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:

On Lower East Side, Wu-Tang Clan Brings the Ruckus of Success to a Premiere

Friday, September 06, 2019

A 10-part series on Hulu traces their origins, including the pivotal choice facing the original Wu-Tang members between steady cash from the streets and the crap shoot of music careers.

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How Musical “Battles” Connected Women to the Violence of Civil War

Thursday, May 30, 2019

During the Civil War, piano battles played by women in the parlor served as a connection to violence on the front.
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How Well Do YOU Know Classical Music's Trivia Problem?

Thursday, May 30, 2019

To paraphrase musicologist Doug Shadle, "the classical music industry trades in the anecdote." What does that actually look like, and what are the consequences?
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Cancel Culture: How We Deal with Wagner in the 21st Century

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

It’s no secret: Richard Wagner was not particularly fond of non-white, non-Aryan peoples. So how do we square that with his artistic legacy?
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This Opera Taught Us We Don't Need Mozart to Pack the House

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Scott Joplin wrote his opera Treemonisha in 1910, but it didn't get a premiere until six decades later. Its production is an example in how to move outside of the canon.
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Classically Evil

Friday, May 03, 2019

Why do film and TV villains love classical music so much?
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In the Concert Hall, Clapping is Chaos. That’s Not a Bad Thing.

Friday, April 12, 2019

A recent concert at Carnegie Hall exposed the battle between the mind and body. With regards to clapping, that is.
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That Spooky “I Got 5 On It” Orchestration from ‘Us’ Almost Wasn’t in the Movie

Monday, April 08, 2019

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker was supposed to have the musical spotlight. But then director Jordan Peele was like, “nah.”
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¡Fantástico! Here’s the Earliest Recording of Berlioz’s Drug-Addled Magnum Opus

Thursday, March 14, 2019

A new release of Berlioz music by Warner Classics includes an “Early Works” disc, which features the first recording of 'Symphonie Fantastique.'
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Preview: Concerts to See in NYC This Spring

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Here are some of the must-hear concerts this spring — we’re even giving away tickets to some of these on-air today, too, so make sure to tune in for a chance to win!
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An AI Just Finished Schubert’s ‘Unfinished’ Symphony

Friday, March 01, 2019

Can AI finish Schubert's Unfinished Symphony?
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Where Are All the Concert Band Classics?

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

There is musical life after high school band, after all.
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Classical Music Still Struggles Online, Despite Curation

Monday, February 25, 2019

Getting your classical fix on many streaming services can be a total nightmare.
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Beethoven’s Quartets Are Best Performed in Crypt

Friday, February 08, 2019

The Attacca Quartet brought some Beethoven to the bowels of a church, and honestly, it’s a perfect fit.
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The TSO Nailed Andrew Davis’s Birthday Surprise

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Employees always have something up their sleeves on the boss’s birthday.
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Atonal Music, but Make It Bluegrass

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Of course Merle Hazard *would* write a bluegrass jam about the halcyon days of twelve-tone glory.
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Luxury, Comedy, Drama: Classical Music Choices for Super Bowl Commercials Checked Every Box

Monday, February 04, 2019

During the most boring Super Bowl imaginable, advertisers leaned into several of the meanings classical music can convey in a commercial world.
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Why is ‘The Four Seasons’ Such a Pop Culture Powerhouse?

Thursday, January 24, 2019

And how did we come to rediscover Vivaldi in the first place?
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A World Record for World’s Highest Concert

Friday, January 18, 2019

Pianist Evelina De Lain brought Chopin to the Himalayas.
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Why, Yes, Glass Cellos Are in Fact a Thing

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Artist Gary Word fell in love with fused glass and uses that knowledge to create unique instruments. If you wanted to know what a glass cello sounds like, this is your chance.
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