‘Sounds Classical’ makes music genre more approachable


Photo for WFMT by Mike Grittani. Used with permission

As hosts of “Sounds Classical,” a radio series on WFMT, Kristina Lynn and LaRob K. Rafeal aim to recontextualize classical music in a modern way by illuminating overlooked contributors to the genre.

Katie Sasamoto-Kurisu, Assistant Editor

Lavish symphonies by European composers performed in grand music halls for audiences of stuck up old people — that’s what often comes to mind when most teenagers imagine classical music. While this may be the stereotype of the genre, its history extends far beyond these themes, and a new radio show seeks to demonstrate that.

The new WFMT radio series “Sounds Classical” represents a contemporary take on classical music, aiming to increase relevant conversations around the genre. Hosts Kristina Lynn, 31, and LaRob K. Rafael, 29, seek to offer a fresh, youthful and relaxed perspective on classical music as it relates to modern life.

The show runs every Friday at 8 p.m. on WFMT-FM 98.7, wfmt.com or the WFMT app. 

The hosts’ goal is to excite those who are less familiar with classical music and make it more accessible for 21st century listeners by talking about it through a modern lens.

“‘Sounds Classical’ is a show that aims to liven up the way that we talk about classical music,” Mr. Rafael said. “Kristina and I are hoping to talk about the classical music that so many people are familiar with, in a way that might excite someone to go out and seek it out on their own,” he said.

They also want to diversify typical associations with the genre, especially by illuminating overlooked perspectives throughout the history of classical music.

“We can’t talk about classical music now without shining a spotlight on voices that haven’t been talked about in the past,” Ms. Lynn said, referring to women and people of color, who have not received recognition in the space.

Mr. Rafael describes the show as “readdressing classical music history,” in a world that puts white, male European composers at the forefront of the genre. “It’s important to me that we dive into that conversation,” he said. 

The host duo works together well because of their shared experience being classically trained musicians and for their curiosity, creativity and passion for learning. While the show is a lot of work to produce, their friendship allows them to connect seamlessly throughout the process.

“I’m glad I have a partner in it that I can bounce ideas off of and really create this wonderful conversation,” Lynn said. “Having this opportunity to make this new show and have the ability to tell these stories and give a fresh take and be ourselves on the radio is honestly a dream come true,” Ms. Lynn said.

They wanted to pair the laid-back nature of their interactions off air with the energy and excitement of dialogue. This comes from having a duo-hosted show, which they believe in part makes the atmosphere different from other shows on the same topic.

“It’s a real conversation with the audience, which I don’t think is a vibe you always get when you listen to classical music radio,” Ms. Lynn said.

“Sounds Classical” has much more to offer than just discussion on classical music. The show as a whole can help listeners understand more about themselves and the modern world around them.

“We are at a point in history where our world is changing all the time,” Mr. Rafael said. “Classical music is not just the music of the 17th and 18th century. It’s happening right now.”