NEW PODCAST SERIES EMBRACE EVERYTHING: THE WORLD OF GUSTAV MAHLER, A COMPREHENSIVE, MULTI-SEASON EXPLORATION OF THE COMPOSER’S COMPLETE SYMPHONIES, LAUNCHES WITH SYMPHONY NO. 1 ON MAHLER’S BIRTHDAY—TUESDAY, JULY 7
Season 1, comprising four episodes, to be available on major streaming platforms; special one-hour radio adaptation to air on New York’s WQXR on
July 7 at 9:00 p.m. ET
Complete series to incorporate insights and commentary from nearly 100 leading musicians and scholars, with Season 1 guests including conductors Kent Nagano and Michael Tilson Thomas; principal musicians of the Boston Symphony, Philadelphia, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestras; and scholars from Columbia University and the University of Chicago, among other institutions
NEW YORK, NEW YORK (June 8, 2020) — The Embrace Everything podcast series, created and hosted by award-winning radio producer Aaron Cohen, is an exploration and celebration of the music of Gustav Mahler (1860–1911) via a journey through his symphonies. Through commentary by Mr. Cohen, interviews with leading Mahler interpreters and scholars, readings from the letters of Mahler and his contemporaries, and through the sounds of the symphonies themselves, each season of the series will guide listeners through one of these landmark works in the orchestral repertoire.
Season 1 focuses on Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 in D major (1888), taking listeners back to the work’s origins in the street songs, folk tunes, and bugle calls of Mahler’s childhood. Each episode is devoted to a particular movement of the symphony, and guest commentators include Michael Tilson Thomas, who recorded a multi-Grammy Award-winning Mahler symphony cycle with the San Francisco Symphony, and Kent Nagano, who has conducted and recorded Mahler’s music with orchestras around the world.
The series launches on Mahler’s birthday—Tuesday, July 7—when all four episodes of Season 1 will become available for free on-demand listening via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify, among other streaming platforms. That evening, at 9:00 p.m. ET, New York Public Radio’s classical music station, WQXR, airs a special one-hour radio adaptation of Season 1. The program will subsequently re-air on the station; details to be announced.
Creator and producer Aaron Cohen remarked:
“Mahler famously said, “A symphony must be like the world, it must embrace everything.” I think that’s the key to what he’s doing musically, asking his listeners to open themselves to the entire world. I’ve always had the sense Mahler’s music is about more than music. It’s cosmic in a way. It’s as if he’s found a way to wake up something buried deep inside all of us, a sense of wonder, a profound sense of aliveness. For me, a good Mahler performance is almost like a religious experience; it’s thrilling beyond words. He wanted to lift us up, to take us beyond ourselves, and I think he succeeds. In these documentary programs I wanted to get as close to that musical magic as I could.”
Mr. Cohen conceived of this Mahler series in 2010. In 2015, he began the process of interviewing guests and producing the series, after five years of preparation that included extensive reading on Mahler, a research trip to Vienna, and a radio feature on Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 for WQXR’s Carnegie Hall Live.
The complete series will include guest commentary from nearly 100 conductors, orchestral musicians, and scholars, including many of today’s leading interpreters of and authorities on Mahler’s music. All guests have extensive first-hand experience with the music being discussed, offering an abundance of insights into what makes it so unique. Season 1 guests are conductors Kent Nagano (Hamburg State Opera and Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony Orchestra) and Michael Tilson Thomas (New World Symphony, San Francisco Symphony); orchestra musicians William Hudgins (Principal Clarinet, Boston Symphony Orchestra), Jennifer Montone (Principal Horn, Philadelphia Orchestra), and Dominic Seldes (Principal Bass, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra); and scholars Philip V. Bohlman (University of Chicago), Christian Glanz (University of Music & Performing Arts, Vienna), Caroline Kita (Washington University in St. Louis), Christine Lee Gengaro (Los Angeles City College), and Marilyn McCoy (Columbia University). For readings of historical documents, Season 1 features actor James Lurie as the voice of Mahler, and Laura Gragtmans as the voice of Natalie Bauer-Lechner, a violist and close friend of the composer.
Embrace Everything: The World of Gustav Mahler
Series / Season 1 Trailer
Interviews for future seasons have already been recorded with members of the Cleveland Orchestra; the Berlin, New York, and Vienna Philharmonics; and the Chicago, London, and Montreal Symphonies, among other ensembles.
Season 2, which will comprise five episodes devoted to Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor (1894), is scheduled for release in 2021.
Aaron Cohen interviewing Kent Nagano, Music Director of the
Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Photo used with permission.
Aaron Cohen has a varied career centered on music, audio and media. He is an award-winning radio producer, New York Public Radio’s Director of Programming Operations, and an accomplished musician.
Mr. Cohen joined New York Public Radio in 2000 and has fulfilled several different roles within the company since then. From 2000 to 2006, he was a producer at the station. During this time at NYPR, he worked on a wide variety of radio programs, from live call-in shows and concert broadcasts, to pre-produced programs and long-form radio documentaries. He has become especially well known for the latter, and a notable highlight is The Ring & I, a one-hour radio documentary about Wagner’s Ring Cycle, which he co-produced with Jad Abumrad in 2004. The program won more than ten awards, including the National Headliner Grand Prize, and continues to be broadcast around the world to this day. He also produced NYPR’s Clash of the Titans: An Exploration of Verdi & Wagner (2013) and Music is a Holy Art: A Celebration of Richard Strauss (2014).
In 2006, Mr. Cohen joined the Programming Department, where he currently serves as the Director of Programming Operations. In this role, he interacts with all the departments of New York Public Radio and makes sure that everything airs as planned throughout the day and night. He occasionally produces special projects for WQXR.
Additionally, Mr. Cohen has produced numerous programs beyond his work for NYPR. From 2007 to 2012, he produced more than 50 features for the Metropolitan Opera’s Saturday afternoon broadcasts. He produced three features for the CBC in 2009 and 2010, focusing on Le Poisson Rouge, Kronos Quartet, and the then-new Robert LePage Ring Cycle at the Metropolitan Opera, respectively. In 2015 and 2016, he produced the WFMT national broadcasts of the Glimmerglass Festival operas (Candide, Macbeth, and Cato in Utica in 2015; The Thieving Magpie, The Crucible, and Sweeney Todd in 2016). In 2017, he produced the WFMT national broadcast of Bellini’s Il Pirata from the Caramoor Music Festival. He was a music producer for the American Public Media classical music podcast “Decomposed with Jade Simmons” in 2019.
Mr. Cohen began his career as a classically trained oboist. As a professional musician, he performed with many orchestras, including a performance at the Barcelona Summer Olympics in 1992. He also recorded two solo CDs. His first CD, Oboecentric, was recorded in 1994 and features late Baroque and early Classical sonatas for oboe and continuo. The second CD, Oboisms, features works by 20th Century North American composers for oboe and piano.
Season 1 of Embrace Everything: The World of Gustav Mahler
was made possible by a generous grant from the Kaplan Foundation
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