Broadcast music festival showcases live-recorded concerts of the Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Baroque and the Boston Early Music Festival
BOSTON (April 15, 2020) – As concert halls across the country are closed, 99.5 WCRB Classical Radio Boston is bringing together three of Boston’s cornerstone music organizations to present Festival 1750, a 10-day broadcast music festival beginning on April 20, 2020.
The three organizations – Boston Baroque, the Handel and Haydn Society, and the Boston Early Music Festival – will showcase their distinctive voices in performances of baroque and classical music, recorded live by WCRB over the past three years.
“As WCRB continues to explore ways to keep our audience and Boston's vibrant music community connected, we thought a festival featuring the three leading period instrument organizations would be unique and musically fabulous,” said Anthony Rudel, station manager of WCRB. “Over 10 nights, our audience can relive the incredible feeling of being in the hall to experience great performers playing superb music.”
The broadcast festival features performances of works written immediately before and after the pivotal year of 1750, when the elaborate vibrancy of baroque masters Bach and Handel began to give way to the grace and proportions of classical composers like Mozart and Haydn. Concerts will broadcast in Greater Boston at 99.5 FM each weekday at 9 p.m. and online to a national audience at www.classicalwcrb.org for two weeks beginning Monday, April 20. The series culminates in a program featuring performances from all three organizations on Friday, May 1. Full program details will be available at www.classicalwcrb.org/festival1750. Listeners can ask their smart speaker to play 99.5 Classical Radio Boston.
“This on-air festival—highlighting Boston’s three preeminent period instrument organizations—beautifully showcases the talent, vibrancy, and variety of Boston’s baroque and classical musical community,” said Jennifer Ritvo Hughes, executive director of Boston Baroque. “In this concert-less time, WCRB has been a tremendous partner in bringing music to audiences at a time when we all crave the inspiration and solace that music can provide.”
Highlights of Festival 1750 will include the raw power of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony from the Handel and Haydn Society, lively concertos by Vivaldi and Telemann performed by Boston Baroque, and the Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra’s lush selections from operas by Rameau.
"Great music inspires and elevates in good times and bad, and really great music does so generation after generation, connecting us all with our shared humanity,” said David Snead, president and CEO of Handel and Haydn Society. “H+H, which has lifted spirits through the Civil War, two World Wars, the Depression and the 1918 pandemic, is proud to partner with WCRB and offer timeless masterpieces of music for this extraordinary moment in time."
Many of the Festival 1750 performances will be heard on broadcast for the first time. Others were originally recorded for “WCRB In Concert,” a weekly WCRB program highlighting the wealth of live classical music in Massachusetts. WCRB host and producer Alan McLellan will host Festival 1750.
“For nearly forty years, the Boston Early Music Festival has proudly partnered with 99.5 WCRB by showcasing among the finest performances of Early Music in Boston,” said Kathleen Fay, Executive Director of Boston Early Music Festival. “Given the profound challenges presently facing our vibrant musical community of devoted listeners and performing artists, we are so grateful for this new and unique initiative – Festival 1750 – and the opportunity to share spectacular excerpts from the Boston Early Music Festival concert and opera stage, while we stay at home and keep our community safe.”
WCRB 99.5 FM is a non-commercial, independent, listener-supported public radio station dedicated to excellence in classical music broadcasting. Serving Boston and the New England region, it offers accessible classical radio of the highest caliber and operates under the core belief that classical music can and should be part of everyone’s life. WCRB is a key community convener for classical music in New England, partnering with local arts organizations including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Handel and Haydn Society, Boston Early Music Festival, the New England Conservatory and more. Its online streaming reaches a global audience. WCRB is a service of national public media leader WGBH.
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience, Arthur and more than a dozen other primetime, lifestyle and children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH TV productions focusing on the region’s diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black and High School Quiz Show. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston’s Local NPR®; 99.5 WCRB Classical Radio Boston; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of digital content and programs for public radio through PRX, including The World and Innovation Hub, a leader in educational multimedia with PBS LearningMedia™, providing the nation’s educators with free, curriculum-based digital content, and a pioneer in services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind and visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors: Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. Find more information at wgbh.org.