Keys of Change: Frederic Rzewski

Frederic Rzewski is a great composer, with an unforgivable personality. He’s one of the most difficult people I’ve ever interviewed…arrogant, complex, & irascible. Yet we can be compelled by his insights (or at least some of them). His genius comes through, despite his personality and uncooperative grumpiness.

In this episode of American Highways, we hear the latest of the Keys of Change series – broadcasts about composers whose lives are charged with activism. The music is from Rzewski’s “People United” magnum opus, and is stunningly performed by my former student, Kai Schumacher.

(By the way, you too can pronounce “chef-ski”.)

AMERICAN HIGHWAYS #113 KEYS of CHANGE: Composer Frederic Rzewski

Frederic Rzewski, composer

Frederic Rzewski / Dimitris Mitropoulos Hall – Megaron, The Athens Concert Hall


Theme Music:
Sounds About Right
Jingle for ConcertZender
Composed for CZ

Theme by Sergio Ortega, variations composed by Frederic Rzewski
Variations on “El Pueblo Unido jamas sera vencido!”
Kai Schumacher, pianist
WERGO 6730-2



Political theorist and marxist Herbert Marcuse

Activist Angela Davis

Rzewski’s mentor at Harvard, Jacob Taubes

WBAI in New York, a branch of Pacifica Radio

Lake Padden Park of Bellingham, Washington



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