John Nowacki

Classical Music Producer/Host

Originally from the Midwest, John’s interest in classical music began while he was a high school student, having discovered organ music recordings by E. Power Biggs and singing in the high school’s choirs. His radio career began in 1982 at WILL-FM in Champaign-Urbana, Ilinois, where he started as a board operator for local programming, then became a classical music host. He worked for several Illinois stations before making the move to WNPR in 1990.

John lives in Hartford, Connecticut with his husband and Myles the cat. He sings as a bass/baritone in the choir of St. John's Episcopal Church, West Hartford. He also enjoys reading good Science Fiction, and biographies of 16th and 17th-century historical figures.

Ways to Connect

Daron Hagen
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

Daron Hagen is a composer, conductor and author. His works include five symphonies, concertos, operas, chamber music and more than 350 art songs. His autobiography “Duet with the Past-A Composer’s Memoir” was published in 2019.

American lutenist, composer and teacher Ronn McFarlane has been active nationally and internationally for over 40 years, both as a soloist and as a collaborator with other instrumentalists.

Presto Kevin Rhodes
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

Kevin Rhodes the dynamic Music Director and Conductor of the Springfield Symphony hardly needs introduction. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Kevin to talk about his work with the symphony, what he does when he’s not in the area (HINT: It’s NOT fishing!), and the Symphony’s upcoming 75th Anniversary season which gets underway September 22.

Aaron Price
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

Meet  Aaron N. Price, Connecticut composer, co-founder and artistic director of Connecticut Summerfest and Director of Woodwind Studies at the MusicMakers International Academy.  His works have received international performances, including the United States, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.

I’ve wanted to talk with Aaron for some time, not only because of his work as a composer, but especially because of his involvement in the contemporary chamber music scene in our region. As you listen to our talk together, I think you’ll come away impressed not only by Aaron’s infectious enthusiasm, but also by the part that Aaron, and composers and musicians like him, represents as the future for Classical Music in the world today!

Carolyn Kuan and John Nowacki Presto
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

Carolyn Kuan is the Music Director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. She's conducted symphonic programs, operas and ballets with orchestras around-the-world. Kuan is a champion of new music and recently released a recording of Phillip Glass’ music with the Hague Philharmonic.

Mark Singleton VOCE
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

Mark Singleton is the Artistic Director of Voce, a choral ensemble based in Hartford, Connecticut. Singleton and Voce are champions of new choral music particularly from composer in the early stages of their careers.

In this episode of Presto, John Nowacki and Singleton discuss "Music of the Spheres,” Voce’s recent recording.

Paul Mealor Presto
NEPR

In this episode of Presto!, John Nowacki spoke with Welsh composer Paul Mealor who is one of the most popular choral composers today. His sacred motets, songs and cycles have been performed, broadcast and recorded by artists in the UK, USA and much further afield.

 Kenneth Fuchs
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

Award-winning, American composer and conductor Kenneth Fuchs is Professor of Composition at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. He has composed music for orchestra, band, chorus and various chamber ensembles.

Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

Fall finds organist Christopher Houlihan taking up new duties as the John Rose College Organist and Directorship Distinguished Chair of Chapel Music at Trinity College in Hartford, CT.  

Duo Orfeo guitarist Joseph Ricker (left) & NEPR's John Nowacki (right)
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

Guitarists Joseph Ricker and Jamie Balmer comprise the Duo Orfeo. They've been described as "brilliant" and "wild-thinking artists," and are known for bringing to life an eclectic and relevatory classical guitar repertory. 

John Perkell and John Nowacki
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

What do you do after a 35-year career as an orchestral librarian for symphony orchestras? For John Perkel, the answer was simple, if not a little daunting. You start a chamber music series in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. John Nowacki talks with Perkel about how it all came about…

John Nowacki and Paul Mealor
NEPR

Welsh composer Paul Mealor is one of the most popular choral composers today. His sacred motets, songs and cycles have been performed, broadcast and recorded by artists in the UK, USA and much further afield.

Dr. Mealor stopped by the NEPR studios recently to talk about his music with John Nowacki.

John Nowacki and Mark Singleton
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

The choral ensemble VOCE, founded in 2006 and based in Hartford, CT, champions new music, especially of composers in the early stages of their careers. Their conductor and founder Mark Singleton is a renowned conductor, composer and guest speaker, and he has worked with choirs and orchestras of all ages and styles. His energetic and magnetic leadership has made him one of the most sought‐after conductors in New England.  

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything…no particular reason. So, I recently came across this interesting little story. Ever wonder what it’s like to be an orchestral musician in a world-class ensemble? Violinist Nathan Cole, First Associate Concertmaster with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, writes about his experiences with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra back in 2002. It might be a a tad lengthy, but it’s well worth the read!

Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra
Ryan Donnell

I dare say that, with the state of classical music in this country, ie: seemingly on a steady decline, no matter how much we’d like to believe otherwise, it doesn’t help matters when it comes to disagreements between musicians and symphony orchestra management when it comes to pay.