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S5 Ep9
John Cage: I have Nothing to Say and I'm Saying It
John Cage in June 1988
In 1952, David Tudor sat down in front of a piano for four minutes and thirty-three seconds and did nothing. The piece 4’33” written by John Cage, is possibly the most famous and important piece in twentieth century avant-garde. 4’33” was a distillation of years of working with found sound, noise, and alternative instruments.
Premiered: 9/17/1990
S21 Ep5
John James Audubon: Drawn From Nature
John James Audubon is best known for The Birds of America, a book of 435 images, portraits of every bird then known in the United States – painted and reproduced in the size of life. Its creation cost Audubon eighteen years of monumental effort in finding the birds, making the book, and selling it to subscribers. Audubon also wrote thousands of pages about birds (Ornithological Biography).
Premiered: 7/25/2007
S18 Ep7
Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues
More than fifty years after his death, Hank Williams ranks among the most powerfully iconic figures in American music. Iconic to the point that man and myth are inextricably entwined. He set the agenda for contemporary country songcraft and sang his songs with such believability that we feel privy to his world, despite the fact that he left no in-depth interviews and just a few letters.
Premiered: 6/23/2004
S13 Ep1
Leonard Bernstein: Reaching for the Note
A presence on Broadway, in Hollywood, at Carnegie Hall and the New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein was a major force in twentieth century music. His exuberant and dramatic style caught the heart of America, bringing classical music to thousands of people from diverse backgrounds. More than any American conductor before him, Bernstein expanded the audience of classical music.
Premiered: 10/28/1998
S6 Ep2
For the past fifty years, the Old Labor Stage on 44th street in New York City has been home to some of the most inventive acting, directing, and playwrighting in the country. Its members have included such greats as Marlon Brando, Robert de Niro, Norman Mailer, Eli Wallach, Sidney Poitier, Edward Albee, Marilyn Monroe, and James Dean.
Premiered: 7/8/1991
S20 Ep8
Annie Leibovitz: Life Through a Lens
Annie Leibovitz
Born in 1949 in Waterbury, Connecticut, Annie Leibovitz enrolled in the San Francisco Art Institute intent on studying painting. It was not until she traveled to Japan with her mother the summer after her sophomore year that she discovered her interest in taking photographs. When she returned to San Francisco that fall, she began taking night classes in photography.
Premiered: 1/3/2007
S20 Ep6
In 1956 Warhol traveled around the world for several weeks, visiting many countries in Asia and Europe. In the late 1950s he began to devote more energy to painting. He made his first Pop paintings, based on comics and ads, in 1961, and then a series of Campbell’s Soup Cans in 1962. These created a sensation in the art world and launched Warhol as a celebrity.
Premiered: 9/20/2006
S3 Ep5
Diego Rivera: Rivera In America
Considered the greatest Mexican painter of the twentieth century, Diego Rivera had a profound effect on the international art world. Among his many contributions, Rivera is credited with the reintroduction of fresco painting into modern art and architecture. His radical political views and tempestuous romance with the painter Frieda Kahlo were then, and remain today, a source of public intrigue.
Premiered: 8/29/1988
S1 Ep7
Billie Holiday: The Long Night of Lady Day
Billie Holiday
Considered by many to be the greatest jazz vocalist of all time, Billie Holiday lived a tempestuous and difficult life. Her singing expressed an incredible depth of emotion that spoke of hard times and injustice as well as triumph. Though her career was relatively short and often erratic, she left behind a body of work as great as any vocalist before or since.
Premiered: 8/4/1986
S15 Ep6
Alfred Stieglitz
Stieglitz witnessed New York transform from a sleeping giant of cobblestone streets and horse-drawn trolleys to a vibrant symbol of the modern metropolis, with soaring skyscrapers becoming visible emblems of a new age. Alfred Stieglitz’s seminal role as artist and art impresario at a time when American culture was redefining its fundamental ways of seeing, thinking and experiencing the world.
Premiered: 4/16/2001
S6 Ep3
Albert Einstein: How I see the World
His theories on the nature of time and space profoundly affected the human conception of the physical world and set the foundations for many of the scientific advances of the twentieth century. As a thinker on the human condition, politics, and all issues of the day, he was as well-respected as anyone in his time.
Premiered: 7/22/1991
S3 Ep2
Considered one of the greatest jazz composers of all time, Duke Ellington had an enormous impact on the popular music of the late 20th century. Among his more than two thousand songs are such hits as “In A Sentimental Mood,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good,” and “I’m Beginning To See The Light.”
Premiered: 7/18/1988
S1 Ep4
The Unknown Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin was one of the greatest and widely loved silent movie stars. From “Easy Street” (1917) to “Modern Times” (1936), he made many of the funniest and most popular films of his time. He was best known for his character, the naive and lovable Little Tramp.
Premiered: 7/14/1986
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