In the KMFA studios: stars from the cast of ALO’s “Turandot”!

~posted by Dianne Donovan, KMFA mid-day announcer and producer of  KMFA’s program, Classical Austin

Lise Lindstrom (Turandot), Frank Poretta (Calaf), KMFA's Dianne Donovan, and ALO General Director Joseph Spector

Say, if you missed Classical Austin, you can still hear the interview I did with the two of the stars, Lise Lindstrom (starring in the title role as Turandot) and Frank Porretta (starring in the role of Calaf). I also got to chat with A.L.O.’s new General Director, Joseph Specter.

Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

  • Hear how Lise Lindstrom keeps her signature role fresh.
  • Frank Poretta comes from a family of opera singers but that didn’t stop him from trying his vocal chords in rock (think: Aerosmith, Led Zepplin).
  • ….Guess who else did some rock singing?

If you missed the show on Wednesday night, you can hear the interview portion on our website.

Don’t forget KMFA’s Live Broadcast of A.L.O.’s production of Turandot: Saturday, April 14th @ 7pm.

      ~posted by Dianne Donovan, KMFA announcer and producer of Classical Austin

In the KMFA Studios: Robert Skiles

~posted by Sarah Addison, producer of KMFA’s Wednesday night program, Pianoforte

Pianist and composer Robert Skiles, with KMFA host Jules Brandon

We had the great pleasure of welcoming Austin pianist, composer, and professor Robert Skiles for an interview recently. He  joined KMFA host Jules Brandon in the KMFA studios and spoke about his music, teaching, and even improvised a couple of pieces. If you missed this interview, you can hear it again on our website. (May take a few moments to load.)

Tune in Wednesday night at 9pm for Pianoforte.

If you (or someone you know) is one of Austin’s fantastic group of pianists, and would like to be featured on this show, please contact Pianoforte producer Sarah Addison.


In the KMFA studios: Robert Kyr and Ryan Heller

~posted by Dianne Donovan, KMFA mid-day announcer and host of Classical Austin

In last week’s episode of KMFA’s Classical Austin, I had the pleasure of interviewing composer Robert Kyr and Chorus Austin’s Artistic Director, Ryan Heller.  They offered a closer look at an event that is part of the Light/The Holocaust and Humanity Project. 

If you missed that episode, you can hear the interview portion again here, on the KMFA website.

~posted by Dianne Donovan, KMFA announcer and producer of Classical Austin

Mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves visits the KMFA studios!

~posted by Dianne Donovan, KMFA announcer and producer of Classical Austin

What a thrill it was to hear the great American mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. While it was an all-French program, it was a rare treat to have music from such different sources. It was interesting hearing the differences in the timbre Ms. Graves’ voice in Ravel’s hauntingly sumptuous and exotic Shéherazade to the vocal colors she used in the arias, which were delivered in full operatic throttle. There were a few sobs heard as she sang Saint-Saens’ “Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix” from Samson et Dalila, but when she came back on stage to sing arias from another one of her signature roles, Carmen, we had a taste of the opera itself. In the Habanera, “L’amour est un oiseaux rebelle,” Ms. Graves gave us some very creative, playful phrasing the likes of which I had not yet heard on recordings.

The Austin Symphony under the direction of Maestro Peter Bay was in fine form with the soloist and in the instrumental pieces, the highlight for me being, Maurice Ravel’s, “La Valse.”

Denyce Graves and KMFA's Dianne Donovan

[Dianne Donovan had the great honor of interviewing Ms. Graves while she was in Austin for her performance with the Austin Symphony. If you missed that episode of Classical Austin, you can listen to it again here.]

~posted by Dianne Donovan, KMFA announcer and producer of Classical Austin


Preview of ALO’s Lucia di Lammermoor — an interview with the stars

This Saturday, KMFA will be broadcasting the ALO production of Lucia di Lammermoor LIVE from the Long Center!

Maestro Richard Buckley, Dianne Donovan, Lyubov Petrova, and Doug Scholz-Carlson

On this week’s Classical Austin, host Dianne Donovan had the great pleasure of interviewing some of the artists and artistic leaders who are so instrumental in creating this glorious operatic presentation.  She chatted with the star,  soprano Lyubov Petrova, as well as the conductor, Maestro Richard Buckley, and Stage Director, Doug Scholz Carlson.

If you missed this episode of Classical Austin, you can hear the interview portion again here.

~posted by Alison @ KMFA  🙂

Even rock stars tune in to KMFA!

~posted by Sarah Addison, KMFA Production and Membership Associate

Guess who dropped by the KMFA studios yesterday? Austin’s own slice of English Rock n’ Roll, Ian McLagan. He’s a resident of Central Texas and a supporter of KMFA, and we invited him to the KMFA studios for a friendly tour.

Ian’s well known for being the keyboard player for two of my favorite English groups, Small Faces and The Faces, as well as his most recent group, The Bump Band. Everyone at the station was thrilled to meet him, and when he arrived yesterday he couldn’t have been nicer. He even gave us copies of his new album Never Say Never, which has taken up permanent residence in my car’s stereo. He and KMFA announcer Carmel O’Donovan sat down in Studio 2000 to have a chat and record a testimonial about why he enjoys KMFA. See, even rock stars are tuned in to KMFA! Stay tuned, the finished spot will be on the air and online soon…

And the Beat Goes On …

We all know that Dianne Donovan, KMFA’s mid-day announcer, is a classical-music lover. But did you know she sings in a jazz trio?

That’s right, Dianne is one of The Beat Divas. Famous for their singing/cooking classes at Central Market, they recently celebrated a new CD release, called Dishin’ With the Divas: Songs of Food, Love & Mayhem, and they presented several of these songs during the opening ceremonies of the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference. They caught the attention of a New York Times’ writer… and they were featured in yesterday’s edition! You can read the whole article by clicking here.

They were also just featured in the Austin Chronicle, and that article is also on their website.

Here’s their new video for the song “Sweet Treat,” featuring Central Market Chef Robert Jenkins. 🙂

Opera singers from ALO’s “Flight” visit KMFA studios

On the KMFA program Classical Austin, host Dianne Donovan introduces us to some of the creative leadership behind some of our favorite Classically Austin arts events.

Last Wednesday, the spotlight was on Austin Lyric Opera’s upcoming performance of Flight. Joining Dianne in the KMFA studio were two performers, Mela Sarajane Dailey (as “Tina”) and Nick Zammit (as “refugee”), as well as the composer, Jonathan Dove. If you missed the episode, you can hear the interview portion here.

Mela Sarajane Dailey, Dianne Donovan, Jonathan Dove, and Nick Zammit.

It’s always exciting to meet the stars in person, but it’s very rare to meet the living, breathing composer! To hear him discuss his opera was a real treat.

~posted by Alison @ KMFA 🙂

Maestro Peter Bay kicks off the Spring Membership Drive!

OK, it’s the first day of our pledge drive, and Peter Bay is on the air making us laugh! He is a riot. He just dropped by to give us a hand as we raise funds to keep KMFA broadcasting commercial-free music in Central Texas.

Maestro Bay put out a challenge to listeners: Rich played the theme song to Star Trek, and Peter asked KMFA listeners to call in and tell him why we were playing that piece today. If someone guessed correctly, then he would donate $50 to the Pledge Drive…. can you guess the answer? 🙂

If you haven’t yet renewed your membership, or if you have considered becoming a new member,  then follow his example and help keep KMFA strong and on the air for another 44 years!

~posted by Alison @ KMFA 🙂

In the KMFA Studios: Matt Haimovitz drops by during SXSW

Dianne chats with Matt about classical music and SXSW

Matt Haimovitz: a musical visionary, cellist extraordinaire, and busy performer at SXSW this week, dropped by the KMFA studios today! He chatted on the air with Dianne Donovan about how classical music is not just a niche of music from prior centuries, but a foundation of music for all genres and future composition.

Short bio: From his debut (at age of 13!) as soloist with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic, and his first recording for Deutsche Grammophon, Haimovitz is considered a modern cellist virtuoso. In 2000, he made waves with his Bach Listening-Room Tour, wherein Haimovitz took Bach’s beloved cello suites *out* of the concert hall and into clubs across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.  ….He was the first classical artist to play at New York’s infamous CBGB Club, in a performance filmed by ABC News’ Nightline. He is Professor of Cello at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal.

Matt Haimovitz is acclaimed for his visionary approach, groundbreaking collaborations and innovative recording projects. We learned from him today that on March 22nd he will premiere a new cello concerto by Denys Bouliane with the Montreal Symphony and Kent Nagano.

If you missed his on-air interview, you can still listen to it on our website.

~posted by Alison @ KMFA 🙂