Gigi Yellen

Classical Music Host

Seattle has been Gigi Yellen’s home since 1986. Grateful for the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty, she appreciates the contrast between this climate and that of her native Houston, Texas! At Wellesley College, she acquired a good ear for iambic pentameter (thanks to an emphasis on jazz rhythms by her freshman English teacher, America’s future poet laureate, Robert Pinsky) and a passion for music history. As a graduate student in Spanish at Rice University, her work at campus station KTRU led her to become the first female announcer on Houston’s classical music station, then known as KLEF.

Gigi has interviewed, hosted, and written about classical music for radio stations from coast to coast. In Washington DC, she produced arts features for NPR. In Seattle, she hosted evenings on KING FM. Gigi’s music-related writing appears in print and online, most recently for ParentMap. She is a lifelong learner of ancient texts, a long-distance grandma, the spouse of a UW professor, and the mother of two faraway sons who consider Seattle home.  She credits her music literacy to a great public elementary school music program.

Ways to Connect

Paula Gray / Tumblr

A $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts will support the commission of a new symphonic poem in homage to Mount Rainier and its melting glaciers. The composer: Daniel Ott, a native son of Puyallup, is now based at New York’s Juilliard School and Fordham University.

The work for chorus and orchestra premieres May 17, 2017, in the Tacoma Symphony’s “Mountain and Sea” concert. The grant is part of the NEA’s “Imagine Your Parks,” a celebration of the centennial of the National Parks Service and the 50th anniversary of the NEA.

http://www.bachstadt-koethen.de/kunst-und-kultur/historisches-museum-und-bachgedenkstaette/die-fuersten-und-herzoege-von-anhalt-koethen/leopold-von-anhalt-koethen.html

Through much of history, composers depended on patrons for financial support or incentive to write the music we enjoy today. Browse through the slideshow above to see some of the best-known patrons - and remember that today, YOU are the most important patron of the arts, when you support Northwest Public Radio.

For Women's History Month 2016, Northwest Public Radio celebrated with a three hour special devoted to women in classical music history hosted by your weekday afternoon host, Gigi Yellen.

In case you missed it or you'd like to listen again, here it is.

HOUR 1

HOUR 2

HOUR 3

NWPR’s “Celebrate Women in Classical Music” PLAYLIST

HOUR 1
13:01
May Aufderheide - Dusty Rag                     
Virginia Eskin, piano
Northeastern 9003

Wikimedia Commons

How do you celebrate Women’s History Month in classical music, when the genre's history names few women composers? At NWPR over the past year, one answer has been: find what music you can, and play it. Inspired by Women’s History Month 2015, we took on a challenge to program at least one piece by a woman composer each day.  Yes, it’s a token, but this month, we trade in those tokens for a reward.

Seattle Symphony

Congratulations, Seattle Symphony! Another Grammy! The 2016 Grammy award for best classical instrumental solo went to violinist Augustin Hadelich, for Dutilleux: Violin Concerto, L’Arbre Des Songes, with the Seattle Symphony conducted by Ludovic Morlot, a release on the orchestra's own label.

Seattle Symphony earned its first Grammy last year -- Best Contemporary Classical Composition -- for its recording of John Luther Adams's Become Ocean, a work SSO commissioned.

Wikimedia Commons

Music history refreshes itself every time you enjoy a favorite piece, or discover a new one, here on Northwest Public Radio.  Sometimes there's an especially noteworthy day in music history, like February 2.  

This was the day of the premieres of Haydn's Symphony No. 102, in 1795; of Rossini's Semiramide, in 1823; of Dvorak's Symphony No. 8 in 1890. Plus, amazingly enough, February 2 is the birthday of two of the greatest violinists of the 20th Century: Jascha Heifetz (1901, Vilnius) and Fritz Kreisler (1875, Vienna).

Gigi Yellen / NWPR

The original Hanukkah lights were wicks floating in oil. So the holiday’s ancient legend gives the wintertime cook an excuse to fry potatoes and just about anything else that cooks in oil. People insist on eating these things before you can get them onto a serving platter, so, word to the wise: if you’re expecting to get out of the kitchen, make latkes before your gathering, freeze them on a cookie tray, and pop them into a warm oven or onto a warming tray.

Sebástian Freire from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil

OK, it’s not a prescription. It is cold-weather comfort: help warm your insides or the person you care about feel better and it goes well with a generous helping of classical music. 

My definition of “chopped”: Fits comfortably into your mouth as part of the mix on your spoon. No too big-hot chunks, please! This is all about, you know, comfort.

Feast of Music / Flickr

Mexican conductor Alondra de la Parra is known for her energetic, animated conducting. Take a look at the her joyous body language in this rehearsal video:

Digging into information for the tidbits you hear next to the classical music on NWPR, we run across some interesting phenomena. Like the use of a composer’s name as an adjective. What makes a piece Brahmsian? Or Beethovenian? Writers about music often take this shortcut to describe a sound. Steve Reeder discovered that the French are fond of the word “Ravelian.” And Mahlerian, but we have that one too.

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