As Lincoln's birthday gives way to Presidents' Day, Fishko Files takes you back to the 1930s, when a remarkable partnership between culture and politics sought to inspire a population weakened by the Great Depression. Through movies, music, literature, and drama, America looked back to Lincoln. (Produced in 2017) Thomas Doherty is a cultural historian, professor of American Studies at Brandeis University, and author of Projections of War: Hollywood, American Culture, and World War II. John Bodna...more
The much praised and multi Oscar-nominated film Roma is about the work and home life of a housekeeper in Mexico City. As WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us, that film recalls a moment in Italy in the 1940s - when movies looked for inspiration in the everyday. More, in this episode of Fishko Files. Rome, Open City (1945), Bicycle Thieves (1948), and The Naked City (1948) are available to rent or buy on Amazon.
Jonas Mekas died at 96 last week after a distinguished, anti-conventional life in movies that began many decades ago in New York. In this archival Fishko Files, Mekas considers, for a very short time, his work with Andy Warhol on a very long film - Empire.
Elaine May was honored, some years ago, at the Film Society of Lincoln Center - and she actually showed up (rare). What's more, Mike Nichols showed up to join her. Sara Fishko was lucky enough to be there, that night, and this Fishko Files is the result. (Produced in 2006) The film series ELAINE MAY begins this week at Film Forum, with May's films screening Tuesdays and Thursdays through February 12. For tickets and more information, visit filmforum.org.
The New York-born songwriter Johnny Green died 30 years ago. His best known song was "Body and Soul," and as WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us, that tune has charmed and challenged musicians through the ages. More, in this episode of Fishko Files.
60 years ago, in 1959, Dave Brubeck released one of the landmark recordings of the 20th century: Time Out, which played with off-beat time signatures. Our archival piece, Five Four Time, considers unconventional musical time – and its persistent coolness, here in the west. (Produced in 2008)
Despite the persistent rain in New York a few days ago, the usual crowds celebrated New Year's Eve in Times Square, shoulder to shoulder. We are, after all, in this together. When we do things not only together, but in the same key, in the same way, with the same steps, sounds, or movements, it has a particular power. Here is this archival Fishko Files. (Produced in 2010)
Few people in history had as much access to the great midcentury jazz musicians as W. Eugene Smith - born 100 years ago this week, on December 30, 1918. The famous LIFE magazine photographer left his home and family in a New York suburb and moved to a rundown loft building on 6th Avenue, in the heart of Manhattan’s Flower District. As Smith printed in his darkroom there, the likes of Thelonious Monk, Chick Corea, and Sonny Rollins came by to jam and hang out - and Smith captured nearly of all it...more
'Tis the season of great music - especially Baroque music. This Fishko Files zooms into an extreme close-up of one of J.S. Bach's most popular and memorable violin pieces. (Produced in 2003)
With an adaptation of Network on Broadway, here is this archival Fishko Files on its mad-as-hell screenwriter and creator, Paddy Chayefsky. (Produced in 2006)
Robert Frank's The Americans was published in France in 1958, came to America in 1959, and is said to have changed everything for the art of photography. Frank is our guest in this archival edition of Fishko Files. (Produced in 2009)
80 years ago, in 1938, clarinetist and bandleader Artie Shaw recorded an arrangement of the Cole Porter tune "Begun the Beguine," and in an instant it rose to the top of the charts - which, as far as Shaw was concerned, was a very mixed blessing. More, in this archival Fishko Files. (Produced in 2010)
Toward the end of this Leonard Bernstein centennial year, as WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us, there's yet another landmark to celebrate: 75 years since the young Bernstein dazzled the world with his New York Philharmonic conducting debut. To mark the occasion: this archival Fishko Files.
A new photo book out this week, Art Kane: Harlem 1958, celebrates the famous "Jazz in Harlem" photo created 60 years ago. The book features the contact sheets, quotations, and biographies behind the beloved picture, telling its story frame by frame. As WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us, one player in the picture's drama still remembers the day it was made. More, in this episode of Fishko Files. The book Art Kane: Harlem 1958, is out now from the Wall of Sound Gallery. The National Jazz Museum in Harle...more
Ida Lupino (1918-1995) was a film business pioneer - a tough but tender actress who turned herself into a movie director, having been only the second woman to be inducted into the Director's Guild in 1950. In honor of her centenary, commemorated by Film Forum with a Lupino film festival, we bring you a Fishko Files meditation on her life and work. (Produced in 2010) Ida Lupino 100 runs at Film Forum Friday, November 9 through Thursday, November 22. For tickets and information, visit their websit...more
As the new "A Star is Born" continues to hold steady at the box office (#2!), this archival Fishko Files considers the world of movie remakes. As Sara Fishko tells us, they keep on coming - for good or ill. (Produced in 2004) Since the production of this episode in 2004, director Jonathan Demme has died.
New York-born master filmmaker Alan Pakula died just 20 years ago in an auto accident. Pakula produced "To Kill a Mockingbird" and directed "Sophie's Choice," among many others. As WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us in this edition of Fishko Files, some of his films are not getting old - they're getting new. Amy Taubin is a film critic and contributing editor for Film Comment and Sight & Sound. Matt Zoller-Seitz is the Editor-at-Large for RogerEbert.com and a TV critic for New York Magazine.
Historians can't seem to nail down an exact date for the birth of African-American composer Scott Joplin, but they think he was born between 149-150 years ago, probably in November 1868. This Fishko Files invites his biographer Edward Berlin to consider Joplin's life, and offers a taste of his now-celebrated work, from "Maple Leaf Rag" to "Treemonisha." (Produced in 2011)
Jazz great Thelonious Monk was famous for his unorthodox approach, both at the piano and in his personal style. Even now, on his 101st birth anniversary, listening to Monk can be habit-forming – as well as life-changing – according to pianist Jason Moran. (Produced in 2007) A forthcoming book on Jason Moran, in conjunction with the exhibition Jason Moran at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, is due out October 23 and is available for pre-order.
It's 65 years since the launch of Playboy Magazine in 1953. In this Fishko Files, an excerpt from the podcast The United States of Anxiety, Episode 4. WNYC's Sara Fishko tells the story of how, about halfway through the 20th century, Hugh Hefner's Playboy contributed to "men's liberation." To hear the full episode, visit The United States on Anxiety.
French filmmaker Jean Vigo's short life contained enough drama for dozens of movies. Vigo - who died at 29 - only made a few, and by now every frame he shot and directed is considered gold. More, in this archival Fishko Files. (Produced in 2011) At Film Forum, continuing through next Tuesday, October 2, The Complete Jean Vigo features new restorations of Vigo's films. For tickets and showtimes, visit their website.
Fifteen years ago, in the fall of 2003, the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall opened in downtown Los Angeles after a protracted struggle over money, design, and politics. WNYC's Sara Fishko was in LA for the hall's debut - and returned with this Fishko Files. (Produced in 2003)
The songwriter/actor/singer Hoagy Carmichael (1899-1981) began his musical career working as a piano player at a fraternity dance in 1918. He went on to write and perform countless classic tunes. Carmichael was also a familiar figure, usually spinning out stories while sitting at an upright piano, in some high-profile Hollywood films. WNYC's Sara Fishko talked to musicians about him for this archival Fishko Files. (Produced in 2002)
Many decades after Marilyn Monroe's death in August of 1962, her image - often imitated, but never quite duplicated - is still everywhere. WNYC's Sara Fishko has more, in this archival Fishko Files. (Produced in 2011)
The days of summer are numbered, but, as WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us, a notable Whitney Museum summer exhibit will be on view for another month. More, in this edition of Fishko Files. History Keeps Me Awake at Night is on at the Whitney through September 30. For tickets and more information on David Wojnarowicz, visit the Whitney online. The Whitney will present three performances of Wojnarowicz's multimedia work ITSOFOMO (In the Shadow of Forward Motion) this month, as well as a screening of th...more
This week, we feature both Leonard Bernstein, that great composer-conductor-writer-teacher, born in August 100 years ago, as well as Glenn Gould, that remarkable pianist-thinker-arranger-writer, born 86 years ago this September. These two had a rocky collaboration in 1962, the story of which is told by Sara Fishko in this archival Fishko Files. (Produced in 2006)
In 2000, after recording five members of the New York Philharmonic recalling their former, beloved music director, Leonard Bernstein, Sara Fishko felt she had nothing to add to their very specific, compelling memories - except music, perhaps. Here are the orchestra players in this archival Fishko Files, in honor of the much-celebrated, long-anticipated Bernstein centenary. (Produced in 2000) Leonard Bernstein was born on August 25, 1918. Featured in this piece are Glenn Dicterow, concertmaster; ...more
With temperatures in New York soaring to 90 degrees and above this week, we bring you this archival Fishko Files. WNYC’s Sara Fishko explores the masterful Gershwin tune and the many ways its interpreters say “summer.” (Produced in 2001)
Andy Warhol was born on August 6, 1928, and 'dreamt himself' out of his Pittsburgh childhood into his extraordinary celebrity life. Sara Fishko and guests consider how Warhol's own fandom figured into his self-creation, in this archival Fishko Files. (Produced in 2001)
Music producer Hal Willner presents a free outdoor concert tomorrow night, featuring the work of one of his favorite composers, Nino Rota. As WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us, Willner's musical life began while LPs were still spinning out a rich musical menu. More, in this edition of Fishko Files. Lincoln Center Out of Doors presents Hal Willner's Amarcord Nino Rota, as well as Rota's scores from the first two Godfather films, tomorrow, July 27. The new release of Amarcord Nino Rota is now available ...more
It's 75 years since the publication of one of author James M. Cain's major claims to fame: Double Indemnity, the crime novel that was adapted by Raymond Chandler for the celebrated film directed by Billy Wilder. Guests Eddie Muller and David Madden help Sara Fishko sort out the impact of Cain's style in this archival Fishko Files. (Produced in 2011)
It's 125 years this year since the birth of classical guitar virtuoso Andres Segovia in Linares, Spain (1893). Segovia's sound, technique, phrasing, and choice of repertoire changed the face of the instrument. He also changed the career of guitarist Eliot Fisk, the guest on this edition Fishko Files. (Produced in 2002)
Henry Butler, the extraordinary New Orleans pianist, arranger and composer, died Monday of cancer. Butler, blind from infancy, began studying piano as a child, playing classical music. He said he switched to jazz because it relied less on printed notes - though he was fluent in every piano style. He studied with musician Alvin Batiste, whom he considered a mentor, and was also a student of two pioneer New Orleans pianists: Henry Roeland Byrd, known as "Professor Longhair," and James Booker, know...more
Some of the wittiest, most sophisticated comedies of the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us, were directed by Ernst Lubitsch - who was the idol of his fellow directors during Hollywood's Golden Age. A new book aims to re-introduce us to his films. More, in this episode of Fishko Files. Joseph McBride's book How Did Lubitsch Do It? is available now from Columbia University Press and on Amazon.
In honor of summer, the season for great outdoor music of many kinds, this archival Fishko Files considers the combined forces of jazz and classical musicians, and their efforts - dating back to almost the moment jazz appeared - to make harmonious combinations of both styles. (Produced in 2010 on the occasion of the debut of "Swing Symphony" by Wynton Marsalis)
It’s 65 years since film composer Miklós Rózsa composed his violin concerto, written in response to Jascha Heifetz's request. In honor of Rózsa's command of both movie music and classical composition, here's this archival Fishko Files. (Produced in 2000)
This week, our thoughts turn to a behind-the-scenes Serbian cinematic poet whose contribution to film fit in between the major scenes of Golden Age Hollywood movies. Sara Fishko, with commentary by the late film critic Andrew Sarris, considers the master of the old-school "montage," Slavko Vorkapich.
It’s nearly 20 years since the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition created a “spin-off”: The Van Cliburn International Amateur Piano Competition, a formidable contest for certified non-professionals. Sara Fishko went to visit the Cliburn in Fort Worth, Texas, and this Fishko Files on practice is the result. (Produced in 2000) The next edition of the Cliburn Amateur competition will be held in 2020.
The Russian-born composer Sergei Rachmaninoff died in the spring of 1943, 75 years ago, in Beverly Hills. In this archival edition of Fishko Files, three concert pianists celebrate the beauty and the alarming technical difficulty of this Russian musician's compositions - as well as his own spellbinding piano playing. With Ruth Laredo, Earl Wild, and Misha Dichter. (Produced in 2001)
At the club Café Society in 1939, Billie Holiday would regularly send a hushed chill through the crowd with her celebrated rendition of a controversial song about lynching. In honor of the recent opening of the Legacy Museum in Alabama, highlighting slavery and lynching: this archival Fishko Files - with Lena Horne and others on the historic song "Strange Fruit." (Produced in 2000)
The acclaimed film editor Anne V. Coates died yesterday at the age of 92. Born in England in 1925, Coates began training as an editor in the late 1940s and went on to work in Hollywood with numerous renowned directors including David Lean, Steven Soderbergh, and Sidney Lumet. In addition to her Oscar win for "Lawrence in Arabia" (1962), Coates received scores of BAFTA and Oscar nominations for her work on films like Erin Brockovich, The Elephant Man, Becket, Murder on the Orient Express, In the ...more
This weekend, the Museum of Modern Art celebrates a new book on the incomparable Andy Warhol and his film Chelsea Girls with 10 days of related screenings. In this archival Fishko Files, WNYC's Sara Fishko leads us through another Warhol book - one that traces Andy's ritual of daily walks through Manhattan. (Produced in 2011) The Chelsea Girls Exploded begins at MoMA Friday, May 4 and continues through Sunday, May 13. Andy Warhol's New York City: Four Walks, Uptown to Downtown is available on Am...more
In 1918, Arnold Schoenberg founded the Society for Private Musical Performances with the aim of making new music, excellently played, available to the then-modern audience. In this archival Fishko Files, composer and author Allen Shawn reflects on his own efforts, in his book Arnold Schoenberg's Journey, to demystify the composer himself for our own era. (Produced in 2002)
The documentary Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes has its premiere Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival. In the course of talking about the history of the label, musicians in the film muse more generally about the art of jazz and the nature of improvisation. In this archival Fishko Files, Oscar Peterson, Bill Charlap, and others try to describe the indescribable. (Produced in 2003)
The movie The Big Clock was released in April of 1948, adapted from a book by the radical, Depression-era poet Kenneth Fearing. As WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us, Fearing’s work zeroed in on advertising and media long before it was the thing to do. In honor of poetry month: this edition of Fishko Files. Jeanine Basinger is the Chair of Film Studies at Wesleyan University and the author of numerous books and articles on film. Geoffrey O'Brien is the author of Hardboiled America: Lurid Paperbacks and...more
American pianist Van Cliburn (1934-2013) will forever be remembered for one phenomenal Cold War moment. Everyone knew the 23-year-old from Texas was good, but no one expected him to steal the show in Moscow 60 years ago. (Produced in 2008)
60 years ago in 1958, Johnny Mandel's score for the film "I Want to Live" used jazz to play under (and sometimes over) the grim story of an execution. Mandel and others tell us more about jazz scores in movies and TV, in this archival episode of Fishko Files. (Produced in 2008)
The opening of Angels in America on Broadway this weekend will start another chapter in the play's history. And, as WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us in this Fishko Files, the history of that play is the subject of a new book, created in a good old tradition. Angels in America opens on Broadway this Sunday, March 25. The World Only Spins Forward, Robert Altman: An Oral Biography, and Edie: American Girl are available now on Amazon. Thanks to Pacifica Radio Archives for archival material.
With a new Arthur Miller documentary premiering on HBO next week, we turn to Alex North. North wrote, among many other things, the modest musical score for the first production of Death of a Salesman, which kicked off his composing career - and also earned him the lifelong admiration of the playwright. (Produced in 2012) Our interviewee and North's good friend, composer and teacher George Burt, died in 2015. Arthur Miller: Writer premieres Monday, March 19 on HBO.
It’s been 10 years since film composer Leonard Rosenman died, at age 83. He won Oscars for his adaptations of existing music for movies such as Barry Lyndon (1975) and Bound for Glory (1976), but these days it's Rosenman’s own original scores that are remembered for their arresting modernism. George Burt – interviewee in this piece and film composer, author, and friend of Rosenman – died in 2015. (Produced in 2008)
Awards nights are glamorous and tense, celebratory and possibly disappointing. But Sara Fishko talks to Oscar, Grammy, and Tony winners and asks - what's it like when you actually do get the prize? (Produced in 2001)
A new CD showcases the two-piano collaboration of two star soloists. WNYC's Sara Fishko has more, in this edition of Fishko Files. Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring & Other Works for Two Pianos Four Hands is available on iTunes and Amazon. On March 1, Carnegie Hall presents an evening of live two-piano performances by Daniil Trifonov and Sergei Babayan, with music by Schumann, Rachmaninoff, and others. (Zankel Hall)
As national attention is focused on the Obama portraits this week, we offer this archival Fishko Files on portraits of a less “official” variety. (Produced in 2007)
A Brooklyn concert next Friday will honor the American composer John Corigliano on his 80th birthday. To celebrate the occasion, WNYC's Sara Fishko talked to the prolific creator of classical and film music in his Manhattan studio, for this edition of Fishko Files. The Brooklyn venue National Sawdust presents John Corigliano @ 80 next Friday, February 16th. Visit National Sawdust's website for tickets and more information.
In 1938 on the eve of World War II, a boxing match played out powerfully against world events, as two men battled in the ring for an audience of millions. The fight, says Sara Fishko’s guest, writer David Margolick, represented the pride of a race and the principles of a nation - in a deeply divided America. (Produced in 2005)
This week, the 2018 Oscar nominations were announced. In this archival Fishko Files, WNYC's Sara Fishko considers the many ways movies portray the sometimes treacherous world of filmmaking itself. (Produced in 2004)
On January 18, 1958, the first Leonard Bernstein "Young People's Concert" was broadcast live on television. Through the 1960s, the programs took off and were seen in 40 countries, alongside American exports "The Flintstones" and "Bonanza." WNYC's Sara Fishko considers Bernstein's TV-friendly presence, in this episode of Fishko Files. Leonard Bernstein at 100 celebrates the centenary of Bernstein's birth with global events through 2019.
One solution to the overwhelmingly big issues that now preoccupy us all is a brief escape into something very small. Just for a few minutes. With that in mind, here is this Fishko Files on a tiny piece of music written, in 1900 or so, about an even tinier flying creature. (Produced in 2014)
The one-of-a-kind jazz vocalist Jon Hendricks died this past November at 96. We were fortunate to have had a brief encounter with him: This Fishko Files, with Sara Fishko and Hendricks in the studio together, originally produced in 2011.
A couple of events in New York have WNYC's Sara Fishko considering the fervent work of an art curator and a rock critic - in this edition of Fishko Files. Pursuing the Unpredictable: The New Museum 1977-2017 continues through Sunday, January 7. New Museum 235 Bowery New York, NY 10002 How to Be a Rock Critic opens at the Public Theater on Friday, January 5. Public Theater 425 Lafayette St. New York, NY 10003 Marcia Tucker's A Short Life of Trouble: Forty Years in the New York Art World is availa...more
A film based on a true story about secrets, lies, and Washington, D.C. is just about to open in select theatres. It has WNYC's Sara Fishko considering some other films, facts, and fantasies that have been building up for years - in this edition of Fishko Files. The Post opens in select theatres tomorrow, December 22.
This year, Saturday Night Live has boosted its late-night ratings with political satire. But in this Fishko Files, stories of bold prime time politics from Tom Smothers and Larry Gelbart - who managed, at least for a while, to combine war, comedy and family TV. (Produced in 2003)
As we approach winter and 2018, WNYC's Sara Fishko looks back to the winter of 1838, when Chopin and Georges Sand lived through a damp and dismal moment abroad - and lived to write about it. The richly repetitive "Raindrop Prelude," in this Fishko Files. (Produced in 2010)
Starting tomorrow, 25 classic movies by director William Wyler will be screened in New York. In this edition of Fishko Files, WNYC's Sara Fishko picks a couple of favorites. The film series "More Than Meets the Eye: William Wyler" starts tomorrow, December 1, at the Quad Cinema in the Village.
Lalo Schifrin is 85 this year, and his career as a jazz pianist and composer of film and TV scores ("Mission Impossible") has been stellar. WNYC's Sara Fishko talked to Schifrin - who was born in Argentina - about his gift for capturing the American sound. (Produced in 2008) A new CD of Schifrin classical piano works has just been released by fellow Argentinian pianist Mirian Conti on the Grand Piano label. Schifrin: Piano Works is available on Amazon.
It's just 70 years since the House Committee on Un-American Activities began its investigation into "Communist infiltration" in Hollywood. Turner Classic Movies is marking the anniversary this month with films and talks on the subject, including an appearance by Lee Grant - who was Sara Fishko's guest in 2014. Grant talks about her "Blacklist" memoir in this archival episode of Fishko Files. (Produced in 2014) "Spotlight TCM: The Hollywood Blacklist" airs every Monday & Tuesday in November, ...more
As this week's election results show gains for Democrats, minorities and women, WNYC's Sara Fishko recalls Representative Bella Abzug, the powerhouse progressive voice who paved the way. (Produced in 2008)
A sketch for a new piece by 20th century jazz violinist Stuff Smith has surfaced. As WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us in this Fishko Files, it may be a small work, but it's a reminder of Smith's big influence on music. The Stuff Smith concerto can be heard at Le Poisson Rouge this Sunday, November 5. For details on this Composers Concordance concert, visit lpr.com. Jazz violinist Regina Carter performs at NJPAC as part of Ella & Dizzy: The Centennial Celebration on Sunday, November 12. For ticke...more
100 years ago this week, violinist Jascha Heifetz made his American debut. Heifetz set a new standard for mastery of the instrument, but these days even his admirers don’t completely embrace his musical personality and style. In this archival Fishko Files, violinists from Sarah Chang to Itzhak Perlman discuss the impact of this towering performer. (Produced in 2001)
In honor of American composer Ned Rorem's upcoming 94th birthday on October 23, spend seven minutes with the very opinionated Mr. R. This piece was originally made for Studio 360 as part of a Fishko Files-curated series on living composers' connections to music history. (Produced in 2006) To explore further, listen to "An Hour with Ned Rorem" featuring Rorem and Fishko in conversation in 2002.
This week marks the centenary of the birth of Thelonious Monk. In this archival episode from the Jazz Loft Radio Series, WNYC’s Sara Fishko explores the chemistry between Monk and Hall Overton leading up to their legendary 1959 performance at New York’s Town Hall. (Produced in 2009) To hear more episodes from the Jazz Loft Radio Series, visit wnyc.org.
This fall marks the 60th anniversary of the opening of West Side Story on Broadway. The show, as Sara Fishko tells us, emerged from the unease of the 1950s, which extended to the cast and creators of this historic hit. (Produced in 2001) Google Arts and Culture has launched a digital collection exploring the legacy and history of West Side Story, featuring archival content, photographs and videos, interviews, and more.
A coincidence of dates and events has Sara Fishko thinking about some memorable artists - whose personal myths and mysteries fought with their work - in this edition of Fishko Files. Robin D.G. Kelley's 2009 book, Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original, is out now in an updated paperback edition. Jazz Standard pays tribute to the Monk centennial with their month-long series Brilliant Corners: Celebrating Monk's 100th. For tickets and more information, visit the club's websit...more
In September of 1955, Louis Armstrong recorded an unlikely blockbuster song that had originated in the late '20s in Germany. Sara Fishko talks to George Avakian, who tells the story of how "Mack the Knife" became an American hit. (Produced in 2002)
We're coming up on the 85th birth anniversary of the brilliant Canadian pianist Glenn Gould (1932-1982). It was Gould's strikingly original take on the music of Bach that brought him great acclaim. In this archival piece made for Studio 360, Sara Fishko asked then-current Bach pianists about Gould's influence. (Produced in 2002)
In honor of the birthday of John Cage (September 5, 1912-August 12, 1992) and because we could always use a little quiet - an episode of Fishko Files on a great interest of Cage’s: silence. (Produced in 2003)
Woody Sez, the Irish Repertory Theatre production now in New York through September 10th, is the latest in a long line of biographical and musical treatments of the life and work of Woody Guthrie. Sara Fishko visited Nora Guthrie, his daughter, for this Fishko Files. (Produced for the Guthrie centennial in 2012) For tickets and more information, visit the Irish Repertory Theatre's website.
With Monday's eclipse still resonating in our memory, here's a Fishko Files meditation on music and moonlight, with thanks to Beethoven and a dozen or so pianists. (Produced in 2000)
It's the 150th birth anniversary of the conductor Arturo Toscanini this year. As WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us in this Fishko Files replay, the celebrated and demanding Maestro dominated classical music for decades. The New York Philharmonic, where Toscanini also conducted, has opened its digital archive of the Toscanini years. It can be found on their website.
For the next two weekends, every aspect of the composer Frédéric Chopin will be examined at the annual Bard Music Festival, up the Hudson. It has WNYC's Sara Fishko considering the sources of that composer's inspiration, in this edition of Fishko Files. "Chopin and His World" opens tomorrow at Bard. For more details, visit their website. Jan Lisiecki's Chopin: Works for Piano & Orchestra is available on Amazon. Featured Music: Frédéric ChopinÉtude Op. 10, No. 5 in G flat minorJan Lisiecki, p...more
It’s 50 years since the release of the movie “Bonnie and Clyde.” The film opened during the “Summer of Love,” which was also the era of the Vietnam war. As WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us in this Fishko Files replay, the divided response to the film put its director, the late Arthur Penn, at the center of a swirl of controversy. Arthur Penn was an American director and producer of television and films including the 1967 "Bonnie and Clyde." (Produced in 2007)
It's a summer of intersections between theater and political commentary, with an upcoming Broadway show that calls itself "subversive." It has WNYC's Sara Fishko thinking about Broadway, music, and politics - in this edition of Fishko Files. Michael Moore's one-man Broadway show, "The Terms of My Surrender," starts previewing at the Belasco Theatre tomorrow. Jack Viertel is the Senior VP of Jujamcyn Theaters and Artistic Director of New York City Center Encores!. He has been involved in dozens o...more
This September will mark 95 years since the birth of Sid Caesar (1922-2014), undisputed master of the comedy sketch. For this archival edition of Fishko Files, Sara Fishko talked to Caesar as well as his castmate Carl Reiner about their insanely creative adventures in TV. (Produced in 2002)
The guitar master Andres Segovia - who died 30 years ago this summer - practically invented the art of classical guitar. In this archival edition of Fishko Files, Segovia’s admirer and student Eliot Fisk reflects on their musical connection. (Produced in 2002) Segovia's 1952 rendition of Chopin's Prelude in A is available on YouTube.
Two great documentaries on tap dancing made in the late '70s and early '80s open at the Quad Cinemas Friday, July 7. They help kick off a whole week of tap-related events all over New York starting July 8. In their honor, WNYC's Sara Fishko and guests explore the art and history of tap in this Fishko Files. (Produced in 2005) For showtimes and tickets to No Maps on My Taps and About Tap, visit www.quadcinema.com.
Not only is it the 4th of July, it’s 75 years since a notable patriotic song was written – with much notoriety to follow. WNYC’s Sara Fishko follows Earl Robinson’s and Lewis Allan’s “The House I Live In” on its journey from leftist statement to mainstream melody. (Produced in 2002)
Penn Station's current problems now have a name: "Summer of Hell." But Penn has a long history of even more serious disasters, including its destruction and re-creation before there was a Landmark's Commission to protect it. WNYC's Sara Fishko speaks to keepers of the Penn Station flame in this archival edition of Fishko Files. (Produced in 2001)
The National Endowment for the Arts has honored exceptional jazz figures with the Jazz Masters Fellowship for the past 35 years. Despite threats to the NEA’s funding, the NEA has announced the next round of Masters for 2018. For this archival Fishko Files, WNYC’s Sara Fishko listened in on a group of recently minted Jazz Masters as they reflected on their careers, and on jazz itself. (Produced in 2011) *The 2018 NEA Jazz Masters are Joanne Brackeen, Pat Metheny, Dianne Reeves, and Todd Barkan. F...more
This spring, we celebrate Ella Fitzgerald's centennial birthday [b. April 25, 1917]. As WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us, she was an undisputedly brilliant and exuberant scat singer, and she's featured, along with a few others, in this Fishko Files on the art of Scat. (Produced in 2004)
The free, open-air New York Shakespeare Festival opens for the season this week, with productions of Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night's Dream on the agenda. In this Fishko Files, WNYC's Sara Fishko tells the story of how the determined and daring Joseph Papp started the New York Shakespeare tradition - despite formidable obstacles - many years ago. (Produced in 2005)
In challenging times, we look to music for clarity and consolation. This archival episode from the weeks after September 11, 2001, takes us through some musical moments - both rousing and touching.
Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War are part of history. But as WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us, that history came forward to provide inspiration and more through trying times in 20th century America. Thomas Doherty is a cultural historian, professor of American Studies at Brandeis University, and author of Projections of War: Hollywood, American Culture, and World War II. John Bodnar is a Distinguished and Chancellor's Professor of History at Indiana University, Bloomington. Abe Lincoln in Illinois (...more
Bea Wain was only 90 when we interviewed her in 2007. That makes her a century old this week - and we're celebrating with another look at this archival edition of Fishko Files.
Tonight at Carnegie Hall, a star-studded cast performs the large-scale operetta "Babes in Toyland" by Victor Herbert. But WNYC's Sara Fishko turns her attention to a much more modest creation by that composer. The story of a popular standard - in this edition of Fishko Files. Carnegie Hall celebrates 75 years of MasterVoices with tonight's revival of "Babes in Toyland," starring Kelli O'Hara, Bill Irwin, Lauren Worsham, and Christopher Fitzgerald, with artistic direction by Ted Sperling. For tic...more
The National Theatre in London is calling Tony Kushner’s two-part epic Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes the centerpiece of their programming this year. This archival Fishko Files looks back at the original 1991 Broadway production. (Produced in 2005) Angels in America (Part One: Millennium Approaches & Part Two: Perestroika) is at the National Theatre through Saturday, August 19.
In the 1940s, James Agee's film criticism took an artful look at Hollywood movies. As WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us, Agee's fascination with cinema was a lifelong love affair. (Produced in 2005)
Tonight at the National Opera Center in New York, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom presents live excerpts of his work and speaks about his creative process. As WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us, his influences come from an eclectic array of sources. (Produced in 2005) Creators in Concert: William BolcomThursday, April 57:00pmThe National Opera Center330 Seventh Ave.New York, NY 10001Tickets available at www.operaamerica.org/
Music can happen in the moment with great immediacy, or it can be edited, later, to perfection. WNYC’s Sara Fishko reflects on recordings by a few spectacular classical pianists in this archival Fishko Files. (Produced in 2005)
Once again, a production of Lillian Hellman’s classic play The Little Foxes is about to begin previews on Broadway. WNYC's Sara Fishko profiles its forceful lead female character, Regina, in this archival Fishko Files. (Produced in 2005) Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes begins previews Wednesday, March 29 and opens Wednesday, April 19 Directed by Daniel SullivanStarring Laura Linney, Cynthia Nixon, Darren Goldstein, Michael McKean, and Richard ThomasFor more information, visit www.littlefoxesb...more
You can lose yourself, WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us, in three enormous coffee table books - no coffee table required.
Fifty years after the death of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the so-called “father of the atomic bomb,” there is still power in his story of genius, politics and remorse. This archival Fishko Files was produced just as two works stressing the “mythical” telling of his story had appeared: John Adams’ opera “Dr. Atomic” and a massive new biography, “American Prometheus.” (Produced in 2005)
An upcoming FX series shines a spotlight on the sometimes competing eccentricities of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. They were just two of a generation of Hollywood actresses who worked fiercely to hold onto their peculiarities of style, stance, and voice. WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us more in this edition of Fishko Files. (Produced in 2007) Feud: Bette and Joan premieres on FX on March 5. For more information, visit http://www.fxnetworks.com.
The 89th Oscars ceremony will be broadcast this Sunday evening. Whatever the outcome, the run-up to the ceremony has Sara Fishko thinking about art, commerce and movies. Here is the next Fishko Files. (Produced in 2010) Andrew Sarris (1928-2012) was a leading film critic and author ("The American Cinema") and an early proponent of the "auteur" theory. He wrote criticism for Film Culture, The Village Voice, The Observer, and other publications. Daniel Eagan is a critic and author of America’s Fil...more
Seventy-five years ago, with America in the thick of the Second World War, the world first heard a celebrated patriotic fanfare by Aaron Copland. WNYC’s Sara Fishko has more in this edition of Fishko Files.
Classical music and cartoons have a long and happy history together. With a look at the odd affinity between, say, Richard Wagner and Elmer Fudd, here is WNYC’s Sara Fishko - with another Fishko Files. (Produced in 2005)
American composer Philip Glass turns 80 next week. As WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us in this Fishko Files, Glass's time away from America in the '60s was central to his music, as he encountered a pair of powerful influences. Listen to "An Hour with Philip Glass" here. (Produced in 2006) The Bruckner Orchestra Linz celebrates Glass's birthday with the world premiere of his new Symphony No. 11 on Tuesday, January 31 at Carnegie Hall. For tickets and more information, visit carnegiehall.org. National ...more
"Trump-ism" is looming large. As Sara Fishko tells us in this archival edition of Fishko Files, another political “ism” captured undivided attention in a divided 1950s America. (Produced in 2008)
The late Mike Nichols (d. November 19, 2014) lives on through many accomplishments, not least his perfect pairing with Elaine May for sketch comedy that influenced generations to come. WNYC's Sara Fishko saw them reunited on stage - for this Fishko Files. (Produced in 2006)
This Friday, legendary director Harold Prince and New York City Opera brings a new opera house production of Candide to Lincoln Center. The original version of the musical opened on Broadway in the 1950s. As WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us in this edition of Fishko Files, the project came with certain challenges attached. (Produced in 2004) Candide opens January 6th at the Rose Theater for a limited engagement. For tickets and more information, visit www.jazz.org/.
The New Year is right around the corner, and so are the parties. As WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us in this edition of Fishko Files, the truth comes out at parties – both past and present.
2016 marks 80 years since the first performance of Prokofiev’s children’s piece, Peter and the Wolf. As WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us, the millions of children listening over the decades knew only part of the story. (Produced in 2011)
In 1976, Garrett Brown became an inventor and, as WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us, changed the face of movies. He and his invention, the Steadicam, are being honored at a film series starting tomorrow. More in this edition of Fishko Files… The Film Society of Lincoln Center series "Going Steadi: 40 Years of Steadicam" starts tomorrow at the Walter Reade Theater. For tickets and more information, visit filmLINC.org.
With the new film Jackie now in theaters, we offer this Fishko Files, documenting the 1962 Valentine’s Day broadcast of the then-First Lady’s White House Tour. As WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us, a stunning number of Americans tuned in to the program - and gained a greater interest in both Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and the Presidential residence. (Produced in 2012)
WNYC’s series Dear President: What You Need to Know About Race has invited contributions from others at WNYC. In this edition of Fishko Files, Sara Fishko and guests consider the impact of what we say, and how we say it. Greg Howard and other guests join host Rebecca Carroll tonight for Dear President: What You Need to Know About Race live in the Greene Space. For details, visit Dear President at WNYC.org.
In the days following September 11th, television united Americans as it had few times before. In this special edition for On the Media, WNYC's Sara Fishko takes us back to November 22nd, 1963 - the Friday before Thanksgiving, when the medium was feeling its way, for the first time, through a devastating tragedy. (Produced in 2001)
Ten years ago, musician-turned-manager John Levy was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. As a bassist he jammed, played and recorded with Ben Webster, George Shearing, Billie Holiday, Art Tatum and many other greats. But later, Levy took his love of jazz and applied it to the business side of music: he became the first African-American jazz artist manager. Levy's work as a musician gave him an “insider’s” understanding of the music business, as WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us...more
In the face of the election news, we offer a piece about great music - the 32 piano sonatas by Beethoven. Mitsuko Uchida says one remarkable “draw” of Beethoven’s music was its spirit, and the "unbelievably optimistic spirituality" it possessed. "When you are stuck in hell, you look up," she says. "He makes you look up." More in this edition of Fishko Files. (Produced in 2006)
110 years after the birth of movie director Billy Wilder, his memorable film moments live on in popular culture. Ace in the Hole, Wilder's dark 1951 film about a journalist exploiting a tragedy to benefit his own career, was a major flop in its time - but its bitter, cynical themes may be more relevant than ever in today's entertainment landscape. (Produced in 2006) Since this edition of Fishko Files originally aired, Ace in the Hole has been made available for rental and purchase via the Criter...more
Sometimes, music you hear in your youth has a special power. For pianist Angela Hewitt, it was Bach. WNYC’s Sara Fishko looks at that fruitful connection between pianist and composer, in this edition of Fishko Files. (Produced in 2002) Angela Hewitt begins Bach Odyssey, a four-season-long exploration of Bach's keyboard works, tonight at 92Y. For tickets and more information, visit www.92Y.org.
Whether it's drama (Masters of Sex, Mad Men) or comedy (Silicon Valley, The Office), the workplace regularly pops up as a setting on television. It's less common, however, to see our working lives on the silver screen. WNYC's Sara Fishko examines how this part of daily existence is portrayed on film, in this edition of Fishko Files. (Produced in 2006)
Just over 60 years ago, a now-famous classical concert turned into a musical battleground - with very instructive results. WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells the story in this edition of Fishko Files. (Produced in 2006)
‘Reds,’ Warren Beatty’s improbable epic saga about the Leftist American journalist John Reed, was released 35 years ago, just as a generation of early 20th century activists was aging. Beatty’s film captured their stories and combined them with star-studded drama. As WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us, the film’s DVD release allows audiences to look into the film’s curious construction. (Produced in 2006)
With the academic year now in full swing, WNYC’s Sara Fishko talks to a seasoned pianist – now settling into a new university position, to share the music. Sara Davis Buechner comes home, in this edition of Fishko Files. For bonus tracks of Sara Davis Buechner performing Busoni and Mozart live in the WNYC studios, visit Fishko Files at our website, wnyc.org.
Earlier this month, a gathering of musicians paid tribute to the late record producer Orrin Keepnews, who formed close ties with jazz musicians starting in the late 1940s. Keepnews and Thelonious Monk had a special connection, as WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us in this Fishko Files. Sara Fishko appears live at Metrograph Cinema tomorrow night to introduce the new film from WNYC STUDIOS, “The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith.” For tickets and more information, visit metrograph.com or wnyc.org/j...more
In the 1950s, Edward Steichen of the Museum of Modern Art wanted to say something about the world. He said it, as Sara Fishko tells us, with a photo exhibit that made history. In this edition of Fishko Files, a look back at "The Family of Man." (Produced in 2004) A celebrated Life Magazine photographer's massive archive is the subject of WNYC Studios' The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith, directed by Sara Fishko and released by FilmBuff. Opens Friday, September 23 at Metrograph Cinema in N...more
In this archival edition of Fishko Files: insights into photographing jazz musicians from two late, great jazz photographers, Herman Leonard and Roy DeCarava, both interviewed by WNYC’s Sara Fishko toward the end of their lives. (Produced in 2008) Opening Friday, September 23 at Metrograph Cinema is a new documentary directed by Sara Fishko, The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith. A film about jazz, photography, New York - and the struggle to lead a creative life. For more information, visi...more
A frustrated concert pianist is the subject of a new opera by David Lang. More from WNYC’s Sara Fishko – in this Fishko Files. The Loser premieres at the Next Wave Festival at BAM on Wednesday, September 7th and runs through Sunday, September September 11th.
A concert coming up in Williamsburg next week features the Chiara String Quartet playing by heart - that is, without the score. To memorize, or not to memorize? asks WNYC's Sara Fishko, in this edition of Fishko Files.
This month marks 35 years since the death of screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky. As WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us, the multiple-Oscar-winning Chayefsky fought to the death for every fierce and furious word he wrote. Here is the next Fishko Files. (Produced in 2006)
This Friday sees the release of a new movie starring Meryl Streep as soprano Florence Foster Jenkins. Long before American Idol and the Amateur Hour, Jenkins sang about as badly as anyone had ever sung in public - but people have been fascinated by her style and her story since her death in the 1940s. Sara Fishko asks: was she so bad she was good? Here is the next Fishko Files.
American composer William Bolcom's compositions are widely performed and recorded; he's written music of every type, comfortably mixing styles and genres. As WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us, Bolcom was, and is, a careful, passionate music-listener as well, and what he listens to tells us a lot about the history of music, both high and low. Here is the next Fishko Files. (Produced in 2006) William Bolcom's Songs of Innocence and of Experience (William Blake) is available for purchase at Amazon.com
“Heart and Soul,” a 1930s song of modest melody and lilting rhythm, occupies a special place in the culture of piano-playing. Without its lyrics - with just its simple, jaunty tune - it’s become an iconic American tradition, especially at social gatherings. Why? WNYC’s Sara Fishko meditates on the mysteries of a popular tune. (Produced in 2006)
In honor of the ongoing Shakespeare400 celebration this year, WNYC’s Sara Fishko charts several iterations of Romeo and Juliet, and considers how that classic Shakespeare tragedy inspired a great Russian ballet score. (Produced in 2007)
Diane Arbus, the photographer who made her name taking pictures of ordinary people with extraordinary characteristics, is the subject of an exhibit which opened this week at the Met Breuer. More on Arbus from WNYC's Sara Fishko in this episode of Fishko Files.
Tomorrow is the hundred fiftieth anniversary of the birth of the French composer Erik Satie. As WNYC's Sara Fishko tells us, Satie's music and thinking were more in tune with our time than with his own, in this edition of Fishko Files.
Mstislav Rostropovich was a rare combination: powerful conductor; courageous dissident; musical activist; but above all, he was a cellist. Shortly after his passing in 2007, WNYC’s Sara Fishko spoke to cellists about the lasting impacts of his life and work. (Produced in 2007)
Recently some venerable cultural critics have been collecting their thoughts into books. WNYC’s Sara Fishko opens them all in this edition of Fishko Files.
In June of 1947, the debut of a new radio show — using a hidden microphone — blurred the line between surveillance and entertainment. As Sara Fishko tells us in this archival edition of Fishko Files, the line is blurrier than ever. (Produced in 2007)
Right now in our current political season, as WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us, it’s a new moment to rediscover an old film about an American rise and fall.
From the archives: Barbara Stanwyck was just one of a generation of Hollywood actresses — as WNYC’s Sara Fishko tells us — who worked fiercely to hold onto their eccentricities of style, stance and voice. More in this Fishko Files.
From the archives: Ravel, Debussy and Prokofiev are among the composers who made piano-recordings of their own works — and they have WNYC's Sara Fishko pondering the nature of interpretation in this edition of Fishko Files. (Produced in 2007)
From the archives: Chet Baker and Miles Davis are both the subjects of new biopics, but the mystique of the horn player has long held a special place in musical mythology, says WNYC's Sara Fishko.
From the archives: Released almost half a century ago, "Bonnie and Clyde" made film history by dividing critics, thrilling audiences and opening creative doors. (Produced in 2007)
An exhibition called “Unfinished,” at the Museum now known as the Met Breuer on East 75th Street, raises questions about the whole idea of finishing artworks — or not finishing them. WNYC’s Sara Fishko takes the challenge, from Bach to Kanye West, in this edition of Fishko Files.
From the archives: World War II is still central to America’s self-image — as new generations find ways to tell that war’s old stories. In this archival episode, Sara Fishko considers our endless fascination with the most documented event in history. (Produced in 2007)
From the archives: WNYC’s Sara Fishko sat down with a husband-and-wife team of star translators to talk (as quickly as possible) about a very, very long book — War and Peace.
The Grammy Awards promises to introduce a favorite Fishko File’s jazz record to a new generation of fans, sixty years after its original release.
From the archives: Fashion Week (which kicks off its 73rd year in 2016) was the brainchild of a smart woman with a feel for clothes — and for publicity. Sara Fishko tells the remarkable story of how a commercial institution was born during the world's darkest hour... (Produced in 2010).
From the archives: It’s Oscar season and once again an outsize number of nominees are films inspired by real people. In this Fishko Files from 2007, WNYC’s Sara Fishko takes a closer look at the complex task of turning lives into art.
From the archives: Flops happen. The short-lived musical ‘Juno’ was one notable failed Broadway show. It is a misstep still remembered over fifty years later for its powerful score and still-relevant source material. (Produced in 2008)