tampa, FL, and from there worked his way to snowy Buffalo, NY and its renowned classical station WNED-FM, where he hosted mid-days and the weekly experimental-music show Present Tense.  In 2005, Steve became one of the founding voices on Minnesota Public Radio's eclectic station The Current. While there, he hosted afternoons and mornings, and conducted in-depth interviews with pop music luminaries ranging from Brian Eno to David Byrne to Tori Amos. Steve is a basement composer obsessed with all things both minimalist and slow, and might actually be incapable of writing anything that exceeds 75 beats-per-minute.

The Story Behind the Presidential Anthem "Hail To The Chief"

Jan 20, 2021
Getty Images/Brendan SMIALOWSKI /AFP

(Originally published in 2017). Even though it's not a universal favorite among presidents, "Hail to the Chief" remains their official entrance theme. WRTI's Meridee Duddleston has more on the origin of the march that begins with the ultimate in fanfare, not three, but four "Ruffles and Flourishes."  

Wikipedia Commons

Four notes (the first three of which are the same) say “classical music” to more people around the world than any other bit of music anyone else has ever written. When Ludwig van Beethoven finally chose those notes, he not only figured out the beginning of his Fifth Symphony and branded classical music forever, he also staked a claim—with an audacity and a power unlike anyone else before or since—to be recognized as “the” composer of classical music.

We're so happy to present the perfect Christmas soundtrack for a joyous Christmas holiday! Here are highlights from our carefully chosen selection of classical holiday favorites through January 1, 2018. Season's greetings from all of your friends at WRTI 90.1.

There’s Just Something About a Nutcracker

Dec 18, 2017

Today, The Nutcracker ballet is as much a Christmas tradition as eggnog, jingle bells, and mistletoe. But centuries ago – long before a nutcracker appeared on stage – miners in the rural Ore Mountain region of Germany began carving the ubiquitous household statuettes. The whimsical, dual-purpose figurines were toys that inspired children's play, and tools that cracked nuts for all.

Celebrate the Jewish festival of lights with WRTI!

Each night as Jews around the world observe Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights, the age-old song Maoz Tsur—"Rock of Ages" in Hebrew—is sung after the lighting of the candles on the menorah. 

Your contribution to WRTI on Giving Tuesday, November 28th, will also support Musicopia. How? The Rothman Institute and a group of anonymous donors have stepped up to match every gift to WRTI on Giving Tuesday with an equal gift to Musicopia.

Listen To This: The Dreamiest Chopin You've Ever Heard

Nov 6, 2017

Chad Lawson's interpretation of Chopin's nocturnes, preludes, and waltzes involves a surprising reconfiguration of the piano, and offers a sense of intimacy with the music that is likely new to most listeners.  A couple of years ago,  WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston learned about the power of simplicity in her conversation with pianist Chad Lawson.

Join us for a re-broadcast of a Philadelphia Orchestra concert from 2016 that brings us two Philadelphia Orchestra commissions—Maurice Wright’s Resounding Drums, a timpani concerto composed for the Orchestra’s principal timpanist Don Liuzzi, and the Clarinet Concerto by Jonathan Leshnoff, composed for the principal clarinetist of the Philadelphians, Ricardo Morales.

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