John Rockwell is the music critic for The New York Times. He believes critics should take (almost) all genres of music equally, and was one the first critics to cover "vernacular music." Rockwell has written the book "All American Music." Rockwell discusses his taste in music (including his beginnings in classical music), journalism, and shares records with Fresh Air.
Philadelphia Vincent Persichetti a noted composer, especially for concert band. A new work of Persechetti, "Flower Songs," will be premiered at the Academy of Music by the Philadelphia Singers. The work includes poems by e. e. cummings. Persichetti joins the show to talk about how he knew he would be a musician by the age of three and the composer's "inner ear."
Andre Watts was famous as a piano prodigy by the age of 16. He was born in Germany to a Hungarian mother and an African American father, and moved to Philadelphia at the age of 8. He joins the show to discuss his life and career.
Richard Stoltzman is a clarinet virtuoso. He was the first solo clarinetist to be presented in Carnegie Hall in 1982. Stoltzman is known for his unusual concerts, incorporating jazz and wearing informal clothing. He joins the show to discuss his life and career.
Gary Graffman is a piano virtuoso who recently lost control of his right hand due to an injury incurred while playing years earlier. Before his injury, Graffman was known for his interpretation of Romantic composers. Graffman is currently learning and performing piano concertos for the left hand, teaching, and focusing on his art collecting hobby. Graffman also wrote a memoir "I Really Should Be Practicing."
Yo-Yo Ma is a cellist who is one of the most prominent classical musicians today. Born in Paris and raised in New York, Ma's first teacher was his father. Ma graduated from high school at 15 and studied at Juliard for a year before attending Harvard. Ma joins the show to discuss his life and career.
Dennis Russell Davies is a conductor known for his dedication to performing new music and innovative programs. Davies is the co-founder and principal conductor for the American Composers Orchestra and the conductor of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center of New York, the summer home of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Davies lives in West Germany and is about to assume the position of the General Music Director of the City of Bonn.