Obituary: WQXR Opera host George Jellinek, 90

Posted on: January 20, 2010

In Tuesday’s (1/19) New York Times, James Barron writes, “George Jellinek, a former music director of the New York [classical] radio station WQXR and the host of a weekly program on opera singers and singing that ran on the station for 36 years, died on Saturday. He was 90 and lived in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y. … From 1968 to 1984, Mr. Jellinek was in charge of choosing the music listeners heard throughout the day on WQXR, then owned by The New York Times Company. They also heard him once or twice a week. He had an uncharacteristic voice for a commercial radio station in the days of booming rock ‘n’ roll D.J.’s: he was a quiet and serious-sounding perfectionist, with more than a hint of a central European accent left over from his Hungarian boyhood. His hourlong weekly program, ‘The Vocal Scene,’ ran until 2004 and was syndicated around the country. It allowed him to dip into his encyclopedic knowledge about singers and singing—and into his own huge record collection. … He wrote record reviews for Stereo Review and articles for Opera News, and in 1960 published his first book, ‘Callas: Portrait of a Prima Donna.’ He stepped down as music director of WQXR in 1984, but continued his work on ‘The Vocal Scene’ and ‘First Hearing’ and was also the host of a Sunday-evening opera program.”

Posted January 20, 2010