Elliott Forrest: Hi, I'm Elliott Forrest and you're listening to The Young Artist Showcase, which is generously underwritten by the Harold W McGraw Jr. Family Foundation. Tonight we begin our farewell series, celebrating the legacy of the Showcase's founding host, Bob Sherman. In this first installment, we're presenting highlights from Bob Sherman's 90th birthday concert and the Jerome L. Green Performance Space last June.
You'll hear performances by pianist Charlie Albright. The Emerson String Quartet, Joshua Bell and more, as well as reminiscences about Bob and his almost 70 year career with WQXR. We'll start with the trip down memory lane. Since 1970, in addition to his show, The Young Artists Showcase, Bob also hosted a program called The Listening Room, which was a round table discussion with musicians, composers.
And other assorted guests. We'll turn now to the performance in the green space, which started with this little piece of archival tape.
Emanuel Ax: Hello, this is Emanuel Ax and I am guest host today, and I have the privilege of doing something I've wanted to do for a very long time. I am interviewing today a pianist, clarinetist narrator, author, host of several popular shows, tour guide, and last but certainly not least, a passionate advocate of the suspension of alternate side of the street parking.
Bob Sherman: How do you know that?
Emanuel Ax: In short, I have the privilege of interviewing Bob Sherman.
Bob Sherman: Well, Manny, you have been propagandizing for this opportunity for a long while.
Emanuel Ax: May I say, first of all, welcome to The Listening Room.
Bob Sherman: Well, thank you. Thank you. I feel very, we're taping this and I'm looking the wrong way. I can't see our engineer...
Hello everybody. I'm Bob Sherman.
And if you find yourself in a time warp, maybe that's where you really ought to be. We're here to revive The Listening Room for a day, maybe a few hours actually with many of the same artists who graced the show in days of old. And very first, there was Manny Ax and uh, he recorded that clip 35 years ago.
And he's still as young as ever. Later on you're gonna hear him play because we put him to work twice. But, uh, that's at least the, um, scenario we have for you. Now, we will start off the show with two refugees from the Young Artist Showcase program I've been doing for 44 years now. I met Charlie Albright and Chee-Yun when they were both 16. Charlie when he won the New York Piano Competition, Chee-Yun when she stepped in as a last minute replacement. What are you going to play for us?
Charlie Albright: I'm gonna play something that might not ever have been played on this stage before, and that is, uh, one of my favorite encore pieces of all time.
Bob Sherman: So we're gonna start with an encore.
Charlie Albright: Exactly.
Bob Sherman: Very good. Okay.
Charlie Albright: This is a piece that I think I learned for the first time when I was about four, and I learned it by ear. And a few years ago I started putting it after, you know, very proper concerto appearances. And this is, uh, Jerry Lee Lewis's Great Balls of Fire.
Bob Sherman: Wow. All right, if you will.
MUSIC - Lewis: Great Balls of Fire
Elliott Forrest: A Rockus way to get us started on this special concert honoring Bob Sherman. That was Charlie Albright playing Jerry Lee Lewis's classic hit Great Balls of Fire. Up next, another artist who performed regularly on Bob's Young Artist Showcase. Let's hear violinist Chee-Yun play the Recitativo and Scherzo from Fritz Kreisler recorded live in the Greene Space.
MUSIC - Kreisler: Recitativo and Scherzo, Op. 6
Itzhak Perlman: Hi Bob. This is Itzhak Perlman. Happy birthday dear Bob. Happy birthday to you. I just auditioned for The Listening Room.
Carol Wincenc: Robert Sherman. And it's Carol Wincenc. And I want to thank you for more than 45 years together collaborating. You've always supported young musicians and musicians of all ages.
Marilyn Horne: Hello dear Bobby, old friend. This is your old pal, and I do mean old. I'm still a little bit behind you, but I'm catching up, Marilyn Horne, better known as Jackie, I think to you, and I wanted to wish you a very happy birthday. I've still got a few notes in me, so I'm gonna try to sing it to you. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday dear Bobby. Happy birthday to you. Sending all my love. Bye-bye.
Bob Sherman: Boy, that is, that is really something. Have Marilyn Horne sing to me. Wow. Now our first speaking guest is our multiple prize-winning composer, John Corigliano. Before he started composing, he did various odd jobs in WQXR's music department. So welcome back John.
What do you remember about the old days?
John Corigliano: Oh, it was fabulous. We actually started working almost at the same time. Um, I started in the summer of 1959 because I just graduated from college, so I know that date.
Bob Sherman: Well, I'm a little older than you, so I started in 56.
John Corigliano: Ah.
Bob Sherman: So I'm a little ahead of you.
John Corigliano: Well, we had a wonderful time there. I remember you and Marty Bookspan, our music director and lots of wonderful people who wrote copy and programmed music and we had a great time there. Um, Bob, I remember you working so hard on Woody's Children and your wonderful folk music shows.
Bob Sherman: Well, I did that, but I also watched you draw all kinds of scatological pictures on the
John Corigliano: That's true. That's true. What happened was, no, no. What happened really is that we often had LPs, there were only LPs in those days, LPs that came in, jackets that couldn't be filed easily, and so we put a white jacket in, and you had to then write what the piece was on it, on the jacket. It was just plain white. And I took magic markers and did a little inventing of my own, uh, and drew characters, uh, that were listed in the, um, in the LP and comments, and I think they're still somewhere up in, up in QXR here.
Bob Sherman: There might be some that are still left.
John Corigliano: They're very valuable, you know?
Bob Sherman: Yeah. Well, John, we thank you for sharing these memories and, uh, coming to help mark my birthday.
John Corigliano: I'm crazy about that, marking your 90th birthday. It's, it's, I can't even believe it.
Bob Sherman: Well, you only have six years to go.
John Corigliano: That's true. You're right. You're right. You're absolutely right.
Bob Sherman: Anyway, thanks very much indeed.
John Corigliano: Pleasure.
Bob Sherman: Thank you.
Elliott Forrest: Up next, we have an alum of both the Young Artists Showcase and Listening Room, as well as one of the first Avery Fisher Career Grant recipients, violinist Ani Kavafian.
Bob Sherman: Come up here. Um, Ani is playing a piece from her own heritage and, uh, Ani I think you'd better pronounce it for me.
Ani Kavafian: Of course. Um, the composer is Gomidas and the piece is named Gourung. Gourung means the crane in Armenian. And it's about, this piece is about the Armenians fleeing from their homeland. It's kind of a downer, isn't it? I'm sorry. But it is, it's a lovely piece. And he was a composer that, uh, did a lot of vocal works, and this has words, but I'm not going to sing it.
Bob Sherman: You're not gonna sing and play at the same time. Alright, we'll just, we'll settle for your playing, yes?
Ani Kavafian: Thank you.
Bob Sherman: Alright
MUSIC - Gomidas: Gourung
Elliott Forrest: A piece by Armenian composer Gomidas called Gourung, played by violinist Ani Kavafian. You are listening to highlights from Bob Sherman's 90th birthday concert on the Young Artist Showcase. It's time for a quick break now, then we'll be back with performances by the Emerson String Quartet, Emmanuel Ax and Joshua Bell.
Welcome back. We're listening to highlights from Bob Sherman's 90th birthday concert from The Greene Space last June. Up next, a bit of conversation with Terry McGraw, whose family business, McGraw Hill, has supported Bob's program, the Young Artist's Showcase for many years. They are also joined by Young Concert Artist Guild founder Susan Wadsworth.
Bob Sherman: So Susan, why don't you tell us when you got started in this business?
Susan Wadsworth: I was just attracted to talent when I heard it, and it just seemed like the most wonderful thing to do to bring them forth to the public. And everybody that won the Young Concert Artist auditions was invited by you to come on your program, and you always greeted them with such enthusiasm and you asked about them and what they were all about and found out all kinds of good things and then had them play.
So you were very special in everybody's life, and of course in mine.
Bob Sherman: Wow. Thank you. Thank you, Susan. And Terry McGraw, you have been vital to me because you have continued the tradition that Susan began and started, the Young Artist Showcase.
Terry McGraw: Well, you did that and good evening, Bob, and it's so great to be with you and what a wonderful night to be able to celebrate you, Bob. We go way back. We did so many of the shows together, but I remember it was my father. When he was chairman and CEO of McGraw Hill, we were talking about parts of the business, the education business at the time, and, and he was looking for deficiencies where we weren't doing something and he came up with music education and I said, well pop, you don't play any instruments and, and I don't either.
And he found a guy by the name of Bob Sherman who was teaching a class at Juilliard for all these wonderful young people that traveled to the United States for a first time. Some didn't even speak the language. And uh, you are teaching a class on how to live. Not just how to play, but it was a, a wonderful beginning.
And the relationship between you and my father was such a strong one. And then I injected myself into it. And we would have so much fun sitting up on the stage at Juilliard, getting on each other, having fun, and you know, all of this. And Bob would have to be the sort of referee, you know, we really got a show, we gotta do this.
And so Bob was, uh, phenomenal that way. And then I did it with, uh, Bob and you know, you can't even begin to express, you know, all the marvelous young people. That, you know, performed and that were under the wing of Bob. And that was really exciting. So after uh, my father passed, we started, my brother, uh, and sister, uh, we started the Harold w McGraw Jr.
Family Foundation. And we came right to Bob and said, what are we gonna do? What are the programs? Let's do it.
Bob Sherman: And we found many, many programs along the way.
Terry McGraw: We did, and we still are. Even though we don't play instruments and stuff like that, you know, signing checks for Bob Sherman and the Young Artist Showcase is a pretty darn good thing.
Bob Sherman: Thank you, Terry and Susan, we appreciate your years, and years, and years of bringing forth these wonderful young artists. So many thanks to both of you.
Susan Wadsworth: Thank you.
Terry McGraw: Happy birthday.
Bob Sherman: Thank you.
Susan Wadsworth: Happy birthday.
Bob Sherman: We now welcome the Emerson String Quartet and Manny Ax.
MUSIC - Dvorak: Piano Quintet Op. 81, II. Dumka (Andante con moto)
Bob Sherman: And for those of you that didn't recognize it, that was the Dvorak Dumka trio. No, Dumka quintet. I knew I'd get there eventually. All right. Uh, Emanuel Ax and Joshua Bell, and they have never performed together before, but this is a special night and so they have decided to play together. And what are they gonna play?
Beethoven's Spring Sonata. So Manny and Josh.
MUSIC - Beethoven: Spring Sonata
Bob Sherman: Pianist, Emanuel Ax and violinist Joshua Bell, playing together for the very first time. That was Beethoven's Spring Sonata. You've just heard the first half of Bob Sherman's 90th birthday concert recorded in the Greene Space last June. Next week we return with the second half featuring more performances by Emanuel Ax, Chee-Yun Kim, Ani Kavafian, and more.
Our WQXR program producers are Eileen Delahunty, Max Fine, and Laura Boyman. Special thanks to the Greene Space team and as always, the Harold W McGraw Jr. Family Foundation for their generous support. I'm Elliott Forrest. Goodnight.
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