WQXR's Q2 Music Introduces "HELGA"

WQXR’s Q2 Music Introduces “HELGA”

A New Podcast Featuring Q2 Music’s HELGA DAVIS in Conversation with Creative Icons with a Passion for Artistic and Social Change

Guests Include Famed Singer-Songwriter SOLANGE, Groundbreaking Opera Director PETER SELLARS, Writer and New Yorker Theater Critic HILTON ALS, and Pulitzer-Prize Winning Composer & Jazz Musician HENRY THREADGILL, among others

Debut Episode Available Here
New Episodes Each Monday Through January 9, 2017

(New York, NY – November 14, 2016) — Starting today, Q2 Music – WQXR’s online music channel dedicated to contemporary classical music – introduces HELGA, a new conversation podcast helmed by critically-acclaimed singer and Q2 Music host Helga Davis.

In HELGA, Davis offers revealing and intimate conversations with an eclectic roster of artists, friends, and colleagues across the cultural landscape – who each have a passion for social change and stretch the boundaries of what art can be. The podcast will explore the creative forces driving their distinctive visions about what it means to be a provocative and socially committed artist today, tackling issues such as race, ethnicity, class, and gender.

The podcast’s debut episode features an interview with groundbreaking opera director Peter Sellars, whose latest production of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex at London’s Royal Festival Hall recently opened to great fanfare. Davis and Sellars discuss taking risks, the spiritual practice of performance, and making the avant-garde including Flexn – a recent dance movement created by young Caribbean and African-American dancers in Brooklyn – respected by and accessible to all audiences.

Additional upcoming guests include:

  • Solange, famed singer-songwriter
  • Hilton Als, writer and New Yorker theater critic
  • Shara Nova, My Brightest Diamond lead singer and songwriter
  • Henry Threadgill, Pulitzer-Prize winning composer and jazz musician
  • Alan Gilbert, New York Philharmonic music director
  • Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, acclaimed choral and orchestral conductor
  • Julia Bullock, ascendant soprano
  • Jennifer Koh, violin virtuoso

HELGA will release ten weekly episodes each Monday – two during the first week – through January 9, 2017, and is available on www.q2music.org, iTunes, and all other places where podcasts may be downloaded.

HELGA is the third podcast from Q2 Music following the Peabody Award-winning podcast Meet the Composer, which is hosted by Nadia Sirota and brings audiences up-close and personal with groundbreaking composers, and LPR Live, a unique podcast series offering world-class new-music performances recorded live at one of New York City’s leading downtown music venues, Le Poisson Rouge.

“Helga Davis is a revealing conversational partner, one highly attuned to the emotional resonance of great art and one with intuition, joy and empathy,” said Mikel Ellcessor, Interim General Manager, WQXR. “Her connection with her guests is genuine and her experience as an international vocalist offers listeners the kind of insight and access to artists that only an insider could achieve. Q2 Music is excited to add HELGA to our roster of podcasts that explore music and creativity.”

“Artists play an important role on the frontlines of social change, often confronting issues in ways that touch people more intimately than political rhetoric,” said Helga Davis. “I couldn’t be more excited (and nervous!) to launch HELGA, and to speak with artists across the creative spectrum who display a radical autonomy in their work, and actively push against their place in the larger community and culture – and show us how we can too,”

Helga Davis is a sought-after vocalist for anyone who has something experimental or difficult to communicate. She has collaborated with noted musicians including Lawrence “Butch” Morris, Nona Hendryx, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Shara Nova, and Paola Prestini – who in 2012, wrote the chamber opera Oceanic Verses for her. During that year, she was also chosen from among forty performers to star as principal in the international revival of Robert Wilson’s and Philip Glass’s landmark opera Einstein on the Beach.

In 2008, Helga joined New York Public Radio to host overnight music and won an ASCAP Multimedia Award for her work on WNYC’s 24:33 – an all-day festival of composer John Cage’s recorded music, interviews and live performances. In 2009, she transitioned to Q2 Music, and has been the channel’s primary host for live concerts and interviews in The Greene Space at WQXR. In addition, she has hosted live shows and conducted conversations with Pulitzer Prize-winning composers including John Luther Adams, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, as well as with Cornel West, Kronos Quartet, and the 2015-2016 artists-in-residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem, and served as a repeat commentator for WNYC’s Battle of the Boroughs.



Q2 Music is WQXR’s online music channel dedicated to contemporary classical composers, innovative ensembles and musical discovery. Its programming includes immersive festivals, insightful commentary from hosts such as composer Phil Kline and vocalist Helga Davis, full-length album streams, live webcasts and exclusive concert audio from local and national venues, and special events in front of live audiences at The Greene Space at WQXR. Q2 Music produces Meet the Composer with host Nadia Sirota, the Peabody Award-winning podcast which mines the brains of today’s leading composers, as well as LPR Live, a podcast which shares dynamic new-music performances from Greenwich Village’s Le Poisson Rouge. Q2 Music is streamed live 24/7 at www.wqxr.org/q2music and is also available via the free WQXR App.