The wfmt radio network
Exploring Music Staff

Exploring Music Staff

Jesse McQuarters

Jesse McQuarters


Veteran radio producer Jesse McQuarters came to WFMT after receiving degrees in double bass performance and audio engineering at Indiana University, Bloomington. In addition to producing the award-winning, internationally-syndicated flagship program of the WFMT Radio Network, Exploring Music, Jesse is also the founding producer of the internationally-syndicated program Relevant Tones, the first ongoing syndicated radio series in the United States dedicated to new music and living composers.

As a radio producer and as a musician, Jesse has made it his mission to investigate the role of music in providing cultural identity while also providing a universal constant of humanity. His work has taken him to Russia, where he climbed the bell towers of Vladimirskaya Cathedral to interview the ringers who call the worshippers to service, and Sweden, where he learned the nyckelharpa and talked with Sami musicians about reindeer herding and joik singing.

Jesse has also had the pleasure of interviewing senators and ambassadors, driving in the presidential motorcade with the Obama family after Mr. Obama won re-election in 2012, recording Indian ragas in the cisterns of Jerusalem, taping the morning call to prayer after sleeping under the stars in a Bedouin community in the Negev Desert, and interviewing Irina Shostakovich in the Moscow apartment she shared with her husband.

Jesse's credits as a producer also include programs with Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble, Lang Lang, Gustavo Dudamel, the Mendelssohn Project, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, the Gilmore Keyboard Festival, the Ravinia Festival, Northwestern University, Gabriela Montero, and James Conlon.

As a bassist, Jesse has had the opportunity to play extensively in and around Chicago, at venues such as Orchestra Hall, the Pritzker Pavilion, the Green Mill, the Athenaeum Theatre, the Chicago Cultural Center, and countless others. His articles have been published in the Journal of the International Society of Bassists, and he has served on the double bass faculty of the Colorado Suzuki Institute and the Music Institute of Chicago.

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The Exploring Music streaming website is made possible by Mr. & Mrs. William Gardner Brown and Susan & Richard Kiphart.
You have opened up the world of Classical Music to me, where previously, it seemed too complicated.
Steffen Demeter
This is simply one of the very best radio programmes in the medium!...The study of the people, the times, and the events that inform the music we otherwise enjoy and even, heaven forbid, take for granted, brings the entire world of the music and the composer to life.
Walther Davies
There isn't a program you broadcast on Exploring Music" that isn't of interest. I find them all engaging. It is a combination of variety of subject, intellectual curiosity and your obvious enthusiasm which characterize your satisfying programs.
Michael Sanders
It’s a great way to re-engage myself with consciousness before heading off to work.
I Love this program! I am in 7th grade and I am the complete opposite of the other kids. I am 4th chair in the orchestra and I love to read. But most of all, I LOVE classical music!
Claudia Wertz
Your show has helped open my mind and heart to this world of music, and every show I hear confirms my place in music and gives me new ideas for where I'd like to go with it in the future….I grew up with classical music as a child and always held it in my heart, but I didn't have the confidence to be a good student (or a good violinist.)
Christine Anderson
Listening to you is almost interactive.You invite us in with so many well modulated dramatic and informative comments, enticing, enthusiastic interpretations, and coherent, beautiful presentations. It's a privilege to follow you into the musical space you create.
Sally Rosenbaum
I just love this program. It is soothing and comfortable at the end of the day. I find his comments interesting, but they aren't so dragged out that there is very little music. The balance of both is just right.
Jean Quay
Newsletters Thank You!