Holocaustic Tones

THE EXPLOITATION OF MUSIC IN NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMPS by Dusty Sklar MUSIC, SUFFERING AND DEATH are not usually linked in our contemplation. It is not widely remembered, for instance, that Nazi concentration camps often resounded with gorgeous sounds, counterpoint to the ghastly sounds of unimaginable grief… Theresienstadt is the exception. By now, we’re well aware of the […]

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June 14: Guitarist with Country Joe and the Fish

Barry “the Fish” Melton, guitarist and co-founder of Country Joe and the Fish and a lifelong progressive activist, was born to a Jewish mother and non-Jewish father (a merchant seaman who shipped out once with Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston) in Brooklyn on this date in 1947. The band was the most politically radical of […]

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March 5: Ralph Bass and Black Music

Ralph Bass, a record producer and talent scout who brought Etta James, Lena Horne, Sam Cooke, James Brown, Brownie McGhee, John Lee Hooker, and The Platters into the recording studio (among many others), died at 86 on this date in 1997. Bass, who had a Jewish mother and an Italian Catholic father, traveled in the […]

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October 3: Guitarist with the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Guitarist and vocalist Josh Adam Klinghoffer, who in 2012 became the youngest person ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, was born in Los Angeles on this date in 1979. Klinghoffer is a multi-instrumentalist who also leads the alternative rock band Dot Hacker, […]

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September 13: Schoenberg’s Twelve Tones

Composer Arnold Schoenberg, whose use of atonality and the 12-tone manipulation of the chromatic scale became major influences in modern music, was born in Vienna on this date in 1874. He was largely self-taught. Schoenberg converted to Lutheran Christianity in 1898 (his mentor Gustav Mahler had become a Catholic the year before), but returned to […]

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March 29: Rosina Lhévinne at Juilliard

Rosina Lhévinne, a piano teacher at Juilliard whose students include Van Cliburn, James Levine, John Williams, Misha Dichter, and numerous other internationally known musicians, was born in Kiev on this date in 1880. She came from a Dutch family that had emigrated to the Russian Empire, and she began studying piano at age 6. Within […]

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February 21: David Geffen

One of the most influential record producers of the past four decades and cofounder of the film studio DreamWorks SKG, David Geffen was born in Borough Park, Brooklyn on this date in 1943, to shopkeeping parents. A dyslexic college dropout (twice), Geffen lied his way into the William Morris Agency and then became personal manager […]

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