UPDATE: WQXR Announces Two Additions to Its Fall Roster of Guest Hosts
Grammy Award-winning artists RHIANNON GIDDENS and BRANFORD MARSALIS to curate and share their own playlists on Thursday, November 12 and Monday, November 16
Both programs begin at 7pm on WQXR 105.9 FM and WQXR.org
(New York, NY — November 10, 2020) — WQXR — New York City’s classical music station — today announced two additional major talents named to their special fall roster of guest hosts: Rhiannon Giddens and Branford Marsalis. They will be heard on November 12 and 16, respectively.
These musical trailblazers join a series of guest DJs hailing from within and beyond the classical world, including WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, chef Marcus Samuelsson, opera star Thomas Hampson, and violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, who have stepped in to host WQXR Thursday evenings while Terrance McKnight has been on leave writing a book
The series concludes as follows:
Thursday, November 12: The final Thursday show will be hosted by Rhiannon Giddens, a Grammy-winning artist and MacArthur “Genius” who is the new head of the Silk Road Ensemble, and the host of the critically acclaimed podcast Aria Code from WQXR and the Metropolitan Opera. During her hour, Giddens will focus on composers and artists of African descent, including Eubie Blake, Hazel Scott, and Margaret Bonds.
Monday, November 16: On the eve of McKnight’s return, renowned saxophonist, composer and bandleader Branford Marsalis makes his own return to the radio, sharing the classical music that is closest to his heart. His hour will include a full spectrum of music that moves from Johann Sebastian Bach to Jean-Philippe Rameau to Dmitri Shostakovich; he’ll also share some of his own classical recordings.
Both shows start at 7pm on WQXR 105.9 FM in New York and on wqxr.org.
GUEST HOST BIOS:
Rhiannon Giddens is a celebrated artist who excavates the past to reveal truths about our present. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Giddens has been Grammy-nominated six times, and won once, for her work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a group she co-founded. She was nominated this year for her collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, there is no Other (2019), an album that is at once a condemnation of “othering” and a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity, and shared experience. She has performed for the Obamas at the White House and acted in two seasons of the hit television series Nashville. Giddens has been profiled by CBS Sunday Morning, the New York Times, and NPR’s Fresh Air, among other outlets. She is featured in Ken Burns’s Country Music series, which aired on PBS last fall, and has recently been named Artistic Director of the Yo-Yo Ma founded Silkroad Ensemble. In 2019, Giddens also formed the band Our Native Daughters with three other black female banjo players and contributed to and produced their album Songs of Our Native Daughters (2019), which tells stories of historic black womanhood and survival. Pitchfork has said of her “few artists are so fearless and so ravenous in their exploration,” and Smithsonian Magazine calls her “an electrifying artist who brings alive the memories of forgotten predecessors, white and black.”
New Orleans-born Branford Marsalis is an award-winning saxophonist, band leader, featured classical soloist, and a film and Broadway composer. In the process, he has become a multi award-winning artist with three Grammys, a citation by the National Endowment for the Arts as a Jazz Master and an avatar of contemporary artistic excellence.
The Branford Marsalis Quartet, formed in 1986, remains his primary means of expression. In its virtually uninterrupted three-plus decades of existence, the Quartet has established a rare breadth of stylistic range as demonstrated on the band’s latest release: The Secret Between the Shadow and the Soul. But Branford has not confined his music to the jazz quartet context. A frequent soloist with classical ensembles, Branford has become increasingly sought after as a featured soloist with acclaimed orchestras around the world, performing works by composers such as Copeland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Milhaud, Rorem, Vaughan Williams and Villa-Lobos. And his legendary guest performances with the Grateful Dead and collaborations with Sting have made him a fan favorite in the pop arena.
His work on Broadway has garnered a Drama Desk Award and Tony nominations for the acclaimed revivals of “Children of a Lesser God,” “Fences,” and “A Raisin in the Sun.” His screen credits include original music composed for: Spike Lee’s Mo’ Better Blues, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks starring Oprah Winfrey and MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. MA RAINEY is the Netflix film adaptation of two-time Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s play, produced by Denzel Washington and scheduled for release in December 2020.
WQXR is New York City’s only all-classical music station, immersing listeners in the city’s rich musical life on-air at 105.9FM, online at WQXR.org, and in person through live events and performances. WQXR presents new and landmark classical recordings, as well as live concerts from New York City’s concert halls and performance venues, and broadcasts essential destination programs including Carnegie Hall Live, Metropolitan Opera Saturday Matinee Broadcasts, New York Philharmonic This Week, and the Young Artists Showcase. WQXR also produces podcasts that reach new audiences for the artform: The Open Ears Project, Helga, and — in partnership with the Metropolitan Opera — the critically-acclaimed opera podcast, Aria Code. As a public radio station, WQXR is supported through the generosity of its members, donors and sponsors, making classical music relevant, accessible and inspiring for all.
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