For more than a quarter-century, saxophonist Paul Winter has celebrated the longest night of the year with a concert. For the 20th straight year, NPR presents Paul Winter's annual Winter Solstice Celebration, held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in upper Manhattan.
Backed by the Paul Winter Consort, Winter's soaring soprano sax drives a spectacle of theater, dance and music. WNYC's John Schaefer hosts the broadcast, welcoming guests such as Brazilian singer Renato Braz, gospel singer Theresa Thomason and double-reed master Paul McCandless.
In 1962, the U.S. State Department sent Winter and his college jazz band on a tour of Latin America. That experience helped cement the saxophonist's deep fascination with music and culture from around the world.
A few years afterward, Winter launched the Paul Winter Consort, the core performing group for the annual Winter Solstice concerts. Each year, its members are joined by international musicians to celebrate the return of the sun at the world's largest Gothic cathedral.