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:

What Roth Thought of Bach

Thursday, May 24, 2018

In her book Roth Unbound, journalist Claudia Roth Pierpont shares several anecdotes concerning the author — including this one about an Emerson Quartet performance at Carnegie Hall.
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Listen to this 1903 Recording of Grieg Playing a Piece for His Wife

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Grieg’s “Wedding Day at Troldhaugen” was written to celebrate his 25th anniversary with his wife Nina — and luckily for us, he left behind a recording of him performing it.
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Why Is the Viola the Butt of So Many Jokes?

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Musician or not, you've probably heard a viola diss. But why is this particular instrument always on the receiving end of these jokes?
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Watch Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s Royal Wedding Performance

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Whether you slept through the broadcast or are itching to hear it again, enjoy the young cellist’s spectacular performance.
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So That’s What it Looks Like When a Baritone Sings in an MRI

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Michael Volle hopped into an MRI and sang a Wagner aria so scientists could observe the relationship between loudness and articulation.
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Stravinsky’s Stamp on Modern Pop

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

This mini-doc explains how a Stravinsky record spawned one of the most recognizable sounds of ’80s pop music.
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Are Strads Worth The Money?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Luthier Joseph Curtin and violinists Michelle Kim and Philippe Quint discuss the value of Stradivari instruments — and whether they’re worth the price.
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The Montana Wilderness Is the Perfect Setting for a Brahms Quartet

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Ariel String Quartet takes to the solitary-yet-free expanse of Montana in a video for its latest album.
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Classical Foodies: New York Philharmonic Concertmaster Frank Huang

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The concertmaster discusses music, family and his favorite foods over a meal at La Salle Dumpling Room.
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7 Pieces Worthy of Your Very Royal Wedding

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What's a wedding without music? It's pretty hard to imagine, but since a select few pieces seem to dominate the selection we've curated seven alternates worth checking out.
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Takemitsu’s Arrangement of ‘Autumn Leaves’ Is the Most Beautiful Thing You’ll Hear All Week

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Composer Tōru Takemitsu was a world-class orchestrator. Listen to the way he transforms an American standard for string quartet.
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Bassist Xavier Foley Puts His Own Spin on Tchaikovsky

Monday, May 14, 2018

The 2018 Avery Fisher Career Grant Winner Xavier Foley is a talented bassist, but have you heard his compositions?
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Inspire Yourself by Watching Midori’s Carnegie Hall Debut

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Watch Midori’s stunning performance of Pablo de Sarasate’s “Zapateado” during her 1990 Carnegie Hall debut.
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Gnattali’s Sonata for Cello and Guitar Is Proof These Instruments Belong Together

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

The Brazilian composer’s Sonata for Cello and Guitar illustrates why we need more works written for this pairing of instruments.
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This Vibraphone Arrangement of ‘Clair De Lune’ Is As Dreamy as Debussy Gets

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” is already pretty dreamy, but hearing it performed on vibraphone takes it into a whole other sleep cycle.
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Joseph Feingold of ‘Joe’s Violin’ Has Released His Memoir

Monday, May 07, 2018

The Holocaust survivor and subject of the 2016 short subject documentary ‘Joe’s Violin’ has just published his memoir.
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Watch Melodica Men’s Western-Inspired ‘William Tell' Overture

Monday, May 07, 2018

The melodica-wielding duo is back with a “Lone Ranger”-inspired take on Rossini’s Overture for “William Tell.”
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A New Production of Beethoven’s ‘Fidelio’ Features Voices of the Incarcerated

Thursday, May 03, 2018

In Heartbeat Opera’s new production, several U.S. prison choirs sing the ‘Prisoners’ Chorus.’
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Sir Simon Rattle Conducts Mahler's Tenth From Memory

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Check out the big brains on Sir Simon!
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Leonard Bernstein’s Bookshelf: An Intimate Look

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Get to know the great composer-conductor through his library. 
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