How Do You Get To 'Sesame Street'? Practice, Practice, Practice
Appearing on Sesame Street is a rite of passage for many celebrities. Speaking as a parent of a young child myself — and as someone who was part of the first generation to grow up on Big Bird, the Count, Oscar the Grouch and the rest of the pre-Elmo gang — I still enjoy seeing who shows up, from the band OK Go outfitted in totally and charmingly awkward primary colors to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor attempting, only semi-successfully, to enjoy a quiet cafecito with Maria near Mr. Hooper's store.
This past week, the red-hot conductor Gustavo Dudamel joined Elmo to explain the word "stupendous," and it brought me right back to years of seeing classical musicians making very sweet guest turns on the show, like when Seiji Ozawa accompanied "Placido Flamingo" and Philip Glass contributed music for animation. I've pulled up a few of my favorite clips from over the years.
"Stupendous": Gustavo Dudamel
- from Fiesta
- by Gustavo Dudamel
"The Dude" discusses how he gets to hear amazing — stupendous, even — music every day.
"Easy And Hard": Itzhak Perlman
- from Alban Berg, Igor Stravinsky: Violin Concertos
- by Itzhak Perlman
The violinist matter-of-factly — and completely movingly — contrasts two activities with a young child: playing his instrument and walking.
"'C' Is For Cookie": Marilyn Horne
- from Complete Decca Recitals
- by Marilyn Horne
In a setting reminiscent of a staging of Aida, the irrepressible mezzo plunges into a Verdi-style rendition of Cookie Monster's anthem.
"The Jam Session": Yo-Yo Ma
- from Goat Rodeo Sessions
- by Yo-Yo Ma
Long before the Silk Road Ensemble or The Goat Rodeo Sessions, there was Yo-Yo Ma's call-and-response segment with a sax-playing Hoot the Owl.
"The Grouch-keteers": Evelyn Glennie
- from Her Greatest Hits
- by Evelyn Glennie
The drummer encounters a very rude Oscar and a rather hysterically, histrionically enthusiastic Telly.