Founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, a human-rights organization in Montgomery, he embodies the radical power of hope, of working for social change, even when there is no evidence that you will succeed: “Hope is kind of an orientation of the spirit; it’s how you position yourself in places where there’s a lot of despair.”
H. T. Burleigh, Scott Joplin, and Hazel Scott were brilliantly accomplished, enormously successful, and shamefully overlooked, asserts this pianist, the host of NPR’s Amplify with Lara Downes. She deftly reconciles this paradox; you’ll stain the page with your tears. Or would if you were reading this on paper.
In his 91 years (admittedly, some spent a baby), he’s worked with Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes. He scored The Manchurian Candidate, was composer in residence for the New York Philharmonic, and made an omelet for Charlie Parker. Another in our series “On Collaboration,” presented with violist Ralph Farris of the quartet Ethel.
Does learning more about music increase a listener’s pleasure? This esteemed violinist is wary of any barriers to an audience. “We can all be touched by music. Music is something that belongs to all of us.” Sure. But I’m not proposing an admission’s test at Carnegie Hall, just asserting that knowledge is rewarded with joy. But …