allclassical ceo jack allen retires

Photo courtesy of AllClassical Public Media.

Jack Allen, the CEO of Allclassical Public Media (89.9FM, has retired. Here is a link to the press release from the station. I was honored to serve on the board of directors from 2014 – 2017. Suzanne Nance, Vice President of Programming and On Air Host will step into the role of Interim CEO.

mozart for mom and spring is almost here

It has been a crazy month. On January 26th my mom died after a long struggle with dementia. The following weeks were taken up with arranging details of her memorial, going through thousands and thousands of pages of saved documents – some of which were important, most of which were not – reminiscing with my sister and my mom’s caregiver, and generally being exhausted. When we got back home after nearly three weeks away, it felt like we’d been on the worst vacation ever.

Slowly, I got back into the swing of things at work and teaching. When I’d gotten the news of my mom’s passing, I went into a panic about the upcoming playing obligations that I had over those next few weeks. The Oregon Symphony was very flexible and understanding with me taking leave to deal with the estate. Similarly, Third Angle and the University of Wyoming were very accommodating to my cancellations. The family does indeed come first.

One gig that I really wanted to try to keep was playing the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante with my dear friend and former OSO and Ethos Quartet colleague, violinist Denise Dillenbeck. I know the piece quite well and know Denise’s playing equally well, so even though rehearsal and practice time was going to be at a premium, my thought was that I could make it happen without making a fool of myself. So, the concert is coming up this Sunday, March 5th at 4 pm. It features the wonderful young musicians of the Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia Conservatory Orchestra, and I’m greatly looking forward to it. I’m dedicating my performance to my mom. I think she’d like that a lot.

Here’s me playing the opening viola solo line from the second movement. This movement is one of the greatest things written for stringed instruments. It’s essentially an instrumental opera, a love duet, I’d like to think. See that cool shirt I’m wearing? That is a prized memento of Portland’s great classical radio station (of which I’m a board member) AllClassical Portland, which just happens to be the No. 1 classical radio station in America*!  Help keep a great thing going strong, and give what you can by clicking here.



There are times that I wonder if what I do as a professional musician makes a difference. I know that the art that I help to create does make a difference in a larger, 30,000 feet sort of way. Society is better for having artists, musicians, writers. Then I heard this song on Friday night, driving back from an OSO concert in Salem. I sat in my driveway waiting for it to end, as it moved me greatly. I rarely get political – if you hold this against me, so be it – but I believe in what this song expresses, and how it is expressed.

Written by Sara Bareilles, and performed by Leslie Odom, Jr. (of Hamilton fame), this song was commissioned by This American Life to imagine what President Obama’s inner monologue might be in response to the hate and vitriol spewed in this election season. What resulted is a powerful response to the groundswell of white nationalism that has been fanned by the candidacy of Donald J. Trump. Music can make a difference.