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:

Florence Price Is not Your Negro

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The recent rediscovery of Price's work should inspire us to work harder to find new music, not rest because we've got our diversity play.
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Hear Me Out: ‘Blues on Bach’ (Modern Jazz Quartet, 1974)

Friday, February 21, 2020

This week: James Bennett on what makes a "good" album. And also harpsichords.
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Hear Me Out: All the Things You Can C♯ (Charles Mingus, 1955)

Friday, February 14, 2020

This week: The blustery cool of Mingus’s 'All the Things You Can C♯', and why winter is the best season.
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Hear Me Out: Fantasie nègre No. 1 (Florence Price, 1929)

Friday, February 07, 2020

This week: James Bennett on Florence Price’s Fantasie Nègre, mac and cheese, and sharing your musical discoveries.
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Introducing: Hear Me Out

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Don't exit this window! Just hear me out! 
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The Only Way to Avoid Tokenism in Black History Month is to Engage with Black Art Outside of It

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Black History Month — or any other commemorative month — should be a time to experiment with new programming that can become a fixture all year long.
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Go Full Choral and Make Your Christmas Playlist Better

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Advent hymns are Good, and it's weird we don't listen to more of them.
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Why Is Christmas Music So Damn Corny? A Very Unscientific Theory

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Listen, it's called an "opinion" for a reason.
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Introducing WQXR Beta

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

WQXR is testing a new streaming platform in response to the changing terrain of digital music listening experiences.
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Turtle Bay Music School is Closing its Doors

Monday, November 25, 2019

The 94-year old nonprofit institution will close in January of next year.
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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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