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WHYY-FM is expanding its efforts to feature the work of classical music groups in the region. 91FM will include eight recently performed and recorded programs from four local music organizations in the 2003-04 season of SUNDAY SHOWCASE, broadcast Sundays at 8 pm.

The new concerts joining the schedule include Astral Artistic Services, featuring emerging soloists; Tempesta di Mare, Philadelphia's newest baroque orchestra; The Philadelphia Singers annual Christmas concert; and Piffaro, performing music of the late Medieval and Renaissance periods.

SUNDAY SHOWCASE will continue to feature all regular season concerts of The Philadelphia Orchestra, concerts from The Curtis Institute of Music as well as other groups. Exact broadcast dates will be announced June 30.

"These new concerts make it possible for WHYY to truly offer a showcase of classical performances in the region, which has always been our intent for this radio series," said Kenneth Finkel, the Executive Director of WHYY's Arts and Culture Service. "There are many other talented groups that we hope to be able to include in the future."

WHYY's Ed Cunningham is radio host for the series, offering back-ground information and brief interviews about each week's music and music-makers. SUNDAY SHOWCASE has been a hit with audiences in the region since the program began in July 2001, resulting in a 200% increase in WHYY's audience during the program's time slot.

The new groups represent instrumental and vocal music and range from soloists to large ensembles:

  • Astral Artistic Services Concert Series presents an exciting range of recitals and concerts featuring accomplished emerging artists. This new collaboration with Astral will offer WHYY listeners an opportunity to better understand the development of artistic talent from students, through emerging soloist to career performer. For 11 years since its founding, Astral has focused on the support and development of the nation's most gifted young artists providing them with Philadelphia debuts, collaborations with world-renowned musicians, and auditions for major presenters, managers, and conductors.
  • The Philadelphia Singers, which will presents its annual Christmas Concert, is a unique group of professional singers who excel in solo as well as ensemble work. Founded in 1972 and under the leadership of Music Director David Hayes, this is a versatile ensemble composed of 24 of the area's finest vocal musicians. The Philadelphia Singers performs regularly with leading national and local performing arts organizations including: The Philadelphia Orchestra, The New York Philharmonic, The Pennsylvania Ballet, The Curtis Institute of Music, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia (formerly Concerto Soloists) and Astral Artistic Services. This special will be distributed nationally by Public Radio International.
  • Piffaro, founded in 1980, performs music of the late Medieval and Renaissance periods on a large and varied collection of early wind instruments, augmented by percussion and strings. Modeled after the official civic, chapel and court bands that were the premier professional ensembles from the 14th into the early 17th centuries, Piffaro has pursued the instruments and music of the peasantry and of rustic life as well, combining the two milieus to dramatic effect when appropriate. Under the direction of Joan Kimball and Robert Wiemken, the Band produces its own concert series in Philadelphia Excerpts from these concerts are regularly broadcast nationwide on National Public Radio's Performance Today.
  • Tempesta di Mare, Philadelphia's newest baroque orchestra was founded in 1996. Headed by Artistic Director Richard Stone, the group has been performing and touring music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries since 1996. Tempesta di Mare has performed at such festivals as the Amherst Early Music Festival and the Prague Spring International Music Festival. This season (2002-2003) is the launch of their own Greater Philadelphia concert series, playing to full houses at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Center City, and are close to filling Swarthmore College's Lang Concert Hall. National Public Radio's Performance Today has already broadcast music from their first concert of the season.

SUNDAY SHOWCASE is one example of the programming WHYY has produced in an effort to build its tri-state Arts and Culture Service show-casing the cultural richness of the Philadelphia region.

WHYY's Arts, Culture, and Humanities service is perhaps best known throughout the world for the daily radio program FRESH AIR WITH TERRY GROSS, which is heard by more than four million people each week on some 425 NPR stations in the United States alone. Recent WHYY arts and culture productions include the multimedia programs MURAL, a look at the struggles and triumphs of art on a grand scale, THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA: A NEW CENTURY, A NEW HOME, THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA TRIBUTE CONCERT and THOMAS EAKINS: SCENES FROM MODERN LIFE.

SUNDAY SHOWCASE is made possible by a grant from The Philadelphia Music Project, a cultural initiative funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The Settlement Music School, and by the Presser Foundation.

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