Jim Lange

Host - Classical Music with Jim Lange and Eclectopia

Jim has a Master's Degree in Guitar Performance from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. His BA is in Music Education from West Liberty University.

He joined West Virginia Public Radio in 1998, working part-time on Sunday nights. This developed into original programming called Sunday Nights with Jim Lange. Around 2002, this became Eclectopia- a program that has become a WVPR staple.

Recently, a kind listener, called Jim "the mad scientist of cool music."

In 2007, he became host/producer of Classical Music with Jim Lange. He is also host/producer of Symphony of Ideas- a co-production with maestro Grant Cooper and the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. He is responsible for both Classically Speaking and EclecTopia blogs.

He has interviewed classical greats such as John Eliot Gardiner. Joshua Bell, Hans Zimmer, George Crumb, Simone Dinnerstein, Erich Kunzel and many others.

In contemporary music, he has interviewed and produced shows about David Sylvian, Bill Bruford, Ralph Towner (2014) and jazz author Joe Goldberg.

Writing music, playing the guitar, taking pictures and the occasional written word piece amuses Jim to no end. His wife tolerates his discursive interests and scatterbrained lifestyle.

In 2013, Jim helped form Terra Firma, a group interested in contemporary music of an eclectic nature. Local musical luminaries such as David Porter, Ryan Kennedy, Lisa Peery, John Ingrahm and Scott Milam are the current lineup.

Terra Firma premiered  his sextet, "Brambles and Briers," as part of Kanawha United Presbyterian Church's Kanawha Forum in April of 2014.  People seemed to like it.

In September of this year, the Velvet Brothers, a band he was in long ago, had a twenty year reunion. People seemed to enjoy themselves.

His greatest accomplishment and that which gives his life real meaning is his loving wife, Beverly, who tolerates him. They have been married for 21 glorious years. She is a saint for doing this.

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Radio
11:12 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Discover a British Treasure: The Goon Show

The Goons: Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe.
Credit BBC

Brian Eno has called them "radio Dadaism," and ranks them among the best in British comedy. Eddie Izzard believes the Goons were the start of modern comedy. And Monty Python? Well, they idolized them. Count John Lennon and The Beatles, Firesign Theater and Prince Charles among their fans.

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2:17 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Composing Oneself - 20 Quips About the Creating Process

Good (My idea of good is a bit introverted.) lighting, a sharp no. 2 pencil, good coffee and manuscript are the tools of the "bliss station" or what I call my small, cluttered, chaotic desk where I write music.
Credit Jim Lange

A creative life or daily creative activity is a funny thing- fraught with missteps, miscues and misfires. It is not, as we might think, a Sturm und Drang artistic wrestle with the fates. It's far more practical and hilarious than that.

Occasionally, an amusing thought, often containing a bitter grain of truth, will pop into my head.This is a partial list of these nuggets of "wisdom."

1. Coffee helps. A lot.

2. Let your voice be the only one speaking in your head.

3. Create a space for silence. Music comes from there.

4. Listen, don't think.

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Radio
9:00 am
Wed October 29, 2014

The Velvet Time Machine

Mod Rod Taylor and his rocking smoking jacket in The Time Machine.
Credit WikiCommons

"Let's get the band back together!"

Is this the battle cry of the midlife crisis? The rallying slogan point with those with far more paunch than punch? Is this just grown men, well past middle-age, trying to relive their youth and former glory? Is it a ridiculous idea fraught with potential hazards?

You double betcha.

Yes. But if you never try anything outside of your comfort zone, what good are ye to thyself?

PART 1. Good or bad idea?

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Radio
9:00 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Mind-Body Connection, Pt. 5 - Melita Mollohan

Namaste Melita Mollohan.

It is estimated that 40 million Americans now practice yoga. If that isn't a cultural mind-shift, I don't know what is.

Beginning with the counterculture of the '60's, slowly, ever so slowly,  concepts like organic, vegetarianism, vegan, and meditation have taken hold in our commercial American culture. I have cynically said of my country that if Americans can't place a dollar amount on something, we are mystified. And spiritualism, in any form outside of the go-to-church-on-Sunday variety, is often dismissed.

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Radio
9:30 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

KC Tour Ends Triumphantly

Tonight is the last night of the KC Elements Tour. (Sadly, really regretfully, I could not attend any show.)

Most would say that the King Crimson Elements Tour of 2014 was a resounding success. Going through the reviews, all the ones I read were positive.

No surprise to me. This group was different from all my expectations (therefore, in my mind, exciting) and this very difference allowed them the freedom to explore the music in a new way. 

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Radio
9:00 am
Wed September 24, 2014

The Unseen Hand of God

Sir David Attenborough and friend.
Credit WikiCommons

"If we and the rest of the back-boned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if they (invertebrates-insects) were to disappear, the land's ecosystems would collapse.  These small creatures are within a few inches of our feet, wherever we go on land – but often, they're disregarded. We would do very well to remember them." ~Sir David Attenborough

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Radio
1:41 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

All Good Things Imaginable

Robert Fripp on stage in Boston, 2014.
Credit Tony Levin.

A musician lives for music.

Perhaps better to say, for the 'experience' that music has to offer. More precisely, a musician lives to further clarify and deepen the relationship between themselves and that mystical experience when music removes us from any sense of time, ourselves, our obligations - all those encroaching weights that keep us aground.

A friend of mine, normally taciturn, expressed his experience after a joyous reunion of our old band:

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Radio
10:48 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Symphony of Ideas Returns!

Maestro Grant Cooper.
Credit Jim Lange

Symphony of Ideas: SEPTEMBER 25 at 12:15pm & OCTOBER 2 at 8pm. 2 hours.

Symphony of Ideas, a collaboration between WV Public Radio and the WV Symphony Orchestra returns this Thursday with a brand new program with many West Virginia connections.

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4:55 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Eclectopia: Why Not the Mambo?

Eclectopia, baby.

This week's show is all over the musical map.

So, how's that any different from any other show?

Good point. This week we embrace funk, rock, alt folk and the once king of dances- the mambo.

Perez Prado was called the Mambo King. He is easily identifed by his famous grunts (Huh!) that you hear throughout the nearly-off-the-rails brass arrangements of his band.

Lest you think me being ironic with all this mambo business, thus embracing hipsterdom, I am not. This is fiery, vivacious, Latino music that gets me moving.

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Radio
1:14 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

The Classical King Crimson

KC 2014 lineup. Who's the new guy with the horns?
Credit Tony Levin. Used by permission.

I know I'm a bit obsessed about this band. I get that.

To be perfectly honest, my tireless enthusiasm is founded on one basic idea: by comparison, every other band seems lame. When friends or family talk wildly about some country singer (yawn) or some muso drones on endlessly about a new hot band, I sigh internally. About 40% of the time, the music is engaging and I might even download it and roll it through the Eclectopian wheels. It's clever and catchy, but it pales by any comparison. It's not fair to do that, but music people are like that.

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Radio
9:00 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Mind-Body Connection, Pt. 4 - Merely Present

Guitarist/composer/writer/teacher Robert Fripp exemplifies not only virtuosity and musical innovation, but has taught, by example, how to survive the crazy life of the professional musician.

I am a dreamer.

Far worse when I was young when just about everything jolted me or made me fearful. To counterbalance, I developed a strong imagination. My mother told me that I never needed entertaining; that hours spent with clay, comics, TV or outside activities largely kept me engaged.

But my dreaming nature created a mind that easily left the room. In short, being truly present, controlling or crawling out of that dream state, was an issue that followed me through adolescence and well into my adult years.

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Radio
9:00 am
Wed September 3, 2014

King Crimson 2014: Joy?

KC 2014.
Credit dgmlive.com

"Everything you've heard about King Crimson is true. It's an absolutely terrifying place." ~Bill Bruford

King Crimson - a place where the music might resemble a tsunami, a typhoon, a hurricane and that's just the nice bits. King Crimson - where musical ideas such as acerbic Bartokian Jimi Hendrix guitar riffs, wicked bass lines and polyrhythmic drumming are commonplace. King Crimson - where the 21st century schizoid man roams in all his fractured red nightmares.

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Radio
9:00 am
Wed August 27, 2014

K Flay - Mixing It Up

K Flay.
Credit K Flay

Channel surfing one night, I stumbled upon a video of a young woman performing on Carson Daley's Last Call.  She was rapping and singing what appeared to be original material. It was infectious.

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Radio
9:00 am
Wed July 30, 2014

Teacher, Teach Thyself?

My trusty, rustic Takemine classical, purchased in 1987, has been my faithful companion through many a circumstance and bad student. (Metronome and pick not included.)
Credit Jim Lange

We are binge watching In Treatment, starring the marvelous Gabriel Byrne, and there is a relationship, in the most respectful terms, between certain elements of private counseling sessions and private music lessons.

Byrne's character, Dr. Paul Weston, is having all sorts of fits with his patients, his private life is fractured, and his detached therapeutic persona is shattered by the revelations of his own therapist, the bright and insightful Gina.

My life is nowhere near that level of upheaval, but there's no doubt I've had some strange encounters with students.

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Radio
9:00 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Dowland or O'Dolan?

John Dowland - international man of mystery.
Credit WikiCommons

The man of mystery, the enigmatic composer and lutenist, John Dowland (1563 –  1626) has been on my mind lately.

Periodically, I go through these heavy Dowlandesque periods where I immerse myself in his profound songs, finger-tangling lute music or his soft and sorrowful music for viols.

You see, there are more than a few of us who believe that Dowland, among a myriad of other Renaissance composers, never get a fair shake in the world of classical music. They are largely ignored and it is duly noted.

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Radio
1:12 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

The Power of Silence

Quiet is just the absence of sound. Silence has a distinct presence. Silence often visits Guitar Craft seminars.
Credit Jim Lange

Consistently, the concept of music coming from another time or another place, far different from our own, is an idea you will encounter again and again in artistic circles. It's as if music is imported, allows itself into or gently descends upon the practitioners of this noble art. 

Then there's silence. What's so special about that? How does it relate to music?

Silence of the nature that Robert Fripp and Sandra Bain Cushman talk about occurring on Guitar Craft or now as it is known, Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists courses, is a keenly felt presence.

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Radio
9:00 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Eric Douglas: Author and Explorer

Author/explorer, Eric Douglas in a rare moment when he isn't traveling or under 70 feet of ocean water.
Credit Jim Lange

I am pretty much a home body and by Eric Douglas' world traveling life, I could be called a house slug.

Eric is a renaissance man: writing, photography, many aspects of scuba diving, teaching and he takes on special projects like telling the stories of our vets. Despite the diversity of activities, he is no dilettante. He dives in (Oh, a pun!) with an iron determination to learn and master what interests him.

A writer tells his story through words. Listen to Eric tell his story.

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Radio
11:25 am
Tue July 1, 2014

The Boys Are Back

King Crimson, 2014.
Credit Tony Levin. Used by permission.

Never say never, especially in the world of King Crimson.  

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Radio
10:08 am
Mon June 30, 2014

My Lithium Sunset

There is a notion that sunsets emit calming lithium. Perhaps this is why they are a universal pleasure?
Credit Jim Lange

Whatever our homes say about us, mine is one that is filled with sound.

We reside in an area two blocks from the bridge and a stone's throw from the busiest avenue in the city.

CAMC, our neighbors, is building a new cancer center across the street. All the while demolishing buildings, one row over from us, to "put up a parking lot."

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Radio
11:47 am
Mon June 23, 2014

A (Not-so) Brief Misery of the Eagles

Eagles' co-founder and Generalissimo Glenn Frey.
Credit WikiCommons

VH1's Behind the Music is always fun to watch. You can revel in the personal struggles of the band and cheer on the comebacks, but the real reason we watch is simple. We love when the narrator begins the segment with, "and then it all went horribly wrong." That's the point when the featured band begins to implode, explode and generally go sideways into an oak tree. A pure case of schadenfreude.

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