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Graham Parker, Executive Director of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, to Lead WQXR

An orchestra director will now run a radio station.

WQXR, New York City’s only classical music station and sister station of WNYC, has announced the appointment of Graham Parker to the position of Vice President of Classical 105.9 WQXR. Mr. Parker is currently the Executive Director of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Laura Walker, President and CEO of New York Public Radio, said that Parker has the experience to build a great brand and a great destination for classical music.

From the classical music canon and legacy, and to future of the 21st century, "his vision encompasses it all," Walker said.

New York Public Radio acquired WQXR from The New York Times in the fall of 2009.

Parker will develop WQXR’s brand as a New York-rooted classical music destination, coordinating programming on the air, online and in live performance.

First and foremost, Parker will be a curator for great classical music, Walker said.

His experience running the orchestra-led Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will also serve him as he leads the staff of WQXR and WQXR.org. "A leader of a conductor-less orchestra needs to have a sense of respect for the collective as well as the individual," Walker said.

Parker said he has listened to the station since he came to the U.S. from the U.K. in the mid-90s. Since its acquistion by New York Public Radio in July 2009, he says the programming has become more varied and imaginative.  He pointed particularly to the Q2 online music stream which, he said, provides a counterbalance to the more traditional on-air programming. He plans to make WQXR.org a digital hub, providing content on mobile devices, so that audiences "can bring WQXR anywhere."

Parker grew up listening to the BBC. Through the online platform, he hopes to bring a global reach to his work with WQXR. “We want to share that content with the widest number of people possible.”

Parker served as head of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for eight years. "Graham has been a positive force for new ideas and change, and for collaboration." said Jim Bredeson, Orpheus's General Manager.

WQXR has been one of Orpheus' cultural partners, collaborating on live broadcasts and other online projects. "We hope that collaboration that will continue." Bredeson said.

The Orpheus board of directors met this morning, after learning of Parker's departure, and will begin a national search for a new Executive Director in July. Bredeson will serve as interim executive director until the position is filled.