Three of Your Favorite Jazz Pianists were Born in August: Let's Celebrate!

What are some exciting events that have happened in the month of August? In 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Southampton, England with 102 Pilgrims. In 1866, President Andrew Johnson declared the U.S. Civil War over, and in 1896, gold was first discovered in the Klondike. And in jazz history? Three of the most renowned pianists were born.

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Williams James Basie, born on August 21st, 1904 in Redbank, NJ, would grow up to become jazz royalty.  Ever wonder how he got the name Count? Although there were different theories over the years, Basie himself cleared it up with the story reported in Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya: The Story of Jazz as Told by the Men who Made it (1966) by Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff.

NASA

Solar eclipse fever has seized America!  And whether you're watching outside with "eclipse glasses," or inside – on TV or online – WRTI is here to keep you company with great music inspired by the heavens! 


As we celebrate the legacy of jazz pianist Bill Evans, you might be surprised to know that some cool cats named Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, and especially—Johann Sebastian Bach—helped shape his sound.

Credit: Jessica Griffin

Paul Jacobs, the only organist ever to have won a Grammy Award, will perform in all three works on our Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast this coming Sunday, August 20th at 1 pm.

The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra
Bachrach Photography

WRTI continues its series of concert broadcasts of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra with Music Director Louis Scaglione on the podium. This Sunday, it's music of Alexander Glazunov and Carl Orff, plus the premier of a new work by Alan Mackwell, winner of the PYO's Young Composer's Competition.

The concert, recorded in June of this year, was the 77th annual festival concert by the orchestra, and was highlighted by the selection of the 4th annual Ovation Award for Outstanding Leadership in Music Education, in addition to celebrating the 20th year of Maestro Louis Scaglione's tenure as Music Director of PYO.

Alan Mackwell's work, Secretly Ramses the Second, is the third movement of a larger work by the young composer, the Tintin Suite.  Mackwell's piece is inspired by the Belgian cartoon character Tintin, and the title of the movement is taken from a quote in the Tintin comic book Cigars of the Pharoah. The German-born Mackwell explains the inspiration for writing the piece was his desire to step away from the concept of writing linear musical stories and instead to focus and develop the characteristics of Tintin that make his stories so fascinating.

When WRTI Jazz Host Bob Perkins talks about one of his all-time favorite pianists, what does he call him?  The Wonderful Wizard of OZcar!  One of the great jazz pianists of all time, master of the keyboard Oscar Peterson, said he was intimidated by jazz pianist Art Tatum and admired Nat King Cole. But "O.P.," as his friends called him, was a magician who followed his own muse.

The Mystery of Music as an Art Form

Aug 13, 2017
Credit: Jeff Herman

Music can be mysterious, even to those who spend their lives creating it. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, composer Christopher Rouse ponders the profound power of music with his concerto for organ and orchestra.

What’s it like growing up aiming for a classical concert career? WRTI’s Susan Lewis asked a young Canadian pianist Thomas Torok how he manages the music, excitement, and competition.  

Fritz Kreisler

A lesser-known fantasy by twentieth-century violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler has captured the imagination of Benjamin Beilman, a 21st-century soloist on the rise. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more.

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Williams James Basie, born on August 21st, 1904 in Redbank, NJ, would grow up to become jazz royalty.  Ever wonder how he got the name Count? Although there were different theories over the years, Basie himself cleared it up with the story reported in Hear Me Talkin’ to Ya: The Story of Jazz as Told by the Men who Made it (1966) by Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff.

NASA

Solar eclipse fever has seized America!  And whether you're watching outside with "eclipse glasses," or inside – on TV or online – WRTI is here to keep you company with great music inspired by the heavens! 


As we celebrate the legacy of jazz pianist Bill Evans, you might be surprised to know that some cool cats named Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, and especially—Johann Sebastian Bach—helped shape his sound.

When WRTI Jazz Host Bob Perkins talks about one of his all-time favorite pianists, what does he call him?  The Wonderful Wizard of OZcar!  One of the great jazz pianists of all time, master of the keyboard Oscar Peterson, said he was intimidated by jazz pianist Art Tatum and admired Nat King Cole. But "O.P.," as his friends called him, was a magician who followed his own muse.

The Mystery of Music as an Art Form

Aug 13, 2017
Credit: Jeff Herman

Music can be mysterious, even to those who spend their lives creating it. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, composer Christopher Rouse ponders the profound power of music with his concerto for organ and orchestra.

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