Lotte Lenya Tells her Story

NEW YORK POST: Have you ever been where thousands of people begged replenishment from one person and poured down love on that person in return? That happened Friday night with Lotte Lenya. She is a woman who happens to have been born with the map of life in her face and voice. She has lost nothing, except a little breath. She stands there, head back, hands on hips, the joyous scar of a mouth slightly grinning in recognition of a disordered world.

A radio documentary for ConcertZender Netherlands


Episode 1: premières October 12

Episode 2: premières October 19

  • commissioned by the Kurt Weill Foundation;
  • produced by Guy Livingston;
  • sound design by Erik Hense.

THE TIMES: With no effort at all she kept the audience, the musicians on stage and everyone in the palm of her hand. Her hair was died bright orange, she was slim, she had a million gestures, all apt, and she sang in a low, worldly-wise voice steeped in knowing artistry.

This is an announcement page for the Dutch/Belgian broadcast on CZ radio. US broadcasts are currently being scheduled, and iTunes podcasts will follow (date TBA). If your station would like to schedule a broadcast, please contact Guy Livingston.

Lotte Lenya, in Her Own Words

This two-part series is a historical radio documentary on Lotte Lenya, inspired by the book “Lenya the Legend.” The series will consist of two broadcasts of 55 minutes each, mostly told in Lenya’s own voice. Pianist Guy Livingston is the host, weaving Lenya’s stories and music together and providing historical context: the worlds of 1920’s Berlin and 1950’s New York, the parallel lives of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, the complexities of her four marriages, Lenya’s groundbreaking work as an artist.

This is the first ever radio documentary on Lenya’s life, and makes use of stunning audio material that has not been heard in decades; indeed some has never been broadcast.

The documentary is produced by an award-winning team of Dutch/American radio producers. Past work for ABC (Australia), WFMT Radio Network, and RTé Lyric FM has focussed on musicians and composers, from medieval chant to Ballet mécanique.

Three unique interviews with Lenya have recently been digitized: with Alan Rich, Dick Cavett, and Studs Terkel. At her very best in these three sessions, Lenya speaks with eloquence, irony, and laughter. Thanks to improved technologies, the audio quality is good, and all her personality comes through in these recordings.

Historically this is a rich and compelling project, as we have access to restored recordings of her singing spanning her entire career, from pre-war Berlin up to her last major show, Cabaret, on Broadway. Further context is provided by interviews with scholars and artists who knew her.

The series is narrated by Guy Livingston, who brings an easy fireside-chat type of voice to his stories of music and musicians.

(five-minute teaser)


  • Kim Kowalke
  • Pamela Katz
  • Sona MacDonald
  • Justin Hopkins
  • plus the voices of Lotte Lenya, Alan Rich, Dick Cavett, Louis Armstrong, and Studs Terkel.

This broadcast was funded in part by the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc, New York, New York. Special thanks to the Library of Congress, the Studs Terkel Radio Archive, the WFMT Radio Network, Pamela Katz, Kim Kowalke, Sona MacDonald, Justin Hopkins, Tony Macaluso, Brady Sansone, Elizabeth Blaufox, and David Stein.

Sound design by Erik Hense. Editing support by Aletta Becker. Produced and narrated by Guy Livingston for ConcertZender Radio Netherlands.

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