It’s quite a job surveying compositions written across the centuries, recordings made over several decades, and new artists and music emerging every day, but that’s what Cale Wiggins does in his role as chief curator of CapRadio’s distinctive and compelling mix of classical music. How does Cale do it? We asked.
Q: With so many great classical recordings to choose from, how do you narrow the field so that we feature the best of the best?
A: The Grove Dictionary of Music and the Penguin Guide are invaluable resources. There are important factors like sound quality, interpretation, comparison, etc. Eventually, though, it boils down to how it feels to listen to a particular piece. Mood is the most important factor in determining what gets played and what does not.
Q: Along with the masterworks, there are new compositions and performers emerging all the time. How do you balance the new with the old, the surprising with the familiar?
A: Our common musical tradition is ever evolving in a process of reevaluation from generation to generation. We pay respect to the greats of the recent past. But we also play a part in helping to define what the current interpretation is, so we make room for emerging performers alongside the well-established, and fortunately, we have the ability to feature both.
Q: Your colleague Gary Vercelli talks about “reflecting the rhythm of the day” in his approach to curating jazz. Do you do a similar thing with classical?
A: It has a lot to do with lifestyle. I try to keep things fairly buoyant when most people are starting the day or driving home from work; there is still room for the contemplative at those times, but nothing that lingers too long. In the middle of the day we feature longer works and go deeper into a composer’s catalogue. In the late afternoon we get slightly more adventurous. In the early evenings we provide that lyrical bridge to Excellence in Jazz.
Q: What words would you use to describe CapRadio’s blend of classical music?
A: Melodic, sophisticated, inclusive, expansive, evocative and transcendent.
Q: What do you love about your job?
A: It feels good to know that what we do has a positive effect on listeners’ lives. We strive to offer music that encompasses a broad range of human experience and emotion. I love the people I have the privilege of working with, and I’m always impressed by how passionate, kind and appreciative our listeners are when I meet and interact with them.
Managing Editor, Music and Arts