Getting a handle on Handel with ACCESS Series host Miles Hoffman

Getting a handle on Handel with ACCESS Series host Miles Hoffman





Miles Hoffman, photo credit Mary Noble Ours




If you were able to make it to last month’s ACCESS concert, you were introduced to the series’s host, Miles Hoffman of NPR’s Morning Edition. Ahead of this weekend’s performances of Handel’s Messiah, Miles took the time to write up a little “tidbit” about the great German composer.

Well, it’s that time of year again.  Choral groups all over the country are gearing up for performances of Handel’s Messiah.

Or is it “Haen-del’s” Messiah?

Maybe we should clear this up.

Handel was born in Germany, where his family name was pronounced “Haendel,” and where he was baptized Georg Friederich.  If you prefer to stick with that original pronunciation, “Haendel” – especially if you happen to be in Germany – you’re definitely on safe grounds.


In his twenties Handel moved to England, where he remained for the rest of his long life.  He changed his name from Georg Friederich to George Frideric, hung on to “Hendel” for awhile… but eventually made the switch to “Handel.”  And Handel it remained.

So… if it was good enough for George himself, it certainly seems to me that it’s good enough for the rest of us… and I cast my vote for Handel.

But do you know what I really think?  I think that however we pronounce the composer’s name, it’s pretty amazing that 270 years later his Messiah remains one of the most beloved pieces of music ever written.

-Miles Hoffman

For more information on this weekend’s concert, Handel’s Messiah, please click here to visit

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