Composer / Teacher  Stanley  Wolfe

A Conversation with Bruce Duffie





wolfe





This interview with Stanley Wolfe turned out to be one of the more difficult ones I ever had.  Despite his willingness to speak about music in general and his own works in particular, it seemed at several points that his real ideas were in sound and not in words.  Whereas other composers (and performers) are easily able to discuss methods and results, Wolfe made it clear that the only way to really understand his concepts would be to hear his music.  

I do not blame him for wanting this added dimension, but a spoken conversation would seem to be something he would be used to, especially since he was a long-time teacher of young composers.  Perhaps it was just that he wanted to mold the younger generation in their own progress, and was not comfortable in speaking about things which were so deeply personal and self-revealing.  At the end, when he did speak at length about his own development, he suddenly was slightly embarrassed.  I re-assured him that this was, indeed, what I had hoped he would talk about.

In any event, there is much that is of interest and enlightenment in this chat, and I hope that readers will not only take advantage of his thoughts, but avail themselves of his recordings so as to have a real sense of the true ideas.

Wolfe, as noted in the box above, was in Chicago in March of 1989, for performances of his Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  Mark Peskanov was the soloist and Leonard Slatkin, long a champion of new works, conducted.  [Names which are links refer to my interviews elsewhere on my website.]

As we sat down for the conversation, there had been a rehearsal of his work earlier in the day.  He was mentioning some of his other symphonic works . . . . . . . . .


Bruce Duffie:   Are there some chamber works, also?

Stanley Wolfe:   Not as much.  I am primarily a symphonist.  I’ve written six symphonies, and in fact this was my first real sojourn into the concerto world.  It’s quite an experience for me.

BD:   Many people say the symphony is on the way out as an organization.  If that is true, why are you spending so much time writing symphonies?

SW:   Because I have an inner voice that tells me the symphony is what I should be writing.  It’s what I want to write and I live a la mode and I
ll die a la mode.  I’ve never cared very much about following what I’m supposed to.  It’s just something I feel compelled to do, and it’s always been the story of my life.

BD:   Do you feel the symphony, as an institution, is a viable thing as we head into the twenty-first century?

SW:   First of all, as someone who has primarily always been interested in orchestral music, I believe in the orchestra.  All I have to do is hear an orchestra tune up, and my knees get weak.  I love the sound of an orchestra, and I’ve never really been one who would enjoy very much writing a duo for piccolo and double bass, and things of that nature.  Whatever talent I have lies in the orchestral field on a large scope, and you only live once.  You’ve got to follow that inner voice, and that’s what I’ve been doing.

BD:   Do you think the symphony will survive as a performing institution, or is it going to go the way of the dinosaur and will become a museum?

SW:   Depends on the time frame.  It’s hard for me to say, and in fact I don’t even think about it.  To me that is a question I wouldn’t even want to address.  It may sound funny to you but I just don’t care.  I write symphonies because I want to write symphonies.  Whether there’ll be an organization two hundred years from now, I couldn’t answer.

BD:   Do you write just for yourself, or are you conscious of the audience, also?

SW:   When I write, I write for myself as the audience.  Nothing pleases me more than if my music will please an audience, but I don’t consciously write for an audience, ever.  I can’t think of any decent artist who would ever do that.  I’m the audience!  If it pleases me, it has a chance to please you or someone else.  If it doesn’t please me, God help me!  [Both laugh]

BD:   Does everything that doesn’t please you go into the waste basket?

SW:   Well, I wouldn’t exactly say that.  It depends on what you mean by ‘pleasing’.  Composers quite often work with material that may not just be in the right shape at the right time, and it may come back.  With myself it’s usually trying to find some material that has great meaning for me, and I take my longest time trying to get something that moves me deeply.  The hardest part of composition, as far as I’m concerned, is to find some material that has meaning and makes it all relevant.  Once I find an idea that I really love, then the time and effort is rewarded greatly by something I’m doing because I want to do it.  But I take a lot of time with material.

BD:   Working at it and reworking it?

SW:   No!  That, in a sense, indicates a compositional approach to taking the material and developing it.  I’m talking about getting the ideas, and that takes time.  I don’t sit at a piano and let my fingers do the writing, and come up with something and say,
“Okay, now I’m going to write this, because it takes a while.  I have to find something that moves me, and that’s not always easy.

BD:   So it’s gestating in your head rather than on the paper?

SW:   In a sense.

BD:   As soon as you put it on the paper, is fully formed and ready to go?

SW:   The idea perhaps, but the working out is quite laborious when you write thirty-minute works.  Sometimes even one movement of it doesn’t just happen.  It takes a long time, but the point I was trying to raise is the fact that the first initial step for me is always getting material.  That’s more important to me than anything else.  When getting something I can respect if I’m going to tie myself up with for a thirty-minute work, it’s got to be something that moves me.  If I like it and I find it worthwhile, then I can only hope that an audience will share whatever it is I’m putting down, which is hard to explain.


wolfe

See my interviews with Vincent Persichetti, and Pierre Boulez


BD:   Do you have any expectations of the audience that comes to hear your music?

SW:   Only that some would perhaps meet me half way.  I don’t consciously write for an audience, but I am very, very happy when audiences respond to my music, and usually they have over the years.  I’ve been writing close to forty years, and I find that the audience, in general
really more than in generallike my music very much.  Critics are entirely mixed.  Orchestral members usually like it because it’s very idiomatic.  Conductors are also totally mixed in their response, and from most other composers I usually get a kind of veiled hostility most of the timenot from everyone but many of them.

BD:   Is this because your music is more rooted in the old tonal system?

SW:   No, I wouldn’t say that.  My music does happen to have a strong tonal basis, but I don’t know if that counts for the fact of all these other points I just raised.

BD:   I can understand everything up to the hostility of other composers.

SW:   Maybe it’s because my music is sort of in the middle.  I don’t write the National Anthem of the Moon, so I don’t get much help from the avant-garde.  They can’t quite understand why an audience should be that receptive to my music, and why I’m not following the pattern of what they seem to think is the way music is supposed to go.  I’m also not so traditional that I write the type of material that would be acceptable a hundred years ago.  My music, if I had to describe it, is always intensely melodic, but it always has a kind of a wail or a cry
kind of a bitter sweet sound, an angst, if you will.  I even put those words in the program notes that’ll be coming up for my concerto.  I hope I’m giving you a good picture of what my music is like.

BD:   It
s as good as you can make it without actually hearing some of the music.

SW:   Yes, yes, hearing the music will be helpful.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   Let me ask a big philosophical question.  What is the purpose of music in society?

SW:   I never think of that.

BD:   Not at all???

SW:   No.  I don’t think most composers do.  The people who go into that are either people like yourself who are trying to generate ideas for an interview, or perhaps people who are not real artists.  We don’t think about that.  A composer is a composer because he or she writes, and I don’t go into the philosophic reason about why.  That, to me, is a waste.

BD:   Okay.  When you’re writing a piece of music, and you’ve got all of these ideas formed in your head, and you’re working them out on paper, are you always in control with the pencil, or are there times when that pencil is controlling your hand?

SW:   Let me put it this way...  When I start a piece, I hardly ever know how it’s going to turn out.  I don’t have a preconceived concept or form.  Relating to your question, it’s almost as though the material seems to want to do certain things, to go in a certain direction.  I never set out to write a certain form or device that I’m going to use, and say it’s going to be A, B, A.  Each idea is different to me, and that’s part of the joy of working with music.  It’s to let the idea be free.  It would be wrong if I said it controlled me, but since you brought up the point obliquely, I would say that it seems to do its thing only because that’s the way it should be.  I don’t know ahead of time how that’s going to turn out.

BD:   As you’re working with it, and you see an idea when it’s forming, how do you know when it right?

SW:   Usually, as one works in music, there come these magic moments when things just seem to fall into place, and that’s the way it should be.  No bells go off.  [Laughs]  It’s just that somehow the satisfaction that one gets by the direction of the material, and how it’s worked out, so seizes one
at least it does for meand that’s a major part of the enjoyment I get out of writing music.  Most people don’t talk about enjoying very much their music.  It’s kind of silly, but I love my music.  If I didn’t love my music, I wouldn’t write it, and I have very little empathy for people who would just try and turn it into a chore, fraught with all kinds of difficulties.  I cannot understand that.  I’m not comparing myself to any great composer, but all of the composers that have come down from the past have really been intoxicated with their music.  They’ve loved it, and this is why I take so long with material.

BD:   Now you raise a point that I want to pounce on just a little bit, and that’s
greatness.  What determines greatness in music?

SW:   I don’t know.

BD:   Do you know it when you hear it?

SW:   I can recognize music as being great when it emotionally just says something to me.  I judge a work, in a sense, after I hear it.  Has it added anything to my life?  Am I different because I heard it?  With great music, the answer is yes.  With other music, which I could take or leave, then it’s not great because it didn’t make that impression on me.  But when I hear something that is significant, and just tells me something
however abstract that term seems to bethen I realize it’s great because I’m the richer for having heard it.

BD:   You’re both a composer and a teacher.  Do you get enough time to compose?

SW:   Well, that’s kind of difficult.  I’ve been at the Juilliard School now for forty-one years, and for the last thirty years I’ve been the Director of the Juilliard Extension Division.

BD:   Which means?

SW:   Which means it’s a very big administrative job, plus the fact that l love to teach, and my days are very busy and full between the teaching and the administration.  I’m not comparing myself in terms of greatness or distinction to him, but I
m a little bit like Mahler in the sense that the summers seem to have the most important part of my calendar in terms of my own music.  During the year, I find it very difficult to write music because I need that solitude, the absorption for myself.  I cannot write when I am surrounded with other music, or when I talk about music.  Usually I get very excited, and it’s something I do in front of a class.  It takes over for me, and it’s very hard, at that point, to be able to isolate myself from that and go on with my music.  So, actually I would say that during the summer, that’s the best time.

BD:   Do you ever find that during the midst of a class when you see a student composition, you get an idea that you later incorporate into your own work?

SW:   No, no.  [Sighs]  It’s hard to describe my music.  As I said before, you’d have to have heard some of it to know what I’m talking about.  I pity the critic who’s never heard much of my music.  He has to make a judgment, and not being familiar with the style, he will latch onto all the little points that they think are significant, in terms of this comes from this, and this from that.

BD:   Rather than it all comes Wolfe?

SW:   Correct.  I know this sounds very egocentric, but I’m trying not to put it in any way other than what I really genuinely feel.  For instance, this Violin Concerto that’ll be played tomorrow, no one has ever, ever written a concerto quite like it.  No one could.  That’s me, and I don’t worry about being original.  It’s something that I think I have, although, again I would say it must be very difficult for people hearing my music for the first time to know exactly what the Wolfe sound is.  As I said before, there’s this kind of bitter sweet wail.  It’s probably, to a certain degree, part of my Semitic background being a Jew.  That lurks behind so much of the intensity, the joy, and the pain all that’s wrapped up with that kind of role of an artist.

BD:   So there’s nothing middle-of-the-road?  It’s either intense joy or intense pain?

SW:   No, I wouldn’t say that.  It’s just that when one talks about one’s music, and one is trying to explain it to someone else, I’m trying to seize upon the main characteristics.  What I was saying is that in my music there is this definite bittersweet angst, which I’ve never heard in anyone else.  I was born in New York City, and you can hear the big sounds of Brooklyn.

BD:   So it’s a different kind of angst than Mahler?

SW:   Oh, yes, quite definitely, yes!  He’s very Viennese.  There is a poignancy that I have in my music that sometimes many people are drawn to, but many other times people are turned off by.  There’s a kind of nakedness to the music I write.  It’s very emotional, it’s very direct, it’s very much the way I am.  It’s very much to the point.  It’s clear, it’s naïve, it’s sophisticated, it’s all these things.

BD:   When your music is being performed, are they performing your ideas, or are they performing the naked Stanley Wolfe?

SW:   The ideas are me.  You don’t separate the sounds of a composer from what that composer is... unless he’s forced to write the music.  I was just describing that my music has this emotional directness, which is me, and that’s what they’re performing.  I don’t mean to be argumentative, but I was just trying to clarify this, and I would imagine for any listeners this might be of some interest.

BD:   Right.  I’m very glad when you do clarify that because it’s the ideas that I’m looking for, and your creativity, and your direction.

SW:   I would imagine that it would be easier for you to if you heard some of my music.  It would have made things a little clearer because no matter what I say about my music, my music is my music, and that has a kind of a litany in truth that bypasses commentary, even by myself.

*     *     *     *     *

BD:   Let me change the subject a little bit, and ask a more general question.  Where is music going today?

SW:   I haven’t any idea, nor am I interested.

BD:   [Somewhat shocked]  You don’t care???

SW:   No!

BD:   [Gently protesting]  Yet you’re working and helping to mold students who are in that field.

SW:   I mold them only in a sense of developing their potential.  I don’t try and shape them in a direction that I think they should go.  People turn me off when they’re very convinced about the way music should go.  It reminds me of how many times I’ve been on a panel, and a question will come up asking us to describe the way music should go.  Someone will jump up and describe that music is going to be electronic, and another one says it is going to be twelve-tone.

BD:   I’m not asking where should it go, but where is it going.

SW:   I don’t know if anyone knows and, quite frankly as a composer, I have to go to my own tune.  I don’t care about it, really.  It’s going to happen wherever it goes, and it doesn’t really concern me that much.  I have to be faithful to what I hear and to what I want to do without worrying too much about will it fit in.  Is it going to be fashionable, or is it headed this way?  There are people who know all these answers.  Unfortunately, I only know the questions, so I’m disappointing in that way.

wolfe BD:   You’ve been teaching for some forty years.  How have the students who come to you changed over that time?

SW:   That’s a difficult question to answer.  [Thinks a moment]  I would say that the good ones are still as rare, no matter at any one period, and somehow they manage to find their voice.  When I teach, I try never to impose my sense of direction.  It is difficult sometimes, and I have to watch it.  I hope this doesn’t sound, again like it’s egocentric.  What I’m getting at is the fact that I have a rather strong personality in music, and when I teach, I’m very careful not to impose that on my students.  I like to develop resources within the student so they can be free of me.  Like a good parent, you don’t bind the child to you forever.  There’s something wrong there.  I’ve seen students that study with teachers for eight years, and the teacher solves all their problems, takes their hand, writes all their notes, and when the student gets ready to leave, he’s lost.  He can’t put a note down because he’s been pampered.  That, to me, is horrible teaching.

BD:   So you plan your own obsolescence?

SW:   In a sense, yes.  That’s a good way of putting it.

BD:   What about the raw talent that you’re getting now?  How is the raw talent different in 1989 than it was in 1949?

SW:   I don’t know that I could say.  [Thinks again]  It’s as rare now as it was then.

BD:   One of the other things that I’m looking at is the explosion of the availability of recorded music.  How has this changed the attitude and background of the students that are coming to you?

SW:   For one thing, students today are expected to know much more than they did maybe a hundred years ago with such a wealth of material that’s been added to the literature.  

BD:   Do they actually know all this?

SW:   Unfortunately, not always so.  I find a number of students who are very deficient in their background about having heard a lot of great masterpieces.  They know more about the last ten years than they know about the last two hundred years.  It’s quite a shame.

BD:   Is this the last ten years of concert music, or the last ten years of popular music?

SW:   Concert music.  We’re not talking about popular because at Juilliard, we study the so-called serious, classical music.

BD:   I would assume that there are some who try to get into the Juilliard who haven’t the faintest idea of any of the classics, and they’re just into rock bands and such.

SW:   No, they probably would not even be seen.

BD:   They’re weeded out earlier in the application process?

SW:   They’re discouraged.  I’d rather put it that way.  [Laugh ]  We once did a survey of Juilliard applicants, and found that when we totaled up all of the phone calls, people stopping by, letters for all areas of music, not just composition, over a year we had a total of approximately 35,000 requests for catalogues and information.  Then we found that of the 35,000, maybe 8,000 followed it up asking more, or filling in applications.  Then, out of this 8,000, once they saw what they were up against in terms of what was expected of them, about three quarters of them dropped by the wayside.  So Juilliard examines approximately 2,200 - 2,300 students during the year in competitive exams, and of those 2,200 or 2,300, approximately 120 musicians get in.  It’s even more difficult to get into Juilliard than medical school!

BD:   In spite of the fact that so many are weeded out to such a very few, are music schools in general turning out too many young composers and performers?

SW:   It’s kind of obvious that perhaps there is a saturation point in terms of what our society can absorb, but everyone should be faithful to their dream.  If you’re an eighteen-year-old, and you have talent, I don’t think you should necessarily be too discouraged, or begin to ask too many questions about what this is going to lead to.  To be in music is a gift, it’s a real gift.  The world is full of so many difficult, sometimes horrible aspects of living.  It’s just so wonderful to be involved in the world of music, and to know that this has meaning for the individual.  I’m very unusual as a teacher sometimes.  I
ll get my students to look out the window.  One of the rooms I have looks out at the Met, the Philharmonic, the State Theater at Lincoln Center, and I tell them how lucky they are to be in music.  Sometimes, if you go to other schools, you’ll observe students who seem to be floundering a little bit, and not quite sure of which way they’re going.  But at Juilliard, there’s even a different look in the eyes of the students because they know at young age that they have this gift, and that they had gotten this far in terms of being accepted.  They have a kind of an intensity about what they want to do.  The good ones don’t think too much about what its going to lead to, what kind of job they will get, and all that.  If you have to ask those questions, you shouldn’t be in music.  Gertrude Stein never said, “Music is music.  [With irony in his voice]  She said something about a rose...  [Both laugh]

BD:   Is there ever a case where a young student is simply too intense for his or her own good?

SW:   You always find psychological problems no matter what the field could be.  Certainly this could happen in music.

BD:   [With a gentle nudge]  You mean not every composer is completely nuts???

SW:   [Smiles]  I don’t know if I’d address myself to that.

BD:   Are there ever cases where a musician gets to be twenty or thirty, and then discovers that they have this drive?

SW:   Sometimes it happens quite late.  Twenty or thirty is exceptionally late, but I sometimes think of myself as having the most unusual background of anyone at Juilliard because I was seventeen before I even knew I was interested in classical music.  I remember it was the last day of high school in New York at the very famous boys’ high school of that time, DeWitt Clinton, which had about 16,000 boys.  We were getting ready to get our degrees the next day, graduate, and so we were just marking time.  Someone put on some Caruso records, of all things, and I remember listening to the records and just being transfixed because in my house it would have been popular music, nothing of a serious nature.  Even opera was very, very serious compared to some of the pop tunes I heard.  I remember that I wanted to laugh and I wanted to cry.  I was hit emotionally by it.  The next day was Saturday, and the Met broadcasts were on.  I went home and listened, with my ears glued to the radio.  It was then that somehow I knew I wanted to be in music, and quickly I decided I wanted to be a composer.  I had no training whatsoever.  I used to go to the library, pull out scores which I couldn’t read or understand, turn the pages, look at those black and white symbols, and think that one day I was going to decipher them.  For want of something to do in music, I began to write out the libretti of operas, because that was something.  To this day I know the entire text of Carmen.  I wrote the whole thing out in French, and then I studied the clarinet for about six months before I was drafted into World War II.  I remember on the day before I was to report to Fort Dix, I went up to the old Juilliard building and sat on the benches at that time that looked at the school.  I looked at all those people going to that school, and I remember how I envied them, and I said someday I’m going to be a student at that school, and I’m going to write music.  I didn’t know how this could come about, I just knew that it was going to happen.

BD:   Is it at all ironic now that you are a professor and director there?

SW:   It’s not ironic, it’s just like a dream come true!  But foremost in my mind was the fact that I knew, even at that time, I wanted to be a composer.  I served a little over three years World War II, and because the army gave me the test to figure out where I would belong, in their efficient way they decided I belonged to a Special Service Outfit.  Because of my vision, I was put on limited service so that I couldn’t go into the infantry.  My job was to be in a group to entertain the troops.  About four weeks into training, one of our outfits got wiped out in the Pacific.  I was at Fort Meade, which is in between Washington and Baltimore in the First Army Corps.  The generals got worried, and decided that we all needed some commando training so that we could survive.  I took part in one of the exercises when the Generals came to observe.  I was carrying José Melis, the pianist, on my back.  Then we had to go through the infiltration course, firing bullets because this was wartime and we had to be prepared.  I was trying to show off in front of the generals, and I went too fast, and I had José’s legs wrapped around mine, and I fell, tripped, and I was put in the Zone of Interior with a fractured femur.  The person who replaced me that outfit
although I never saw him, and I kid you notwas Jack Paar!  He took my place!  Then, when I got of the army, my folks had moved to Florida.  That was about three and a half years later, so I followed them.  I went down to a school in Florida, but within a week or two I realized I was doing most of the teaching!

BD:   This was in music?

SW:   In music, yes.  I decided to come up to New York, and in my naïveté I was too late to take the exam at Juilliard.  So, I spent a year down at a wonderful tough school on the lower east side called the Henry Street Settlement School.  There were a lot of ex-GIs at that time.  The GI bill was flourishing, and that was a real great boon to so many of us.  The following year, when I applied to get into Juilliard, I found that they had decided they had had so many veterans at that time, they had to cut down.  There were 104 applicants in the composition department, and they took three.  I was one of the three, and to this day I don’t know what they saw, or how I was able to get in, but I got in.  Then my troubles first started because I had an intensity that my teachers and my fellow students did not understand.  I got into all kinds of trouble, even fist fights.  I used to be called
the angry young man at Juilliard.  People would look at me and run the other way, but I was doing something that changed it all.  With all the rebellion, I was accomplishing things.  I was writing.  There’s a big difference being just rebelling for the sake of rebelling, and I was producing.  A teacher would stop me and all say, Wolfe, we haven’t seen you for a few months.  What have you been doing?  I said, I’m just finishing the second movement of my first symphony.  Oh, well, do you want to come in before the end of the semester?  I said, Yes, I promise to.  Anyhow, things were still kind of shaky, and I remember getting a letter from the Dean, saying that in all fairness to me, the faculty wanted to point out that they really thought I should seriously think about getting out of music; that I probably would not make it.  I remember looking at that letter and thinking, “How silly.  I was embarrassed for the faculty.

BD:   There was no thought that the letter might be accurate?

SW:   Oh, no, no, no!  There was no doubt.  I knew that I was in music.  It’s just that I sort of overwhelm people a little bit with the fact that I started so late, and I had a tremendous drive, and it was misunderstood for a while.  Finally, when they did understand me, they kept me in watchful custody, and I was producing a lot.  Then I wanted to teach.  Oh, God, I wanted to teach!  We used to have fellowship exams at the end of the year, and for two years they wouldn’t even interview me because my reputation was so bad.  Finally, in the third year they decided they would see me, and I walked into the room with the whole theory department.  One of the teachers said,
Wolfe, why do you want to be a teacher?  I remember it was one of those days where you could hear a pin drop.  I was just able, emotionally, to tell them the ways that reach them.  They all looked very shocked, and then one of the teachers said, Stanley, would you step outside for a few moments?  I didn’t know what was going on, and I stepped outside.  Finally, one of the other teachers came out and asked me to step back in.  They told me, This is your third year, and usually one would have to wait two or three weeks to get a letter, but we want to tell you we were very, very impressed by everything you said, and you definitely have a fellowship.  You’ll be a student teacher, which is like an apprentice system they had at Juilliard, and I was overjoyed.  Teachers have to have a sense of drama, they have to be a little bit of a ham, very close to what I’m doing now, which is part of getting the idea across.  So, I started to teach, and people started coming from all over to sit in on my classes.  Then I got ready to graduate.  I remember William Schuman [President of Juilliard 1945-61] said, "God, I’d love to keep you on.  You’re one of the most talented that I had here, but you have alienated so many people, it’s not possible.”  I said, I don’t want anything except what you’ve got in the Extension Division.  Forget it, he says, We’re going to close it down.  It’s going nowhere.  We’ve got two teachers, and we’re thinking of just stopping it next year.  I said, “Please give me this one chance.  I know what I can do.  We only had two teachers and two classes, and were grossing about $4,000.  That was back in 1956.  At this point (1989), I have built it up so that we have over forty classes, all of them that I put in, and twenty faculty members.  We grossed close to half a million dollars.  In New York I’m known as Mr. Extension Division!  [After ruminating about all his life, he suddenly becomes aware of his current surroundings...]  My, you’ve got me talking a lot.  [Laughs]

BD:    That
s a very good thing.

SW:   At any rate, I don’t know how much of that answers your question...

BD:   It gives me insights into you and your work.  Thank you for your music, and for coming to Chicago.

SW:   Oh, thank you for having me.




========                ========                ========
---      ---      ---      ---
========                ========                ========





© 1989 Bruce Duffie

This conversation was recorded at Orchestra Hall in Chicago on March 15, 1989.  Portions were broadcast on WNIB in 1994.  This transcription was made in 2018, and posted on this website at that time.  My thanks to British soprano Una Barry for her help in preparing this website presentation.

To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.

Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001.  His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM.

You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests.  He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago.  You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.