Kurt Anderson

General Manager and a broadcaster at WMNR since 1982, Kurt Anderson became interested in radio at an early age. He earned his Amateur Radio license in 8th grade and always had the desire to work at a radio station.

Kurt graduated from Grinnell College with a degree in music, where he was station manager of the college radio station. He enjoys being at a station where the music of his father, Leroy Anderson, is played from time to time. He also guest conducts symphony orchestras in performances of his father's music.

Kurt is proud to be part of a radio station that brings so much musical happiness to so many people.

My Desert Island Discs
With so many great works and incredible performances, it is hard to choose just 5 that I would take if I knew ahead of time that I would be deserted on an island. But here they are …

It may only be 4 minutes and 35 seconds long, but I could listen to George Bizet’s “Pearl Fishers Duet” with tenor Jussi Björling and baritone Robert Merrill forever. The lyrical and musical qualities of the piece are enormous and with the beauty of the performance by the great Swedish tenor Jussi Bjorling, this definitely makes it a Desert Island Classic.

For me, Franz Joseph Haydn is not among my top five composers. There is one work, though, that makes it into my top 5 Desert Island discs. It’s his “Cello Concerto No. 2 in D major”, especially if it’s a performance by Yo-Yo Ma with the English Chamber Orchestra. After I was already in love with this recording, I was fortunate see Yo-Yo Ma in concert. I was sitting in the 6th row of the center section at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Yo-Yo Ma gave a performance that just radiated love. Perhaps that’s part of what makes this a Desert Island Classic for me … the remembrance of a special concert.

There are many works by Brahms that I would love to hear over and over again. If I had to pick just one, it would be one that’s very different from those made recently. For me, it represents a very different time and place… I’m speaking about the 1926 recording of Brahms “Violin Concerto” with violinist Fritz Kreisler and the Berlin State Opera Orchestra. There are many recordings that show the noble and dynamic Brahms, but this is not one of them. This one is full of a style reminiscent of the gemütlich (or cozy) lifestyle of pre-war Vienna. Fritz Kreisler is noted for his sweet tone and expressive phrasing, and I could listen to this recording many, many times.

The music of Johann Sebastian Bach is so monumental that it allows for many different interpretations and performances. Perhaps this is especially evident in an extended solo work, like the hour or so long piano piece known as the “Goldberg Variations”. While Glenn Gould’s electric and eccentric 1955 recording helped to make this work famous, my favorite recording is from 1986 by the Italian pianist Maria Tipo. She performs this work with precision, grace and beauty.

The last of my top 5 Desert Island Discs features a very well known performer, Artur Rubinstein. It is his 1958 recording in Carnegie Hall of Chopin’s “Piano Concerto No. 2”. Rubinstein’s recordings of Chopin were always elegant and poetic. It’s something I could hear over and over.

I’m sure that you have your own favorite Top 5 or Top 50 Desert Island Discs. There are so many great ones to choose from! 


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