Classical radio announcers who really know their audience

Classical radio announcers who really know their audience


norman lebrecht

November 11, 2017

Fascinating piece from Minneapolis on the concert commentators who mingle with audiences to judge the mood in the house, and who observe the conductor’s mannerisms to see what he makes of the show.

Newhouse drives to Orchestra Hall early, so he can wander the lobby and ask patrons, “What brought you here tonight?” He checks the hall, making note of the attendance, what people are wearing, whether there are flowers on the podium.

“What’s the weather like outside? Is there a full orchestra, a chamber ensemble? Were there buses bringing people in?” he said, ticking off his process. “I can often tell if Osmo is happy, in how he slaps the score shut at the end of a piece.

“I try to take all of that and make it into a narrative.”

Not what you get at the BBC.

Read here.



  • Jejune says:

    Norman, believe me I appreciate a step away from the subject matter that sustains your ambitions here.

    If only MPR had found means of sustenance that didn’t rob their supportive audience of the spring from which classical tradition spilled. The Current, as if more evidence was needed by noting they make undrinkable beer from it nowadays, being nothing but a forced corporate production sucking heavily at that source to produce revenue. 10+ years on it is at least good to see some mature seeds germinating in their Newhouse.

    Norman, will you be attending the world premiere flute piece next season?

  • David R Osborne says:

    Yes indeed. It seems so obvious to ask for feedback. Then again I guess there is a hestitancy from many in our business to ask the audience for their opinion, given that they may not like some of the answers they get.

  • David J. Hyslop says:

    Brian Newhouse has done a great job for MPR and the Minnesota Orchestra broadcasts over these many years.
    Recently I have worked in a lot of markets where there is no full time classical music station or outlet and the results are less in those communities.