Concerts of the National Symphony Orchestra will be syndicated nationwide on classical music radio stations for the first time next season.
The first program will be broadcast live by satellite from the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Sunday, Oct. 17, at 3 p.m., and 12 more are being readied for production on the Mutual Broadcasting System. An additional 13 NSO concerts will be broadcast this year if financing can be arranged.
According to Mutual officials, details on the number of stations to carry the concerts and their underwriting have not been worked out yet.
Many of the major American orchestras have been broadcast regularly for years, going back to the pre-television era when the New York Philharmonic performed live on CBS Sunday afternoons and the NBC Symphony was heard under Toscanini on Saturday nights.
But in recent years such concerts have been almost entirely prerecorded. That is the way listeners in Washington hear, for instance, the broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, the Boston Pops, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and others.
Along with tours and phonograph records, such broadcasts have always been considered vital for building wider musical reputations and wider bases for fund-raising.
National Symphony executive director Henry Fogel yesterday said, "With this development the orchestra that calls itself National will at last be national, and we are probably the last of the major American orchestras to go into radio broadcasting."
WGMS-FM (103.5) will product the NSO programs and WGMS program director Paul Teare will be host/producer for the broadcasts. Teare will introduce each work in the two-hour programs and will also produce the intermission features.
Of the initial series, four of the concerts will be recorded and broadcast at 9 p.m. on Mondays. "We could have done it all on Sundays but that would have displaced the 2 p.m. Boston Symphony broadcasts, and those have become a tradition at that time," Teare added.
The first concert will be conducted by principal guest conductor Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos and the soloists will be duo pianists Richard and John Conti-Guglia.
Teare said that "at least two previous efforts" had been made by WGMS on its own to syndicate NSO concerts, but that neither had worked out financially.