Classical 90.9 WGUC Public Radio

Suzanne Bona

Host of Sunday Baroque

Place of Birth:
Bridgeport, CT

How long at WGUC?
1996-98; since then producing Sunday Baroque for dozens of other public radio stations around the US, including WGUC.

Why do you like working at WGUC?
The staff is highly skilled, the technical facility is excellent, and the people are fun to be around.

First radio job:
WSHU public radio in my hometown of Fairfield, CT. I started as the underwriting director and part-time weekend announcer, and moved up to program director in my
first year.

Favorite classical composer/works:
JS Bach's Double Violin Concerto, Igor Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, Bela Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, Tchaikovsky ballets, Chopin's Piano Concertos. As a flutist, I love the Romantic era flute repertory.

Other than classical, favorite music and why:
Just about anything joyous and upbeat, from the Gipsy Kings to Santana. Also, singers such as Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Sheryl Crow. One of my guilty pleasures is listening to rock groups I grew up hearing: U2 and The Rolling Stones.

Playing the flute as much as possible; I'm currently in three groups -- an orchestra, a band and a flute ensemble. Also reading, jogging, weight training, cooking. For the last several years I've been a Literacy Council tutor to a man learning English as a second language, and it's been an extraordinarily gratifying experience.

In grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up?
At first a lawyer, then I switched to psychologist (for the criminally insane, no less!). Then in about junior high, I chose professional musician and stuck with it through college and beyond.

How were you introduced to classical music?
We had an old upright piano in my childhood home. Nobody took lessons, but my mom would play it occasionally, and so would I. Both my parents loved music -- particularly big Romantic era orchestral works and operas. Plus, I took classical ballet lessons from age 5 through 9, and was exposed to classical music in our classes and recitals. Our public schools and youth orchestras offered many opportunities learn about and participate in musical activities.

Any fun anecdotes about life at 90.9?
Doing a brief fill-in stint as WGUC's morning dj a few years ago, I prepared to sign on one day at 6am and heard someone scrambling around furiously in the heating ductwork. Alone in the studios, and fearful that it was either a trapped animal or a burglar, I almost called the police. However, I first phoned WCET's engineers and found they were doing maintenance on the AC.

What question are you always asked when you meet listeners? What's the answer?
Probably the most common question is, "Aren't you working back in CT?" Now that Sunday Baroque is distributed nationally, in cooperation with WSHU in CT, with WGUC's production assistance, it can be confusing. But this is modern technology at its very best.

The question *I* usually ask listeners is "Are you a member?" I actually enjoy fundraising for public radio. (What sort of personality disorder is that?!?) It's something I love and believe in so strongly, and I'm happy to remind other listeners of why they listen and, therefore, why they should support the programs they love and count on.

Describe a typical day at WGUC:
My "typical day" at WGUC occurs literally just once a week, when I record Sunday Baroque. I bring the 12-14 pages of music playlists, research and scripts and give copies to engineer Bruce Ellis, who follows along as he records me in WGUC's studio. I spend the rest of my week listening to Baroque cd's, entering the information into my database, assembling a music playlist for the show (usually about 3 weeks in advance). Then I research each of the pieces I've chosen in reference books, online, and at my local public library, as I decide what to share with listeners. I also answer a lot of listener email -- questions and comments about the program.

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