George Jellinek Memorial Concert

Monday, April 12, 2010

George Jellinek, former WQXR Music Director and host of the station’s long-running program The Vocal Scene, will be remembered at a free public concert at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 18 at Merkin Concert Hall in Manhattan.

Among the scheduled participants are singers Harolyn Blackwell, Carin Gilfrey, Thomas Hampson, Robert White, WQXR program host Robert Sherman, and former announcer June Lebell. The event is free of charge. Seats must be reserved at the box office or by phone at 212-501-3330. For more information, go to*

George Jellinek became Music Director of WQXR in 1968 and continued in that capacity until 1984. In January of 1969, the station broadcast the first edition of The Vocal Scene, a program Jellinek created to fill what he saw as a neglected area of WQXR’s programming.

The Vocal Scene was a Thursday evening fixture on WQXR for 36 years, and during many of those years the program was syndicated to other classical music stations around the country. It was a showcase for Jellinek’s encyclopedic knowledge of opera and classical singing, which he began to acquire as a teenager in the audience of the opera house in his native Budapest.  His extensive collection of recordings, dating back to the beginnings of the 20th century, allowed him to present a vast repertoire of works and singers on The Vocal Scene.

Jellinek was also for many years the producer of First Hearing, another long-running WQXR program which reaching listeners across the country, and he was also a frequent panelist on The Texaco Opera Quiz, heard at intermission on Saturday broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera. George Jellinek died this past January at age 90.

To read more about George Jellinek and to hear selections from The Vocal Scene, please click here and here.

UPDATE: Pianists Joel Harder and Craig Rutenberg will also perform.

At this time, all seats have been reserved and there is now a waiting list for no-shows. For more information please call Merkin Hall at 212-501-3330.


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Comments [8]

Kenneth Bennett Lane from Lake Hiawatha, NJ

George persuaded me to prepare ads for broadcast on WQXR announcing my two most recent of 4 Isaac Stern Auditorium solo concerts. 30 seconds of a selection on the program, a new selection on each broadcast. George had heard me sing. I am a Wagnerian heldentenor. The concerts Sunday June 18th, 1995 and Thursday May 28th, 1998. The clips were broadcast just before the "Met" Opera broadcasts. Website:

Apr. 18 2010 09:56 AM
rick o'connell

George Jellinek's show served an invaluable service even in those years regarding keeping alive the memory of hundreds of great voices. His show or a show like it is even more needed today. One of my favorite specific shows of his was on the great German tenor Fritz Wunderlich. George's love of Wunderlich's voice was obvious, and in his comments during the show, his sorrow, even many years later,concerning Wunderlich's untimely passing was quite moving, adding even more to the impact of hearing a great and too little remembered singer.

Apr. 17 2010 12:00 PM
Mary Jane Hodge from Melville, NY

Please, please, record the concert for later broadcase and let me know! Thursday night at 10 I always think of him and his winderful adventures into the voice - past and present. Didn't know he had passed.

Apr. 17 2010 10:32 AM
Judith Kuttler from NYC

Please do add me to the list for no-shows,
for this Sunday's George Jellinek concert.
Would really appreciate that!

Apr. 16 2010 05:01 PM
Carol Pozefsky from West New York

I was in love with Jussi Bjorling and a nice man was in love with me. I heard Mr. Jellinek play a rare (pre -Youtube) recording of Jussi singing O Holy Night in Swedish.taken from a live radio performance and unavailable to the public . My friend asked George if he would make an exception to his rules and create a cassette of the piece. He made the exception and I still have and treasure the cassette hand labeled by Mr. Jellinek himself. Lovely gesture. Thank you George.

Apr. 14 2010 06:07 PM
lynn silberman

gj's program was 'must' listening for me, i tried never to miss a program.
i particularly liked the programs of multiple singers, one song, and his commentary on the individual performances. sort of 'contrast and compare'.
i still miss his unmistakable voice.

Apr. 14 2010 10:39 AM
Enriqueta Godoy from I did live in NYC, now I'm in Santiago-Chile

I will miss George Jellinek! I almost never missed his "Vocal Scene", it did a lot to increase my joy & pleasure with the vocal music. THANKS for great those great, weekly evening moments

Apr. 13 2010 10:56 PM
nancy wilken from New York

Tickets for this memorial concert were sold out for the last 36-48 hours & difficulty connecting w/BO is impossible as there is only 1 person. I had similar problems w/Geo London Fdn dedication. Obviously, there must be a way to memorialize GJ--perhaps with good CDs whatever of his programs throughout the years & proceeds can go to offsetr the constant need for funding which is happening all over (can't receive WQXR in Princeton & NPR is constantly hammering for the same funding. All this is turning me off & would just like to listen to a quiet recording of my own on my sound equipment or hear in a live concert setting wherever!

Apr. 13 2010 10:00 PM

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