Musicians in their own words

Series produced by David Schulman

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Image by: David Schulman 

David Schulman's award-winning series of first-person musician portraits

Yo-Yo Ma plucks his cello with a hotel room key ... Cecilia Bartoli remembers her past life as a flamenco dancer ... Cyro Baptista takes us to his percussion garage, scats a samba rhythm, and swings a vacuum-cleaner hose over his head.

Moments of surprise, moments of insight — that's the idea behind Musicians in their own words.

It's the public radio project that brings listeners inside the creative lives of lyric sopranos, bassists, congueros, concert violinists, and more ...

The project, launched with CPB support, has created dozens of pieces for the NPR newsmagazines and other national broadcasters, including APM's The Story, PRI, and Hearing Voices. Many pieces also are designed specifically for station use, and work especially well in a station context when used to preview a local performance.


48 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First

  • Added: Dec 03, 2004
  • Length: 01:45
  • Purchases: 3
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Growing up with Bach, and getting four voices from a fiddle ...

Bought by KVNF, WABE, PRX Remix, The Story, WKMS and more


  • Added: Dec 02, 2004
  • Length: 02:50
  • Purchases: 9
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A bebop matador, a baroque court, a Cuban lullaby ...

Bought by PRX Remix, The Story, KMHD, WAER Syracuse, NY, WYSO and more


  • Added: Dec 07, 2004
  • Length: 04:34
  • Purchases: 7
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Partners in music, and in life, for somewhere around 50 years ...

Bought by PRX Remix, KGLT, and KGLT


  • Added: Jan 17, 2007
  • Length: 07:20
  • Purchases: 3
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Vocalist Allan Harris describes his approach to the compositions of Duke Ellington's closest collaborator, Billy Strayhorn.

Bought by KCSM, PRX Remix, KMHD, WNCW, and KNAU


  • Added: Feb 17, 2004
  • Length: 04:51
  • Purchases: 5
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A dynamic jazz singer demonstrates how she used to imitate Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan -- and why she put imitation behind her as she found h...

Bought by KVNF, PRX Remix, KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio, KMHD, WHQR and more


  • Added: Mar 09, 2004
  • Length: 03:52
  • Purchases: 7
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The young piano phenom describes how he first heard Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto -- was it a beer commercial? -- and describes his interpreta...

Bought by PRX Remix, KMHD, KNAU, and KUT


  • Added: Mar 23, 2004
  • Length: 04:11
  • Purchases: 4
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Have cello, will travel: Yo-Yo Ma describes how he works his way inside the "DNA" of musical styles from all over the world, and finds joy in "the...

Bought by WABE, PRX Remix, KMHD, KNAU, WCVE and more


  • Added: Apr 20, 2004
  • Length: 03:24
  • Purchases: 6
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Yo-Yo Ma describes how a 21st-century hotel key helps him create the right sound for a rustic piece called "Drunken Fisherman."

Bought by PRX Remix, Public Interactive, KMHD, and KNAU


  • Added: Apr 27, 2004
  • Length: 01:45
  • Purchases: 4
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Even without a conga drum handy, a master of Latin Jazz finds a way to demonstrate the essence of the mambo.

Bought by PRX Remix, KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio, KCUR, Public Interactive, KMHD and more


  • Added: Mar 16, 2004
  • Length: 03:16
  • Purchases: 9
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Gillian Welch reconsiders the fate of a fallen American hero: Elvis Presley.

Bought by PRX Remix, The Story, KGLT, KMHD, WNCW and more


  • Added: Mar 29, 2004
  • Length: 02:45
  • Purchases: 6
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A late-career portrait of one of rock-and-roll's legendary creators.

Bought by PRX Remix, KGLT, KGOU, KCUR, and WKMS


  • Added: Jun 02, 2008
  • Length: 07:37
  • Purchases: 5
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One of the world's great operatic singers explores what it means to approach the human voice as an instrument -- like a trumpet or violin.

Bought by KVNF, PRX Remix, The Story, KGLT, Public Interactive and more


  • Added: Jan 26, 2004
  • Length: 04:11
  • Purchases: 10

  • Added: Jun 18, 2009
  • Length: 07:22
  • Purchases: 4
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What do you do to warm up? With Gillian Welch, Lang Lang, Cecilia Bartoli, Albert Kuvezin, Yo-Yo Ma ...

Bought by KFAI Minneapolis, The Story, and PRX Remix


  • Added: Jun 18, 2009
  • Length: 04:30
  • Purchases: 3
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Cyro Baptista in his percussion garage ...

Bought by PRX Remix, KFAI Minneapolis, The Story, and KGLT


  • Added: Feb 04, 2008
  • Length: 07:06
  • Purchases: 4
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The man who wrote some of the best known standards in jazz reflects on a career that included writing "Killer Joe," talking his way into the great ...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Feb 27, 2012
  • Length: 05:46
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Stephane Wrembrel live at the Birchmere, Credit: Jason Goodman
Stephane Wrembel isn't a conventional guitar hero. But his star is rising fast nonetheless. He wrote music for the last two Woody Allen films, incl...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Feb 25, 2012
  • Length: 10:33
  • Purchases: 1
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He's a dobro player, folks. Who said anything about Jimi Hendrix?

Bought by KUFM - Montana Public Radio, PRX Remix, KMHD, WCMU Michigan, WNPR Connecticut and more


  • Added: Oct 20, 2014
  • Length: 04:45
  • Purchases: 9
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Ron Carter is an icon of jazz. He has played his bass on more than 2000 albums. His name, however, is most vividly linked with Miles Davis. Carte...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Mar 16, 2012
  • Length: 07:27
  • Purchases: 1