Winner 2003

American Mavericks

Minnesota Public Radio, in association with the San Francisco Symphony

This groundbreaking 13-part radio series and accompanying Web site focus on some of the most inventive artists in the history of 20th Century American concert music. The series presents the biographies, the music, and the ideas of 20th century composers who broke with European tradition to create music based on pure sound. American Mavericks explains how a distinctly American “classical” music developed as the country developed during the last 100 years. Hosted by pop icon and musical innovator Suzanne Vega, the key commentator is Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony. They focus on the ideas behind the music more than on the music itself. While the radio programs offer stories, art history, and an introduction to concepts behind the music, the Web site offers the full recordings of much of the music. The truly inventive site also has an interactive, digitally-recreated virtual symphony of experimental musical instruments, games, videos, and 60 hours of interviews and correspondence. Produced by Minnesota Public Radio, the executive producer for American Mavericks was Sarah Lutman. Tom Voegeli served as producer and director. The series was written by Voegeli and Kyle Gann, music critic for the Village Voice. Alan Baker and Gabrielle Zuckerman served as associate producers with managing producer, Mary Lee. The web team included John Pearson, Preston Wright and Ben Tesch. For a superb introduction to the eclectic and sometimes eccentric world of American iconoclastic music, a Peabody Award goes to American Mavericks.