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Getting to Know Stephen Baum, WGUC’s Recording and Mastering Engineer

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Stephen Baum Profile Pic

Stephen is the station’s recording and mastering engineer, responsible for the recording, editing and production of all WGUC’s live recorded broadcasts. You hear his work on Sunday evenings throughout the year as WGUC shares with listeners live recorded performances of our region’s finest music organizations.

Stephen is integral to the partnerships Cincinnati Public Radio has with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra, May Festival Chorus, Cincinnati Opera, Linton Music Series and Vocal Arts Ensembles. Recorded performances are aired on WGUC, and archived by each partner organization, providing a valuable historical record. WGUC is one of only a few public radio stations to employ a full-time master recording engineer.

“When I arrived in Cincinnati, I was immediately impressed by not only the amazing arts opportunities that exist here, but the wonderful partnerships that exist among these groups,” Stephen says. “This doesn’t happen everywhere.”

Stephen Mic Measure

Stephen’s Career
“My first instrument was the phonograph,” says Stephen. “I played the piano a bit as a child and as an adult, I tried my hand at the clarinet. My appreciation for music deepened during my time singing with the Mendelsohn Choir (Pittsburgh).”

Stephen began his career when he was a student in Salt Lake City back in the 1980s. He traveled to Salt Lake from his hometown of Pittsburgh to pursue his skills as a skier. “Salt Lake in the 80s was ground zero for digital tech – Soundstream produced and recorded many of the world’s best-known labels - RCA, Warner Brothers, Decca, CBS, and of course, Telarc. I also worked at a local radio station and recorded chamber concerts and the Utah Symphony” says Stephen.

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Recording and Editing CSO Concerts
Stephen joined the WGUC team in 2015 and began recording local concerts immediately. “I get the instrumentation several weeks in advance. I make sure that I am at each rehearsal so that the mics are place properly and I know what to expect during the full performance.”

It’s exceptional difficult to capture the sound of a full orchestra, choral group or opera, but Stephen makes it look easy. His work has been featured 24 times on SymphonyCast and Performance Today in just the past two years.

From his sound booth above all the action in Music Hall, Stephen records each subscription performance of our artistic partners. “I’m always concentrating on what might need to be fixed – a cough here, a slight sound there, should a mic be moved by a few inches.”

Afterwards, the conductor makes the selections from each performance on what will be edited for airing. “Sometimes it’s a bit simpler and we use one night’s piece over another, but there are times when specific movements are selected from different concert nights.”

The photos shared with this story were taken as Stephen was preparing to record the CSO’s performance of Prokofiev Symphony No. 5. “This is one of my favorite pieces to record. It brings back a wonderful memory when I traveled with the Pittsburgh Symphony during their only European tour during my tenure. Prokofiev 5 was their final piece of each concert.” When asked if he recalls what the orchestra opened with, he says, “Why, Boléro, of course!”

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Live recorded broadcasts on WGUC are made possible thanks to generous grants from the Louis & Louise Nippert Charitable Foundation and The Willard and Jean Mulford Charitable Fund and The Victoria L. Memmel Charitable Fund of the Cambridge Charitable Foundation.

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Upcoming Broadcasts:

April 17, 2022
MANNY, HAYDN & BEETHOVEN 8

Artists:
Louis Langree, conductor Emanuel Ax, piano

Program:
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 8
FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN: Concerto in D Major
SEBASTIAN CURRIER: Track 8 [World Premiere, CSO Commission]

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April 24, 2022
DEBUSSY, RAVEL & MENDELSSOHN

Artists:
Roderick Cox, conductor Conrad Tao, piano

Program:
CLAUDE DEBUSSY: Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun)
MAURICE RAVEL: Piano Concerto in G Major FELIX MENDELSSOHN: Symphony No. 3, Scottish

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May 1, 2022
DAWSON, BEETHOVEN & BERNSTEIN: A Shared Humanity

Artists:
James Conlon, conductor

Program:
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN: Overture to Fidelio
WILLIAM DAWSON: The Negro Folk Symphony
LEONARD BERNSTEIN: West Side Story; Symphonic Dances
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN: Leonore Overture No. 3

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May 8, 2022
LA VALSE & SIMPSON PREMIERE

Artists:
François López-Ferrer, conductor Nicola Bendetti, violin

Program:
MARK SIMPSON: Violin Concerto [U.S. Premiere, CSO Co-commission] RICHARD STRAUSS: Der Rosenkavalier Suite, Op. 59
MAURICE RAVEL: La valse

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May 15, 2022
PINTSCHER PREMIERE & RACHMANINOFF

Artists:
Matthias Pintscher, conductor Leila Josefowicz, violin

Program:
MATTHIAS PINTSCHER: Assonanza, for violin and chamber orchestra [CSO Commission, World Premiere]
SERGEI RACHMANINOFF: Symphonic Dances, Op. 45

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May 22, 2022
TANGO & CITY NOIR

Artists:
Christian Reif, conductor Ksenija Sidorova, accordion

Program:
ARTURO MARQUEZ: Danz6n No. 2
ASTOR PIAZZOLLA: Aconcagua, Concerto for Bandoneon ASTOR PIAZZOLLA: Oblivion [Encore Performance Piece] Stefani Matsuo, violin Ksenija Siderova, accordion
JOHN ADAMS: City Nair

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May 29, 2022
BRAHMS 1 & ELGAR CONCERTO

Artists:
David Danzmayr, conductor Alan Gerhardt, cello

Program:
CLYNE: This Midnight Hour
EDWARD ELGAR: Concerto for Cello and Orchestra E Minor, Op. 85 BRAHMS: Symphony No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 68

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June 5, 2022
MOZART & MAZZOLI PREMIERE

Artists:
Louis Langrée, conductor Jennifer Koh, violin Georgia Jarman, soprano I Kathryn Mueller, soprano II Nicholas Phan, tenor
Dashon Burton, bass-baritone
May Festival Chorus, Robert Porco, director

Program:
MISSY MAZZOLI: Violin Concerto [CSO Co-commission]
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART: Mass in C Minor, Great Mass

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June 12, 2022
SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE

Artists:
Louis Langrée, conductor eighth blackbird

Program:
WYNTON MARSALIS: Herald, Holler and Hallelujah [CSO Co-commission] KINDS OF KINGS: Nine Mothers [World Premiere, CSO Co-commission] HECTOR BERLIOZ: Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14a

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June 26, 2022
PROKOFIEV 5

Artists:
Kazushi Ono, conductor

Program:
TORU TAKEMITSU: Tori wa hosigata no niwa ni oriru ("A Flock Descends into the Pentagonal Garden")
SERGEI PROKOFIEV: Symphony No. 5 in B-flat Major, Op. 100

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July 3, 2022
BRONFMAN & LA MER

Artists:
Louis Langrée, conductor Yefim Bronfman, piano

Program:
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN: Concerto No. 3 in C Minor for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 37
JULIA ADOLPHE: Paper Leaves on Fields of Clay [World Premiere, CSO Commission] Note: Video/audio capture; mastered audio provided by Stephen Baum
CLAUDE DEBUSSY: La mer

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July 10, 2022
CONNESSON PREMIERE & RACHMANINOFF

Artists:
Louis Langrée, conductor Dwight Parry, oboe

Program:
GUILLAUME CONNESSON: Oboe Concerto [World Premiere, CSO Commission] SERGEI RACHMANINOFF: Symphony No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 27

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July 17, 2022
TRANSCENDENT BRUCKNER

Artists:
Louis Langrée, conductor

Program:
GABRIELA ORTIZ: New Work [World Premiere, CSO Commission]

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POPS BROADCAST

July 24, 2022
MUSIC OF JOHN WILLIAMS

Artists:
Damon Gupton, conductor

Program:

  • "Planet Krypton" from Superman "Superman March" from Superman
  • The Shark Theme from Jaws
  • Main Theme from Jurassic Park
  • "Viktor's Tale" from The Terminal
  • "Devil's Dance" from The Witches of Eastwick
  • "Love Theme" from Superman
  • "Throne Room and Finale" from Star Wars: A New Hope
  • Olympic Fanfare and Theme
  • "Harry's Wondrous World" from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  • With Malice Toward None from Lincoln
  • March from 7947
  • "Wide Receiver" (Theme from NBC Football) "Adventures on Earth" from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Raider's
  • March from Raiders of the Lost Ark