Henry Cowell: A Man Made of Music

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The son of anarchist parents of Irish and American Midwest heritage, the San Francisco-born Henry Cowell was to become, by the time of his death in 1965, a world-renowned ultra-modern pianist and composer, a pioneering advocate for music of non-Western cultures, a prolific publisher of new music and an inspirational teacher for the next generation of maverick composers, including John Cage and Lou Harrison.

On Tuesday and Wednesday  at 7 pm, Q2 Music presents the radio complement to author Joel Sachs's landmark Henry Cowell biography, Henry Cowell: A Man Made of Music, published this past June. A Juilliard professor, conductor and pianist, Sachs hosts this two-part series based on this, the first complete Cowell biography and his 24-year-long labor-of-love.

Program Details

Tuesday, September 25 | Part 1: The first part deals with Cowell's biography and experimental music for piano up until the time of his imprisonment in 1936 and his influential 1929 trip to the Soviet Union; musical highlights include his United Quartet, Ostinato Pianissimo, Polyphonica, The Banshee, Sunset and more. 

Wednesday, September 26 | Part 2: The second part spotlights the influence of Cowell's four-year stint in San Quentin prison from 1936-1940 and his passion for non-Western musics; musical highlights include Amiable Conversation (Second Encore to Dynamic Motion) performed by the composer himself, his Symphony No. 13, "Madras," Variations for Orchestra and more.