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Mar. 25 2020

3-25-20 Some things that are sustaining me during these times!

By Jonathan Palevsky | Posted in Host Blogs | 1 Comment

With the advent of Covid – 19 all of our lives have changed so dramatically!  All the lectures, classes and podcasts that I do in addition to radio have all disappeared!  March April and May, some of my busiest months (and if you know me I am a pretty busy guy) are now empty other than my fabulous full time duties at WBJC!  I miss my students who are amazing, I miss producing pods for the BSO (I did one for Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony just for the heck of it and might do one on Holst’s planets) I miss introducing concerts for the BCO and others.  What to do with, what for me, is an ocean of time?  These are in no particular order!

1)Well for starters you call your mother and family!  My mother Susan just turned 89 and is in amazing shape in Montreal.  It looks like we can’t go home for Passover this year as the Canadian border is closed so we will do our best to celebrate virtually.  My sister and brother are also safely ensconced across the border in La Belle Province and I am trying to stay in touch with them too.  My other brother is in Israel in the small Galilean town of Korazim.  He has three daughters who are all home with him because Israel is also shut down by the Corona Virus.  We stay in touch via What’s Ap.

2)Enjoy time with Kati and the cats!  There is definitely more stay at home time and that means Kati and I get to enjoy each other’s company more.  I enjoy cooking for her and our four cats like it when we are around!

3)Enjoy great classical music on the radio.  I’m not saying this because I’ve worked at WBJC for 34 years and am now Interim General Manager, I’m saying this because classical music on the radio has been a part of my life since infancy.  Having grown up with the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) classical music service in our home, it’s a no brainer to enjoy the amazing music and fellow hosts at 91.5 WBJC.  There is always something interesting playing on WBJC.  It might be a familiar work in a new performance or a work that I’ve never heard before.  There is so much variety and so much greatness to choose from in the repertoire.

4)Play a lot of guitar!  I came to this country on an Amtrak train in 1982 (then it was a sleeper!) to pursue a degree in guitar performance at Peabody.  While my time there from 1982 – 1986 was not the happiest, I did learn some amazing guitar skills from my teacher Ray Chester.  (I also had the odd amazing lesson from Manuel Barrueco!)  In fact when I left Peabody I stopped playing for a long time due to burn out!  After my father passed in 2001 the guitar and I became re-acquainted (electric rather than classical) and it has been a love affair ever since.  I probably own too many (though in my own defense I did cull the collection a bit recently…but quickly added some more…Doh!)  I am enclosing pics of three of my fav’s.


This guitar was made for me by Ted Stevenson who is an amazing guitar maker in Montreal.  Ted usually makes solid body Fender style guitars but he was kind enough to make this hollow body instrument for me.  It’s super comfortable to play and sounds amazing.  I have been working with Ted on various projects for about 20 years.  He’s a great friend and a wonderful artist.

This guitar was made by Bill Comins in Willow Grove PA.  I used to study with the amazing Steve Herberman who was then on faculty at Towson.  Steve played a huge 7 string Comins and that inspired me to commission one.  Bill was really great to work with, had amazing ideas and was tactful when my ideas about the guitar were silly!  It’s a big 16 inch archtop with a big voluptuous sound.  What I love most about it is the amazing neck that is so comfortable to play.

This is the latest addition to the Palevsky guitar mania.  The guitar was made by Tim Bram in Pasadena MD.  I first played one of Tim’s guitars a few years ago when he had one on consignment at Ryan Fowler’s guitar experience.  I really liked the instrument but was rather broke at the time.  I decided last week that an insane time requires the odd insane gesture.  I was tired of bad news and a bit of six string retail therapy might be just the thing.  To buy a guitar now was completely counter intuitive but felt right.  It reminds me that this current situation is temporary and this too shall pass.  This guitar was destined for the now cancelled Harrisburg guitar show in April and ended up chez nous in Mt Washington.  It’s super comfortable to play and I adore the Telecaster shape.  For a tiny guitar it has amazing acoustic properties.

Finally the thoughtful face of Boots our cat.  I can tell he’s thinking about Covid 19 and what to do.  He’s waiting for this to be over just like the rest of us and hoping for the best.






Jonathan is WBJC's Program Director and host of many WBJC programs. His full bio can be read here.

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