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Biography and Autobiography Programs

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Saturday, September 20, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s personal and musical life was inextricably bound up in the city of Vienna. Musicologist Daniel Freeman traces the creative interplay of artist and place.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Thomas Jefferson, an inveterate correspondent, left behind roughly 18,000 letters. J. Jefferson Looney, who served as editor (and sometimes, detective) on an edition of the documents of his final years, reveals the insights into Jefferson’s brilliant mind that these materials offer.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Lynn Sherr, a former ABC News reporter who covered the space program, discusses her new biography of the daring and brilliant woman who broke NASA’s “celestial ceiling.”

Monday, September 29, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Though Andy Warhol coined the phrase “famous for 15 minutes,” he’s never been out of the spotlight since he unveiled those now-iconic soup cans in the early 1960s. Biographer, pal, and confidant Bob Colacello offers a highly personal portrait of the artist as a new edition of his book, Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Close Up, makes its appearance.

Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Mimi, Tosca, Turandot, Butterfly, and Manon: Their music touches your soul and their stories break your heart. Opera expert Fred Plotkin explores Puccini’s gallery of unforgettable heroines, and singers from Washington National Opera perform.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Hometown boy Henry Rollins recalls his role in the influential hardcore punk scene of 1980s Washington and the trailblazing artists it spawned.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Over more than a century, three generations of Wyeths have created a collective portrait of America. Art historian Bonita Billman traces the family tradition reflected in their disparate subjects and styles.

Monday, October 20, 2014 at 6:45 PM

He’s a Pulitzer Prize winner who has interviewed Al Gore for Rolling Stone and Mark Zuckerberg for the New Yorker—and an undocumented immigrant. Jose Antonio Vargas discusses his life as an American with the Newseum’s Frank Bond.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Written in berry juice on newspapers, the contents of the 1871 field diary on which legendary explorer David Livingstone recorded his observations on the African slave trade faded to near-invisibility in just a few years. A team of scholars, scientists, and spectral imaging experts have revealed his words again.

Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Robert Wyatt celebrates the team whose work redefined the structure, spirit, and sound of the American musical.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Before he was 30, he had helped his father develop Rockefeller Center and his mother establish the Museum of Modern Art. At 32, he was Franklin Roosevelt’s wartime coordinator for Latin America. As New York’s four-term governor, he set national standards in education, the environment, and urban policy. Biographer Richard Norton Smith discusses the always-fascinating life of Nelson Rockefeller.

Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Meet the Minister of Silly Walks himself, comic genius John Cleese. Tonight, in an interview with NPR’s “Weekend Edition Saturday” host Scott Simon, he shares the stories behind his success, one laugh at a time.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Follow an American original down the road less traveled. Author Daniel Stashower explores Frost’s life and legacy, and actor Scott Sedar reads a selection of the poet’s most celebrated works.

Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 9:30 AM

In this richly illustrated seminar, art historian Bonita Billman explores the lives and careers of van Gogh and other notable artists in Paris and their depictions of the celebrities and scenes of everyday life in Montmartre—the night life and low life of a bohemian world.