The Music Makers
There may be no other craft that lends itself to infinite experimentation more than music—an endeavor that has nursed human creativity ever since the earliest days of the Stone Age, on every continent and in every culture. This summer, as music festivals and concert tours return in full force, we offer you a fresh collection of stories highlighting some of our most interesting (and unusual) musicians, instrument makers, and other masters of music.
When a promising rock musician tired of the road and the pressure, he gave up music and got a job at a hardware store. Then one day, he had a revelation.
Written by NANCY LEBRUN
Photography by STEPHEN KRAMER
In the 1970s, Hohner, the world’s largest harmonica manufacturer, changed its flagship model, and in the process its signature sound. A few musicians and harp customizers waged a quiet rebellion. And they won.
Written by BEN MARKS
In honor of Juneteenth and Black Music Month, take a tour through the history—and the sounds—of the musical culture that has been a cherished folkway in and around the nation’s capital for decades.
Written by ALONA WARTOFSKY
The late Butch Morris, a figure from the outer edges of jazz, reimagined conducting as a form of composition, coining his own word for the combination of the two.
Written by FRANCIS DAVIS
Of all the wind instrument players in an orchestra, oboists are among the few who have to spend more time making their reeds than playing their music. As the comic monologist Josh Kornbluth has painfully learned, just one of the myriad micro-adjustments that reed makers create will make a world of difference in their music.
Written by JEFF GREENWALD
Photography by SCOTT CHERNIS
Other Topics In This Issue
Inside some Italian prisons, female inmates are using discarded fabrics to handcraft a range of goods to sell, and learning valuable job skills—literally stitching up their lives behind bars.
Story and film by LUISA GROSSO
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Written by Nancy LeBrun Narrated by Avanthika Srinivasan
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Written by JEFF GREENWALD Narrated by JEFF GREENWALD