WQXR's Classical Comedy Contest to Air on WNET & WLIW Friday, December 9 & Saturday, December 10

WQXR’s Classical Comedy Contest at Carolines on Broadway
To Air on THIRTEEN on Friday, December 9 at 10:30pm

“Captivating and amusing” – Musical America

(New York, NY – November 28, 2011) -- From Victor Borge’s musical slapstick to Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd’s memorable rendition of Ride of the Valkyries to Adam Sandler’s “Opera Man” skits, comedy and classical music have been improbably paired up to hilarious effect.

In November, WQXR – the nation’s most listened-to classical music radio station - and the venerable comedy club Carolines on Broadway honored this tradition with WQXR’s Classical Comedy Contest, presented as part of the New York Comedy Festival.

New Yorkers can relive the laughs when THIRTEEN broadcasts highlights of the contest with THAT’S CLASSIC! on Friday, December 9 at 10:30pm. The program will also air on WLIW Friday, December 9 at 12am, with an encore play on Saturday, December 10 at 5:30pm.

The competitors -- who included a violinist/stand-up comic who plays with the Toronto Symphony and two percussionists who met at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College – were chosen from 79 hopefuls from around the world. They have appeared everywhere from Carnegie Hall to Comedy Central, from the Metropolitan Opera to Late Night with David Letterman and include a harpist/stand-up comic from Brooklyn; a concert pianist/magician from Poland; a New York-based soprano whose partner plays the musical saw; an opera singer with a “rogue accompanist”; a Berlin-based recorder player who performs at variety shows and circuses;  and a Scandinavian pianist who got his start as a funny man during a concert at Victor Borge Hall in New York, whose audience included delighted members of Mr. Borge’s family.

The winner was selected by a world-class line-up of judges from the worlds of comedy and music, including comedian Robert Klein; Peter Schickele of PDQ Bach fame; Soprano Deborah Voigt; and Charles Hamlen of the classical music management company IMG.

In the Classical Comedy Contest highlights featured in THAT’S CLASSIC!, two members of Victor Borge’s family also make a cameo!

“It was a great night, with a sold-out house and acts mixing classical music and comedy in a highly entertaining way,” said Elliott Forrest, WQXR Host and Comedy Contest Producer.  “It was a kick to be able to bring this underappreciated form of comedy to the New York Comedy Festival.”


WQXR Classical Comedy Contest finalists 


Magnus Martensson – pianist/comedian
Jim Wallenberg – stand-up violinist 
David Cope – stand-up harpist
Igor Lipinski – pianist and magician
Gabor Vosteen – visual comedian/recorder player
Steve Russell and Kobi Shaw – cranial percussionists
Sarah Worthington and Nathan Carver – singer and musical saw player
Elizabeth Tryon & Mark Janas – opera singer with rogue accompanist

That’s Classic! is a production of WLIW21 in association with WNET.  Associate Producer is Rebecca Fasanello. Executive Producer is Diane Masciale. For WNET, Executive in Charge is Stephen Segaller.

About WQXR
WQXR 105.9 FM is New York City’s only all-classical music station, immersing listeners in the city’s rich musical life. WQXR presents new and landmark classical recordings as well as live concerts from the Metropolitan Opera, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the New York Philharmonic. WQXR broadcasts essential shows such as the Metropolitan Opera Radio Saturday Matinee Broadcasts, the New York Philharmonic This Week on Thursday evenings, the McGraw-Hill Companies Young Artists Showcase on Wednesday evenings, and Symphony Hall each weeknight. WQXR also operates Q2 Music, an online music stream dedicated to contemporary classical composers, cross-genre adventures, and performances from New York City’s edgier venues. WQXR.org provides essential playlist info for online listening, as well as original content, host blogs, NYC cultural news, videos, and a free WQXR App.

About WNET
New York’s WNET is America’s flagship public media outlet, bringing quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. The parent company of public television stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET produces such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose, Tavis Smiley and a range of documentaries,  children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online.  Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Noah Comprende and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through SundayArts, Reel 13, NJ Today and the new online newsmagazine MetroFocus.

About the New York Comedy Festival
Now in its eighth year, the New York Comedy Festival is produced by Carolines on Broadway in association with Comedy Central. The festival has featured top comedians, including Dane Cook, Artie Lange, Margaret Cho, Katt Williams, Aziz Ansari, and Joel McHale. In 2007, the festival launched the “Stand-Up for Heroes” event to benefit the Bob Woodruff Foundation, featuring performances by Robin Williams, Jon Stewart, Jerry Seinfeld, Lewis Black, Ricky Gervais, Conan O’Brien, and Bruce Springsteen. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.nycomedyfestival.com.

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