Dennis Bartel

Dennis Bartel began his broadcast career in his native Los Angeles as morning host at KUSC. He moved on at twenty-seven, and an interim of twenty-seven years followed, during which he worked on-air in Pittsburgh, served as a newspaper editor also in the Steel City, was founding program director for a Baltimore classical station, and spun CDs in D.C., where he was morning host, and assumed the opera host role from Paul Hume upon the legendary music critic’s retirement. Back in L.A., Dennis is again morning host at KUSC, Monday-Friday, 6-9 a.m., Saturday, 7-8 a.m., and Sunday, 1-4 p.m., and loving the cyclical nature of life.

Dennis is also an accomplished writer, having published hundreds of articles, stories and essays with Harper’s, Time-Life, Doubleday, and many others, on a rainbow of subjects ranging from Israel to Parisian cemeteries; a pagan farm to maple syrup farming; and Sikh ashrams to contract killers for which he won a press club award for investigative journalism. His new novel is High’d Up. He’s published an award-winning book of short stories, and written extensively on music – as a national columnist and for several major U.S. orchestras.

Rich Capparela

In 1972 an employment counselor asked Rich Capparela, “If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?” Without hesitation he replied, “A classical music radio announcer!” Today Rich is one of the best-known classical music radio personalities in the United States.

Capparela announces concert broadcasts in Southern California for the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, and the New West Symphony. His recording company, Cardiff Studios, produces commercials and programming for U.S. arts organizations, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

The July 1998 “Best of L.A.” edition of Los Angeles Reader chose Capparela as “The Best Classical D.J. in Los Angeles.” In December of 1998 Rich debuted at Carnegie Hall as a narrator in a performance of Benjamin Britten’s World of the Spirit. In November of 1999 he made his first appearance with the Boston Pops and conductor Keith Lockhart, narrating The Night Before Christmas. Beginning in 1998 Rich became a member of the annual Grammy Awards screening committee for classical music. In 2001 he voiced the theatrical trailer for the Rachel Griffiths film Amy and portrayed the Emperor of China in the 26-week animation series Flutemaster, which began airing throughout the United States in 2003. In December of 2001 as part of Los Angeles Music Week Capparela was honored in chamber by the Los Angeles City Council for his contributions to the city’s music community. In 2002 Capparela provided program notes for LAGQ: Latin, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet’s debut album for the Telarc label. The album received a Grammy Nomination in the “Best Crossover Album” category. Rich continued his association with the Grammys in February of 2004 when he presented the year’s classical Grammys in Los Angeles.

One of Rich’s secret passions has reemerged within the past few years. He is once again active as a lead singer and guitarist with a four-piece cover rock band, Otherwise Normal. His other interests include the deep blue sea. He’s been a scuba instructor and has conducted tours to the Caribbean and the Fiji Islands. He’s also tried his hand at skydiving. Rich and his wife Marcia, a private school administrator, live in Santa Monica, California

Alan Chapman

Alan Chapman, in addition to his weekday morning program, is also the host and producer of two weekend programs: Modern Times and Thornton Center Stage.

After receiving his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he earned a Ph.D. in music theory from Yale University. He is currently a member of the music theory faculty of the Colburn Conservatory. He was a longtime member of the music faculty at Occidental College and has also been a visiting professor at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. His analytical work has appeared in the Journal of Music Theory and in The New Orpheus: Essays on Kurt Weill, winner of the Deems Taylor Award for excellence in writing on music.

Well known as a pre-concert lecturer, Alan has been a regular speaker on the L.A. Philharmonic’s “Upbeat Live” series since its inception in 1984. He also works closely with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Pacific Symphony. His lectures have been presented by virtually every major performing organization in southern California. He has been heard globally as programmer and host of the inflight classical channel on Delta Airlines.

Alan is also active as a composer/lyricist. His songs have been performed and recorded by many artists around the world and have been honored by ASCAP, the Johnny Mercer Foundation, and the Manhattan Association of Cabarets. His children’s opera Les Moose: The Operatic Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle was commissioned by LA Opera for its 1997-98 season. Alan frequently appears in cabaret evenings with his wife, soprano Karen Benjamin. They made their Carnegie Hall debut in 2000 and performed at Lincoln Center in 2006. Their recent CD, Que Será, Será: The Songs of Livingston and Evans, features the late Ray Evans telling the stories behind such beloved songs as “Mona Lisa” and “Silver Bells.”

Gail Eichenthal

Gail Eichenthal is Chief Engagement Officer and part of the senior management team for the USC Radio Group, which includes KUSC Los Angeles and KDFC San Francisco. She oversees community engagement, live concert broadcasts, and contributes to KUSC’s arts magazine program, Arts Alive, which she created in 2006. As an on-air host, she’s heard Sundays 4-6pm on KUSC.

A graduate of UCLA in music and English, Gail began her association with KUSC as Abram Chasins Intern in 1976, joining the staff the following year as a programming assistant, on-air host, and documentary producer. She began her 20-year association with the LA Philharmonic in 1978, becoming the first woman to host the national radio broadcasts of a major American orchestra. She also served as the on-air co-host along with Gene Parrish for LA Opera’s inaugural production, Otello, on Oct 7, 1986.

From 1994-2005, Gail expanded her career into broadcast news and was a staff reporter and news anchor at KNX-AM, the CBS news station in Los Angeles. At KNX, she picked up 13 Golden Mikes, the Bill Stout Enterprise Award, Associated Press awards, and other regional and national honors.

As a print journalist, Gail has written for the LA Times Calendar, LA Times Sunday Magazine, and Symphony Magazine. She’s also a regular contributor to the KUSC Arts Alive blog.

Gail is a proud member of the USC Thornton Board of Councilors and a director of the Colburn Foundation.

Brian Lauritzen

The answer to the question Brian Lauritzen gets most often is no.*

Brian believes that classical music is deeply serious, riotously humorous, and everything in between. He exhibits a healthy respect for this great art, and the great artists who create it, and balances that regard with a tasteful irreverence in his presentations on Classical KUSC. Ultimately, Brian believes there are few absolutes when it comes to music–only personal taste. If you don’t like something, you’re not wrong. Brian has occasionally been criticized for using words like, “awesome,” “facepalm,” and “dude” on the air…and he’s fine with that. Classical music purists may not fully understand Brian’s love for hip-hop and bluegrass music, but then when he begins to geek out over the intricacies of a Mahler symphony everything begins to make sense again.

Although he doesn’t count as a passenger for HOV lane restrictions, Brian is happy to ride shotgun with you during your commute home. You can catch him weekdays from 3:00-7:00 p.m. He presides over the celebrated Classical Anti-Road-Rage Melody (CarTune), every day at 5:00, now expanded to a full 20-minute set of soothing selections designed to help you keep calm on the roadways of Southern California.

As the multi-award-winning host of Arts Alive, Brian has had conversations with dozens of top classical musicians and artists. Among them, Gustavo Dudamel, Dawn Upshaw, Frank Gehry, Hilary Hahn, Pierre Boulez, Wynton Marsalis, Sir Simon Rattle, and many others.

More than three million people tune in each season for the internationally-syndicated concert broadcasts of the Los Angeles Philharmonic that Brian produces and hosts. He has traveled to Europe, Asia, and South America with the LA Phil. His choral music program, Soul Music, is consistently one of the most popular programs on Classical KUSC.

While much of his life is spent behind triple-paned glass in a soundproof studio underground in Downtown Los Angeles, Brian does occasionally see the light of day. He is, in fact, one of Southern California’s most sought-after speakers about classical music. His pontifications (rarely boring) bring the music of the past to life, contextualizing it for the present moment, and are just as likely to include deep musical analysis as well as references to a TV show or movie that he saw recently. Brian hosts a series called “Inside the Music” at the LA Phil. He’s also the Resident Host for the Salastina Music Society and makes regular appearances with Los Angeles Opera, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.

On social media, you can find Brian sharing interesting tidbits about music, life behind the scenes at KUSC, and way fewer food pictures than he used to. His Twitter feed (@BrianKUSC) has been highlighted by National Public Radio and the LA Times. His advocacy for women in classical music has earned him praise from the San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere. He used to blog more than he does now.

*Brian Lauritzen is not related to composer Morten Lauridsen.

Duff Murphy

On Saturday mornings 9:00 – 12:00 noon, busy Los Angeles attorney Duff Murphy trades depositions for divas and other things operatic as host of Classical KUSC’s popular “Opera Show.” The erudite and enthusiastic world class opera fan has been presenting opera on Los Angeles radio for many years, having joined Classical KUSC in 1994. During the Metropolitan Opera’s December to April season, he introduces opera’s historic performances and colorful personages; and during the Met’s off-season he features favorites among composers, conductors and artists. Recognizing that operatic music spans generations, continents and centuries, Murphy imbues each program with a range of musical historical experience, often creating programs around specific themes.

Jim Svejda

Although Jim Svejda is one of the most respected critical voices in the classical music field, he’s also one of the most entertaining and popular program hosts on public radio. Since 1979, he has delighted Classical KUSC listeners with his witty, meticulously crafted essays on diverse composers, conductors and artists — as well as his commentary on a wide range of other subjects that attract his musical fancy.

He is the host and producer of the syndicated radio series The Record Shelf, which is carried by public radio stations across the nation. Locally, it’s broadcast Sunday evenings, from 10-11 PM.

His weeknight evening program may be heard on Classical KUSC from 7 PM to midnight, always commencing with his signature opening, the third movement of Martinu’s Piano Quartet #1.

The Record Shelf

Blake Lawrence

Background: I grew up in small-town Colorado; attended the University of Denver. The greatest percentage of my career has been spent in the Bay Area, but I’ve done radio all over the USA. And I do mean all over the USA, as part of that time was spent on nationwide satellite radio.

“Jeopardy” categories in which I excel: Popular Music, World Geography, Astronomy, Science. Not so sharp in Plant Varieties, Renaissance Poetry, and Words that Begin and End With the Letter “X.”

Something that might surprise you: I’ve played plenty of gigs as a club DJ. (Not so much lately, as I’ve been playing more Debussy than Deadmau5.)

On things I enjoy: Anyone/Anything that makes me laugh and think seriously at the same time. Examples: Stephen Colbert, The Onion, “Dr. Strangelove,” etc.

Robin Pressman

Hometown: I’m a New Yorker with California rising.

Education: Southern Illinois University where I majored in film with a documentary emphasis, and minored in art history…and bartending.

Family: Big extended family with lots of kids and branches going off every which way on the family tree. My husband, Peter, and I live in Wine Country with Stella, our golden doodle, two cats and sixteen chickens.

Met my Husband: On an Oscar Meyer Wiener commercial.

What I love besides radio: Music (classical and folk especially), theater, books, the indie side of movies, cooking – especially for elaborate dinner parties.

Other Job: I’ve been the program director at Sonoma County’s public radio station, KRCB, for 18 years. My music program is “Our Roots Are Showing” – folk and acoustic music on Saturday afternoons.

Favorite Book: Impossible to choose. With little time to read lately, I’ve been managing my reading jones with short stories. St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised By Wolves by Karen Russell – took my breath away. Love reading biographies of European Queens but not sure why I fell into that.

Favorite Music: Ravel, Mendelssohn, all the new young string bands, folkie singer-songwriters, close harmony.

Pet Peeve: Friends who refuse to vote on principle.

Mark Edwards

Home town: Caribou, Maine (frequently listed as the coldest spot in the lower 48 states!)

Other places lived: Montreal, Boston, Atlanta, New Orleans and Kansas City.

Education: I studied music at the University of Maine, with a piano major/voice minor.

Hobbies: I love to sing, and am looking for a chorale to join in the area. I also love seeing music performed live. There’s also nothing quite like spending a quiet evening at home with the cat and my Shih tzu!

On living in California: I love living here! The scenery is amazing, and every day presents itself with the opportunity to discover something new.