Hosts Robbie Ellis and Michael San Gabino share their musical New Year’s Resolutions

By Robbie Ellis and Michael San Gabino |

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So far, we’ve heard musical resolutions from Dennis Moore and Maggie Clennon Reberg. Let’s hear what Robbie Ellis and Michael San Gabino have in store for 2019.

Robbie Ellis, host

It’s a common new year’s resolution to go see more live performances. I’m going to get more specific than that: I’m going to go see more performances of new music/contemporary classical/living composers/we-haven’t-settled-on-a-single-term-but-you-know-it-when-you-hear-it music.

This Saturday (January 5, 2019), is my four-year Chicago-versary. Since moving to the US, most of my creative activities have been in the comedy song, improv, sketch and musical theatre worlds. However, I am a properly trained composer with a degree, and back in New Zealand I was composing regularly for orchestras and choirs and chamber ensembles and all the rest. I’m not composing as frequently as I did in New Zealand, and I feel woefully under-connected in the new music scene over here. To that end, I present my multi-step resolution:

  • Seek out new music events well in advance.
  • Put those nights and weekends in the calendar and purchase tickets well in advance.
  • Commit to going to them and say no to other bits of work! Well, unless I get an abnormally well-paying gig. But otherwise, honour the time carved out of my calendar!
  • Once at these events, socialise with complete strangers! Talk about the music we just heard. Find points in common.
  • Then, in theory, I’ll meet new music performers and have a reason to start composing for forces beyond just actors and piano.

So, if you see me out and about, say hi. Thanks, and happy new year!

Michael San Gabino, host and producer

I am inspired by one of Dennis Moore’s musical resolutions for 2019: invest in your own musical skills.

In addition to serving as the host and producer of Introductions on WFMT, I am a saxophonist and studied classical saxophone at Northwestern University. I currently play in the Northshore Concert Band, and while I love performing in an ensemble, there is nothing like the rush of being a soloist. It’s also fun creating recital programs because, like classical radio programming, there are many possibilities!

Ultimately, my resolution is to perform a solo recital in 2019, which implies another musical resolution — to practice more!