Composers Datebook®

with host John Zech

About Composers Datebook

What do Chopin and Corelli have in common with Chick Corea and John Corigliano? Listen to Composers Datebook and find out!

Composers Datebook is a daily two-minute program designed to inform, engage, and entertain listeners with timely information about composers of the past and present. Each program notes significant or intriguing musical events involving composers of the past and present—with appropriate and accessible music related to each.

John Zech

Host John Zech

Composers Datebook host John Zech has been a classical music announcer, producer, and program host for more than 20 years. He has also been a narrator and voice talent for a wide variety of industrial and educational tapes, an audio producer/engineer for an educational publishing company, video project director for a foreign language translation firm, and an on-site interpreter for the Minnesota Historical Society.

In addition to his work on Composers Datebook, John also hosted the radio series The Composer's Voice, a series profiling contemporary composers co-produced by Minnesota Public Radio and the American Composers Forum for Public Radio International.

John is currently heard weekday mornings on the classical music stations of Minnesota Public Radio and on Classical 24, a live 24-hour classical music service produced by American Public Media and distributed by Public Radio International.

For radio stations: Broadcasting Composers Datebook

For more information on broadcasting Composers Datebook, visit the American Public Media station site.

Composers Datebook credits

Composers Datebook is produced by American Public Media in association with the American Composers Forum, with initial support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The creator of the series and its principal writer is John Michel of American Composers Forum. The Composers Datebook Web site is maintained by American Public Media with content provided by ACF.


Composers Datebook was launched on March 1, 2000, by the American Composers Forum (ACF) as an independently produced, 3-minute, Monday-Friday feature that linked composers of the past with their contemporary colleagues, and offered timely information on significant premieres and performances occurring each week.

Within a month of its launch, Composers Datebook was heard on 46 stations coast to coast. By the end of 2000, that number had climbed to 173, representing 33 states and Puerto Rico. The Composers Datebook Web site was launched on July 3, 2000, and was designed and maintained by American Public Media.

On December 6, 2000, the producers of Composers Datebook received the Deem Taylor Special Recognition Award "for the excellence of its broadcast service" from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) at a ceremony at the Lincoln Center's Kaplan Penthouse in New York City.

On March 1, 2001, Composers Datebook became a 2-minute, daily feature. As before, each program presented date-specific information on composers of the past and present, but no longer promoted upcoming premieres and performances occurring that particular week: This change allowed each program to be repeated the following year—or in years to come—if any radio station so wished.

During a four-month period (March-June, 2001), the production of this new, "evergreen" format was funded by ACF on a trial basis.

The host for the first series of Composers Datebook programs (through June 2001) was Bill Morelock, an experienced writer, producer and on-air host of innovative public radio classical music programming, including national series such as Bob & Bill and The Composer's Voice.

The creator and executive producer the first series was John Michel, Director of Projects and Promotions of ACF. Michel joined the ACF staff in 1996, and created the piloted Composers Datebook in the fall of 1999. He served as Executive Producer of the series from March 2000-June 2001, coordinating its research, writing, and studio production. From 1977-1995, Michel worked for Minnesota Public Radio in a variety of roles, ranging from Music Through the Night host to the music director of MPR's Classical Music Service.

The principal writers for the first series were Bill Parker, a 25-year public-radio veteran and author of the successful book Building a Classical Music Library, and John Michel of ACF, with additional contributions from Bill Morelock, Vaughan Ormseth, and research assistant Alexandra Broat.

Studio producer for the first series was Tom Voegeli of Tom Voegeli Productions, whose successful public radio programs include From the Top, Schickele Mix, Saint Paul Sunday and The Splendid Table.

National distribution and marketing of the first series was realized by Vic Muenzer and Noel Morris of CD Syndications, Inc., of Chicago, whose other national program offerings include Indianapolis Symphony On the Air and Center Stage From Wolftrap.

On July 1, 2001, Composers Datebook became a co-production of American Public Media and ACF with a new broadcast host, John Zech, and production team.

American Composers Forum