Wednesday, June 26
Eleanor Wachtel talks to American singer-songerwriter, poet, and visual artist Patti Smith. Patti Smith's influence on the music world never depended on cranking out hits. She's inspired people by knowing and doing what she wants. Two years ago, she won a National Book Award for Just Kids, her memoir about her early life in New York with the radical photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe. Camera Solo - an exhibition of Patti Smith's photographs is on display at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. Eleanor spoke to Patti Smith live on-stage to a packed house in March.
Wednesday, July 3
Eleanor Wachtel, host of Writers & Company, speaks with Lera Auerbach, a Russian-born American composer who's earned comparisons to Dmitri Shostakovich and has been declared one of the most important classical music figures of our time. One of her most successful works to date is The Little Mermaid, a full-length ballet that she wrote in collaboration with the American choreographer, John Neumeier. It's been performed around the world and in October 2012, the DVD version won Europe's equivalent of a Grammy Award. In 2013, two new ballets based on Auerbach's music will open, and the Tokyo String Quartet, one of the most respected instrumental groups in the world, has commissioned Auerbach to write a new work for their farewell tour.
Wednesday, July 10
Eleanor Wachtel speaks with 37-year-old Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the most successful conductor in Canadian history, who has just been made a Companion of the Order of Canada and recently took over the venerable Philadelphia Orchestra. Known for engaging audiences and attracting young people - in Rotterdam, he orchestrated a takeover by his musicians of a warehouse rock concert, surprising the teenage crowd, who loved it and crowd-surfed him. Yannick Nezet-Seguin talks to Eleanor about his life, his passion for classical music from an early age, his mentors and his idea of what's at the heart of being a great orchestra conductor.
Wednesday, July 17
Eleanor Wachtel speaks with Taryn Simon whose art mixes camera-work, writing and graphic design to raise questions about truth and certainty. Born and raised in Long Island, New York, and in her mid-30s, her breakout work looked at American men freed from death row. After 9/11, Taryn Simon began to investigate secret or hidden sites in the United States. Her biggest success to date is called A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters - a huge work, it took four years to produce and involved travelling around the world to photograph very deliberately chosen lines of blood relatives. The book version won first prize at the prestigious Arles Photography festival in 2011.
Wednesday, July 24
Eleanor Wachtel talks to American painter Frank Stella. Since the late 1950s he's been at the forefront of the art world, constantly pushing new ideas for abstract painting. He was the youngest artist ever to have a one man show at the Museum of Modern Art. Frank Stella's latest project is a series of sculptures, or three-dimensional paintings, as he calls them - responding to the harpsichord sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti. They're vibrant and exciting pieces, the marks of an artist who shows no sign of slowing down.
Wednesday, July 31
Deepa Mehta, one of Canada's most respected and cherished filmmakers, talks to Eleanor Wachtel about her life, her career, and her new movie Midnight's Children. It's the first ever big-screen adaptation of a Salman Rushdie novel, and is Mehta's most ambitious work to date.
Wednesday, August 7
Eleanor Wachtel speaks with legendary Greek-born director Costa Gavras, whose latest film, Capital, takes on the world of high finance. Known for his biting and indicting movies like Z, Missing, and Amen, Gavras is credited with 'almost single-handedly creating the genre of the modern political thriller as we know it'. He tells Eleanor about growing up in a family of activists, about leaving Greece and why he couldn't go back, and what he makes of the banking trade and psychology of those steering the recent economic crashes.
Wednesday, August 14
Eleanor Wachtel talks to Robert Carsen, the Canadian who became the world's busiest director of operas. He's in Toronto with one of his most lauded productions, Dialogues des Carmelites, a story of nuns who decided to go to the guillotine rather than renounce their vows during the French Revolution. It's on stage now, performed by the Canadian Opera Company. Robert Carsen tells Eleanor about his early life growing up in a mansion with his art-loving philanthropist parents, and about his spectacular career, and his philosophy of directing, bringing fresh and surprising interpretations to classic operas.
Wednesday, August 21
Eleanor Wachtel speaks with the Canadian architect, philanthropist and social entrepreneur Phyllis Lambert. In the 1950s, she became highly involved in the construction of the landmark Seagram Building designed by Mies van der Rohe. It's often called a turning-point for modern architecture, a moment when social responsibility, beauty and truth counted for more than egotism or mere commercial interests. Lambert later founded the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the world's leading museum dedicated to understanding architecture as an art form.
Wednesday, August 28
A controversial, iconic figure, Yoko Ono is today regarded as a multi-media innovator. At 80, she remains an adventurous and committed conceptual artist and musician, celebrated internationally. In a rare conversation with Eleanor Wachtel, she talks about her traditional, privileged upbringing in Japan, harshly interrupted by World War II, and the spirit of creative experimentation that informs her work in all its variety.