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

Monday, June 21, 2010

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 "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 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.



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Comments [9]

Anna Cook (nee Watkin) from Guildford, UK

Wow! You came a long way since CHAOS!! Congratulations Graham.

Nov. 24 2010 11:03 AM
Kal Rubinson from Manhattan

I welcome Mr. Parker because, since the conversion, WQXR's programming seems to indicate that there is no one at the helm. The content is repetitive and often insipid. It constitutes, imo, a great dilution of serious classical music and is one reason that the pleas to "save classical music in NYC" fall falsely on my ears.

If Mr. Parker can provide a coherent programming voice for the broadcasts, it will be welcome.


Jun. 23 2010 02:12 PM
Kathryn Heintz from Bronx, NY

Fantastic news! Not only will I endeavor to have a radio on in my office all day long, I'll have to become a donor. Best of luck to you and WQXR.

Jun. 23 2010 09:43 AM
sierra goodale

Good luck Graham! I know you will bring your wide experience, knowledge, joy and great music to all the listeners. Peace and blessings, Sierra

Jun. 22 2010 03:08 PM
Harry from Brooklyn, NY

Missing from this jolly announcement is any indication of what will happen to the WNYC music staff. Is this sleek Brit planning to continue with David Garland, Terrence MacKnight, Sara Fishko, Helga Davis, Nadia Sirota, and the crew of producers, engineers, and programming executives who keep the station on the air? Is he going to stick with the crew who worked overtime and lost sleep to make the transition the station from commercial to public radio in record time? Or is this time for a "new beginning" in which much good work gets dumped in the trash?

Sorry to sound cynical, but I've seen it happen too often in the past.

Jun. 22 2010 03:57 AM
Roger Johnson

My concern is that this position signals even more that WQXR’s mission is to be a kind of “gated community” where only a very limited—dare I say segregated—repertory is “considered.” This seems quite at odds with the larger inclusive, multicultural role of NPR and particularly the spirit of this city itself. A classical station has its place, but as a sustaining member of WNYC I would much rather hear and support a broader, more diverse and contemporary programming. If QXR is going to be the only music programming the two stations offer, that would be serious mistake.

Jun. 21 2010 04:41 PM
Mike from Inwood

This isn't the Graham Parker who used to play a guitar in a rock band is it?

Jun. 21 2010 02:59 PM
Bruce Buzalski from Pemberton, NJ

Welcome to QXR from a listener of over 70 years. This station has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. My father always had it on the family radio on Sunday afternoons and I soon learned to tune in and listen myself. Growing up it continued to be important to me and was the only station I played on my car radio when I finally got one. Since I am now living outside of the NY listening area I am grateful to the powers that be for putting it on the web. It is now my constant companion (except when I'm in the car).
I wish you the best of luck as you shepherd QXR in the years to come. I also hope that you will find the time and inclination to share your personal musical knowledge with us and that you become more than just a name on the letterhead to the QXR community.
Best Regards,
BT Buzalski

Jun. 21 2010 02:12 PM
Gev Sweeney from Ocean Grove, New Jersey

Excellent news! Congratulations to Mr. Parker. He and WQXR have my best wishes for success.

Jun. 21 2010 12:54 PM

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