Erin Wright | WABE 90.1 FM

Erin Wright

Radio Producer

Erin Wright produces "City Lights" and "Strike Up the Band." After studying viola, German and Musicology at UGA, Erin began working at Public Broadcasting Atlanta in 2011. 

Ways to Connect

Chris O'Donovan / The King's Singers

Some travelers send postcards; other travelers collect them. The King's Singers, on the other hand, could be considered world-class collectors of musical postcards.

The group – a six-man a cappella ensemble named after King's College in Cambridge, England, where the group originally formed in 1968 – boasts nearly 50 years of world travels. One of the newest members, baritone Chris Bruerton, told Lois Reitzes that the group's travels around the world inform their repertoire.

TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd./EPK.TV

With less than a month remaining before the Dec. 14 release of "Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens," fan anticipation has reached fever pitch. You can count WABE film music contributor Dr. Scott Stewart among those eager fans — though it's John Williams' soundtrack he'll be standing in line for.

Stewart joined Lois Reitzes for their continuing conversation on Williams and his compositional approach, especially in the "Star Wars" films, ahead of next month's release. Williams is most famous for his epic themes like "The Imperial March," but that's only half the story. 

Carolyn Cook
Christopher Bartelski

It's difficult to laugh at Alzheimer's Disease. It's also difficult to endure any hardship without laughter.

"There's humor in every situation ... You're not going to live through it without the full range of emotion," Atlanta actress Carolyn Cook observed in a conversation with Lois Reitzes on "City Lights."

Drawing from personal experience, Cook portrays Vivienne Avery, a daughter caring for her mother who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's. It's important to Vivienne that she "make this an experience that validates her mom all the way to the end," Cook said. 

Bernat Armangue / Associated Press

George Costanza is a "short, stocky, slow-witted, bald man," according to Elaine Benes (and George himself) on the the television sitcom "Seinfeld." George Costanza also proclaims that he is "Lord of the Idiots."

Jason Alexander is not George Costanza. While he did play the "Lord of the Idiots" on "Seinfeld," Jason Alexander actually got his start in show business as a song-and-dance man on Broadway. Sure, he may be a little vertically challenged, but Jason is really a man of many talents with a clear-toned, musical voice.

From press kit.
Steve Wilson

The famed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to the Fox Theatre in Atlanta next week. From Feb. 11-15, the company will perform some of its most well-known pieces, including Alvin Ailey’s celebrated "Revelations." It will also bring an entirely new performance to Atlanta audiences called “Odetta.”

David Coucheron / special to WABE

Starting tonight at Symphony Hall, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concertmaster David Coucheron steps to the edge of the stage as soloist in a series of three concerts featuring Max Bruch's "Violin Concerto No. 1."

David is, in his own words, a mature man of 30 now, but 20 years ago he was learning this concerto behind his parents' backs. The photo above is proof of his (adorable) juvenile delinquency.

Here's WABE's Lois Reitzes in the studio with David, poring over his notes and scribbles:

Shana Tucker performing in WABE's Studio A in January 2015.
Jason Parker / WABE

Shana Tucker is a Durham, N. C.-based cellist and singer-songwriter. Drawing inspiration from the pop music of the 1980s, film scores, and world music, she infuses her playing with her classical and jazz upbringing into a style she calls "ChamberSoul."

WABE's Erin Wright sat down for a conversation with Tucker to talk about her music and her most prominent gig to-date, performing as cellist and mezzo-soprano in Cirque du Soliel's "KÀ" in Las Vegas. 

Vince Bucci / Invision/AP

Fans of the public television series "Downton Abbey" have certainly been through a lot with the Crawleys over the past four years.

Viewers have witnessed the sinking of the Titanic and other historic events through the eyes of the fictional aristocratic English family. "Downton Abbey's" audience has also endured the sometimes sudden departure of beloved cast members.

Lois Reitzes and David Koechner in WABE's Studio 4
Jason Parker / WABE

David Koechner may not be a household name, but his face – or better yet, his characters – certainly are. He's the actor behind Champ Kind, the chauvinist sportscaster in the "Anchorman" movies, and Todd Packer, the boorish brute to Steve Carell's bumbling nice guy Michael Scott from NBC's "The Office."

Our own Anchorlady, Lois Reitzes, spoke with Koechner about his craft, and his comedy.   

David Koechner performs Thursday through Saturday night at Buckhead's Atlanta Improv Comedy Club.

Lois Reitzes
Billy Howard / WABE

35 years ago today — Nov. 19, 1979 — Lois Reitzes officially signed on the air here at WABE. Current and former WABE and Public Broadcasting Atlanta staff offered Lois our gratitude and our congratulations. This sampling of staff voices is just a small tribute in recognition of her time with us so far.

Lois, of course, was quite surprised when an expected "important message" was actually an important message about her! She later remarked, "I was speechless! And speechless is not a good thing to be on the radio!"

Photo of Zoë Winters (from left), Mary Pat Gleason, Sarah Stiles, Beth Broderick, Deirdre Lovejoy, and Becky Ann Baker in the Alliance Theatre’s 2014/15 production of Steel Magnolias.
Greg Mooney / Alliance Theatre

Atlanta's own Alliance Theatre is currently home to a revival of a new American classic — Robert Harling's "Steel Magnolias." 

The play first opened in 1987 to nearly immediate success. Only two years later, Hollywood released its first film adaptation.

Still from Lorin Maazel's 2014 Castleton Festival production of "Madama Butterfly." Directed by Tomer Zvulun, set design by Erhard Rom, lighting by Robert Wierzel.
Ray Boc / Castleton Festival

Perhaps no one is more enthusiastic about the Atlanta Opera’s new season than Tomer Zvulun. And rightfully so — it’s his first planned season as the company’s General and Artistic Director. Zvulun’s planned three new productions for this Atlanta Opera Season — "Madama Butterfly," "Rigoletto," and a contemporary opera, "Three Decembers." Mozart's classic "The Marriage of Figaro" rounds out the 2014-2015 season. Lois Reitzes spoke with Mr. Zvulun and asked how he chose these particular operas:

Beatrice Rana was the Silver Medalist at the 2013 Van Cliburn Competition. She opens Spivey Hall's 2014-15 season.
Spivey Hall

Spivey Hall, located 25 minutes south of Atlanta on the campus of Clayton State University, is an intimate performance venue well-known for its superior acoustics. Classical and jazz artists love to perform here because "they know they can do their best work at Spivey Hall." That's according to Sam Dixon, the Hall's Executive and Artistic Director. Dixon is responsible for booking the Spivey Series concerts, and his keen ear is appreciated by performers and audience alike. Lois Reitzes recently spoke with Dixon and asked him how he curates each new Spivey season.
 

Michael Kurth is Composer-in Residence for the Riverside Chamber Players, as well as a section bassist for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Lois Reitzes recently sat down with Kurth to talk about his writing process, and the story behind his "Mean Old Pony Tango."

The Riverside Chamber Players perform Sunday, September 21 at Roswell United Methodist Church. The program includes Kurth's "signature piece" as well as Paul Salerni's string quartet arrangement of Mendelssohn's "Song Without Words."

Walter Huff and Lois Reitzes in WABE's Studio 4
Erin Wright / WABE

The Atlanta Opera kicks off their new season this weekend, but they're not opening with an opera. The company's Chorus Master — Walter Huff — celebrates 25 years with the Atlanta Opera this year, and what better way to celebrate than in song? WABE's Lois Reitzes recently sat down with Mr. Huff for a little reflection, and a toast to another 25 years.
 

Jennifer Dwyer McEwen / WABE

True Colors Theatre Company Artistic Director Kenny Leon is fresh off winning a Tony Award for directing his revival of "A Raisin in the Sun."

Now he's jumping back into work, but this time he's on stage. Leon asked his longtime friend — and co-founder of Actor's Express — Chris Coleman to direct him in "Same Time Next Year."

Student musicians rehearse and perform side by side with Atlanta Symphony professionals.
Jeff Roffman / Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

On Saturday, June 14 at 8 p.m. in Symphony Hall, music students from all over Atlanta will play side by side with their Atlanta Symphony counterparts. The "Side-By-Side" concert marks the end of an intensive week-long orchestral workshop. The students participate in special coaching sessions with ASO musicians and sit next to ASO members in rehearsals. WABE's Lois Reitzes sat down with Kenn Wagner, an ASO violinist, and his longtime student, James Pinder. In the audio clip, we'll hear from Kenn first:

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

Cellist and conductor Jere Flint is retiring from the Atlanta Symphony at the end of this season. The Maestro has been a cellist with the orchestra for 47 years. He’s a staff conductor, leading the popular family and pops concert series. He’s also been the music director of the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra for 35 years.

Maestro Flint's final concert with the ASYO is Sunday, May 11 at 3 p.m.
 

Irene Roberts, mezzo-soprano
Kristin Hoebermann / irenerobertsmezzo.com

If you've ever wondered what the difference is between a mezzo-soprano and a soprano, Irene Roberts has your answer. Roberts, a mezzo-soprano, will be singing the role of Rosina in the Atlanta Opera's upcoming production of "The Barber of Seville." Lois Reitzes sat down with Irene and began by asking her how she got into music.

"The Barber of Seville" opens April 26 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

Joseph Young
www.josephfyoung.com

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has had a vacant Assistant Conductor position since 2009. It’s a job where many young conductors make a name for themselves.

After several rounds of auditions, the ASO has selected Joseph Young – a truly “young” man of only 31.

Maestro Young was born in Charleston and graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2004 and the Peabody Conservatory in 2009.

He’s also a trumpet player, music educator and former resident conductor of the Phoenix Symphony. 

South Fork Conservancy

The American chestnut tree was once one of the most common trees in North America, growing from Mississippi up through the Appalachians, into New England and further still. Beginning around 1904 though, blight began to spread and the chestnut was decimated—the tree has all but disappeared from Georgia.

Mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton visits WABE with classical host Lois Reitzes.
Dan Raby / WABE

 When Jamie Barton last visited WABE, she was preparing for, as she called it, “The Olympics of Opera.” It's more formally known as the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. Barton went on to win both the Song Prize and the entire competition. It's thrilling to win, but what happens next? 

Georgia native mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton will perform this Sunday afternoon at 3 at Spivey Hall

ASO cellist Jennifer Humphreys (left) with WABE's Lois Reitzes
Erin Wright / Lois Reitzes

For many Atlantans who live or work in town, the prelude to the weekend is the long drive home. The ASO has a new solution for those who would rather start the weekend with music, food and drinks instead. WABE's Lois Reitzes sat down with ASO cellist Jennifer Humphreys and asked her what audiences can expect from the “First Friday” series at Woodruff Arts Center.

Jacques Martial performing 'Notebook of a Return to the Native Land.'
James Hercule / Martinique Promotion Bureau

Jacques Martial, known in France as an actor and leader of the arts, visits Atlanta for two special – and free – events.

On October 24, Martial presents his one-man stage adaptation of "Notebook of a Return to the Native Land."

On the morning of October 25, Martial will give a public lecture about the links between culture and place titled "La Villette: Culture and Urban Territory."

Long before we see the slick brochure for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s new season, music director Robert Spano looks at an empty calendar.

WABE’s Lois Reitzes sat down with him to discuss just how the ASO puts together a season—and what we can expect from the ASO in 2013-2014.

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