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
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One of the world's elite concert violinists talks about improvising with Hauschka, who plays a piano doctored with duct tape and ping-pong balls. ...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Jul 31, 2012
  • Length: 11:07
  • Purchases: 1
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Original riot grrrl Kathleen Hanna remembers the DIY feminist punk scene she catalyzed in 1992 with Bikini Kill. (The band's first EP was re-releas...

Bought by KVNF, KFAI Minneapolis, WABE, KFAI Minneapolis, New Hampshire Public Radio and more


  • Added: Nov 19, 2012
  • Length: 04:40
  • Purchases: 6
Caption: Mysterious detail from the funk-cloning electron microgramatoscope, Credit: Dr. Schulmanstein
If James Brown was the Godfather of Soul, George Clinton remains the undisputed Crown Prince of Funk. Parliament-Funkadelic. Flashlight. The Mothe...

  • Added: Mar 16, 2015
  • Length: 04:59
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The harpist talks about how he takes an instrument beloved of Colombian cowboys, and forged a place for it in American jazz.

Bought by WABE and PRX Remix


  • Added: Oct 17, 2014
  • Length: 04:53
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Olivia Block gathering audio in Chicago
The work of composer and sound artist Olivia Block has been described as "distinctive and individual" by The New York Times. She is happy enough wr...

Bought by WUNC and PRX Remix


  • Added: Feb 01, 2016
  • Length: 04:20
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Olivia Block records a sound sculpture by Harry Bertoia in Chicago.
Olivia Block's compositions have been praised by the likes of The New York Times. But she really loves sounds that don’t often count as music — the...

Bought by PRX Remix and WUNC


  • Added: Feb 02, 2016
  • Length: 05:17
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Preyas Roy performs at the corner of Michigan and Randolph, in downtown Chicago
Preyas Roy has performed in famous venues like the Jazz Showcase. But he makes his living on a downtown Chicago street corner — despite the unwield...

  • Added: Aug 15, 2016
  • Length: 02:56
Caption: Chris Foreman at the Hammond B3
Chris Foreman plays Sundays in Church. And every Friday night, he's at Chicago's legendary Green Mill — playing the funky Hammond B3 organ in a nig...

  • Added: Jul 06, 2016
  • Length: 04:21