History of Live From Lincoln Center

Live From Lincoln Center is a cornerstone of performing arts broadcasting, presenting the world’s greatest artists and performances in music, dance and theater from Lincoln Center’s renowned stages. Now in its 39th season on PBS, the pioneering series—produced by Lincoln Center Media Productions—has been seen by hundreds of millions of viewers since its debut and celebrated by 13 Emmy Awards and other honors for its broadcasting excellence.

Live From Lincoln Center is made possible by a major grant from MetLife. The series is also made possible with generous support from Thomas H. Lee and Ann Tenenbaum, the Robert Wood Johnson 1962 Charitable Trust, the Robert and Renée Belfer Family Foundation, Mercedes T. Bass, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Live From Lincoln Center Biographies:

Andrew Carl Wilk

Kirk Browning

The longtime director of Live From Lincoln Center, Kirk Browning, died on February 10, in Manhattan where he lived. Browning was 86.

Kirk Browning who won three prime-time Emmy Awards for directing during his career, had hundreds of television productions to his credit, including 185 broadcasts of Live From Lincoln Center beginning with its inaugural telecast in 1976.

He came a long way from his days of raising chickens and sheep on his Connecticut farm in the late 1940's. A customer on his egg route, Sam Chotzinoff, then the head of NBC's Music Division, offered Browning a job in the music library at NBC. He began by filing scores—but soon found himself directing live telecasts of the NBC Symphony with Arturo Toscanini. Before long, he was named a Stage Manager at the new NBC Opera Company. Soon after, he was graduated to Director. It was at NBC that Browning began to hone the techniques that would later stand him in such good stead on Live From Lincoln Center, and to develop his directorial trademark—a probing camera, constantly in motion, that vividly explores character and dramatic conflict. It was also during those days that he came to understand and live with the challenges and pressures of live television. He said it's simple: “You just have to be terribly focused and organized, and at the same time remain objective enough so that if disaster strikes, you never lose your cool.” After all, he said, “there's nothing more thrilling than capturing the spontaneity of a live performance.”

In addition to Live From Lincoln Center, Mr. Browning's directing credits read like a listing from a “Who's Who” in television programming; he did everything from Frank Sinatra's first TV show to Arthur Miller's “Death of A Salesman,” made for A&E and starring Brian Dennehy. He directed for WNET's “Live from the Met” and “Great Performances”; Hallmark Hall of Fame music and drama specials; Philadelphia Orchestra telecasts and Broadway specials, Pavarotti at Madison Square Garden, White House specials and the list goes on and on. In addition to his Emmy Awards, Mr. Browning received two Christopher Awards, a CITA Award, a George Foster Peabody Award, and countless Emmy nominations.

Martin Bookspan

MARTIN BOOKSPAN was Commentator for LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER for 30 years, since the very first broadcast in January, 1976 until our 30th Anniversary broadcast in 2006. Martin's lifelong love and appreciation for music and all the performing arts have fueled and shaped his distinguished career in both print and broadcast media, which has included associations with the Boston Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, classical music radio station WQXR, and television Channel 7 News and Channel 11 News in New York City. Martin Bookspan is the author of 101 Masterpieces of Music and Their Composers (Doubleday) and Consumer Reports Reviews: Classical Recordings (Consumers Union), as well as biographies of Zubin Mehta and André Previn, written with Ross Yockey.

Asked how it all started, Martin stated: "I grew up in the days before television, listening to music on the radio and records. And I loved classical music and musicians - especially Heifetz and Koussevitzky. In fact, I set out to become a violinist! But eventually - after a couple of what I like to call 'educational' experiences onstage!- I decided I wasn't going to be my generation's Heifetz. I remember sitting on the steps of the Boston tenement I lived in, when I was about twelve, talking to the girl next door about what we wanted to be when we grew up. I don't recall what she said, but I remember telling her, 'I want a life in music, and I want to talk on the radio about music and help people enjoy it.' I loved talking about music- and I still do. So broadcasting and journalism were a natural choice."

In the non-broadcast arena, Martin Bookspan has served as a consultant to the Arts Program of the Rockefeller Foundation, as a panelist on numerous programs of the National Endowment for the Arts, as Director of the Concert Division of ASCAP, and as board member of a variety of musical organizations. He currently serves as Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.

In celebrating his 80th birthday at Tanglewood in the summer of 2006, the Boston Symphony Orchestra dedicated a concert broadcast to his fabled career. He not only served as co-host, but excerpts were played from interviews he conducted with Serge Koussevitzky (1949) and Leonard Bernstein (1989).

In November, 2006 he will have been inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in Cincinnati---the first broadcaster to be so honored.

Fred Child

Fred Child is the host of America's most-listened-to classical music radio show, NPR's Performance Today. The program reaches 1.5 million listeners every week on 250 stations around the country. Performance Today features classical music in concert from across the nation and around the world, music in concert from the NPR studios, plus classical music news, interviews and issues.

The list of concert performers and studio guests on Performance Today is a Who's Who of the classical music world: the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Yo Yo Ma, Gil Shaham, Midori, Maxim Vengerov, Itzhak Perlman, Andrew Manze, Pierre Boulez, John Adams, John Tavener, Placido Domingo, Renee Fleming, Cecelia Bartoli, the Emerson Quartet, the Eroica Trio, Sir Simon Rattle, Lorin Maazel, Daniel Barenboim, Michael Tilson Thomas, Ravi Shankar, Mikhail Pletnev, Emanuel Ax, and Alfred Brendel, to name just a few. Several times each year, Performance Today also features young American soloists with the potential for great careers, as "Young Artists in Residence."

Fred is also the host of NPR's "Creators @ Carnegie," a program of wide-ranging performers in concert at Carnegie Hall, including Brian Wilson, David Byrne, Randy Newman, Dawn Upshaw, Youssou N'Dour, Caetano Veloso, Emmylou Harris, and others.

In recent years, Fred has hosted a series of important live national concert broadcasts, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic's first ever concerts from Walt Disney Hall, the 2003 season-opening concert at Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Philharmonic live at Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic's world premiere of John Adams's "On the Transmigration of Souls," the Last Night of the Proms from the Royal Albert Hall in London, New Year's concerts by the New York Philharmonic, Seiji Ozawa's final concert with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, and James Levine's debut as Music Director of the Boston Symphony.

Mr. Child's 9/11 cultural reporting was part of coverage that earned NPR a 2001 George Foster Peabody Award. His 2002 reading of the audio book "Getting to Know William Shakespeare" won an Audie Award from the Audio Publishers Association.

Fred's CD reviews appear on NPR's All Things Considered, his classical music reports appear on NPR's Morning Edition and Weekend Edition. He's been a contributor to Billboard magazine, and a commentator for BBC Radio 3.

Fred does pre-concert talks for Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Baltimore Symphony, the Aspen Festival, and Summerfest LaJolla. Before going to NPR, Fred was Music Director and Director of Cultural Programming at WNYC in New York, host of a live daily performance and interview program on WNYC, and for 10 years, a host at Oregon Public Broadcasting. While growing up in Portland, Oregon, Fred studied classical piano. He also dabbles in guitar, percussion, and the bagpipes. His percussion band opened for the Grateful Dead at the Oakland Coliseum. He has narrated works at the Aspen Festival, with the Virginia Symphony, and with the U.S. Marine Band. His rare public performances include percussion with guitarist Sharon Isbin, and piano four-hands duets with Andre-Michel Schub. Fred throws right, bats left. He's an avid tennis player, skier, cyclist, runner, and a licensed private pilot.