From 1994 to 1998 CJRT-FM 91.1, a commercial-free arts and educational listener-supported radio service in Toronto, Canada ran a replacement series about the organ entitled “The King of Instruments”. The series of one-hour episodes, which sought a lively and creative examination of the organ and its music accessible to people with little or no knowledge of the instrument, was co-produced and co-hosted by Christopher Dawes and CJRT-FM Station Music Director Alex Baran. Each episode aired from two to four times, and in addition to being heard broadcast through the airwaves from Toronto’s CN Tower, was available on cable via satellite in communities throughout Ontario and from one coast of Canada to the other, and around the world via the Internet.
The former CJRT-FM 91.1 is now JAZZ-FM 91.1, and “The King of Instruments” vanished along with much of CJRT’s eclectic programming from the Toronto radio spectrum, but the twenty-four episodes listed below were preserved in digital format in the Organ Alternatives archives.
Episode 1: Peter Hurford in concert at St. James’ Cathedral, Toronto, and in interview with Alex Baran
Episode 2: Great Organs of Great Britain
Episode 3: Michael Bloss in performance and interview about the organ of Timothy Eaton Memorial Church
Episode 4: Great Organs of Toronto
Episode 5: Ian Sadler’s Recordings, and an interview about his career
Episode 6: A survey of organs on record across Canada
Episode 7: Eric Robertson in performance and interview at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Toronto
Episode 8: Christopher Dawes plays, and takes Alex Baran on a walk inside the organ of St. James’ Cathedral
Episode 9: Trumpets Ho! - A Royal Fanfare for the King of Instruments
Episode 10: L’Organo Antiqua - the roots of organ music on authentic instruments
Episode 11: The Pipe Fantastic: Dancing with the King
Episode 12: Spirit’s Wind: The Organ’s unique relationship with Gregorian Chant
Episode 13: Royal Spoils: The Art of Transcription for the Organ
Episode 14: Stepping Out of Court: The Organ Crosses Over out of the Classical World
Episode 15: All Rise! The Organ Concerto: A Royal Guest in Symphony Hall
Episode 16: Improvisation I: Christopher Dawes and Gerre Hancock talk and improvise at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buffalo while both were performing in the New York Region Convention of the American Guild of Organists
Episode 17: L’Orgue Quebecoise: Quebec’s finest in performance, recording and building
Episode 18: Improvisation II: Guests Giles Bryant and Peter Togni discuss the improvisations of Healey Willan and Victor Togni
Episode 19: Christmas with the King: Seasonal organ works and the melodies that inspired them.
Episode 20: The Organ and Bells: the unique relationship between the songs of sanctury and tower
Episode 21: Imrpovisation III: Improvisations on record and Christopher Dawes’ improvisations on listener-submitted themes
Episode 22: The Little Prince: Chamber Organs and their music
Episode 23: Strike up the Band: Theatre Organs and Organists
Episode 24: Who kidnapped the King?! A program of Organ Alternatives... the organ falls into the hands of come unconventional minds... with surprising results.