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Medicine And The Arts; The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble; Remembering Van Cliburn

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Friday, March 01, 2013

Licensed for use only on NEH-funded Annotations blog. Van Cliburn sits at the keyboard during a dinner in his honor at the Lotos Club, October 1, 1958 (© Bettmann/CORBIS) (© Bettmann/CORBIS)

In This Episode: we learn about the concept behind “narrative medicine” with Columbia University’s Dr. Rita Charon and musician Fred Hersch.

Plus: the death of classical pianist, Van Cliburn, made the front-page of The New York Times this week.  We’ll dip into the New York Public Radio archives for a rare recording that might help explain why.  

And: The funk/street beat improv brass band The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble takes our studio by storm.

Six Strikes, You're... Not Out?

The Copy Cat returns! A new so-called "Copyright Alert System" that went into effect this week is keeping close tabs on what you download – and aims to crack down on copyright violators. Kind of. We speak with our copyright expert, attorney Jonathan Reichman, about the new system and its legal implications. 


Telling a Medical Story Through Music -- And Words

In the summer of 2008, Grammy-nominated pianist and composer Fred Hersch spent two months in a medically-induced coma. Not only did he survive, but when he awoke, he remembered having a series of dreams and nightmares. Working with the Grammy-winning director Herschel Garfein, he shaped those memories into a music theater piece called "My Coma Dreams."  It's about one man’s time in a place where the line between life and death is somewhat blurry.

Now, we’re used to the arts having a narrative storyline, but you might be surprised to learn that medicine can be a narrative practice too. Fred Hersch’s piece is being presented in conjunction with Columbia University’s Program in Narrative Medicine. Dr. Rita Charon, executive director of the program, and composer Fred Hersch join us to explain. 


Van Cliburn's Triumphant Carnegie Concert

Earlier this week, classical pianist Van Cliburn died at age 78. In a piece written on the day of his death, Soundcheck host John Schaefer described him this way: 

" classical pianist was a larger-than-life, rock-star figure on at least two continents. He was a pop-music phenomenon, with a debut album that went triple platinum. Everyone knew who he was."

The pianist, who became a household name by winning the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War in 1958. WNYC's classical sister station, WQXR, recorded Van Cliburn's triumphant post-victory concert at Carnegie Hall that year -- we take a listen with WQXR host Jeff Spurgeon

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Have Brass, Will Travel: The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble Marches On Through

The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, a brass-heavy funk/street beat band led by sax player and composer Ken Field, has often stopped by the Soundcheck studio in the past -- either on their way down to or coming back from the big Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. This year, the group is simply on their way to Brooklyn. They play a live performance for us. 


Mouse on Mars

Gig Alert: Mouse On Mars

Electronic music pioneers Mouse on Mars play Santos Party House Friday night. Download the track "Bonuß"