American Masters http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters A series examining the lives, works, and creative processes of outstanding artists. Thu, 05 Mar 2015 22:02:26 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.4 en hourly 1 Jascha Heifetz: About the Film – Jascha Heifetz: God’s Fiddler http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/jascha-heifetz/about-the-film-jascha-heifetz-god%e2%80%99s-fiddler/3740/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/jascha-heifetz/about-the-film-jascha-heifetz-god%e2%80%99s-fiddler/3740/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 19:16:31 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/?p=3740 J-HEIFETZ_end-frameThe one-hour documentary American Masters — Jascha Heifetz: God’s Fiddler premieres nationwide Thursday, April 16 at 8 p.m. and Friday, April 17 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). Major market premieres include Thursday, April 16 at 10:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN in New York and Friday, April 17 at 9 p.m. on PBS SoCal in Los Angeles, on WGBH in Boston and on Houston Public Media.

Emmy-winning filmmaker Peter Rosen’s profile of the violin virtuoso features Heifetz’ previously unseen home movies, Itzhak Perlman, Ivry Gitlis, Ida Haendel and Ayke Agus.

Emmy- and Peabody-winning filmmaker Peter Rosen (American Masters — Garrison Keillor: The Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes, The Cliburn: Playing on the Edge) uncovers the story of legendary musician Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987), the first truly modern violin virtuoso, for THIRTEEN’s American Masters series.

Jascha Heifetz.

Jascha Heifetz

Setting the standard in violin playing for nearly a century, Heifetz’ name became shorthand for excellence for everyone from Jack Benny to The Muppets to Woody Allen. Through vintage performances and master classes, God’s Fiddler portrays an artist for whom only perfection would do. New interviews include other great violinists influenced by Heifetz, including Itzhak Perlman, Ivry Gitlis and Ida Haendel, former student, accompanist and longtime companion Ayke Agus, former student and master assistant in charge of his world-renowned violin class at the University of Southern California Sherry Kloss, and biographers John Anthony Maltese and Arthur Vered. They reveal how Heifetz was a mysterious, idiosyncratic, solitary figure who embodied the paradox of artistic genius: a dedication to his craft at all costs, including two failed marriages, estrangement from his children and very few friends. Characterized as serious and intense while performing and teaching, his students describe him as generous and playful when socializing.

Filmed in Heifetz’ native Vilnius, Lithuania; Saint Petersburg, Russia, where he studied with the influential Leopold Auer; and in his rebuilt studio in Los Angeles, Calif., American Masters — Jascha Heifetz: God’s Fiddler also features Heifetz’ previously unseen 16mm footage from 1917-1985, which Rosen discovered at the Colburn Music School in Los Angeles. A self-professed “camera fiend,” Heifetz’ home movies show scenes from his apartment in Saint Petersburg just months before the Russian Revolution, his immigration to America, his early social life in New York City, his family life, his travels through Europe, the Middle East and Japan, and his later years in Los Angeles. Tony-nominated actor Danny Burstein (Boardwalk Empire, Cabaret, Follies) narrates, reading from Heifetz’ personal letters.

“I’ve made previous documentaries about great figures in the arts, and there’s always a debate on who was the greatest conductor, who was the greatest pianist, who was the greatest tenor or soprano. But in making this film, I found no debate in music circles on who was the greatest violinist: Jascha Heifetz,” says Rosen.

“Heifetz is thrilling to watch, even if you rarely listen to classical music,” says Michael Kantor, executive producer of American Masters. “His technique was just astounding and he was revered around the world. What makes Peter Rosen’s film so compelling is the way that it takes a deeply personal look at the struggle of an artist to realize greatness.”

Launched in 1986 by series creator Susan Lacy, American Masters has earned 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series since 1999 and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 12 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards and many other honors. Now in its 29th season on PBS, the series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET.

American Masters — Jascha Heifetz: God’s Fiddler is a production of Peter Rosen Productions, Inc. Peter Rosen is producer and director. Sara Lukinson is co-producer. Josh Waletzky and Peter Rosen are editors. Peter Rosen is photographer. Barry Markowitz is photographer of The Heifetz Studio at The Colburn School. Michael Kantor is executive producer for American Masters.

Major funding for Jascha Heifetz: God’s Fiddler is provided by the Colburn School. Additional funding for this program is provided by The National Endowment for the Arts, and Kitty Hawks and Larry Lederman. American Masters is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Rhoda Herrick, Vital Projects Fund, Michael & Helen Schaffer Foundation, Rolf and Elizabeth Rosenthal, Jack Rudin, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation and public television viewers.

About WNET
As New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore App where users can stream PBS content for free.

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Quincy Jones: Trumpeter Clark Terry Performs: An In Memoriam Tribute http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/quincy-jones/trumpeter-clark-terry-performs-an-in-memoriam-tribute/3738/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/quincy-jones/trumpeter-clark-terry-performs-an-in-memoriam-tribute/3738/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 16:52:07 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/?p=3738 View full post to see video)

Celebrated jazz musician Clark Terry (Dec. 14, 1920 – Feb. 21, 2015 ) played trumpet and flugelhorn in a career that spanned more than seven decades and included performing with Count Basie and Duke Ellington in the late 1940s and 1950s, and with Quincy Jones. His many awards include a Jazz Master Award from the NEA (1991), 16 honorary doctorates and Trumpeter of the Year (2005) from the Jazz Journalist Association. Terry was filmed in interviews and performance for American Masters – Quincy Jones: In the Pocket (2001), written, directed and produced by Michael Kantor. This outtake from the film shows Terry in performance.

Kantor remembers, “Clark Terry was a giant. He played for the greatest bandleaders of all time, including Count Basie and Duke Ellington, and literally taught Quincy Jones how to play trumpet. Throughout his life he was a mentor to so many young talents. In fact, there is a recent documentary about Terry’s gift for inspiration, Keep on Keepin’ On. He was a pleasure to interview, generous with his time and talent.”

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Quincy Jones: Interviews with Terry Clark: Trumpeter, Composer, Mentor. In Memoriam. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/quincy-jones/interviews-with-terry-clark-trumpeter-composer-mentor-in-memoriam/3735/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/quincy-jones/interviews-with-terry-clark-trumpeter-composer-mentor-in-memoriam/3735/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 15:23:30 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/?p=3735 The career of celebrated jazz trumpeter Clark Terry (Dec. 14, 1920 – Feb. 21, 2015 ) spanned more than seven decades and included performing with Count Basie and Duke Ellington in the late 1940s and 1950s, and with Quincy Jones. His many awards include a Jazz Master Award from the NEA (1991), 16 honorary doctorates and Trumpeter of the Year (2005) from the Jazz Journalist Association. Terry served as an informal teacher and mentor to both Miles Davis and Jones and was interviewed for American Masters – Quincy Jones: In the Pocket (2001), written, directed and produced by Michael Kantor.

Kantor remembers, “Clark Terry was a giant. He played for the greatest bandleaders of all time, including Count Basie and Duke Ellington, and literally taught Quincy Jones how to play trumpet. Throughout his life he was a mentor to so many young talents. In fact, there is a recent documentary about Terry’s gift for inspiration, Keep on Keepin’ On. He was a pleasure to interview, generous with his time and talent.”

Count Basie’s Space and Time

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Clark Terry illustrates Count Basie’s utilization of space and time in music with stories of how Basie socialized at the Cherry Blossom Club in Kansas City, and of Basie’s change to the tempo of trumpeter/composer Neal Hefti’s classic, “Li’l Darlin’.”

Touring the South with All-Black Band

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Clark Terry describes an era when touring the South with an all-black big band was a “chore.” It was difficult to find a place to eat or lodge and price gouging was common, he says.

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Sun Records: Director Bruce Sinofsky: An In Memoriam Tribute http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/sun-records/director-bruce-sinofsky-an-in-memoriam-tribute/3734/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/sun-records/director-bruce-sinofsky-an-in-memoriam-tribute/3734/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:23:21 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/?p=3734 (View full post to see video)
Bruce Sinofsky (1956 – 2015) wrote, directed and produced the two-hour American Masters documentary Good Rockin’ Tonight: The Legacy Of Sun Records (2001).

In this filmmaker interview, he says his reason for making the film was to pay tribute to the musicians who formed the foundation of Sun Records and rock and roll. They may not have been famous, but they supported stars like Elvis and Johnny Cash. Sinofsky died from complications related to diabetes on February 21, 2015.

American Masters Executive Producer Kantor recalls, “The documentary film community is reeling from the loss of Bruce Sinofsky. I can’t think of a filmmaker who doesn’t admire his work. Brothers’ Keeper was not a film for American Masters — it was, however, a film for the ages. If you haven’t seen it, get ahold of it now — it’s definitely in the top 10 of great American documentary films.”

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August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand: Full Film http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/august-wilson-the-ground-on-which-i-stand/full-film/3727/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/august-wilson-the-ground-on-which-i-stand/full-film/3727/#comments Sat, 21 Feb 2015 13:52:58 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/?p=3727 (View full post to see video)
American Masters — August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand premiered Friday, February 20 at 9 p.m. on PBS to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Wilson’s birth, the 10th anniversary of his death and Black History Month. This first documentary about the Tony- and Pulitzer-winning playwright August Wilson (1945 – 2005) includes new interviews with film and stage luminaries and his family, scenes from his award-winning plays, and more.

Learn more about the making of the film on our film preview page and access additional information, web-exclusive videos and educational resources via the index on the right side of this page.

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August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand: Costume Design for August Wilson’s Plays http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/august-wilson-the-ground-on-which-i-stand/costume-design-for-august-wilsons-plays/3729/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/august-wilson-the-ground-on-which-i-stand/costume-design-for-august-wilsons-plays/3729/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 21:36:43 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/?p=3729 View full post to see video)

Constanza Romero created costume designs for August Wilson’s plays and the two artists married each other in 1994. Romero describes the decisions she made while creating looks for August Wilson’s characters in Seven Guitars, Gem of the Ocean and other plays. This is a film outtake from August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand.

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August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand: August Wilson on Beginning with Dialogue http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/august-wilson-the-ground-on-which-i-stand/august-wilson-on-beginning-with-dialogue/3726/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/episodes/august-wilson-the-ground-on-which-i-stand/august-wilson-on-beginning-with-dialogue/3726/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 21:15:42 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/?p=3726 (View full post to see video)
Playwright August Wilson (1945 – 2005) describes how his creative process begins with dialogue that guides his development of characters and plot. This film excerpt from August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand includes a dramatic reading by Frankie Faison (The Wire) of the opening lines of Two Trains Running, which premiered on Broadway in 1992.

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