Mindy Ratner

Mindy Ratner is a host and producer on the Classical Music Service of Minnesota Public Radio, where she is heard on weekends. She began her career in public broadcasting following her graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, working first for the local public television station and then for Wisconsin Public Radio. She moved on to stations in Cincinnati and Philadelphia before joining Minnesota Public Radio in 1983. In 1998 and '99, Ratner took a leave of absence to work as a music host and producer for China Radio International in Beijing. Her spare time is devoted to international travel; folk, ballroom and contradancing; singing in the Minnesota Chorale; her two cats, and trying to stay ahead of the weeds in her garden.

Stories by Mindy Ratner

Interview with Oleg Timofeyev: "Guitar in the Gulag"

Back in his days as an early-music specialist, musician/scholar Oleg Timofeyev never dreamed of performing Russian music. Then he discovered Georgian-born composer Matvei Pavlov-Azancheev, who created a body of work for the Russian seven-string guitar while languishing in a Soviet labor camp during the Stalin years. Minnesota Public Radio’s Mindy Ratner spoke with Timofeyev about composer Pavlov-Azancheev, and the unique instrument for which he wrote.

Interview with violinist Itzhak Perlman

He's one of the icons of modern-day Classical Music, a musician who's done the late-show circuit, first playing on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958 when he was just 13, won enough Grammy's to fill a wall-sized case and an individual performer in the mold of the great violinists who came before him. Itzhak Perlman was born in 1945 in Tel Aviv, and since then has played with all the major orchestras of the world, giving thousands of concerts with orchestras or with a piano accompanist, solo on stage. Mr. Perlman was in the Twin Cities on October 21, 2003 to play a recital at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, the opening concert of the Schubert Club's International Artist Series. Accompanied by pianist Rohan da Silva, he played a program of Bach, Beethoven and Poulenc.

A concert of remembrance and reconciliation

From the decimation of Nanjing, China, through the destruction of Nagasaki, Japan, to the rending of Korea at the 38th parallel, the people of Asia have experienced the horrors of war throughout much of the 20th century. To help humanity come to terms with it all, Young Nam Kim, artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota, commissioned four composers—three of Asian ancestry—to each create a work of remembrance and reconciliation. Their works were presented in Hun Qiao: Bridge of Souls, a concert that pays homage to the victims and survivors of war atrocities and to their descendants.

The music of family history

The spring of 1933 brought the first of many insidious measures levied against the Jews of Germany, long before the so-called "Final Solution." The systematic institutionalization of anti-Semitism included the boycott of Jewish businesses, the confiscation of property, the prohibition of marriages between Jews and Aryans and, from the earliest days, the expulsion of Jewish musicians, actors and artists from the nation's orchestras, opera companies and theaters. The little-known story of Jüdische Kulturbund is brought to light in "The Inextinguishable Symphony" (John Wiley & Sons, 2000) by Martin Goldsmith, for years a respected music host and commentator on National Public Radio.

Mindy Ratner's China Chronicles

A troupe of 70 young musicians from the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies travelled through China for a concert tour. The tour took the students through Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai to perform in some of China's most prestigious concert halls. The musicians also toured some of China's historical sites, including the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, the Summer Palace, the Terra-cotta Warriors, the Grand Canal, and the old and new Shanghai. MPR classical music host Mindy Ratner sent diary entries back to us during the GTCYS tour.