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Composers Datebook is a daily two-minute program designed to inform, engage, and entertain listeners with timely information about composers of the past and present. Each program notes significant or intriguing musical events involving composers of the past and present - with appropriate and accessible music related to each.00000175-40b0-dc5e-a1ff-d6b771630000New (May 2019) host John Birge has been hosting, producing and performing classical music for more than 25 years. Since 1997, he has been hosting on Minnesota Public Radio's Classical Music Service. He played French horn for the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra and performed with them on their centennial tour of Europe in 1995. He was trained at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music and Interlochen Arts Academy.

Composers Datebook Host Bids Farewell - with UPDATE!

Composers Datebook host John Zech
John Zech MPR/APM
Composers Datebook host John Zech

Dear friends, I think Groucho Marx said it best:

"Hello, I must be going. I cannot stay, I came to say I must be going. I'm glad I came, but just the same, I must be going."

You might have heard that I have been out on a medical leave these past few months. First, I discovered I had throat cancer in March. Fortunately, my team at the Mayo Clinic was able to remove it surgically and followup visits show that it is all gone.

Then, as I was recovering from that procedure, I lost what was left of my hearing (a big double whammy for a radio guy!). A cochlear implant in July has given me some functional, synthetic hearing, and I am very, very grateful for that. However, I do not have the ability to hear or appreciate music, and without that I can't be a classical radio host anymore.

So, I'm afraid the time has come for me to say goodbye. It's been a great privilege for me to be your early-morning companion for all these years. And even though I was getting up before the chickens, I can truly say I have always enjoyed going to work and being a part of your lives.

Please know that I am in good health and good spirits, with good friends and family around me. So now I'm looking forward to new challenges and possibilities in this next chapter in my life. Thank you for all of your kind words, support and good wishes.

All the best.

Editors note: The Composers Datebookairs weekdays at 7:20 on Classical 915.FM.

UPDATE:  This just in! 

“American Public Media (APM) will continue to produce Composers Datebook and fill John Zech’s seat in the C24 studio. As we search for a new host, John Birge will step in to remind audiences that "all music was once new." Birge will voice all new episodes of Composers Datebook in the interim. We look forward to announcing a new host soon.

APM is encouraging listeners who would like to share their gratitude and best wishes with John to send them to John Zech at jwzech@gmail.com.