In November, WQXR – the nation’s most listened-to classical music radio station – and the venerable comedy club Carolines on Broadway honored the traditional pairing of comedy and classical music with WQXR’s Classical Comedy Contest, presented as part of the New York Comedy Festival. The contest was broadcast on THIRTEEN on December 9.
The competitors were chosen from 79 hopefuls from around the world. They have appeared everywhere from Carnegie Hall to Comedy Central, from the Metropolitan Opera to Late Night with David Letterman and include a harpist/stand-up comic from Brooklyn; a concert pianist/magician from Poland; a New York-based soprano whose partner plays the musical saw; an opera singer with a “rogue accompanist”; a Berlin-based recorder player who performs at variety shows and circuses; and a Scandinavian pianist who got his start as a funny man during a concert at Victor Borge Hall in New York, whose audience included delighted members of Mr. Borge’s family.
The winner was selected by a world-class line-up of judges from the worlds of comedy and music, including comedian Robert Klein; Peter Schickele of PDQ Bach fame; Soprano Deborah Voigt; and Charles Hamlen of the classical music management company IMG.
The WQXR Classical Comedy Contest finalists were:
Magnus Martensson – pianist/comedian
Jim Wallenberg – stand-up violinist
David Cope – stand-up harpist
Igor Lipinski – pianist and magician
Gabor Vosteen – visual comedian/recorder player
Steve Russell and Kobi Shaw – cranial percussionists
Sarah Worthington and Nathan Carver – singer and musical saw player
Elizabeth Tryon & Mark Janas – opera singer with rogue accompanist