USC radio station creates show inviting LA Philharmonic artists

first_imgLaurtizen said he attributes the show’s success to Dudamel connecting with the audience by sharing personal stories, such as his current home life during the pandemic and his interpretation of musical selections, something that would not be possible in a traditional concert setting.  “Gustavo’s warmth, his humility, his humanity is something that is unique in people in his position and his level of fame,” Lauritzen said. “[Dudamel] kept saying, ‘I want you to ask more personal questions, I want to share more of my personality with the audience. I don’t just want to just deconstruct these pieces of music, I want to share who I am and how I think about music to the audience.’”  Since KUSC is partnering with the LA Phil for the new series, Lauritzen said the program had access to archived concert recordings, including some that have not been released publicly — a new aspect of the show he enjoyed sharing.  “He’s always been about connecting with the [Latinx] community in Southern California ever since he got here,” Lauritzen said. “He’s just so passionate about the world of classical music being accessible beyond what traditionally people think of in terms of audience for classical music, that this music can reach you no matter who you are, no matter where you come from.” Brian Lauritzen, KUSC announcer and host of the “At Home With…” series, has interviewed various classical musicians and artists, including Dudamel, since the latter’s conductor debut in 2009. Lauritzen said the new radio show is meant to provide a sense of comfort to listeners, especially during the pandemic, by discussing with Dudamel how his music selections can provide a sense of unity among listeners.  “That [had] always been the focus of the show is to showcase the unique power that music has to inspire, to uplift, to move us and even when we’re apart, bring us together,” Lauritzen said.  “Music has no language,” Lopez said. “However, if [listeners] hear someone talking in Spanish and that’s their native language, of course I think they’ll be a little bit more interested … It’s important for people to make a little bit of time and try to reach out to the Spanish-speaking community because they would tune in more …  or if they’re searching on the radio and they heard someone speaking Spanish, [they] would probably stop and listen to it.”  As KUSC transitions the show to include more artists involved with the LA Phil, with Finnish composer Esa-Pekka Salonen as its next guest to air April 28 through May 1, Lauritzen said his experience with the show and working remotely has provided an opportunity to connect with listeners.  The program includes eight shows in English and two shows in Spanish. Spanish actress and Dudamel’s wife María Valverde also hosted the Spanish version while Lauritzen announced the music selections in English for non-Spanish-speaking listeners. According to Lauritzen, having the Spanish component of the show was important to Dudamel to involve this community with the show.  Reaching out to KUSC, the LA Phil conceived of the idea of a radio program where Dudamel would select and discuss his favorite pieces of inspiring and uplifting music during this time of social distancing and isolation. Since “At Home with Gustavo,” the program has garnered a national and global audience, with the series available on several radio stations including those in Philadelphia, Kansas, Mexico and Spain.  Alejandra Lopez, a Pomona resident and avid follower of the station for five years, said she was listening to the station during dinner with her family when the program switched to Dudamel’s Spanish broadcast, to her surprise.  “We were listening to KUSC, and then they said … [Dudamel] was going to be doing a live broadcast in Spanish,” Lopez said. “Literally my family was jumping out of their chair during dinnertime because they said ‘What, in Spanish? Oh my gosh, that’s fabulous, never heard [of that] before!’”center_img “For me, and I imagine for a lot of you, music has been the thing that brings people together, even when we are apart,” Dudamel wrote in the LA Phil press release. “It’s important maybe now more than ever that we find ways to connect and find comfort and inspiration. While I can’t perform for you right now, I am excited about a new way that I can share music.” Greg Gilquist, a California resident of five years, stumbled upon the station during his first few days driving through L.A. traffic. While he said he enjoys the “At Home With…” program and looks forward for the radio show to continue, Gilquist believes the station and its affiliates should expand to allow listeners to share music and the importance it has to them. The first “At Home With …” series featured LA Philharmonic music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel. With the Dudamel program featuring shows in both English and Spanish, it garnered a global audience, reaching radio stations in Mexico and Spain.  (Photo courtesy of Gustavo Dudamel) With the coronavirus pandemic forcing many to work from home, radio stations across the country have continued to provide content to their listeners remotely, transitioning their high-tech equipment to at-home operations. KUSC, a USC-affiliated classical music radio show, has aimed to provide listeners a series of programs during the pandemic, including its “At Home With …” series, a program aimed at sharing a group of guest artists’ curated music selections and their thoughts behind the pieces, kickstarted by Los Angeles Philharmonic music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel.  Listening to the “At Home with Dudamel” show during his drive home after a late shift at his architecture firm, Gilquist said he had a different experience than when he usually listens to the classical station. According to Gilquist, the show, which provides a sense of calm after a day at work, instead energized him.  “That was an element to me that was really cool that we get to share something that you can’t hear anywhere else,” Lauritzen said. “That was one of the benefits of working with the LA Phil to make this program happen, and to have the access to these recordings and to be able to share those recordings with the audience is something that I really appreciated.”  For Lopez, incorporating Spanish into radio stations’ English-formatted shows will not only increase the viewership of the stations but also be inclusive to this prominent population in L.A.  “Listening to that recording that Dudamel picked out, it was exhilarating — it took me from being a little bit of a blur of work and all of a sudden very much awake,” Gilquist said. “Listening to that, I turned it up a little high and got my heart racing a little bit — maybe not such a great idea [while] driving, but that’s the effect that it had on me.” “[To be] interactive in a kind of personal way, [this] could be a great thing to keep that going, to hear other people’s stories in addition to [artists] — what music gets them going and feeling back to a better place when things are stressful,” Gilquist said. “You’re not just someone pressing play,” Lauritzen said. “In my case, in the closet of my master bedroom at home, telling stories about the music, being empathetic to the situation that our audience is in. All of that, helping to create a little bit of community, a little bit of togetherness, even while we’re apart — that’s something that I view as a privilege and responsibility.”last_img