“These songs – our songs – say everything, through the eyes of our poets and the ears of our composers, about the culture we call American.” — Thomas Hampson
Thomas Hampson continues his impassioned advocacy for American song with the introduction this October of “Song of America”, a 13-week radio series that reveals American classic song – poetry set to music by American composers – as a vibrant diary of the American experience. Hampson conceived and developed the series, which is co-produced by the Hampsong Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network of Chicago and will be syndicated by the network to public radio stations across the country. The network will also offer the series to members of the European Broadcasting Union and to stations in other countries around the world. Each hour-long program focuses on a particular topic that sheds light on a larger theme in American history, and includes approximately 40 minutes of songs drawn from archival and modern recordings, plus stories and insights from Hampson about the people and events that inspired those songs. Several programs also feature interviews with experts from related fields. Programs include Stephen Foster, dedicated exclusively to the 19th-century songwriter who is considered the father of American music; Whitman and Music, examining the great poet and the music that shaped him as well as his deep influence on American composers; “There Is No Gender in Music”, exploring the contributions of American women composers; and Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance, which traces the roots and influences of the great 20th-century poet who gave jubilant voice to the lives of African Americans.