WCLV Innovations Salutes Bascom Little Fund
The Bascom Little Fund, a charitable trust created to support the work of Northeast Ohio Composers, is now celebrating its 50th Anniversary. And WCLV is celebrating 18 years of the Fund’s support of Innovations (formerly titled Not the Dead White Male Composers Hour), which airs Sundays at 9pm.
Mr. Bascom Little, born in 1910, was a Cleveland architect and amateur composer who studied composition with Donald Erb at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Bascom Little recognized the difficulty that many modern composers faced in having their music performed. As a result, Mr. Little hosted performances featuring works by local composers in a concert facility in his Murray Hill Road home in Cleveland’s Little Italy. After he died in 1965, his wife, Sue Lohmiller Little, determined to perpetuate his memory and interests by creating a fund to support performances and recordings of regional composers’ music.
The program came about thanks to two Bascom Little Fund Trustees, David Bernstein and Harry Weller, who in 1998 approached Robert Conrad about a radio program devoted to the music of local composers.
Initially, Robert Conrad wasn’t all that keen on the idea, but he told them “If you can give me contemporary pieces by Cleveland composers I can find acceptable and our audience will at least tolerate, I’m willing to take the chance.” Messrs. Bernstein and Weller sent Robert numerous samples of works by local composers, and Robert liked them! With Bascom Little Fund support for the production of 26 programs secured, Not the Dead White Male Composers Hour was born.
When asked whether he thought the show would continue after the initial 26 weeks, Robert said it would be up to the listeners. Apparently, the listeners gave the program the thumbs up, as it’s still on the air 18 years later, having been given the fresh, new name Innovations in January of 2012.
Innovations Host and Producer, Mark Satola has this to say about the Bascom Little Fund’s support of Northeast Ohio composers and the program that showcases their work.
“Northeast Ohio is unique in the nation for its concentration of first-rate composers living and working here, often in conjunction with the many music schools in the region, and WCLV is fortunate to be able to bring their music to its listeners through the weekly program Innovations. As host and producer of the program since its inception almost twenty years ago, it’s been my pleasure, and a particular point of pride, to be able to share remarkable works of music with the Innovations audience, which tunes in, via the Internet, from all over the world. Without the Bascom Little Fund, none of this would have been possible, but its continued support from the very start has kept the spotlight on northeast Ohio’s vibrant community of composers and musicians, for which we at WCLV, as well as listeners everywhere, are profoundly grateful.”
Innovations is one of many musical initiatives the Bascom Little Fund has underwritten over the years. In fact, the Fund has championed the work of dozens of composers and organizations, a complete list of which may be found here.
It seems only appropriate that several of last year’s grantees are helping the Bascom Little Fund celebrate its milestone anniversary with special programming, including a July 17 Cleveland Composers Guild concert featuring 23 very short world premiere compositions in honor of Bascom Little. Perhaps some of those works will be featured on Innovations one day!
The community at large will acknowledge the Bascom Little Fund’s contribution to the local arts community at a Gala concert and reception September 17 at 7:30pm at Cleveland State University’s Drinko Hall.