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Ursula Oppens and Studs discuss contemporary avant-garde piano. Oppens performs pieces from contemporary composers.
Discussing the origins of three schools of contemporary American music, their influence upon each other, and the new directions composers are taking with their music with composer and trombonist Bill Russo.
Ned Rorem discusses the differences between writing books and writing compositions, his book "The Paris Diary of Ned Rorem", and how he uses poetry in his compositions.
John Cage discusses his music, life, influences, and career. Rebroadcast of an interview with John Cage to celebrate his life and what would have been soon his 80th birthday. Includes a clip of John Cage reading/ telling a story in 1969 to Studs Terkel.
Donald Gramm discusses working with composers and comparing contemporary and classical opera. He also talks about his approaches to different performances and his experiences singing in multiple languages. Music is played throughout the interview and performances include his role as Creon from Stravinsky's "Oedipus Rex"and selections from Ned Rorem's "War Scenes": "As Adam", "O You Whom", "To You", "Look Down, Fair Moon", and "A Night Battle". Next, a performance as Leporello singing "Madamina, il catalogo è questo" from "Don Giovanni" and "Zwei Gesänge, Op. 1: I.
Studs interviews David Diamond who is in Chicago for a concert at Thorn Hall. Diamond reflects on his family background and his exposure to diverse theater and movies of a variety of cultures that influenced his music. He explains his training and how he uses emotion and then structure to create his work. Studs and David discuss McCarthyism and its affect on performers and the personal affect it had in Diamond's life. The musical pieces are removed from this edited version of the original recording.