James Keller brings his perspectives as a musicologist and music critic to Classical Latitude. A dry recitation of facts tells us that Mr. Keller is Program Annotator of the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. Keller has been presented as a speaker by the San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, 92nd Street Y, Brooklyn Philharmonic, among many others. His writings have appeared extensively in The New Yorker, where he served as music editor from 1990 to 2000, as well as in Opera News, Travel & Leisure, the Sunday New York Times, Le Monde de la Musique, Gramophone, Newsday, Strings, and BBC Music Magazine. In 1999 he was awarded the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for feature writing about music.
Mr. Keller describes himself as "a historian by training and bias" and says he likes to put history and tradition in a context that makes them approachable. Through education and experience, he has an interest in all aspects of music, from its history, its composition, its performance, its venues, its production, its media of publication, and its commercial aspects, to its celebration.
How did this lively, multidimensional appreciation of the world of music develop? Keller was trained as an oboist and musicologist at Oberlin, where he received Bachelor's degrees in music and Romance languages. He holds a Master of Philosophy degree from Yale University, and took graduate-level courses at Université de Paris-Sorbonne. He earned a Diploma in the Careers in Business program of New York University's Graduate School of Business Administration. Mr. Keller has carried out conservatory studies in oboe, recorder, voice, harpsichord, continuo, and piano; and his recordings of medieval and Renaissance repertoire for Norton Books' History of Western Music have remained in print (on CBS/Sony Special Products) for more than thirty years.
Musicologist, music critic, commentator, and encyclopedia author Ted Libbey could be a bit stuffy, couldn't he? Fortunately, he's anything but, and is quite clear that appreciation of classical music begins with an open heart and mind. His work and identification with classical music buffs reflects that. Mr. Libbey is also mindful of the added pleasure that intellectual understanding of music brings to our listening experiences.
As a Yale National scholar, Ted Libbey studied history, graduating with honors in 1973. The study of music engaged him in graduate school at Yale and Stanford Universities. During this period he was appointed assistant conductor of the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and spent a year as director of the Composer/Librettist Program at the National Endowment for the Arts.
Mr. Libbey was a consultant to the United States Information Agency's Artistic Ambassador Program, auditioning hundreds of musicians who played in U.S. embassies around the world from 1984 to 1996.
Before becoming a classical music critic and commentator on National Public Radio's "Performance Today," Libbey was editor of High Fidelity and Musical America magazines, and a music critic for the New York Times and the Washington Star.
In August, 2002, The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) appointed Libbey as its Director of Media Arts Programs.
Awadagin Pratt's symphonic, concert, and recital performances are known for his warm, sonorous, and vibrant timbre along with the expression of his unique, internalized sense of the meaning of the pieces of music. When you hear Mr. Pratt perform, you know he is thinking "I want to leave an audience with a sense of what these pieces of music are all about, why the composers were so moved they had to write it down on paper."
Mr. Pratt grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Normal, Illinois. He began playing the piano at age 6, the violin at 9, and played both instruments when he entered the University of Illinois at 16.
Pratt transferred to the Peabody Institute of Music of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he became the first person in the school's 137-year history to graduate with three areas of concentration: piano, violin and conducting.
Awadagin Pratt won the prestigious Naumburg International Piano Competition at Lincoln Center in New York City in 1992. At the time, Robert Mann, president of the Naumburg Foundation, said Mr. Pratt "has a rare gift. Very few artists create a sense that the music is theirs." In 1994 Pratt was awarded the Avery Fisher Career Grant.
He has made appearances worldwide in Japan, Germany, South Africa, Israel, Italy, Switzerland and Poland, as well as with the major symphony orchestras in the U.S. He has also graced the airwaves on NPR's Performance Today and Weekend Edition, the Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, Good Morning America and Sesame Street. Mr. Pratt performed twice at the White House during the Clinton administration.
Mr. Pratt is an Associate Professor of Piano and Artist-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music since 2004.
Pratt is a committed advocate of arts education, actively participating in outreach activities involving master classes, recitals, demonstrations and talk back session for students of all ages.
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