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Marvin Rosen celebrates 20th anniversary of WPRB - Classical Discoveries / Broad Street Review

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Why is new and unfamiliar music in the classical tradition so hard to find? Our local musical ensembles are doing their best to bring largely unknown sounds to the concert stage, but just how many concerts does a typical music lover attend in a year? If you attend 10 concerts, at best you'll walk away having heard 10 unfamiliar works (one per concert), if that. Local classical radio stations provide excellent programming, but like their concert colleagues, they offer new music as an add-on to traditional fare.

Our region is actually stronger than many in the exposure we give unfamiliar music. One ensemble, Philadelphia's Orchestra 2001, is dedicated exclusively to playing and recording new music. On the early-music side, Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, offers pre-Baroque delights with plenty of attitude and good humor, while Tempesta di Mare has revived interest in the rich diversity of Baroque repertoire.

But how many existing or potential lovers of new or unfamiliar music are able to attend these concerts or buy recordings? What if you want to hear the best new Estonian music, the lesser-known composers of New Zealand and Australia, music by women before 1600, or the latest works by Philadelphia composers?

Enter Marvin Rosen. Rosen, a full-time music educator with the Westminster Conservatory in Princeton, New Jersey, has a doctorate in music education from Columbia University. He was managing the record department at Princeton University's store when he was offered the opportunity to host a morning music program on WPRB 103.3 FM, the school's independent radio station, which has a strong signal and a following in Philadelphia. The date was May 29, 1997.