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:

Beethoven's Amazing Response to a 12-Year-Old's Fan Mail

Friday, May 26, 2017

In 1812, a 12-year-old fan wrote to her idol, Ludwig van Beethoven. Here's his response.
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Watch: A 1992 Duet of Kathleen Battle and Wynton Marsalis Playing Bach and Handel

Thursday, May 25, 2017

In 1992, Battle and Marsalis released a recording of Baroque works — and filmed the performances, too. Check out their Bach and Handel interpretations, and feel like royalty.
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Why Don't We Clap Between Movements at Classical Concerts?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

What are the rules of the concert hall and where did they come from? An explanation.
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6 Musical Instruments That Set Auction Records

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

These six musical instruments broke records at the auction house, with prices as high as $2.8 million. 
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'Zuzana: A Musical Life' Focuses on the Influential Harpsichordist

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Zuzana Ruzickova is one of the world's most influential harpsichordists, and a new documentary examines her extraordinary life.
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The European Union Baroque Orchestra Moves to Belgium Post-Brexit

Monday, May 22, 2017

Brexit's consequences aren't just political. The European Baroque Orchestra is one cultural institution dramatically affected by last summer's vote.
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It's Super Mario Bros., but for Oboe, Bassoon and Clarinet

Monday, May 22, 2017

Whenever there's an opportunity to celebrate double reeds, we'll take it. So check out this cool Super Mario Bros. arrangement, and listen to some oboe and bassoon outside of classical.
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Listen: Max Richter on 'Three Worlds,' Language and the Narrative Power of Music

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Composer Max Richter dropped by the studio for an interview to discuss his most recent studio album, Virginia Woolf and why Bruckner just doesn't do it for him.

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Here's Why the Concertmaster Is Always a Violinist

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The concertmaster always seems to be a violinist, but why?
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12 'Impressionist' Composers Not Named Debussy or Ravel

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Debussy and Ravel dominate the impressionist discussion. If you like their music, chances are you'll love these pieces. Plus we talk about why "impressionist" is such a tricky term.
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Macron's Love of Classical and Commitment to Culture

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Emmanuel Macron is a lover of classical music and, perhaps more importantly, of the preservation of culture.
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Watch: Stravinsky Recalls 'The Rite of Spring' Riot

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" had one of the most infamous premieres in classical music history. Here's the composer speaking about that raucous 1913 evening.
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Watch: Take a Short Tour of Ravel's Home

Monday, May 15, 2017

BBC Three's Sara Mohr-Pietsch hosted a delightful tour of the French composer's home.
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It's the Tranquility of the 'Goldberg Variations,' but for Guitar

Friday, May 12, 2017

Listen to Bach's "Goldberg Variations" performed on classical guitar. What do you think?
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In Studio: The Knights Perform Sufjan Stevens' 'Year of the Boar'

Friday, May 12, 2017

Several members of the orchestral collective The Knights came by the WQXR studios for a Facebook Live session. Hear an excerpt of their performance, Sufjan Stevens' "Year of the Boar."
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What Is The Difference Between a Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestra?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Today, we attempt to answer a simple question: what's the difference between a symphony, an orchestra and a Philharmonic? Is there even a difference at all?
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Did You Know That Barber Arranged His 'Adagio' for Chorus? Give It a Listen

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Samuel Barber's 'Adagio for Strings' is his most recognizable work, but did you know he later used it as the setting of the Agnus Dei? Choral music enthusiasts, take note.
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This Flash Mob of Holst's 'Jupiter' Will Bring You Jollity

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Berklee Contemporary Symphonic Orchestra descended upon the Prudential Center in Boston, gracing unsuspecting crowds with an extract from Holst's "Jupiter" from "The Planets."
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Dmitri Hvorostovsky's Surprise Performance at the Met Opera 50th Anniversary Gala

Monday, May 08, 2017

The celebrated baritone, who has stepped away from opera as he undergoes treatment for a brain tumor, gave a surprise performance at the Met Opera's 50th Anniversary Gala.
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One Night In Leipzig: When Brahms Met Tchaikovsky

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Brahms and Tchaikovsky, two wildly influential composers, are a perfect example of what happens when you like someone as a person, but none of their creative output.
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