Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts (Vienna, VA)

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Center Stage from Wolf Trap host Rich Kleinfeldt (left) talks with the Parker String Quartet during one of the shows. Photo courtesy of Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

Catherine Filene Shouse, the indomitable founder of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, mandated that the organization “preserve significant artistic traditions while supporting new initiatives, foster the careers of the next generation of artists, and make education a key component in its artistic offerings.” This is an apt description of Wolf Trap’s Discovery Series, which not only presents emerging and established chamber music stars on the same stage, but also encourages interaction between the public and the performers through a post-intermission question-and-answer session and a free post-performance dessert reception at which audience members can meet the performers face-to-face.

In FY 2007, Wolf Trap received an NEA Arts on Radio and Television grant of $10,000 to support the production, distribution, and broadcast of Center Stage from Wolf Trap, a series of 13 one-hour radio programs featuring live performances from the Discovery Series airing in 2008. The program presented concert recordings from the 2006-2007 Discovery Series season. Performers included world renowned groups such as the Paris Piano Trio, the Ahn Trio, and the Turtle Island String Quartet, playing a range of work by Johannes Brahms, Dmitri Shostakovich, and Benjamin Britten, among others. Also highlighted on Center Stage were choral performances and lieder recitals, such as tenor Eric Culter’s appearance with pianist Kim Pensinger Witman.

In addition to highlighting selections from the traditional repertoire, the program’s innovative Off the Beaten Track segment also introduced listeners to new work from the contemporary chamber music scene, such as NEA Jazz Master Paquito D’Rivera’s Afro-Mexican tinged small-group work, “Wapango.” The musical selections are punctuated by unscripted analysis, conversation, and commentary from co-hosts Rich Kleinfeldt—who also emcees the live performances at Wolf Trap—and Bill McGlaughlin. The lively duo introduce each work, offering little-known facts about the artists and the composers. The nationally syndicated show is carried on nearly 250 stations nationwide adding an estimated 10 million listeners to the more than 2,000 chamber aficionados who attend the live Discovery Series performances.

(From the NEA 2007 Annual Report)