Tom Cole

Tom Cole is an editor in NPR's Arts Information Unit. He develops, edits, produces, and reports on stories about art, culture, and music for NPR's news magazines Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and All Things Considered. Cole has held these responsibilities since February 1990.

Prior to his work with the Arts and Information Unit, Cole worked for three and a half years as an associate producer for NPR's daily classical music program Performance Today, and also for Morning Edition, where he coordinated and edited news reports and produced music programming.

From April 1979 to July 1986, Cole worked for NPR member station WAMU-FM in Washington, DC. He was the production manager for the daily operation of studios, and also served as a reporter, writing and producing music features that were broadcast locally and nationally. In addition, from October 1985 to November 1986, Cole worked for Voice of America as a producer for VOA Europe.

Since 1977, Cole has been the host and producer of a weekly three-hour program of music and interviews broadcast on public radio station WPFW-FM in Washington.

Over the course of his career, Cole has produced or collaborated on a number of public radio projects. He co-edited the Peabody Award-winning NPR documentary, "I Must Keep Fightin' : The Art of Paul Robeson." He was also an advisor, contributor, and co-editor of the Peabody Award-winning " series, The NPR 100, the top 100 songs of the 20th century.

A native of Washington, D.C., Cole has studied classical guitar at The American University and privately. He also studied comparative literature at Catholic University in Washington, DC, and at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.

Influential photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank has died at the age of 94. He died of natural causes on Monday night in Nova Scotia, Canada. His death was confirmed by his longtime friend and gallerist Peter MacGill.

This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action. Find more at NPR.org/Anthem.

Classical guitarist John Williams reached millions of ears and even hit the charts when he played the main theme to the Oscar-winning 1978 film The Deer Hunter. But by then, Williams was already a classical star on a major record label who'd toured the world many times over.

He released his latest album, On The Wing, earlier this year. And although he announced a retirement from touring a few years ago, he's now 76 and still plays every day.

"But I love doing it so it's not a problem," he says.

Ralph Towner first came to the attention of a wide audience nearly 50 years ago as a member of the Paul Winter Consort, for whom he composed the group's most famous tune, "Icarus." The piece was so beloved, the Apollo 15 astronauts took the record to the moon — and named a crater after it.

Mention Austria and music in the same phrase and some people will think Haydn and Mozart. Others will think of The Sound of Music, with its singing Von Trapp family. In recent years, another musician has been added to this list: Wolfgang Muthspiel, one of the most respected jazz guitarists playing today.

Thirty years ago this week, an unknown filmmaker walked into a club in Washington, D.C., with a videotape in his hand. It was one of those nights when anyone could screen their work ... but this was the first public screening of a short documentary that's gone on to become the very definition of a cult classic.

Derek Gripper was a musician with a problem. He'd been playing classical music since he was 6 years old — violin, then piano and finally guitar. He was poised for an international career as a classical guitarist. But he remembers going to the homeland of one of his favorite composers, Johann Sebastian Bach.

"It felt kind of strange," he says. "It felt strange to be in Germany playing Bach to them."

Jean-Baptiste "Toots" Thielemans, the Belgian-American musician who cut a singular path as a jazz harmonica player, died in his sleep Monday in his hometown of Brussels. He was 94.

Musician and composer Frank Zappa was a lot of things: biting satirist, ferocious critic of societal norms, outspoken defender of free speech. He saw himself as not only an entertainer, but also a serious composer. And he saw no contradiction in being all of these things at once, to the consternation and confusion of the many journalists who interviewed him.

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