By Julia Maish |

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Chicago classical music radio station WFMT marks 70 years with an all-day musical celebration

DECEMBER 13, 2021 – 10 am to 7 pm

CHICAGO – November 17, 2021 – WFMT will celebrate its 70th anniversary on Monday, December 13 with a day of exciting performances featuring an impressive roster of special guests. This all-day celebration will air/stream live from Northeastern Illinois University’s “Jewel Box” Recital Hall on 98.7FM,, and the WFMT app; and video of the performances will be streamed on Facebook and

In 1951, Bernard and Rita Jacobs, having pawned their car and luggage, acquired full ownership of a struggling Chicago radio station. On December 13 of that year with Bernie serving as engineer and Rita as the announcer, WFMT signed on for the first time as Rita famously asked, “Is anybody listening?” Their goal: to produce and present fine arts content on the radio that they could enjoy, respect, and share with others. Seven decades later, that idea still guides WFMT, a world-renowned brand with a reputation as a champion of classical music that presents world-class performances from Chicago and around the world accompanied by enlightening context from its knowledgeable hosts.

To celebrate the past, present and future, WFMT invites its community of listeners to join WFMT’s 70th Anniversary Day of Celebration throughout the day.

December 13, 2021 Schedule of Performances:

Ravinia Festival/Steans Piano Trio – violinist Eunice Kim, cellist Oliver Aldort, and pianist Xiaohui Yang – will perform Brahms Piano Trio No. 2 in C Major, Op. 87

Hosted by George Preston, WFMT

10:00 am
Haymarket Opera Company instrumentalists Craig Trompeter on viola da gamba and Brandon Acker on theorbo perform music by Marin Marais

Hosted by Dennis Moore, WFMT

11:00 am
Music Institute of Chicago – Academy students and faculty will present works by Beethoven, Liszt, and Haydn

Hosted by Lisa Flynn, WFMT

12:00 pm
Chicago Sinfonietta Wind Quintet perform Libertango by Astor Piazzolla and Valerie Coleman’s Portraits of Josephine

Hosted by Lisa Flynn, WFMT

1:00 pm
Roots and blues singer-songwriter and fiddle player Anne Harris, with guitarist Ernie Hendrickson, cellist Ryan Carney, and multi-instrumentalist Scott Tipping

Hosted by Marilyn Rea Beyer, WFMT

2:00 pm
Music of the Baroque Chorus, conducted by Andrew Megill, will share excerpts from their Holiday program

Hosted by LaRob K. Rafael, WFMT

3:00 pm
Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Lincoln Quartet – violinists Qing Hou and Lei Hou, violist Lawrence Neuman, and cellist Kenneth Olsen – will play Mozart’s String Quartet in D Major, K. 499

Hosted by Kerry Frumkin, WFMT

4:00 pm
Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative String Quartet – violinist/violists Esmé Arias-Kim and Ella Saputra, violinist Sameer Agrawal, and cellist Jonathan Miller – will perform String Quartet No. 1 by George Walker and Jessie Montgomery’s Strum

Hosted by Robbie Ellis, WFMT

5:00 pm
Ryan Opera Center of Lyric Opera of Chicago – mezzo-soprano Katherine DeYoung, tenor Lunga Eric Hallam, and pianist Chris Reynolds

Hosted by Oliver Camacho, WFMT

6:00 pm

“As we reflect on 70 years and at this moment in time, we are reminded of our purpose. Through our work, we strive to enrich lives, engage communities, and inspire exploration. Today, we are excited to mark WFMT’s impact on the arts in Chicago and connection to our listeners by welcoming some of the foremost classical and folk performers from across the Chicago music community,” said WFMT and WTTW President and CEO Sandra Cordova Micek.

“We are thrilled that so many esteemed classical music and folk artists will be joining us to celebrate WFMT’s 70th anniversary,” said WFMT General Manager George Preston. “Their participation is a great tribute to the many dedicated people over the years who have worked to make WFMT the renowned institution that it is and will continue to be.”

Programming in celebration of WFMT’s 70th Anniversary is made possible by The Grainger Foundation. The lead sponsor of WFMT’s 70th anniversary is BMO Harris Bank.

WFMT is one of the world’s most respected classical music radio stations, available on-air at WFMT 98.7FM, online at, and on the WFMT app. WFMT showcases superlative programs, concerts, and live events including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Music Festival, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Ravinia Festival. WFMT is also a leading producer and syndicator of a diverse selection of outstanding musical series, including Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin, the Beethoven Network, and the Jazz Network. Connect with WFMT on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.