Recent Publications, Posts & Updates

Grammys, Spammys

“New work by DJB as the Recoding Academy’s annual orgy approaches. Click here.

10 Works of Classical Music to Live By

DJB emerges in the unlikely role of Life Coach for Classical Music fans. Click here.

Broadcasting – KUSC Redux Debut

Listen to Dennis Bartel’s return to KUSC after twenty-seven years to again assume his original radio job as L.A.’s classical music morning drive time host. Click here.

“August 8, 1974”

In this new flash memoir, DJB looks back at a critical moment in American history. “Next day, we were driving through the lush Washington forest singing Dylan songs on the radio when the news came over the car speakers. Nixon resigned!” Click here.

A Child’s Easter in Sound

DJB & his four children summon up the sounds of Easter, including the sound of an African sunrise, a grasshopper dancing, a donkey traversing down the Grand Canyon, sheep grazing with a variety of shepherds (Eugene Ormandy, Emma Kirby, Christopher Parkening, and Eugene Goosens), a pecking hen, an ascending lark, and The Runaway Bunny, a Concerto by Glen Roven, with text by Margaret Wise Brown, read by Brooke Shields. Click here.

Beats’ Treat

On a gray and cold evening, April 11, 1980, at Golden Gate University, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the caustic critic of American absurdities, and Zen poet Gary Snyder presented a reading. DJB was there to record it. Hear this never-before-heard reading. Click here to hear the entire performance.

Excerpt from forthcoming Baseball Book

“By the winter of ’45, with peace in the world achieved, Dolf Luque became master to his apprentice Sal Maglie. The old man passed along his secrets of pitching. Make them believe you are loco, liable to do anything, like throw a baseball at a man’s head, an act that could kill him. That’s how crazy you must appear to be, in the batter’s eyes.”

To read more from DJB’s new Baseball novel click here.

Dennis Bartel’s Interview with Christopher Isherwood

The 1979 interview, conducted at Isherwood’s home in Santa Monica, has appeared in a beautiful new book published by the University of Minnesota Press, ISHERWOOD IN TRANSIT. Over a dozen scholars from many parts of the world contributed essays, as did Queer Studies icon Edmund White, author of The Joy of Gay Sex.

The book launched from Vroman’s Book Store. Click to listen a podcast from the event.

To read Bartel’s entire interview with Isherwood, and hear excerpts, click here.

Broadcasting – A Bartels’ Classical Christmas Children’s Special

Looking for music to accompany your holiday prep or an hour of Christmas sounds to accompany your present exchanges? Try this one-hour Children’s Special as DJB and his children celebrate with Christmas music and Christmas lore from around the world. Coming to you from the home studio. Click here for audio.

“The Greatest Gridiron Team in the History of Football”

Whoever wins the Super Bowl cannot stake a claim to the Lombardi Trophy until they beat The Classicals. Check out DJB’s roster. Greatest Super Bowl Roster of All-Time!

“Hitting Tom Seaver” Published in Spitball

A chapter from DJ’s forthcoming baseball novel about appears in the spring issue of Spitball, the nation’s most respected baseball literary journal. Spitball was founded thirty-nine years ago and has featured poetry, fiction and non-fiction from such writers as Roger Kahn, W.P. Kinsella, William J. McGill, Peter Golenbock, C.W. Spooner, Spitball’s formidable editor Mike Shannon, and former players including Jim Brosnan, Tracy Stallard and others. DJ’s contribution is a true story that tells the tale of his at-bat against Tom Terrific. For more about Spitball, click here.

“No Reason to Get Excited” Published in Breath & Shadow

Excerpts from DJ’s forthcoming baseball novel have been published in an online literary journal focused on chronic illness. Various parts of the novel come together to form a story. “It feels good to grip the handlebars of my old city bike. I had it refurbished recently, figuring, if the bike is in working condition, I’ll ride it, but never got around to it so it has sat in our garage in fine shape but with no one to ride it. We go way back. In my mid-thirties, I performed death-defying commutes up and down the misty morning streets on this same blue bike. I was agile, strong & flexible. I loved to stand on the peddles and cruise downhill with the wind rippling my hair, fearlessly riding through heavy traffic, confident even the worst road circumstances could not touch me. I was too quick for cars.”

To read the entire story, visit Breath & Shadow. Click here.

Journey to Salzburg

Travel with James Bartel to the Salzburg Festival, in words, music and images, including a one-day excursion across Austria east to Vienna for a visit to Beethoven’s home where the Great Composer wrote his Fifth and Seventh Symphonies. Click here.

Journalism – Lawrence Welk

Dennis Bartel looks back thirty years to a time when he looked back twenty years to write about an episode in his life which today, nearly fifty years after it happened, he intends to revisit. What did the great classical music DJ have to do with Lawrence Welk, captain of geriatric schlock? The answer lies in nursing homes and other congregate living facilities for the aged. Click here.

Interviews – Cesar Chavez

Dennis Bartel interviews the leader of the United Farm Workers Union and asks, “You know of course that despite all that you’ve done over the years, there are a lot of people who hate you. Does that wear on you, or perhaps does it strengthen you?”
Click here.

Bibles in Arabia

As the Gulf War revs up for Shock and Awe, DJB discovers that American soldiers will be carrying a secret weapon on their persons, the same weapon American soldiers have carried into every war since 1812. Click here.

Interviews – Kurt Vonnegut

Read DJB’s 1992 interview with Vonnegut which ranges from when and how he started actively reading to why he didn’t like re-reading his own books, from John Dillinger to “the most dangerous flaw in the American character.” Click here.

Journalism – The Nutcracker, Dark Spirits in the Christmas Lights

DJ Bartel’s annual seasonal downer which illustrates how the truth can puncture the glittering myth. Exhaustively researched, elegantly told, widely read. Click here.

Interviews – Matt Haimovitz, The People’s Cellist

James Bartel interviews the Israeli-American cellist who after making it in the big time on the world’s classical concert stages has taken classical music into bars, coffee houses and clubs, where he co-joins it with music of Akoka, Led Zeppelin, and Isang Yun.
Click here for audio.

Interviews – Vladimir Ashkenazy

James Bartel interviews the great Russian-Icelandic pianist-conductor. They talk about Sibelius, including Ashkenazy’s personal identification with the composer, and a symphony Sibelius wrote but was never heard. Click here for audio.

Journalism/On Music – Knabe Piano . . . for Genteel People of Means

Written for Maryland Magazine in its heyday, 1992, this splendid article by Dennis Bartel was among the first extensive studies of the pioneering American piano manufacturer. Over the years, this work has become DJB’s most cited publication in music histories. Click here.

On Music – Le Duel! A Free Transcription

The story of Franz Liszt’s fateful musical duel with the virtuoso Sigismond Thalberg, as told by DJB using similar techniques employed by Liszt to music of other composers, making it his own. The year was 1836. In San Antonio, the Battle of the Alamo was fought; in Paris, Liszt stood his ground to fight his own enemies. Click here.

Journalism – Who’s Who in Gurus

Check out the publication which set Dennis Bartel’s writing career in motion. He had published several works in his late twenties, but nothing compared to his cover story with Harper’s Magazine for wide exposure and acute attention. Suddenly at thirty the eyes of America were upon him. Click here.

Broadcasting – Kenneth Rexroth

Hear DJB’s never-before-heard recording of the “Godfather of the Beats,” reading his poetry and translations of Japanese & Chinese verse. You are reading this correctly. A half-hour of Rexroth before a small audience in L.A., with his death on the near horizon. This recording has never had an audience, until now. Click here for audio.

On Music

Dennis Bartel worked as a classical music DJ for many years, and was asked to write program notes by countless musical entities, from the San Francisco Symphony to the Grammy Awards, from the Coleman Chamber Music Concerts (the longest running chamber music series in the U.S.) to the best-selling Dance Mix, a CD comprised of contemporary classical dance works for orchestra; from the first published scholarly treatment of the history of America’s first municipal orchestra, to concerts by municipal orchestras across America from Baltimore, MD to Long Beach, CA; from six-years of ground-breaking opera presentations on WGMS, Washington, D.C. where he was preceded by 40 years of Paul Hume, to a detailed account of Tchaikovsky’s one and only visit to America, all of which only scratches the surface of a massive body of work. DJ’s writings on music are becoming available here at Check back often. We have only begun posting his articles, notes, and essays on the Masters and their Music: Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Ravel and more. Click here.

Journalism – A Cautionary Backtale
Chuck Kinder, outlaw-novelist, and Dennis Bartel, novice-novelist, stood shoulder-to-shoulder at the dawn of the Pittsburgh literary renaissance. Kinder’s recent death after a long illness provoked an outpouring of sympathy from his former Pitt pupils. DJB’s response is more downpour than outpouring, more scrutiny than sympathy. Click here.

Journalism – Composer Canines
“Classical Dogs,” Dennis Bartel’s study of the Great Composers’ canines, has spotted the pages of BARk – the dog culture magazine. The best and most intelligent dog mag out there.
Click here – PDF will open in new browser tab.

Journalism – On Drinking
DJB’s whiskey sampler story which is less about whiskey than it is about fermentation and malting, “On Drinking,” can be found in the plush lit-art Aji Magazine.
Click here – external link to Aji Magazine will open in new browser tab.

Interviews – Dennis James Bartel
Read DJB’s High’d Up Interview, as the tables are turned on the great interviewer. Click here.

Broadcasting – The Art of the Aircheck
Radio Fans, check out Airchecks by James Bartel from the beloved and departed WGMS, Washington, D.C., in the 1990s, and by Dennis Bartel from L.A.’s top-ranked classical station KUSC, 2007-17. Click here for audio.

Journalism – James Dean: Too Fast to Live, to Young to Die

DJB’s turbo-charged race with a silver Porsche Spyder driven by the Giant Rebel from East of Eden. Click here.

Interviews – Philip Levine

Philip Levine (1928-2015) was one of America’s most celebrated poets of the past half-century. He won the Pulitzer Prize and served as United States Poet Laureate. Three of his books won the National Book Award for Poetry. He received the Wallace Stevens Award and the Leonore Marshall Poetry Prize, both from The Academy of American Poets; the Levinson Prize from Poetry Magazine, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Frank O’Hara Prize, the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize, and so many more. Levine also served for two years as chair of the Literature Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts. Terrance Rafferty wrote, “What gives Levine’s work its urgency is that impulse to commemorate, the need to restore to life people who were never, despite their deadening work, dead things themselves, and who deserve to be rescued from the longer death of being forgotten.” The interview was recorded at the poet’s home in Fresno, California. Click here for audio.

New Valentine’s Day Poem from DJB

Dennis has written verse to Erin on each of their Valentine’s Days. At first, they published the sweet V-Day greetings in the Washington Post. More recently, they have shared them in less public ways. Please enjoy.

DJ Bartel’s Interview with TC Boyle

Winner of The Bernard Malamud Prize in Short Fiction from the PEN/Faulkner Foundation for his first volume of collected stories, TC Boyle visits with Dennis after his second collected stories are published. Among Boyle’s many honors are three O. Henry Awards, induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Ross Macdonald Award for body of work by a California writer. Click here.

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