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Regular Features
Live in Studio 4A
Our showcase for artists invited to perform on the program and talk about their music
The PT 50
Our list of 50 essential classical CDs
Piano Puzzlers
Bruce Adolphe's "name that composer" piano quiz
Happy Birthday, Marian!
Marian McPartland Consummate jazz ambassador Marian McPartland celebrates her 85th birthday on March 20, 2003. Long time host of the Peabody Award-winning Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, the legendary jazz pianist doesn't plan to retire any time soon.

Fred's birthday call to Marian
In Fred Child's birthday call to McPartland, Marian exclaims, "Why are people so gone on the idea of retiring? To me, it's just sitting around waiting to die... I'm much happier doing what I'm doing, hearing new piano players, and of course getting paid, and being on the scene and dealing with musicians all the time." As long as she remains healthy enough to play, Marian plans to keep on doing what she's doing.

Few may know that McPartland started off as a classical player. As a child, she desperately wanted to take piano lessons, but instead, her parents insisted that she take violin lessons. Not caring much for the violin, Marian learned to play the piano by ear until the age of 18, when she finally attended the prestigious Guildhall School of Music in London. Her classical training became more of a sideline, though, as Marian was crazy about jazz.

That didn't stop her from the occasional foray into the classical repertoire. When a friend claimed that she couldn't read music well enough to perform a work with an orchestra, Marian wanted to prove him wrong and booked herself with the Rochester Symphony to play Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor, even though she didn't know the piece. She learned the concerto on the road, listening to records of Vladimir Horowitz, and studying the music with a teacher. "Isn't it amazing how anger and fury can lead you to do something so amazing!" she laughs.

Marian plays Grieg
Listen to an excerpt of Marian McPartland performing Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16, with the Rochester Symphony

In Depth