Classical music is alive down under

Sometimes we can get spoiled by the wealth of classical music that is available in Rochester. We can tune in Classical 91.5 or 90.3 in our homes, cars, on our computers, or take it with us on headphones. We have more concerts available to us than we can possibly attend - at Eastman School of Music, the RPO, Hochstein, Nazareth, the Memorial Art Gallery, local churches and a multitude of other venues. We have such a reach classical community that we may not even realize what great things are happening in the classical world on the other side of the globe.

Former WXXI-FM Afternoon Host and RPO producer John Ballard - some of you may remember when he was on the air in the late 70's and early 80's - now manages a company in New Zealand called Maxima Artist Management Limited .

Ballard, a trained baritone at the Eastman School of Music founded Maxima in 2004 as a limited-roster agency, representing New Zealand's most important musicians and distinguished international artists throughout the Pacific Rim.

This week, Ballard and colleague Composer John Psathas are traveling throughout the United States to talk with stations about producing a radio series for distribution in the United States featuring some of these artists - who are relatively unknown to U.S. audiences.

I, and a number of my colleagues here at WXXI-FM, have listened to a pilot program. We've all been intrigued by and excited about the music we heard - along with brief descriptive images of New Zealand.

If you'd like to broaden your geographical classical horizons, check out their website at