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Classical 101

Central Ohio Arts Community: How's Everyone Coping?


I’ve set up an e-mail chain with friends, several of whom are active in the arts in the Columbus area. We check in, visit, and compare books, movies, problems, music, challenges. Very little seems to be off the table so far.

If you would like to be included, you’d be welcome. Leave a message on this blog.

Here’s how some of our arts partners are meeting the challenges we all have today:

Antoine Clark, Conductor, McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra

The pandemic has prevented me from working with my four orchestras. I am sad that I could not say goodbye to graduating students and finish out the year with their last concerts. As you know, I recently moved. Getting the new house in order has kept me occupied as well as two new kittens. The upside to having more time is that I have been able to update websites and professional pages. This had always been a challenge to keep up on because of teaching and performing so much. I have a nice LP library that I inherited from my father-in-law. So, I have been exploring the recordings every day. I am finding some wonderful albums in the collection.

Find Antoine’s performances with MACCO in our Music in Mid-Ohio series on this blog.

Peggy Kriha Dye, Artistic Director, Opera/Columbus

“Trying to pick up the pieces.”

Ed Bak, pianist, artistic collaborator, OSU Music Faculty

When I studied with Vitya Vronsky in the 80’s she remarked that “Largo” in Mozart means very very slow. She explained that “at the time Mozart wrote life moved slower. When people came to visit they did not drive over and eat quickly and leave after one or two hours. They arrived with a horse-drawn carriage and stayed for days or weeks. Nowadays everything moves so quickly - we have technology and electricity and automobiles and planes, and everything is available to us instantly. In some way the people from Mozart’s time were better than us. They could appreciate things at a slower speed than we can.”

With this in mind, I am discovering the Haydn Symphonies played on original instruments.

The colors of those instruments reveal an imagination and inventiveness that is lost in a modern approach.

And since I’m not pressed to always be on the run to my next appointment I am learning to listen .... slowly.


Kassie Rose, WOSU book critic-All Sides Weekend/Books

I’m reading a lot, although staying focused most days is a challenge. I’m posting reviews to my blog during these quarantine times, but it’s not the same as going to the station. I miss seeing you CP.

Publishers can’t send out advanced review copies of spring and summer titles because they can’t get to the offices to send them (most publishers are in NYC), and so I’m needing to adjust to reading new books as PDFs. It’s hard but I want to keep going. The newest book I’m reading is “Telephone” by Percival Everett coming out May 5. I worry about the authors and bookstores now and for what will come.

I’ve started playing the piano again – I think someone here said they too were playing! I’m keeping it light for now with Mozart sonatas.

And every day at 2 pm I listen to the Governor’s update. I’ve become terribly anxious while listening so I now walk during the briefing, and the anxiety goes away. Not sure what that’s about other than the feeling of the great unknown ahead. My two cardigan corgis Fitzgerald and Daisy don’t go on those mid-day walks but they get many others!

Kathrin Danzmayr, soprano 

We have more family time than ever before. We make music, bake and cook more together, play lots of board games and our favorite for the week is game "Wizard".

Homeschooling is sometimes a challenge but kids are finished with it in 2 to 3 hours and then the fun part of doing crafts, sport and music comes into play.

I find time to look over my music and check in with friends and family around the globe. A new structure in our musical household who is doing what at which time was really necessary.

Listening to music by my friend Valentina Pennino today. You will find lots of beautiful songs from her on youtube.


Yesterday's kids cooking recipe: homemade pizza!

Terence Wromble, Jazz Arts Group Director of Marketing  

I wonder though if there really will be a return to normalcy after all of this is over.  There may have to be a "new normal."  Reminds me of a song from "Ragtime," sung spectacularly by the late Marin Mazzie, called "We Can Never Go Back to Before."


Tim Sarsany, composer, arranger, choral conductor at Muskingum University

I enjoy reading the responses!  Thank you for sharing!

I just completed my fourth week of on-line teaching.  I held weekly sectionals with my concert choir.  We can't hear each other sing together, but I can lead them through the music we've been working on.  They are now working on recordings to submit.  I will stack them on my sequencing program to create a "choir", just for our own enjoyment.  Most importantly, these sectionals are really a chance to check in with them.   I'm enjoying working with my conducting and composition students as well. 

I miss them so much it hurts.  It's so great to see their smiles.  Even though we can't hear each other (they can only hear me, varying computer and internet speeds prohibit things) we can at least see we are working together.    It all is quite a challenge, but I'm trying to do all I can to make each of our meetings meaningful. 

My husband, Philip, and I are enjoying spending more time together, fixing meals, playing cards, watching movies...

I'm spending more time listening to lots of music, working on next school year's programming and all the possibilities that brings. 

I hope all of you are well and wish you the best through this trying time.  We will all be together again sometime soon.  I've got so many hugs to give out to people...


Arved Ashby, Professor of Music at The Ohio State University. Author of Mahler, A Listener’s Guide

Music is my salvation, and discoveries can be as rescuing as old favorites. One thing I'd like to suggest: music that's best for the wee hours when the rest of your household has turned in, are the solo gamba works of Marin Marais. Listen to his "La Reveuse" ("The Dreamer"), and tell me this isn't beautiful, soul-soothing stuff. It's the closest you'll get to a single voice singing through a string instrument. (Some fine players of the piece are Jordi Savall and Alberto Rasi.) For those who aren't allergic to the English pastoralists, try Delius's Summer Night on the River or E.J. Moeran's Rhapsody No.2. Michael Tippett is one of my weaknesses, and I'm gravitating these days to his Rose Lake and the slow movement of the Second Symphony.


Tending to the flowers, shrubs, and trees in my garden. Neurologists (e.g., Oliver Sacks) say that two activities can restore some degree of health and function to non-responsive people: gardening and music. There's something deeply rooted in our hard-wiring that makes us feel whole and habituated when we do these things.

Patting my two beloved mutts. The older of the two is indeed getting old these days, and is lately wearing a dog-diaper around the house. It's truly a sight to lighten the day.

Reading essays by Dorothy Parker, and Walter Benjamin and his childhood in Berlin. Detailed and lyrical accounts of the past can be great therapy, and Benjamin fills the bill.

Christopher Purdy, Classical 101

As for me, like all of my Classical 101 colleagues, I’m working hard to provide online content, both on this blog and on Classical 101’s Facebook page.
Don’t miss Quarantine Classics. Music in Mid-Ohio has a new home on this blog.

My wife Linda and I take a daily five-mile walk. Like Kassie, we never miss the Governor’s 2 pm briefing with Dr. Acton.

I’ve been returning to a few operas I don’t know very well or wanted to revisit. One act per day. So far I‘ve loved Handel’s Tolomeo, and was reintroduced to Esclarmonde (Massenet). The latter I saw in the 1970s with Joan Sutherland. Richard Strauss’s Arabella has its moments. Die Meistersinger by Wagner was, is, and always will, be very long.

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.