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Conversing with Rzewski

This week’s episode of the ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award winning program Between the Keys offers a unique and previously unpublished 50-minute interview with the late composer/pianist Frederic Rzewski, who would have turned 85 this past April 13th.

“Frederic and I were friends for decades,” says Between the Keys’ creator, producer and host Jed Distler, who is the Classical Network’s artist-in-residence. “He often stayed with us at our New York apartment when he was in town.”

Back in 2016 Rzewski agreed to be interviewed for the Between the Keys, but he wanted something less formal, more casual than usual. “So we sat at my kitchen table, and we basically shot the breeze for 50 minutes, although our talk did have some sense of direction,” Jed recalls.

“Frederic also didn’t want to talk into my professional microphones, so I had to settle for my hidden computer mike. At the time I didn’t think the sound was good enough for broadcasting. However, some time later I managed to clean up the audio a little.”

Listeners will experience many sides of Frederic’s personality at close hand: the provocateur, the raconteur, the curmudgeon, the insightful musician and the irreplaceable friend. “What began as an off-the-cuff conversation is now a precious document,” says Jed.

This previously unheard conversation, broadcast here for the very first time, ties in with the Kaufman Music Center’s three-concert marathon The Pianists United: Rzewski in New York, taking place at Merkin Concert Hall this Saturday May 6th.

Tune in to Conversations with Rzewski, this Tuesday night at 10, with a rebroadcast Wednesday at noon, exclusively on The Classical Network and WWFM.org

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Jed Distler is Artist-in-Residence for The Classical Network and program host of Between the Keys, Tuesdays at 10 pm.