Donal Fox: Bach to Monk

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Donal Fox [Lou Jones]

The pianist Donal Fox is a bridge-builder between Johann Sebastian Bach and Thelonius Monk. He plays a sort of music without frontiers – open source music, in a sense – with a gift for improvisation that used to be an essential trick in all forms and styles of music, including European classical music. It was called “extemporization??? and all the great masters – Beethoven, Mozart, Handel and Bach – wrote open spaces into their scores for spur-of-the-moment musical statements by other performers. The boy wonder of the 19th Century piano, Franz Liszt, age 12, would ask anyone in the audience to provide a theme on which he’d perform an “extemporary fantasy??? as long as he felt like it. It is mainly jazz that has kept improvisational skills alive. And now it’s Donal Fox and a rare few others who have repositioned that jazz feeling of freedom on the firm old foundations of classical composition, and made them swing.

Donal Fox

Composer and Pianist

John Lockwood


Ron Savage


Extra-Credit Reading and Listening

Our other classical to jazz show, Dvorak to Duke Ellington, with Maurice Peres.

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  • sjc

    Great show and very clear explainations about the hippnes of Bach! Be sure to talk abut Donal’s gig in NYC next week. He’ll be at Dizzy’s Club. Then it’s off to perform a commissioned work with the Albany Symphony…

    Very cool Open Source tonight!

  • cheesechowmain

    Excellent show.

    Has Donal done any work with computational music in spirit of say avant-garde musician/composer Matthew Shipp.

  • cheesechowmain

    Perhaps a better way to ask my early question, does Donal see a way to integrate computation and traditional instruments? Matthew Shipp is one example of many.

  • Wow what a great show! Thanks R/O/S for introducing me to a great musician and a warm personality. Good luck with everything Donal!

  • loki

    The Rebirth of Cool!

  • Potter

    Beautiful show! Great music! I just ordered a CD from him (from the link to his website). ( He’s not on itunes. )

  • locloud

    Christopher, the Daniel Fox show is a delight, kind of master class, i love it . I have discover your show last july and became regular since.

    God bless public radio!!

  • DougieFresh

    One of the things I loved about this show was that there was just as much music as talking about music. Now the search is on for Donal Fox music. Thank you for having this show on and as always making the commute home enjoyable. This program is one of my favorites so far.

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