INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
National radio show plans to feature campus concert
By : Rachel Coker
When the BBC National Orchestra of Wales takes the stage at the Anderson Center this week, there will be more than the usual flurry of excitement and activity.
WSKG, the local National Public Radio affiliate, will record the group’s concert for local broadcast, the BBC and possible inclusion on the shows Performance Today and SymphonyCast. And a Binghamton alumna will play a major behind-the-scenes role.
Gail Wein ’82, producer of Performance Today, said the orchestra approached her about recording three concerts during its U.S. tour. “I was delighted to find the Anderson Center was one of them,” said Wein, who hasn’t had an opportunity to record a concert in Binghamton before.
She arranged to work with WSKG Radio Manager Ken Campbell on the complex recording project and met with him while she was in town for Homecoming last fall.
Campbell, whose station regularly records the Binghamton Philharmonic, said it’s a new undertaking to do a recording for national and international broadcast. The microphone requirements are more extensive and there will be some interesting logistics involved in capturing the BBC announcer who will narrate the program in Welsh, Campbell said.
“It’s a unique opportunity because it’s right here at the Anderson Center,” he said. “It’s a nice collaboration. There are some things we can’t do on our own because of our budget, but a chance to contribute something that will be heard across the pond and across the country is a nice opportunity.”
“We are extremely honored to have our venue selected by the BBC as the site for this exciting recording,” said Floyd Herzog, director of the Anderson Center.
Campbell said WSKG hopes to do more recordings like this one in the future.
The lag time between a concert and when it might be heard on Performance Today or SymphonyCast can range from a few days to much longer, Wein said. Both she and the orchestra have to make sure they like both the quality of the performance and the recording itself. She’ll then work with the music producer and programming director at Performance Today to fit pieces from the concert into their broadcasts.
The program for Friday’s concert includes Richard Strauss’ Don Juan, Op. 20; Bela Bartok’s, Piano Concerto, No. 3; Igor Stravinsky’s Petrouchka; and Benjamin Britten’s “Four Sea Interludes” from the opera Peter Grimes. The orchestra, under the direction of Swiss conductor Thierry Fischer, will be joined by young Welch pianist Llyr Williams.
“It is a program of great music that isn’t always so frequently performed on the concert stage,” Wein said. “We don’t often get the Benjamin Britten. That will be a highlight of this concert for us, especially performed by an excellent British orchestra.”
The Bartok concerto also appeals to her. “That’s a piece that is a 20th-century classic,” Wein said, “and we’re really excited to have access to that.”
Wein, a Long Island native who double majored in music and mathematics while at Binghamton, got her start in radio at WHRW. Even then, she was fascinated by classical music. Wein, who plays the bassoon, hosted a weekly show of classical music on WHRW.
Her performance background and Binghamton classes in music history and theory helped to prepare her for her current job. “I really do feel like I got a great education there,” she said.
Wein took an indirect path to her current job, producing shows that reach more than a million radio listeners each week.
She was an actuary and computer programmer and ran a contemporary chamber music ensemble before moving to Washington, D.C., to work as classical music director at WETA-FM. That job led to a position with NPR, which used to produce Performance Today. Just last month, she moved to St. Paul, Minn., where American Public Media now produces that show as well as SymphonyCast.