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:

The Black Clown

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Black Clown – “A dramatic monologue to be spoken by a pure-blooded Negro in the white suit and hat of a clown, to the music of a piano, or an orchestra.” 

Comment

Hear Me Out: Blue

Thursday, August 13, 2020

James Bennett watched the Glimmerglass staging of Blue. Here are his thoughts.

Comment

Chevalier Blanc

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Because it was Joseph Boulogne who had Wolfgang's number.

Comment

Mozart, God-King

Monday, August 10, 2020

The origins and implications of Wolfgang’s divine cult.

Comment

IN CONVERSATION – With Lauren Michelle

Friday, July 31, 2020

James Bennett links up with Soprano Lauren Michelle to discuss racism in the opera house, the cost of speaking up, and how she tumbled headfirst into the dazzling world of opera.

EDUCATE YOURSELF: Classical x Race Reading List

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Conversations about race, and, more crucially, change, can be difficult. But here’s one neat trick to have those conversations run more smoothly: listen to black voices. 
Read More

Comments [2]

Hear Me Out: Romaria Choral Music from Brazil (Various)

Friday, July 17, 2020

Fun fact: Heitor Villa-Lobos is NOT the only Brazilian composer!
Read More

Comment

IN CONVERSATION – With Anna Thorvaldsdottir

Friday, July 17, 2020

This week you can join James Bennett in his conversation with Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir.

The Classical Crossing, Part Three: Youtubers and Gold Seatbelts

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The 1980s brought us greedy CDs and the 1990s brought us sex appeal. Now we'll see how the 2000s opened the genre to anyone with an iPhone and a basement. 
Read More

Comment

The Classical Crossing, Part Two: Hot n' Corny

Thursday, July 09, 2020

As a concept, classical crossover isn't new. The 1980s brought us greedy CDs. Now we'll take a look at how pop executives of the 1990s drove classical music into a sexy abyss. 
Read More

Comments [2]

Hear Me Out: Piano Concerto in C Minor (Helen Eugenia Hagan)

Friday, July 03, 2020

Here's to the amazing pieces that have been wiped from history.
Read More

Comments [1]

The Classical Crossing, Part One: CDs and Happy Accidents

Thursday, June 25, 2020

As a concept, classical crossover isn't new. But the 1980s and its technological innovation, insatiable corporate hunger, and glitzy commercials set the stage for something different.
Read More

Comment

IN CONVERSATION – With John Holiday

Friday, June 19, 2020

In January, WQXR’s James Bennett, sat down with opera singer John Holiday to talk about the relationship of black America with opera and much more.

Do I Need to Wear a Ball Gown to Go to the Opera?

Thursday, June 18, 2020

In which we address that decades-old question.
Read More

Comments [1]

Hear Me Out: We Shall Not Be Moved

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

(Daniel Bernard Roumain and Marc Bamuthi Joseph, 2017)
Read More

Comment

IN CONVERSATION – With Inbal Segev, Anna Clyne and Marin Alsop

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Our guests today are the collaborators cellist Inbal Segev, composer Anna Clyne, and conductor Marin Alsop.

On Taking Lip [Service]

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Influential and powerful brands and companies have expressed support of mass demonstrations against anti-black violence. But how far do words go?
Read More

Comments [5]