Q&A with WSHU's Kate Remington
Ms. Remington discusses the perks and challenges of her career + a playlist!
WSHU Music Director Kate Remington is considered a wellspring of information on the masterworks of legendary musicians, composers and conductors. See the July/August issue of Fairfield Living magazine for our interview with her about the station’s classical programming. Here's a few bonus Q and As...
Q. How did you come to hosting classical music on the radio?
A. "I started as a music major at the University of Wisconsin Madison wanting to be a conductor, and I discovered it was really hard. I went to a panel shortly before I graduated on what you could do with your music degree, and the panelist from Wisconsin Public Radio made hosting a classical music show sound like so much fun! So I felt like I had to try that and once I did, I got hooked."
Q. Initially, did you find the work a little intimidating, introducing the masterworks of the world’s most legendary musicians, composers and conductors?
A. "What I found hard, was, though I was lucky to work with some of the all-time best announcers, I felt intimidated trying to live up to their standards. Also, learning pronunciations for all of the composers’ and conductors’ names was a little challenging at times."
Q. What is the greatest challenge of being on the air?
A. "I guess making everything fit is the single most challenging thing. Because even though a CD says it’s sixteen minutes, it’s not always. We have the deadline of the newscasts every hour, pretty much, so editing what I want to say about a piece and making that fit with the underwriting announcements we have, as well as making sure the music is interesting, that’s probably the biggest challenge."
Q. What makes your programming so unique is that you share with your audience the wallpaper—that is, the background, historical notes, tidbits and trivia about the composers and selections you play. Where do you find these interesting and sometimes juicy details?
A. "I’ve been lucky over the years to talk with performers who have gotten so inside the music…and, in a lot of cases, the performers know the composers whose work they are playing, the living contemporary composers. Plus, good old-fashioned liner notes and Wikipedia."
Q. Kate, how did Midday Mozart originate?
A. "I inherited from a previous music director, but I really like it because it gives an anchor to the noon hour, something everybody can look forward to. And because there is so much music by Mozart, there is always something to listen to."
Q. Are there any new recordings we can look forward to this year?
A. Dozens, hundreds. We’re getting new recordings every single day. And I’m doing my best to get those auditioned and cataloged so I can share them with our listeners."
Q. How many discs are in house?
A. "About 15,000 CDs. Occasionally, if they’re so damaged they’re unplayable, they’re retired."
Q. Your programming covers six periods of music: Early and Rennaissance (1000–1600), The Baroque (1600–1760), Classical (1730–1820), Early Romantic (1820–1850) Late Romantic (1850–1910) and Modern (1900–2000). Do you give equal play to all five periods?
A. "I would say probably 60 percent of the music we play is spread over the Classical and Romantic periods, and then about 20 percent for twentieth-century and twenty-first-century music, and about 20 percent Baroque and Early music."
Q. Did you favor one period over another?
A. "No. There’s beautiful music that’s been written in all of those periods."
As WSHU celebrates 30 years on the air, Fairfield Living magazine asked Music Director Kate Remington to create the perfect playlist. Here's what she told us:
Solo Cello Suite No. 1
Symphony No. 5
Jeremy Soule Skyrim,
“The Far Horizons”
Piano Concerto K 271
Piano Sonata Op. 110
A Shropshire Lad, “Loveliest of Trees”
Piano Concerto No. 2
Romeo and Juliet
Symphony No. 9