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Classical Pacific June 7, 2017

John C. Zak
John C. Zak

Welcome to Classical Pacific on Hawaii Public Radio HPR 2. I’m your host, John Kalani Zak.

It’s Wednesday, June 7th, 2017. Yesterday was a busy and enjoyable day at HPR. I was surprised with a birthday cake, and a yummy one at that, by friends and colleagues at the station. It was delicious and quite unexpected. After yesterday’s Classical Pacific broadcast, I had the pleasure of joining in a conversation in the Atherton Studio with Iggy Jang, Concert Master for the Hawaii Symphony, and André Watts,  the legendary pianist who had his national début on the CBS Young Peoples Concerts, produced and hosted by Leonard Bernstein. I remember  watching those concerts on chilly, rainy Seattle Saturdays when I was a kid. I was pounding out ditties on my Thomas organ in those days. André and the other performers, nurtured by Leonard Bernstein, were quite an inspiration to a kid who was still reaching for the foot pedals on the organ! We will air portions of the interview at a time to be determined and we'll be sure to let you know about it.

André and Iggy could not have been more enjoyable and collegial company. We went into depth about their experience as young, aspiring musicians, and covered a number of other topics as well.  The invited guests seemed to enjoy the conversation and many lingered to discuss music, life, and art with André and with each other. I am quite happy to report that true gentlemen still exist in this world and both Iggy and André are fine examples of the species! The musical bond between them was quite evident in the conversation.

André concluded the conversation by playing two pieces on the Boesendorfer and, as you can imagine, one could hear a pin drop. Mesmerizing. André and his wife, Joan, were celebrating their wedding anniversary last night, as well. We thank them and Iggy Jang, too, for joining us at HPR for this collaborative event between Hawaii Public Radio and The Hawaii Symphony. Gene Evans and Jason Tagnialetti were their usual, wonderful selves in producing and recording the event.

Today, we have a diverse program but, in my view, a delightful one. We will be hearing from Gershwin in the first hour with an orchestral suite based on one of his groundbreaking musicals. We’ll also hear the saxophone  featured in classical works and we’ll toss in a  a couple tunes from the Beatles. We’ll close with a couple lovely pieces performed by vocalist, Bobby McFerrin and cellist, Yo Yo Ma.

Classical Pacific began in February, 2017, as a result of Hawaii Public Radio’s ongoing commitment to give listeners across Hawaii and around the world more of what they love, on two networks: HPR 1 and HPR 2. Airing five days a week at 3 P.M. Hawaii time, the series  features the finest of the world’s classical music, while also shining a spotlight on orchestras, artists, and composers of the Pacific region, including Polynesia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, The U.S., Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Australia. We’ll also add spice with indigenous and World music that is creating new musical languages and collaborations worldwide.

Classical Pacific and all Hawaii Public Radio programs are available online at our website: You can also download the free app for your mobile device and take HPR with you whenever and wherever you travel! Just type H - P - R in the search box of your App. store!

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