Mark Morris

Let’s get one thing out of the way first, in case there is any doubt: “Women Composers” is not a genre. Neither is “music by women,” as a category, written with any different level of skill or sensitivity than is “music by men.”

March 1, 2021. WRTI is celebrating women bandleaders and their music to commemorate Women’s History Month. This week we're shining the spotlight on The Path by Chien Chien Lu, a Taiwanese vibraphonist whose own path led her to Philly’s University of the Arts for grad school to study with vibe master Tony Miceli. This is her debut album as a leader.

March 1, 2021. We're kicking off our celebration of Women's History Month with sparkling music by Schumann and Mendelssohn presented by The Nash Ensemble of London. But it’s not Robert and Felix who have written the three pieces we’re spotlighting, but Clara and Fanny.

Vijay Iyer recorded Uneasy, his forthcoming ECM album, at the close of 2019, in the waning light of what's sometimes wryly hailed as "the before-times."

"It was really on the cusp of, well, the rest of everything," Iyer, a pianist and composer of exceptional renown, tells NPR Music. "I'm really glad to have this document of what we used to be, and what we will be again. This is a reminder of what's possible: how we can be together, how we can move together, how we can build something together."

Kris Bowers' film-scoring career started, strangely enough, with a word of praise from the Queen of Soul — Aretha Franklin.

The 31-year-old composer has been tickling the ivories since he was a little kid, growing up in the Mid-City neighborhood of Los Angeles. He always loved film scores (E.T. was a heavy favorite), and he was one of the few Black students at his arts high school. He studied at Juilliard, and in 2011 he won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition.

It feels strange calling Robert Glasper’s R+R=NOW a “supergroup” because every group Glasper leads seems worthy of that appellation. Yet, there is something particularly relevant right now about this one, which was named out of Glasper’s desire for the group’s music to be both an accurate reflection of the times and an effective and immediate response to them.

Mike Oria

Listen to any of Jimmy Bruno’s records and the lyricism, the feel, that full, round tone guitarists kill for, and that articulation—those notes live rich, sustained lives. It all presents as something that comes so easy. But it’s taken Bruno lots of years, and several stops, for it to sound that way.

PIERRE MICHEL JEAN/AFP via Getty Images

Versatility is one thing; possessing the aptitude to match a boundless musical curiosity is another. Leonard Bernstein had both; Terence Blanchard also has both.

February 22, 2021. BRUITS, a new album by the trailblazing woodwind quintet Imani Winds, tackles issues of race and social justice with three contemporary works by Reena Esmail, Frederic Rzewski, and Vijay Iyer, composer of the title work. 

Back in 2014, Chick Corea visited The Checkout to promote Portraits, an solo album celebrating artists he admired. Instead, the pianist gave us a clear picture of himself.

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