WGBH’s voice of Boston Symphony Orchestra writes memoir

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Ron Della Chiesa, longtime broadcaster and host of Boston Symphony Orchestra performances on WGBH, has a new memoir out, Radio My Way. Among the memories he shared with the Boston Globe was what he considers to be the “worst interview” he ever did, with singer Eartha Kitt during his MusicAmerica show that ran from 1978 to ’96, also on WGBH. “I was playing this rare recording of ‘Lilac Wine,’ and she said: ‘It was stupid of you to play that. It’s one of the worst things I’ve ever done.’ I couldn’t go to black; it was live. She had a reputation for being tough.”

Interesting aside: A 1996 story in Current about MusicAmerica’s cancellation, due to a schedule overhaul, said “the change has met a surprising level of resistance. About 2,000 Della Chiesa fans have called or written in complaints, and a group has organized into “Save MusicAmerica.” Fans got Tony Bennett to speak on behalf of the program at a recent Boston concert, have set up a phone hotline, and are asking people to request a return of their pledges.”

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