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For immediate release
May 15, 2000
Contact: Laura Gross
202-414-2304
lgross@npr.org

A Garland for Linda: The U.S. Broadcast Premiere From NPR® and WNYC New York Program Includes an Interview With Sir Paul McCartney
Saturday, June 3, 2000 at Riverside Church in New York City

New York, NY -Sir Paul McCartney and a British who's who of composers have created nine musical pieces, entitled A Garland for Linda, to celebrate the ex-Beatle's late wife, Linda McCartney. This collection of a cappella choral compositions makes its American broadcast premiere at Riverside Church in New York City on June 3, 2000 at 8:00 p.m. ET. The concert will be broadcast live on National Public Radio® (NPR®) and WNYC New York and will include an exclusive interview with Sir Paul McCartney.

In the interview, conducted by Morning EditionŽ host Bob Edwards, McCartney reflects on his wife and her influence for the musical piece he composed, "She was a real positive spirit. You hardly ever saw her let [the cancer] get her down. . .She would always have a little joke for everything. I try to remember that. I try to remember the positive side." The interview will be broadcast in its entirety during the live premiere of A Garland for Linda. Portions can also be heard during NPR's Peabody-award winning news program Morning Edition with Bob Edwards on Friday, June 2, 2000.

NPR's Susan Stamberg and WNYC's John Schaefer will host the live broadcast concert from Riverside Church, and will feature works by Ralph Vaughan Williams as well as the American premiere of new choral arrangements of classic Beatles songs composed by McCartney and John Lennon. A Garland for Linda is a co-production of National Public Radio and WNYC Radio New York.

Composers who contributed to A Garland for Linda include Sir Paul McCartney, Sir John Tavener, John Rutter, Judith Bingham, David Matthews, Roxanna Panufnik, Michael Berkeley, Giles Swayne, and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. About the works, McCartney says, "I am touched by the musical tributes from the other composers and I am deeply grateful to the performances and organizers of A Garland for Linda. Music does have an extraordinary power to move people and to provide a source of hope."

"A Garland for Linda demonstrates how the whole world of music has benefited from the commitment and energy of Sir Paul McCartney. By lending his name and talents to the project, Sir Paul has brought into being an impressive array of works by leading composers - refreshingly contemporary, and squarely in the glorious tradition of English choral music. NPR is proud to be broadcasting these pieces live to the American public for the very first time," Murray Horwitz, NPR's Vice President of Cultural Programming



At the British premiere, the London Times said the concert, " . . .touches a nerve. The loveliness and intensity of the nine pieces attest to that." The entire concert will be performed by The Riverside Festival Singers and conducted by Helen Cha-Pyo. Flutist Demari McGill and cellist Pitnary Shin will complement the Singers.

Located on New York's Upper West Side, Riverside Church is symbolic to Linda McCartney's friends and family; the concert will take place in the same sanctuary in which a memorial service was held for her on June 22, 1998. This is the second live broadcast featuring Sir Paul McCartney to be broadcast on NPR. The first broadcast was the American premiere of McCartney's symphony Standing Stone performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke's, conducted by Lawrence Foster at Carnegie Hall in November 1997.

A literary framework was developed for A Garland for Linda, as each of the pieces are skillfully intertwined to create a sense of togetherness and belonging. What makes the compositions deeply moving is that each of the composers presents their piece differently within the common themes of healing, hope and the power of music. The inspiration for A Garland for Linda was A Garland for the Queen, in which ten leading British composers contributed new works for a musical celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

The British launch of A Garland for Linda was well received. In July 1999, Sir Paul McCartney and the other composers joined philanthropists, concert-goers, and fans in Surrey, England to hear the premiere of the classical compositions, which brought the audience to its feet. That performance officially launched The Garland Appeal, a registered charity that aims to raise funds for both breast cancer research and British music. In the U.S., the cancer beneficiary is MRI breast cancer research.

On April 25, 2000, EMI Classics released A Garland for Linda, an album of the original works by the nine British composers and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

For more information, please visit NPR's website at www.npr.org, WNYC's website at www.wnyc.org, the Garland Appeal at www.garlandappeal.com or Paul McCartney's website at www.macca-central.com.

Renowned for its journalistic excellence and standard-setting news, information, and cultural programming, NPR serves a growing audience of nearly 15 million Americans each week via more than 625 public radio stations. NPR also distributes programming to listeners in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa via NPR WorldwideSM, to military installations overseas via American Forces Network and throughout Japan via cable.