John Birge takes over as host of 'Composers Datebook'

John Birge also is the morning-drive host of Classical Minnesota Public Radio. John Nicholson

American Public Media has announced a new host for YourClassical's Composers Datebook, the award-winning program about this day in classical music history. On May 1, retiring and longtime host John Zech will officially pass the baton to a well-known name at Classical Minnesota Public Radio, John Birge.

Birge is the morning-drive host of Classical MPR and starts up the Mozart for classical music lovers who need a civilized wake-up call to go along with their morning coffee. He will continue to host classical music weekday mornings. He has been hosting, producing and performing classical music for more than 20 years. He also is heard on APM holiday specials including Giving Thanks: A Celebration of Fall, Food and Gratitude and Welcome Christmas.

The decision to host another program at APM was an easy one for Birge.

"Composers Datebook is the best time machine on the radio," he said. "I am honored to take the microphone, and I'm especially looking forward to adding new destinations and discoveries in the future."

Composers Datebook informs, engages and entertains audiences with relevant information about past and present composers. Each episode delivers momentous musical events and relevant pieces of classical musical history for that day. The music is only one part of the program; listeners will also be captured by the fascinating back stories of composers and the history of classical music, bringing classical music to new generations of fans everywhere.

Besides being heard on radio stations around the country, Composers Datebook is available online, as well as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Listeners also can subscribe to the podcast version and sign up for a free daily email newsletter.