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


Cub Scouts visit the KMFA studios!

We just enjoyed a visit from an enthusiastic “pack” of Cub Scouts!

On occasion,  we’ll receive a request from a youth scout group to tour the KMFA radio station as part of their efforts to broaden their horizons and learn more about industry and vocations.  Jeffrey Blair serves as teacher and tour guide,  showing off the Master Control On-Air studio, the CD library,  and the recording studios.

“Den 10, Pack 55” had a great time, and we had fun seeing the radio station for the first time through their eyes. They even held still long enough for these photos.  🙂

Mark, Michael, Devin and Dylan on their tour of the KMFA Studios

The chaperons were just as engrossed as the scouts

~posted by Alison @ KMFA  🙂

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…

In the KMFA Studios — Dr. Joyce Wu

This weekend, KMFA’s newest show, Pianoforté, will feature some really popular piano favorites, including Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy, Debussy’s Claire de Lune,  and Chopin’s Ballade No. 4.

Local artist and teacher, Dr. Joyce Wu, performed the Fantasy pieces live in KMFA’s Studio 2000, and I took a few photos while she was warming up. She’s really good!

You can hear this episode of Pianoforté this Saturday at 8pm. Enjoy!  🙂

Dr. Joyce Wu, playing the Steinway-O piano in Studio 2000

Note the strategic microphone placement for recording

Producer Sarah Addison governs the sound board while Dr. Joyce Wu performs

~posted by Alison @ KMFA  🙂

KMFA Radio Summer Camp calls it a wrap

[UPDATE: the interviews and recorded music that these great kids compiled during their summer camp week has culminated into a radio show! Tune in to hear their show August 20th at 10am and August 21st at 3pm.]


~ posted by Kelsey Padgett, KMFA Production & Development Associate

I can’t believe KMFA’s Summer Camp has already come and gone – the KMFA staff and I absolutely loved having these great kids here in the studios for a full week! They were all amazing students for our first ever radio-production camp.

During the second week of June, six lucky 8th and 9th graders participated in “Kids Recording Kids,” learning on-air speaking techniques, how to record musicians performing live, radio interviewing skills, and editing and audio production techniques.

These kids are smart, fun, and enthusiastic!

Young musicians from the Austin Classical Guitar Society and the Austin Chamber Music Center were the recording subjects for the project, and by the end of the week, they had created their very own radio show!

We took lots of photos, and even turned them loose with the video camera a couple of times. We’ll be posting more photos soon… In the meantime, here’s a great video with highlights of teaching, learning, and fun!

Here’s a blog entry written by one camper, Nate:

KMFA’s summer camp, “Kids Recording Kids,” has been a great experience. I have learned so much about music and radio over the process, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves listening to radio, who is interested as to how radio works, and is interested in interviewing.

Nate sits in the "hot seat" in Master Control

One of the things I got the most out of is getting to meet all of the KMFA staff, getting the chance to ask questions, and knowing that I would always get a fantastic answer. All of the KMFA employees are laid back and fun to get to know. From the staff in the office to the radio hosts, our camp counselors to the radio engineer Phil, they all rocked my socks! I even got to sit in the radio control room while Diane Donovan did her radio show. I think I overloaded her with questions by asking her, “What does this button do? What does this switch do?”

I also enjoyed getting to learn about audio production, interviewing techniques, how to speak on the radio, getting to know more about classical music, learning how broadcasting and radio frequencies work, and of course getting to know how a radio station works and operates.

And last but not least, our camp counselors, Carmel, Lauren, and Kelsey were terrific. For the first year of this camp, they did a fantastic job of creating it and making it happen. Not to mention the fact that Carmel and Kelsey were really good at making awkward situations not so awkward. In the end, I can say that Kids Recording Kids has been terrific!!!  ~Nate Z.

and here’s Hunter’s blog entry:

At KMFA’s summer camp, there was a lot for us as a group to learn and enjoy.  Starting out, we got to have a tour of the studio by Phil Pollack, and although it maybe didn’t all make sense it was still interesting to see how the station ran.  The next day we learned about microphone and also enjoyed informally recording each other.  We continued throughout the week to enjoy interviewing and recording a quartet of the Classical Guitar Society, and Nate and I got to have some fun watching Dianne Donovan “live” on air in the control room. 

My personal favorite so far, however, has been learning things from Jeffrey in the control booth during interviews.  There are so many interesting buttons and knobs to learn about, as well as various types of electronic equipment.  Second on my list of favorites was recording a video tour with Nate of KMFA studio. As the week comes to a close, I as well as the other campers are looking forward to editing recordings as well as learning other interesting “finishing” techniques here at KMFA.  ~ Hunter A.

It was so successful, I hope that we will be able to keep this program going and growing for many years to come.

~posted by Kelsey Padgett, Camp Counselor and KMFA Production Associate

Blast from the Past: hear a familiar KMFA voice on Classical Guitar Alive this weekend!

Russell Sarre, Australian composer (and former host of KMFA)

If you’ve been listening to KMFA since the 1990s, you’ll remember an announcer named Russell Sarre. His distinctly Australian accent, coupled with an irrepressible sense of humor, made him a popular host on KMFA. The show he was most remembered for was “Mind Your Music,” co-starring David Ford. It was so successful, they even beat the famous NPR show “From the Top” one year for a national radio award!

Russell is a classical composer, and he and his family now live in Hamburg, Germany. Luckily for his Austin fans he was interviewed by Tony Morris (host of the popular show, Classical Guitar Alive) about the premiere of his most recent work: Lyric Suite for Guitar and String Quartet.

To hear the whole episode, tune in tonight at 9pm, and again on Sunday at 11am, on KMFA 89.5.

Here’s a quick preview:

~posted by Alison @ KMFA  🙂