Rich Capparela introducing Monday night’s chamber concert. Photo by Sally Hedberg

The ever-popular classical DJ of station KUSC, Rich Capparela, will be resuming his preconcert talks at the Faculty Chamber Music Concerts as part of the Idyllwild Arts Summer Program.


The festival was put on hold for several years due to the economy, according to Steve Fraider, vice president of Idyllwild Arts and Director of the Summer Program. “We are thrilled once again to bring back Rich, The Pacific Trio and other guest artists to our community. I am hoping more from the community will come to these free concerts where they will hear interesting pieces from the finest musicians in the world,” said Fraider.

Capparela’s talks reach two audiences, the die-hards who know classical music and the neophytes who like the music but want to know more about it, he has observed. “During that half-hour [preceding the concert] I play excerpts of the music and talk about the content by humanizing it,” explains Capparela. The Los Angeles Times has called his on-air personality “occasionally zany.” It may seem unusual in a format featuring Bach and Beethoven, but Rich’s humor and wit have added an accessible new dimension to classical music radio.

One of Capparela’s secret passions has emerged within the past few years. He is a lead singer, guitarist and keyboard player for a rock band called, “Otherwise Normal.”

When asked how classical music fits with rock? He answered, “Mind you, there’s good music and bad music. It’s not the type of music, but the quality that counts.”

From 2001 to 2010, Rich was part of the Chamber Music Festival. Two years ago, he and the musicians volunteered their time. Beginning on Monday, Aug. 6, the festival will showcase the music of Beethoven, Martinu, Ravel and Schickele. Friday, Aug. 10, will focus on the music of Suk, Arensky and Mendelssohn. The third and last concert on Thursday, Aug. 16 will be all-Brahms.

The pre-concert talks are at 7:30 pm and the concerts begin at 8:00 pm at Stephens Recital Hall on the Idyllwild Arts Campus. For information call (951) 659-2171.

Since 2007, Capparela has been hosting classical music programs on KUSC classical FM 91.5 in Los Angeles and in Palm Springs at FM 88.5.

His voice is easily recognizable as a prime on-camera spokesperson for public television station KCET-TV’s fund drives. He is also a voiceover recording artist for numerous commercials Rich jokes he’s also “the voice of God.” He explains that’s the voice one hears at the large concert halls and arenas announcing, “Please turn off your cell phones.”