Classical 91.5

Stephen Johnson

Fill-in Classical Host

A native of Herndon, Virginia, Stephen came to Rochester to earn his Ph.D. in Musicology at the Eastman School of Music. He has loved classical music and public media since his youth, when he was inspired by the radio broadcasts of Rob Kapilow on his local NPR affiliate. This set him on a trajectory to earn his Bachelor’s in Music Education and Master’s in Musicology from Indiana University.  Stephen has also been involved in many online music outreach projects. He created the award-winning YouTube series The Listener’s Guide and collaborated with the Dallas Opera to create their humorous opera synopsis series Opera in Brief. He has appeared on various podcasts and television programs promoting public awareness of music, as well.  Outside the studio, Stephen enjoys playing in the Eastman Mbira Ensemble, watching local theater, and running. He is currently writing his dissertation about juche musical politics in North Korean revolutionary opera. 

Ways to Connect

An energetic quiet descends on the auditorium as the light dims. You welcome the concertmaster with polite applause, and he leads the orchestra in one final tuning. The conductor strides confidently onstage, swinging her arm with panache to gesture for the orchestra to rise as she takes the bow on their behalf. As she takes her place at the podium, the audience on the edge of their seats, a few coughs break the silence. Suddenly, she slashes the air with her baton, drawing out Beethoven’s famous bah-bah-bah-bahh! and they’re off to the races with his Fifth Symphony.

You let the music wash over you in your seat. Its tense, agitated rhythms draw you in like a racing heartbeat, driving from one moment to the next. But after a minute or two, you find your mind wandering. Am I in the mood for dessert tonight? What was that TV series my sister told me about? Where did I leave my keys again?