With his writing partner, Fred Ebb, Kander wrote the music for the original Broadway musical Chicago. The movie version of Chicago is nominated for 13 Academy Awards this year. Kander and Ebb are nominated for their song "I Move On." Kander and Ebb also wrote the music for the shows Cabaret, The Act, Woman of the Year, and Flora the Red Meance, and the Martin Scorsese movie musical New York, New York. Both Chicago and Cabaret have recently been revived on Broadway.
Singer/songwriter, guitarist Richard Thompson. He first became known for his work with "Fairport Convention." He's since gone solo and is known for his dark songs, which blend elements of British folk ballads and the blues. He's released a number of solo albums, including Mirror Blue and Rumor and Sigh. Rykodisc also compiled a retrospective of his work Watching the Dark: The History of Richard Thompson. Currently, Thompson is performing a show he calls "A Thousand Years of Pop Music," which includes British and American folk songs, jazz and pop.
Singer, songwriter, musician and arranger Barry Manilow made the pop charts over and over again during the 1970s and early 80s with love ballads such as "Mandy," "Looks Like We Made It," "I Write the Songs" and "Copacabana (At the Copa)." Before becoming a singer he was Bette Midler's accompanist and arranger. He's currently on tour and has a new album of material Here at the Mayflower, (his first pop album since the 1980s) and a new anthology of his hits.
His Broadway musicals include Bye, Bye Birdie, Annie, Applause, It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superman, and Golden Boy, which originally opened on Broadway in 1964 and starred Sammy Davis Jr. The show will be revived later this month by City Center Encores in New York. Strouse also composed music for film and TV, including "Those Were the Days," the theme song for TV's All in the Family.
Composer Jerry Goldsmith has been writing film and TV music since the 1950s. He won an Academy Award in 1976 for his music for The Omen. His film scores include: Star Trek: The Motion Picture, The Sand Pebbles, Chinatown, and A Patch of Blue. His TV credits include: The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Dr. Kildare, The Waltons, and Barnaby Jones. Theres a new CD collecting his music, The Film Music of Jerry Goldsmith (Telarc).
It's not not surprising that Rufus Wainwright would become a musician and singer. He is the son of singer-songwriters Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle (of the McGarrigle sisters). He has just released his second album, Poses.
Already an inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a duo with Art Garfunkel, next week he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a solo artist. As a solo artist, his albums include Still Crazy After All These Years, Graceland, and Rhythm of the Saints. His new album is You're The One.
Biographer Howard Pollack is the author of “Aaron Copland: The Life and Work of an Uncommon Man” (University of Illinois Press). This year marks the 100th anniversary of Copland’s birth. Though Copland was Jewish, gay, and raised in Brooklyn, his work came to personify the American West, with such well known compositions as “Billy the Kid” and “Rodeo.” Copland also wrote “Appalachian Spring,” and “Fanfare for the Common Man.” Copland also wrote the film scores for “The Red Pony,” and “The Heiress.” Pollack is professor of music history and literature at the University of Houston.
This year marks the centennial of the birth of German-born Kurt Weill, considered one of the 20th century’s most influential composers. And Monday, April 3, is the 50th anniversary of his death. He and lyricist Bertolt Brecht revolutionized musical theatre with a blend of cabaret and classical traditions resulting in “The Threepenny Opera” “Seven Deadly Sins” and others. In 1933 Weill, a Jew, fled Berlin and in 1935 came to America where he began working in American theatre. We talk about Weill with Kim Kowlake (Koe-WALL-kee), President of the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music.
Trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas doesn't like to categorize music. He's currently fronting seven ensembles, of varying compositional, improvisational and instrumental styles, including the Dave Douglas String Group, the Tiny Bell Trio, and the Sextet. He's been a sideman with Don Byron, Myra Melford and Uri Caine. Douglas has many compositions and recordings to his credit. His latest recordings are "Songs for Wandering Souls" (Winter & Winter) by the Tiny Bell Trio, and "Convergence" (Soul Note) by the Dave Douglas String Group.
Minimalist composer Steve Reich. He's considered one of our foremost living composers. There's a new CD "Reich Remixed" (Nonesuch) a dance album in which American, British, and Japanese DJ's pay tribute to Reich, by sampling and reassembling his music. Reich will be the subject of this summer's Lincoln Center Festival. And Reich's "Triple Quartet" written for and performed by the Kronos Quartet, will have its world premiere on May 22nd at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
Jazz pianist/composer Dave Brubeck. He turns 80 next year and has been recording for 50 years. There are several new collections of his work: "The Dave Brubeck Collection" (Columbia/Legacy) which reissues five of his classic out-of-print LPs, and "Dave Brubeck: Time Signature: A Career Retrospective"
Composer John Barry. He's best known for his 11 James Bond scores, including "Goldfinger," and "Thunderball." Barry has won five Oscars: for the song and score of "Born Free," and for scores for "Lion in Winter," "Out of Africa," and "Dances with Wolves." He has a new CD compilation of his work, "John Barry: The Hits & The Misses" (Play it Again label).
We remember jazz composer and musician Jaki Byard. ("BY-ARD") He was found dead from a gunshot wound a week ago in his house in Queens. His death was ruled a homicide. He was 76. Byard was considered a stylistic virtuoso, who moved quickly in his playing from boogie-woogie to free jazz. He played with Charles Mingus and Rahassaan Roland Kirk and the Duke Ellington orchestra. Byard was also the composer of the first Fresh Air theme. We remember him with an interview and concert that originally aired 6/5/87. Byard is joined by tuba and bass player Ralph Hamperian.
Classical music critic Lloyd Schwartz reviews two new reissues of composer Igor Stravinsky conducting his own music: "Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky: The Mono Years" (Sony) and "Stravinsky conducts Stravinsky: The American Recordings" (Pearl).
In celebration of the centennial of George Gershwin's birth, (Saturday, September 26th) a talk with two Gershwin experts: Robert Kimball, artistic advisor to the Gershwin estate, and author of "The Gershwins" (out of print) and editor of "The Complete Lyrics of Ira Gershwin" (De Capo Press, paperback). Also Edward Jablonski, author of "Gershwin: With a New Critical Discography" (De Capo Press, paperback). Also we'll hear some rare Gershwin songs.
John Szwed has written a new biography of Sun Ra, the orchestra leader and piano player who claimed to be from outer space. His new book is "Space is the Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra" (Pantheon Books). Szwed is Musser Professor of Anthropology, African American Studies, Music and American Studies at Yale University.