Introducing Our Hosts
Alan Chapman has had a multifaceted career in music – from being a college music professor and popular pre-concert lecturer to roles on the radio and on the performance stage. With a Ph.D. in music theory from Yale, his impressive resume includes a number of powerful performances (including his own original songs, as well as the "Great American Songbook"), with appearances at Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, and Lincoln Center. In the last decade, Alan developed the "Music 101" series for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which is still going strong at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, attracting many new eyes and ears. His entire family is musical and the four of them performed as the Von Chaps on a 19-concert tour in China in 2019.
Bill Lueth is a San Francisco Radio Hall of Fame inductee and currently the president of KDFC and vice president of USC Radio Group. During his 30 year career in both public and commercial radio, Bill has left a meaningful impact on the classical music community.
Brian is the KUSC host who gets listeners home in LA traffic each afternoon. He also created the At Home series during the earliest stages of the pandemic, and hosts the LA Phil radio broadcasts and A Joyful Noise Sunday mornings on KUSC and KDFC. Brian is a popular pre-concert lecturer in Southern California — between the LA Phil, LA Opera, The Wallis, Philharmonic Society of Orange County, and beyond. He has received multiple LA Press Club awards for arts journalism, and is a passionate advocate for underrepresented & marginalized groups and individuals within classical music.
Host and content creator Brisa Siegel uses her voice to encourage music lovers to connect more deeply to themselves and their experiences by sharing classical music. Brisa is a bilingual multimedia producer known for her work at The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Wendy Williams Show, CNN, BET, Homes For Our Troops, and now Classical California! Brisa owes her love of classical music and storytelling to her dynamic bicultural family of composers, conductors, dancers, and trailblazers. She is LA-based, but her East Coast roots will always run strong.
Dianne was the first female full-time announcer on KXTR in Kansas City, on KKHI in San Francisco, and on KDFC. She was inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame in 2016, and had a day named after her in San Francisco back in 2005. After growing up in Oakland, Dianne received a BA in Dramatic Art at UC Berkeley. She earned an MA in Theater at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. Dianne has kept midday listeners company on KDFC (since 1994) and KUSC (since 2014). If you ask her, the best part of her job is her incredible colleagues! The one thing she wishes everyone knew about classical music is that you don’t need to know anything about classical music to enjoy it!
Producer and host Jeffrey Freymann shares the Bay Area’s finest music makers with listeners through the show Bay Area Mix, now part of NorCal Sunday Night. He also produces our Classical Californians segments, as well as KDFC's monthly Opera Hour program. He previously worked at NPR, where he directed several nationwide live concert broadcasts, including his first visit to San Francisco for the Millennial New Years Eve concert in December 1999, co-hosted by none other than Rik Malone! The one thing Jeffrey wishes everyone knew is that there’s no right or wrong way to enter the world of classical music. And you don’t have to know why you like something to like it, in fact, there’s always something more to discover.
With a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Master of Music degree, Jennifer Miller Hammel moved to Los Angeles to become an opera and session singer and landed a starring role behind the mic on KUSC and KDFC. She has been performing professionally as a vocalist, recording artist, and pianist since her teenage years, with career highlights that include Gounod’s "Faust" (as Marguerite), "Ragtime" (as Mother), soprano soloist in "Carmina Burana," Poulenc’s "Gloria," and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, plus various productions in the ensembles of Opera Santa Barbara and Long Beach Opera. It’s not a huge secret, but Jennifer happens to be an avid gamer which she shows to full effect on Classical California's Arcade! When it comes to classical music, Jennifer wants listeners to know how much we can all learn from the life experience of the people behind the music.
In John’s long radio career, he’s been an on-air host, arts editor, VP of Programming & Operations, and even a station manager. He’s produced and conducted thousands of interviews, and over 500 live to air studio performances from Lang Lang to Sondra Radvanovsky to Tafelmusik. In his previous life, he was VP of Programming for Toronto’s commercial classical music station, now he programs much of the music you hear on-air and online and hosts several overnight shows. John celebrates the beauty and diversity of classical music to help make life sound better.
Lara Downes is a sought-after performer, Billboard Chart-topping recording artist, producer, arts advocate, and the host of Evening Music weekdays from 8PM to midnight on KUSC and KDFC. As a pianist and radio host, she gets inspiration from rethinking classical legacies and excavating the life of classical music in America. In addition to Evening Music, she hosts specials, streams, and videos series, like Amplify, for Classical California.
Maggie has made a career telling stories through music — from the concert hall to the operatic stage, and now through the airwaves into the digital space. She began her career in front of a mic as a voice-over artist, with projects ranging from voice-prompt VCR’s to video game villains. She was a host and producer in Chicago before joining the on-air staff at Classical KDFC San Francisco as the new host of The Morning Show in 2021. You can also hear her during membership drives, specials, and filling in on Classical KUSC Los Angeles. With a passionate belief that classical music is for everyone, Maggie welcomes listeners each morning with a smile, some fun trivia, and just the right mix to make your morning sound magical!
Peter Dugan is the host of NPR’s From the Top and has appeared internationally as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. In 2020, he joined Joshua Bell for At Home With Music, a national PBS broadcast and live album release on Sony Classical. Mr. Dugan is the founding creator of the children’s opera Operation Superpower, head of the artist in residence program at piano Sonoma, and a founding faculty member of the Resonance and Soundboard Institutes at Honeywell Arts Academy. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School and is a Yamaha Artist.
In 1972 an employment counselor asked Rich Capparela, “If you could be anything in the world, what would you be?” Without hesitation, he replied, “A classical music radio announcer!” Rich first became a KUSC host in 1980, and has returned to KUSC many times between working at the Southern California classical radio stations KMZT-FM and KFAC-FM. Since 1995 Capparela has hosted live radio broadcast concerts by the Pacific Symphony. In December of 2001 as part of Los Angeles Music Week, Capparela was honored in the chamber by the Los Angeles City Council for his contributions to the city’s music community. In 2002 Capparela provided program notes for the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet’s Grammy-nominated album LAGQ: Latin. He is active as a lead singer and guitarist with a three-piece cover rock band, Otherwise Normal. Rich and his wife Marcia, a retired independent school administrator, live in Santa Monica, California.
Rik supervises the music programming that reaches over 800,000 people each week, including people who never thought they would ever like classical music. He joined KDFC in 1997 as a host and a music programmer. He expanded his programming duties to KUSC in 2011. He has hosted the radio broadcasts of the San Francisco Symphony for over 2 decades. He is a trained violist and is completely comfortable with so-called viola jokes. The one thing he wishes everyone knew about classical music is that it really is wicked cool. Yes, he’s a Boston Red Sox fan.
Robin Pressman calls herself “a New Yorker with California rising.” After working in film and television, she discovered her love of sharing music and stories over the radio. She spent 20 years as the program director for a public radio station in Sonoma County, helping build it up from a construction trailer in a parking lot. Robin is proud to have been part of the vision and hard work that launched that little station., and now she’s proud to be the afternoon drive time host on KDFC. Not sure if classical music is for you? Robin says, “it isn’t scary. Once you begin listening, you’ll be hooked.”
A native of Houston, TX, Indian-Samoan tenor Solomon Reynolds has equal passions for classical music and indie pop. Solomon is a three-time Encouragement Award recipient of the Metropolitan Opera Eric and Dominique Laffont Competition in the Houston, Utah, and Los Angeles Districts. He recently performed as Perchik in the First Nat’l Tour of "Fiddler on the Roof," directed by Tony-Award winning director Bartlett Sher. In addition to stage roles, Solomon is also an active singer-songwriter under his artist name, Solly. Catch him singing around town with the LA Opera, LA Master Chorale, and St. James’ in-the-City. Tune in Saturdays at 8:15 or 3:15 to hear "Saturday Morning CarTunes" on the radio and check out the links below to listen to past episodes.
Suraj studied drums with jazz legend Peter Erskine at the USC Thornton School of Music, where he wrote a play for his senior recital and realized the power of telling stories about music. Suraj has also acted alongside the likes of Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, and Sir Ben Kingsley in the movie Ender’s Game. He appeared in an episode of the Emmy Award-winning Netflix show Master of None. One thing he wishes everyone knew about classical music is that it doesn’t have to sound “pretty.” Classical music can sound one or all of the following: elegant, crass, grandiose, intimate, freaky, serene, and punk.
A symphony of creativity, with each member of the team contributing their own unique talents and insights to create something truly special.
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