Grant Cooper, former Music Director of the West Virginia Symphony, like many entrepreneurs, is a man without a plan, but with a nimble attitude. Hear how a young trumpet virtuoso from New Zealand reached for the stars and ended up on the podium of major orchestras, composing new works, editing and producing in the recording studio, and creating a career in the United States that has spanned over 4 decades.
On Monday morning, April 13, 1992, basements of old downtown Chicago commercial buildings mysteriously began filling with water. Unbeknownst to these building owners, an old underground system of railroad delivery tunnels had been punctured by a crew working on pilings on the Chicago River. Before it was done, an estimated 250 million gallons of water from the Chicago River had flooded scores of vintage downtown buildings, and closed the subway system. A hobbyist and train enthusiast, Bruce Moffatt, had written a small book about this early 20th century forgotten underground delivery system. Overnight, he was the unsuspecting celebrity interviewee on background for this amazing news story. Hear Bruce tell the story of the creation of Chicago’s underground commercial network of tunnels that delivered services and goods to Chicago’s great buildings of the early 20th century.
Charleston, West Virginia Symphony concert-goers of the 1950’s may have been surprised to see a 13 year old boy playing bass clarinet at concerts. Over the next four years, young Larry Combs would gradually graduate to the first chair in the section, at the ripe old age of 17. Larry would go on to Interlochen, the Eastman School, where he paired with world famous jazz musicians, on to the military, and on to the symphony orchestra positions and career that catapulted his name to the heights of the clarinet world. Larry literally built his name and reputation into a brand, and was one of the titans of the clarinet world for 3 decades, holding the principal clarinet position of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1978 until his retirement in 2008.
Two star-crossed Armenian immigrants met in Evanston in the nineteen-teens. They brought together a trade from the old country, Turkey, a booming demand for their trade in the United States, and mixed in a bit of good-old real estate entrepreneurship. They built the business and the buildings that became Koshgarian Rug Cleaners in La Grange and Hinsdale, Illinois. The business is now in its fourth generation of their family. Hear this fascinating tale, as told by Herb Koshgarian, the 89 year old son of immigrants Mike and Mary Koshgarian. It’s a classic tale of hard work and acumen; that of the immigrant owner/ user of commercial real estate in the United States.
Sometimes a gifted individual steps out of the limelight and turns his energies to teaching, and discovering a methodology that leads others to greatness. Joe Torre of the New York Yankees is a prime example in sports. Stanley Hasty was such a clarinetist and teacher. For 2 decades, he worked his way around the country in some of the most illustrious principal clarinet positions. Then, at the request of Howard Hanson, he was brought to the Eastman School of Music for a teaching career that lasted 4 more decades. Join me in an interview with clarinet Professor Elizabeth Gunlogson from the University of New Hampshire, who has written the definitive work on Stanley Hasty’s career, and knew this remarkably influential man in a way his students almost couldn’t.
When you visit the Loop in Chicago, you’ll probably take a picture at the iconic Bean ( actually called Cloud Gate). If you’re watching the business section in the papers, you’ll see a gigantic new sports complex that’s been constructed in the Pullman neighborhood. You’ll also see a new Method factory recently constructed, and Whole Foods new Midwest distribution center. You may have also heard about one of the first two Whole Foods in the country that was placed into a food desert in an underprivileged neighborhood, in this case, Englewood. “Wow’, you think, “Chicago is doing a lot of things right”. But what you probably don’t realize it that all these things have one person in common, developer and public finance wizard, David Doig. Listen to a humble man describe his amazing journey.
In 1977, the Chicago Symphony hired its first Asian musician, John Bruce Yeh, in the clarinet section. Twenty-one years later, Robert Chen took over the concertmaster position, arguably the most notable position in a symphony orchestra. Since that time, the CSO, along with orchestras across the U.S., has seen an explosion of numbers of Asian audition winners, both American and foreign born. Hear the story of these two high-profile American symphony musicians, how both of their parents made their way to Los Angeles, and how the entire demographic
of the modern American symphony orchestra is changing.
Jim Haertel, a modest multi-family investor from Milwaukee, couldn’t forget the beautiful Pabst headquarters he’d seen in his 30’s. Hear the story of Jim’s $50,000 down payment and his obsession with saving a couple structures in the gigantic Pabst Brewery 30-building assemblage. His effort was the genesis of the repositioning of an entire submarket of Milwaukee into a booming engine of economic growth.
If you attended concerts by the Cleveland Orchestra in the early 1950’s, or concerts by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra from the mid-1950’s to the early 2000’s, you undoubtedly were listening to Harry Taub playing in the violin section. In Buffalo, you would have frequently heard him playing the violin solos from the concertmaster’s chair, since he served as the Associate Concertmaster for five decades. It’s a long and distinguished career, certainly, but there is so much more to the story, and to the man. Listen to his life story, as told by his wife of 50 years, Suzanne, and two of his children, Samuel and Sharon.
Two men in their early twenties, Jay Michael and Alex Samoylovich, grade school friends and first generation Americans, pooled their resources, moxie, and families to shape the most radical micro-living concepts. Their Chicago company has innovated wholesale changes in how mixed use development, retail, and apartment living fit together. Listen to Alex tell the story of their beginnings, and his homage to the late Jay Michael.