Vocal Scene : About

This show no longer airs on WQXR.

George Jellinek, WQXR's music director from 1968 to 1984, hosted his weekly show dedicated to vocal music for some 36 years.

The Vocal Scene went on the air on January 1, 1969. The following year it was syndicated to other classical stations, increasing George’s fan base from the New York area to large cities across United States. He presented recordings by the most famous artists, but also introduced singers who were less well-known to New York audiences.

A record collector since his boyhood, George knew the singers whose voices had been preserved at the beginning of the era of sound recordings; they greatly informed his understanding of what real singing was, and he shared those recordings and that understanding on The Vocal Scene. He interviewed great singers of the day, and as he promised, reached beyond strictly opera to showcase Lieder, operetta, zarzuela, and more.

The first episode of The Vocal Scene went on the air January 1, 1969. George Jellinek, host of the program, called it “An Essay on Music” that focused on prominent singers. Jellinek said of his program that it was, “devoted to the art of the greatest singers of past and present, offering a wide spectrum of the vocal art.” Each episode focused on a specific theme that brought to New York audiences both famous and well-known singers, and more obscure performers. A record collector and musician himself, Jellinek had a broad understanding of vocal music. The Vocal Scene highlighted a range of vocal styles including opera but also Lieder, operetta, zarzuela, and more.

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