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WHRB Commemorates Again


The David Elliott Memorial Orgy (1942-2020), so greatly acclaimed when first broadcast over WHRB on December 24, 2020, will repeat this Friday from 10 am to 8 pm. The Orgy commemorates the 58 years David served as voice of Harvard Radio, and weaves together iconic and beloved moments at WHRB that tell a story of the station’s longtime mentor, host, and friend. Listeners and WHRB alumni (“ghosts”) also comment throughout. The Orgy is in nine sections: Early Years, Classical Music Relations, WHRB Historian and Community Keeper, Harvard Broadcasts, Special Programs, Love of Opera, and Holiday Broadcasts. Again, the repeat broadcast of this memorial is slated for Friday, May 28 from 10 am to 8 pm on WHRB, 95.3 FM and streaming HERE.

The Early Years section features a discussion of and a work from one of David’s earliest WHRB broadcasts, a series entitled Voices That Live that the Boston Globe highlighted in 1961.

The Classical Music Relations section will likely prove most interesting to the Boston classical music community. It begins with interviews David conducted with three of the most influential figures in classical music: soprano Renee Fleming, violinist Joshua Bell, and composer Aaron Copland. It continues with excerpts from David’s interviews with directors of classical music organizations in the area, including Deb Boldin from the Chameleon Arts Ensemble; Benjamin Zander from the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra; Gil Rose from Odyssey Opera and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project; and Kathy Fay from the Boston Early Music Festival. Key musical recordings related to David will also be heard throughout this section. These include one for which he was the recording engineer: a song from a luminous 1971 performance of Aaron Copland’s 12 Poems of Emily Dickinson in Sanders Theatre, sung by famed soprano and long-time Boston area opera teacher Phyllis Curtin, with Copland at the piano. Tributes will also be heard from other members of the Boston classical music community, including Ryan Turner, Martin Pearlman, Ron Della Chiesa, and Susan Byers Paxson.

The WHRB Historian and Community Keeper section highlight s David’s many contributions to the WHRB community, including his annual lecture on the history of radio to new station members, excerpts from the 1985 Bach Orgy, his speech from the 1994 station move from Memorial Hall to Pennypacker Basement, and his speech from the 75th anniversary WHRB gala in 2015. The Harvard Broadcasts section features excerpts from the Installations of two Harvard presidents: Derek Bok and Drew Gilpin Faust. It also includes accounts of David’s annual Harvard Commencement broadcasts.

The Special Programs section focuses on David’s annual July 4th broadcasts, the hour-long Orgy “Odd Songs and a Poem, and a Lesson in Heath” which includes some of David’s favorite variety songs, and an interview with Michael Feinstein, singer of the Great American Songbook. The Love of Opera section features excerpts from several of David’s pre-Met and other opera broadcasts and a look at his early love for opera. Finally, the Holiday Broadcasts section ends this memorial with excerpts from David’s annual Christmas programs.

We hope that many BMInt readers will be able to tune in again or for the first time to this tribute to a true and great friend of the Boston area classical music community. A more complete description can be found HERE (but please move the times ahead by two hours, as this rebroadcast starts at 10 am).

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  1. What a wonderful tribute to David- what is left out and important to Boston’s music scene was his invaluable contributions to Northeastern Records – back in the 80s we produced unknown composers, and David was an important mentor to the project. Lynn Joiner was head, I was the A&R and we were well received, showcasing Boston Classical Group composers (Macdowell,Beach,Foote,Loeffler,Paine) and later Brandeis guys as well as a women composer channel- Clarke’s first recording, Fanny Mendelssohn(Vicky Sirota scholar and played organ on the CD) those were palmy days! swish we could clone David for music’s future……………..

    Comment by virginia eskin — May 26, 2021 at 9:05 am

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