WFIU Public Radio’s early music radio program Harmonia reaches a milestone this month when its 1,000th episode airs on Sunday, May 21 at 12 p.m. on WFIU2 and on Thursday, May 25 at 8 p.m. on WFIU.
The program debuted in October of 1991 and is hosted by Angela Mariani, who started with the show while she was a graduate student at Indiana University’s Early Music Institute (now Historical Performance Institute).
“I’d been working [part-time at WFIU] for a couple of years when then-program director Christina Kuzmych asked me if I was interested in developing a weekly, one-hour program about early music, with the potential of eventually seeking syndication. I was very excited to do it but worried about the fact that I had just embarked on a doctoral degree, and producing and hosting a radio program sounded like a full-time job. I brought my dilemma to my teacher and mentor, the groundbreaking medieval music performer, scholar, and founder of the Early Music Institute, Tom Binkley. He told me, ‘You should definitely do it. You never know where it might lead.’ How right he was,” said Mariani.
After encouraging Mariani to do the series, Binkley asked her if she would be able to think of enough topics to sustain a weekly show.
“I bravely claimed that I didn’t think that would be a problem,” said Mariani. “Of course, fifteen years later, we had a whole team thinking of topics—but there are enough early music-related topics to go as many years as we want, especially as the field keeps evolving and new artists come onto the scene.”
For the 1,000th episode, Angela Mariani speaks with David McCormick, executive director of Early Music America, about early music today. The program also features music by McCormick’s group, Alkemie, who did the soundtrack for the medieval-themed video game Pentiment.
“I get a great deal of joy from being able to introduce radio listeners to music that has a link to the ancient past but is new and fresh. We hope to continue bringing this music, performed in historically informed ways, to public radio for many years to come,” said Mariani.
For more information about Harmonia, visit harmoniaearlymusic.org.
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