James Bennett, II

James Bennett II is a staff writer for WQXR.

James is a noted pineapple enthusiast and native of the original (read: Chesapeake) Bay Area. At the impressionable age of 17, he moved to New York in search of concrete pastures and scooped up a BA in history from Columbia University. Classical music had always been an interest, but it really switched on after he heard Yo-Yo Ma rip “Fear” from Astor Piazzolla’s Four Tango Sensations. It popped up on shuffle, and he listened to it no fewer than 40 times in a row.  He’s also game to talk about jazz, hip-hop, and wave (chill, synth, vapor, or otherwise). James is also fond of funky ales, fall foliage, all things nautical, and harsh winters. Some would say he has a passing interest in the post-romantic situational comedy Friends

James Bennett, II appears in the following:

Remembering Aretha Franklin With a Touch of Puccini

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Watch the Queen of Soul tackle “Nessun Dorma.”
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How Long Do You Need to Play Verdi Before You’re Arrested? About 16 Years.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

One Slovakian woman, in a bitter vendetta against a neighbor, has been playing the same Verdi aria, on repeat from sunup to sundown, for 16 years.
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Here's a (Likely) Bootleg of Rachmaninoff Playing Rachmaninoff

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A new — possibly bootlegged — recording of Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances features the composer singing and playing his own work on the piano.
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Name That Tune (And Its Associated Ethnic Stereotype)

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

James Bennett II talks about the origins of the Neapolitan Tarantalla, the Italian stereotypes it signifies, and other pieces of music that are associated with certain ethnicities.

Five of Your Favorite Operas That People Used to Hate

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Whether it was hate or lack of interest, here are a handful of operas that dominate houses today, but which initially received a chilly reception.
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A ‘Cat’s Fugue’ for Your Feline Friend

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Whether you’re celebrating International Cat Day or lazing about the house with your pet, here’s a piece to kick off a bonding session.
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Every A+ Violin Needs an ‘F’: Why the Instrument Has Those Distinctive Sound Holes

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Many string instruments have those distinctive f-holes, but how did they get that shape, and are they even necessary?
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Meet Clayelle Dalferes… American Pitbull Terrier

Monday, August 06, 2018

Mt. Vernon Animal Shelter took in a dog rescued from a fire and named her after one of WQXR’s own animal-loving hosts.
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Here’s A Close-Up Of Vocal Cords In Action, And It’s Not Weird At All

Monday, August 06, 2018

The vast majority of us have vocal chords, so we kind of owe it to ourselves to see them at work at least once, right?
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This Acrobat Brings ‘Clair de Lune’ to Life

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Yoann Bourgeois’ delicate dance adds new depth to the Debussy classic.
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The ‘Dog Concerto’ Proves the Internet Still Has Some Good Left in It

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A video of a dog with an unnaturally high wail made his way around the Internet, and it was only a matter of time before someone gave it the musical treatment.
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That Italian Song You Know But Can’t Quite Identify? We Name That Tune.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

It’s been used as musical shorthand for all things Italy in countless commercials and television shows. But what’s that song actually called? How did it become a stereotype?
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This Composer is Writing Music in Real Time, and We Can’t Look Away

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Nejc Kuhar decided to take a different route when sharing one of his compositions — he shot a video of himself writing the score in time with the music.
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Beautiful Music in Gorgeous Places: Six Music Videos that Will Stand in For Your Next Summer Escape

Friday, July 27, 2018

Upcoming camping trip fall through? Struggling to get through work as summer beckons from your window? No worries; make a vicarious escape to the outdoors with these gorgeous videos.
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Penguins Like Lots of Things, but Opera is Not One of Them

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Note: Don’t show up on a penguin colony’s doorstep and try to wow them with your vocal skills.
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Super Empathetic? It May Affect How You Listen to Music.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

An SMU and UCLA study suggests there’s a strong correlation between how we experience music and how we empathize with those around us.
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A Trombonist Got a Job with the Munich Philharmonic. Then She Fought Them in Court for 13 Years.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Blind auditions increase the likelihood that a female musician will be hired by 30%. But fair treatment isn’t always a given.
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Watching Heifetz’s Fingers in Slow Motion Makes You Realize How Good He Really Was

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The slow-motion footage was shot during a performance of Wieniawski’s Scherzo Tarantelle … and still looks pretty fast.
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Reconstructed: This is the First-Ever Orchestration of ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures” might be the most famous, but Mikhail Tushmalov did it first, more than 30 years earlier.
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World Cup 2018 Finals, France v. Croatia: Classical Edition

Friday, July 13, 2018

No matter who you’re rooting for on Sunday, we’ve got a short playlist that will capture the drama.
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