MTPR

John Floridis

Host and Producer

John Floridis, the host and producer of Musician's Spotlight, has been with Montana Public Radio since 1997. He has interviewed over 200 musicians during that time from household names like B.B. King, Alison Krauss and Lyle Lovett, to Montana musicians such as Eden Atwood, Darko Butarac and Tom Catmull. He is also an independent recording and performing artist in his own right and a former registered music therapist.

Ways to Connect

Hermina Jean, the founder of the popular Missoula alt-folk band, Butter, returns to "Musician’s Spotlight" to discuss her recent move to solo performing and recording.

Howard Levy
Courtesy Howard Levy

When Howard Levy pulls out an ordinary harmonica, extraordinary sounds emerge. From intricate jazz solos to his "Concerto for Diatonic Harmonica and Orchestra,” he's stretched the little instrument beyond its ostensible limits. “Coltrane is my musical hero, along with Bach,” says Levy. “I just always wanted to try to play some of those tunes on the harmonica." In the 1970s, Levy came up with his own technique to play the full chromatic scale on a diatonic harmonica, and his ongoing forty-plus year run of musical experiments was off and running. 

Courtesy of Judy Collins

This edition of Musician's Spotlight features one of the linchpins of late 20th-century American popular and folk music, the singer who popularized classic songs by writers both beloved and unknown: Joni Mitchell, Woody Guthrie, Leonard Cohen, Pete Seeger, Ian Tyson, Bob Dylan, Stephen Sondheim, Kurt Weill -- and "trad. arr. Collins."  Starting with 1961's "Maid of Constant Sorrow" all the way up to 2017's "Everybody Knows" (with Stephen Stills) and into the present, her recording and performing career has thrived alongside a passion for social justice.  Judy Collins is John Floridis's guest.

Courtesy of Kristin Korb

There aren't many jazz bassists who can sing with such ease, skill and style that you forget they're also playing bass. Ten recordings and several world tours into her performing career, Montanan Kristin Korb wields her double bass and woos audiences with romantic, danceable tunes that reflect her reverence for melody - like the songs of Johnny Mercer, whose unpublished "orphaned" texts Korb set to music and recorded on "Beyond the Moon."  Korb teaches widely and performs and records with the likes of Llew Matthews, Kim Richmond, Pete Christlieb, Jeff Hamilton, Alex Riel and Jan Lundgren. Any given summer, you might find her playing a jazz society in California, a Rhône River cruise in France - or the Alberta Bair Theater in Billings, Montana.

Singer songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman.
Courtesy Beth Nielsen Chapman

Singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman has carved out a career of over two-and-a-half decades, writing hit songs for artists like Faith Hill, Willie Nelson, Martina McBride and Bette Midler, while creating a niche for her own recordings and performances  - and simultaneously overcoming significant life challenges and losses.

But that only scratches the surface of this dynamo of creativity. "Musician's Spotlight" host John Floridis says one of the biggest challenges of this interview is to convey the real depth of Chapman's fascinating musical career.

Learn more about Beth Nielsen Chapman on this episode of  "Musician's Spotlight."

Darko Butorac
Courtesy Darko Butorac

Missoula Symphony Orchestra director Darko Butorac was praised by the Westdeutsche Zeitung for his “exceptional combination of passion, elegance and well‐timed pacing” and has established himself as a conductor in demand with orchestras both in Europe and the Americas. Darko stopped by the studios of Montana Public Radio in the fall of 2018 to discuss his final season in Missoula and what lies ahead in his career.

Tom Chargin

Composer, musical improviser and pianist Wayne Horvitz's body of work sounds as eclectic as a short list of his ensembles: The Royal Room Collective; Sweeter Than The Day; The Gravitas Quartet; Electronic Circus; The President; Pigpen; Zony Mash. His collaborators include video artists, filmmakers, choreographers, performance artists, actors, poets and novelists - when he's not busy playing sideman to Carla Bley, Bill Frisell, Marty Ehrlich or John Zorn.

In 2007, Zach Lupetin posted a Craigslist ad in search of fellow Angelitos who loved playing brass and string band music. With trumpet and trombone, mandolin and fiddle, wah-wah pedals and bull fiddle, The Dustbowl Revival's sound melds the Great Depression with the Great Recession, the Stax catalog with the post-fire streets of Chicago. Join host John Floridis in conversation with The Dustbowl Revival founder, Zach Lupetin.

Globe-trotting composer and pianist Amina Figarova’s career path has taken her from classical piano studies in Baku, Azerbaijan to jazz at the Rotterdam Conservatory and Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Today, she tours almost constantly from her home base in Manhattan, still managing to record 13 albums since 1994.

A look back on holiday music, from Musician's Spotlight.
(PD)

John Floridis hosts a holiday retrospective edition of "Musician's Spotlight," featuring music by artists who have appeared on the show during the past two decades. You'll hear music by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones; Derek Trucks with McCoy Tyner; NewGrange; John Gorka; Jerry Douglas; Alison Krauss with Natalie MacMaster; Karan Casey; and The Indigo Girls with Brandi Carlile. Pour a glass, light a fire in the fireplace and enjoy this tribute to the season with John Floridis and "Musician's Spotlight."

Pages