Classical Music Radio Simulcasts and Live Recordings

By Daniel McAdam.

At one point in my life I resided in a small apartment in an apartment building in New York City named Symphony House. The building was - and, presumably, still is - located on West 56th Street, off Broadway and just a couple of blocks over from Carnegie Hall. Lincoln Center, while further away, was also within walking distance. Concert-going was as easy as walking out the door and going for a stroll. The same held true if one was interested in attending an opera or the ballet.

Such is no longer the case.

Like many Americans, I am now a suburbanite. Nothing is within walking distance, and if something was, it would not be a concert hall. This is not a terrible problem, and of course between CDs and downloads a person can have all the classical music he or she desires at home. If one wants to hear "live" music without leaving one's house, one could listen to a performance that was recorded live, or watch a DVD of a live performance. Thanks to NPR, one can also listen to recorded live performances on Fred Child's radio program Performance Today, which I used to do religiously and still enjoy.

Of course, recordings of live performances aren't really "live;" they're recordings of performances that were "live" at the time of recording.

There is, though, yet another alternative to getting in one's car and going to a concert. (Which is not the worst way one could spend an evening.) That alternative would be to tune in to a radio simulcast of a classical music performance, either via an actual radio or via the internet. I don't know all of the radio stations that offer simulcasts via the internet, but I do know that WQXR in New York does, so that would be a good starting point if one is interested in trying this out.

If one is somewhat flexible with the term "live" - I am, you should be - then one would also do well to visit the Boston Symphony Orchestra's Concert Broadcast Streams. One can hear free online concert streaming of Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops and Tanglewood programs for up to a year after the original performance, which is really a very generous offering.

Support of these and similar programs through contributions is also a great idea. We often hear that classical music is not as accessible as it once was to listeners of limited means, but programs such as this counter that argument and deserve encouragement.





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