Jeff Lunden

Jeff Lunden is a freelance arts reporter and producer whose stories have been heard on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition, as well as on other public radio programs.

Lunden contributed several segments to the Peabody Award-winning series The NPR 100, and was producer of the NPR Music series Discoveries at Walt Disney Concert Hall, hosted by Renee Montagne. He has produced more than a dozen documentaries on musical theater and Tin Pan Alley for NPR — most recently A Place for Us: Fifty Years of West Side Story.

Other documentaries have profiled George and Ira Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Lorenz Hart, Harold Arlen and Jule Styne. Lunden has won several awards, including the Gold Medal from the New York Festival International Radio Broadcasting Awards and a CPB Award.

Lunden is also a theater composer. He wrote the score for the musical adaptation of Arthur Kopit's Wings (book and lyrics by Arthur Perlman), which won the 1994 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical. Other works include Another Midsummer Night, Once on a Summer's Day and adaptations of The Little Prince and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for Theatreworks/USA.

Lunden is currently working with Perlman on an adaptation of Swift as Desire, a novel of magic realism from Like Water for Chocolate author Laura Esquivel. He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

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3:40am

Fri February 1, 2013
History

Grand Central, A Cathedral For Commuters, Celebrates 100

Originally published on

Friday marks the day that 100 years ago, Grand Central Terminal opened its doors for business for the very first time. The largest railroad terminal in the world, the magnificent Beaux-Arts building is in the heart of New York City on 42nd St. And while it no longer serves long-distance trains, it's still a vibrant part of the city's eco-system.

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2:03am

Sat January 26, 2013
Music News

The Composer Who Tested Fighter Planes And Partied With Sinatra

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 5:36 pm

Jimmy Van Heusen with Frank Sinatra in the 1950s. Van Heusen wrote dozens of songs for the crooner and became Sinatra's close friend and confidant.
Courtesy of Burns Media Productions

You've never heard of Jimmy Van Heusen? Well, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers has. You certainly know many of his songs, says Brook Babcock, Van Heusen's grandnephew and president of his publishing company.

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3:47am

Tue January 8, 2013
Theater

A Vet's Haunted Homecoming In 'Water By The Spoonful'

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 6:06 am

Liza Colon-Zayas plays a troubled character named Odessa Ortiz, who finds her better self online. She's pictured above with Bill Heck, as Fountainhead.
Richard Termine

The cliche about writers is they should write what they know, and that old saw has certainly worked for Quiara Alegria Hudes. The 35-year-old playwright has mined her Puerto Rican family's stories into a series of plays, a musical and even a children's book. Now, her Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Water by the Spoonful, is being brought to life in the first New York production of the play, opening off-Broadway on Tuesday evening.

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4:03am

Fri November 30, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

The Peony Pavilion: A Vivid Dream In A Garden

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 9:43 pm

A garden serves as the stage in the opera.
Zhang Yi

The Peony Pavilion is one of China's most famous operas, but uncut performances of this romantic 16th century work can take more than 22 hours. Chinese composer Tan Dun, who's best known for his Academy Award-winning score for the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, has adapted the work into a compact 75 minutes.

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12:00am

Sat November 10, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

John Williams' Inevitable Themes

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 10:52 am

Flanked by composer Leonard Slatkin and soprano Jessye Norman, John Williams takes a bow during his 80th-birthday celebration at Tanglewood in August.
Stu Rosner

For more than 50 years, John Williams' music has taken us to galaxies far, far away through adventures here on earth, made us feel giddy joy and occasionally scared us to death.

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2:03am

Thu October 18, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

Philadelphia Orchestra Reboots With New Music Director

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 12:11 pm

Yannick Nezet-Seguin leads the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Ryan Donnell

Everywhere you look right now, it seems like American symphony orchestras are fighting for their lives — strikes, lockouts, bankruptcy. Perhaps the biggest example is the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra, which is just coming out of its own bankruptcy. Tonight, its new 37-year-old music director takes the podium as the venerable orchestra begins a reboot.

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4:06pm

Wed October 10, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

During Lockout Season, Orchestra Musicians Grapple With Their Future

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 1:05 pm

The Minnesota Orchestra is one of many orchestras around the country dealing with labor disputes.
Greg Helgeson

It's been a tumultuous time for American orchestras. Labor disputes have shut down the Minnesota Orchestra and Indianapolis Symphony, and strikes and lockouts have affected orchestras in Chicago, Atlanta and Louisville in the past year.

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3:33pm

Tue September 18, 2012
Theater

Shorts Inspire Music In 'Sounding Beckett' Trilogy

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:09 pm

In Ohio Impromptu, one of three short plays featured in Sounding Beckett, the silent character (Philip Goodwin, left, with Ted van Griethuysen) inspired music based on knocks and repetitions.
Jeremy Tressler Sounding Beckett

It all began last year, when the Library of Congress presented Samuel Beckett's Ohio Impromptu alongside a piece of music by composer Dina Koston, which responded to the text. A New York group, the Cygnus Ensemble, played the music, while Washington, D.C., director Joy Zinoman staged the play, for one night only.

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6:39am

Sat August 4, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

Gathering Of The Viols: The 50th Annual Viola Da Gamba Conclave

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:59 pm

Jack Ashworth, Tina Chancey, Lisa Terry and Phillip Serna perform Sunday during the closing banquet of the weeklong conclave at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del.
Scott Mason

Viola da gamba players are a special breed — a tiny subset in the already small world of early classical music. They rarely meet their own kind, but once a year they come together for a week in July at an annual jam session they call a conclave. Wendy Gillespie, who just finished her term as president of the Viola da Gamba Society of America, says attending the event is the highlight of her year.

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1:47pm

Sun July 15, 2012
Remembrances

'Oklahoma!' Actress Celeste Holm Dies At 95

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 6:10 pm

Academy Award-winning actress Celeste Holm has died. A star on both stage and screen, Holm was best known for roles in Gentleman's Agreement, All About Eve and Oklahoma! She was 95.

Holm died early Sunday morning in her Manhattan apartment with her husband, family and close friends by her side. She had been hospitalized a couple weeks ago following a fire in actor Robert De Niro's apartment in the same building.

If there was one role that put Holm on the map, it was as the coquettish Ado Annie, in the 1943 hit musical, Oklahoma!

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2:03am

Sat July 14, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

Tanglewood: Celebrating Beethoven In The Backwoods For 75 Years

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:22 pm

Christoph von Dohnanyi and the Boston Symphony play Beethoven in the opening night concert of the Tanglewood Festival's 75th anniversary.
Hilary Scott Boston Symphony

It now seems like a natural rite of summer — open-air classical music festivals where audiences can hear great music while picnicking under the stars. But 75 years ago, when the Boston Symphony first performed on a former estate called Tanglewood in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts, it was a novel idea.

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4:54pm

Fri June 29, 2012
Music News

Young Musicians Leave Nest For New Opportunities

Originally published on Sat June 30, 2012 8:48 am

Nathan Schram (back row, third from left) performs with his students from PS 75 in Brooklyn.
Stephanie Berger Getty Images

The odds of making it in the classical music business are long, but for the past two years, 25-year-old viola player Nathan Schram has received a stipend, health insurance, lots of amazing performance opportunities and a real-world education teaching violin students at an inner-city elementary school in Brooklyn. Now, Schram and his colleagues have to say goodbye to The Academy.

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3:49am

Thu June 21, 2012
Theater

50 Years Later, Still Free, Still Battling The Weather

Originally published on Thu June 21, 2012 6:21 am

Orlando (David Furr), Rosalind (Lily Rabe, right) and Celia (Renee Elise Goldsberry) in As You Like It. The Public Theater's production opens the 50th-anniversary season at New York's Delacorte Theater.
Joan Marcus The Public Theater

On Monday evening, one of New York's most cherished cultural institutions celebrated an anniversary. The Delacorte Theater, home of the free annual Shakespeare in the Park, turned 50, and Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline led an all-star cast in a staged reading of Romeo and Juliet.

When Kline was still a student in the drama program at The Juilliard School, he made his professional debut at the Delacorte. "My first job was carrying a spear in Richard III," he remembers.

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2:03am

Sat June 2, 2012
Deceptive Cadence

A (Very) Young Composer Gets His Chance At The New York Philharmonic

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:51 pm

Very Young Composer Milo Poniewozik at the New York Philharmonic's School Day Concerts, where his piece was performed in front of more than 2,000 kids.
Michael DiVito New York Philharmonic

What would it be like if you were 10 years old and composed a piece of music that was played by the New York Philharmonic? For a few New York City school kids, including one fifth-grader, it's a dream come true, thanks to the orchestra's Very Young Composers program.

Composer Jon Deak, who played bass with the New York Philharmonic for more than 40 years, says the idea for Very Young Composers came when he and conductor Marin Alsop visited an elementary school in Brooklyn several years ago.

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3:28am

Thu May 31, 2012
Music News

Requiem For A Cabaret: The Oak Room Closes

Originally published on Thu May 31, 2012 5:21 am

The entrance to the Algonquin Hotel on West 44th Street in New York City.
Peter Kramer Getty Images

New York's historic Algonquin Hotel has been famous for a lot of things: the roundtable where some of the greatest American wits, from George S. Kaufman to Dorothy Parker, held forth in the 1920s and '30s; generations of cats — named either Hamlet or Matilda — who haunt the lobby; and, since 1980, the Oak Room, one of New York's most loved cabaret spaces.

When Marriott purchased the hotel and closed it for renovations early this year, they announced that the Oak Room would not be reopening — instead, it will be a lounge for preferred customers.

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