By Megan Westberg
Broadcaster and violinist Clemency Burton-Hill, author of Year of Wonder: Classical Music to Enjoy Day by Day, has been striving to bring classical music to a wider audience for a number of years. As of September 10, her passion finds a new outlet in the form of a daily podcast, dubbed the Open Ears Project, produced as a partnership between WNYC Studios and New York classical radio station WQXR, where Burton-Hill serves as creative director for music and arts. The project will include 30 episodes.
While Burton-Hill created and hosts the show, the format gives “a cast of everyday New Yorkers” and visiting artists—some musicians, some not—the opportunity to discuss a piece of classical music that has had an impact on their daily lives. Alec Baldwin, for example, discusses Aram Khachaturian’s “Spartacus Suite”; Wynton Marsalis describes the first time he heard Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 16, Op. 135; and Eric Jacobsen of the Knights details the impact of Schubert’s Piano Trio No. 1.
“I’ve spent much of my broadcasting career being the one behind the mic, telling people what they should listen to,” says Burton-Hill in a statement. “With the Open Ears Project, we are inviting others to tell their stories about the way a particular piece has changed their lives. We hope the short daily episode will help to create an everyday listening ritual around classical that enables us to hear both the music, and each other, differently.”
For more information, visit WQXR.org.