To the waning notes of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” overture, WQXR disc jockey Terrance McKnight tugs gently on a control panel lever. He segues into a romp by Luigi Boccherini, noting that the 18th century cellist/composer was an “insubordinate employee”; a typical McKnightian factoid drop-in.
The former Morehouse music professor’s dark velvet voice paves the journey from Romantic to Rococo.
I watched the super-smooth McKnight do his thing at ‘XR’s impressive lower Manhattan studios last night. Trained in piano as a lad, McKnight, 47, moved to New York, from Atlanta, in 2008, introducing his inimitable manner of melding musical genres. Off the air, McKnight talks a lot about emotions, feelings, and performing artists. “Glenn Gould did it. Bernstein did it. All great musicians do it — connect with their audience,” he says, adding separately that he wove the rhythmic sound of Earth, Wind & Fire into the mix recently.
Hey, McKnight’s throwing a big dance party Saturday night. A generous host, he’s inviting everyone in the world. Locals may listen to his program, “All Ears” on WQXR at ten pm, or starting Friday, you can stream it on line.
The party’s theme will be Jerome Kern’s “I Won’t Dance, Don’t Ask Me.” Explains McKnight: “Do you know that nervous-stomach feeling when someone asks you to dance? Well, I get it! It sends me to the corner to hide. In honor of how scary it is to get up and dance, I’m dedicating my show to classical dance music.”
“All Ears” | WQXR New York radio 105.9 | Saturday 10 pm | listen on line