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Monday, June 18, 2012

A Lesson On Setting Poetry To Music, With Robin’s Former Choir Director

Robin's former choir director, Ron Cohen, stopped by our studios at WBUR in Boston. (Jesse Costa/Here & Now)

Our favorite choir director, Ron Cohen, formerly of Robin Young’s alma mater John F. Kennedy High School in Plainview Long Island, stopped by our studios to bring us musical selections that illuminate works by writers like Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, and Frederich Schiller.

As he tells Robin Young, these are all pieces where listeners need to pay as much attention to the words as the music.

Ron Cohen’s Picks

  • Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Schwartz “A Simple Song” performed by Peter Hofman along with Michael Tilson Thomas and the Los Angeles Philharmonic
  • Norman Della Jollo “A Jubilant Song” (based on Walt Whitman’s “A Song of Joys”) performed by the Ron Cohen and the John F. Kennedy Choir
  • Randall Thompson “Choose Something Like a Star” (based on a poem by Robert Frost) performed by the S. Talbot Thayer and the Calhoun Choir.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven “Symphony #9 in D Minor, Op. 125 ‘Choral’ IV. Presto” (based on the “Ode to Joy” by Frederich Schiller ) performed by Christoph von Dohnanyi and the Cleveland Orchestra, with Janice Taylor, Carol Vaness, and Siegried Jerusalem.


  • Ron Cohen, Robin’s former Choir Director at JFK High School in Plainview Long Island, New York

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