Jon Boyd

Jon Boyd's latest featured composer is a nineteenth-century Cuban violinist who became one of the top-ranked violinists in Europe.

Joseph White's story begins in Cuba, where his quick musical development astonished his teachers. With help from a prominent pianist of the day, he raised enough funds to continue his education in Europe. It was the beginning of an illustrious and productive career. 

WMUK commentator Jonathan Boyd fills in the peaks and valleys of Scott Joplin's story for listeners who only know him as the "King of Ragtime." 

He emphasizes Scott Joplin's greatest ambition: creating an opera with a compelling African-American heroine who sheds light on the ignorance of others, which could serve to advance race relations in the United States.

LHI: Jon Boyd on Duke Ellington

Oct 29, 2014
Bettman Archive

WMUK contributor Jon Boyd looks at the ups and downs of the career of Duke Ellington, who moved from Washington, DC to New York to pursue music when he was 20 years old. 

LHI: Jon Boyd On William Grant Still

Oct 15, 2014

WMUK contributor Jon Boyd talks about the life and music of American composer William Grant Still, whose Symphony No. 1 "Afro-American" he ranks as one of his favorite pieces of all time. 

William Grant Still's musical experience ranged from advanced degrees at the Oberlin Conservatory to working as an arranger for W.C. Handy. His pride in his heritage as an African-American showed in the many works he composed which blended blues, jazz, and folk melodies into classical forms. 

WMUK contributor Jonathan Boyd, a violist and music student at Western Michigan University, talks about the extraordinary life of an itinerant virtuoso from New Orleans.  Louis Moreau Gottschalk broke new ground in the Romantic era by incorporating Afro-Cuban rhythms and dances into his Chopin-influenced works.