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New Podcast Series 'Embrace Everything: The World Of Gustav Mahler' Launches With Symphony No. 1, July 7

Season 1 focuses on Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D major

New Podcast Series 'Embrace Everything: The World Of Gustav Mahler' Launches With Symphony No. 1, July 7

The Embrace Everything podcast series, created and hosted by award-winning radio producer Aaron Cohen, is an exploration and celebration of the music of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) via a journey through his symphonies. Through commentary by Mr. Cohen, interviews with leading Mahler interpreters and scholars, readings from the letters of Mahler and his contemporaries, and through the sounds of the symphonies themselves, each season of the series will guide listeners through one of these landmark works in the orchestral repertoire.

Season 1 focuses on Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D major (1888), taking listeners back to the work's origins in the street songs, folk tunes, and bugle calls of Mahler's childhood. Each episode is devoted to a particular movement of the symphony, and guest commentators include Michael Tilson Thomas, who recorded a multi-Grammy Award-winning Mahler symphony cycle with the San Francisco Symphony, and Kent Nagano, who has conducted and recorded Mahler's music with orchestras around the world.

The series launches on Mahler's birthday-Tuesday, July 7-when all four episodes of Season 1 will become available for free on-demand listening via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify, among other streaming platforms. That evening, at 9:00 p.m. ET, New York Public Radio's classical music station, WQXR, airs a special one-hour radio adaptation of Season 1. The program will subsequently re-air on the station; details to be announced.

Creator and producer Aaron Cohen remarked:

"Mahler famously said, "A symphony must be like the world, it must embrace everything." I think that's the key to what he's doing musically, asking his listeners to open themselves to the entire world. I've always had the sense Mahler's music is about more than music. It's cosmic in a way. It's as if he's found a way to wake up something buried deep inside all of us, a sense of wonder, a profound sense of aliveness. For me, a good Mahler performance is almost like a religious experience; it's thrilling beyond words. He wanted to lift us up, to take us beyond ourselves, and I think he succeeds. In these documentary programs I wanted to get as close to that musical magic as I could."

Mr. Cohen conceived of this Mahler series in 2010. In 2015, he began the process of interviewing guests and producing the series, after five years of preparation that included extensive reading on Mahler, a research trip to Vienna, and a radio feature on Mahler's Symphony No. 2 for WQXR's Carnegie Hall Live.

The complete series will include guest commentary from nearly 100 conductors, orchestral musicians, and scholars, including many of today's leading interpreters of and authorities on Mahler's music. All guests have extensive first-hand experience with the music being discussed, offering an abundance of insights into what makes it so unique. Season 1 guests are conductors Kent Nagano (Hamburg State Opera and Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony Orchestra) and Michael Tilson Thomas (New World Symphony, San Francisco Symphony); orchestra musicians William Hudgins (Principal Clarinet, Boston Symphony Orchestra), Jennifer Montone (Principal Horn, Philadelphia Orchestra), and Dominic Seldes (Principal Bass, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra); and scholars Philip V. Bohlman (University of Chicago), Christian Glanz (University of Music & Performing Arts, Vienna), Caroline Kita (Washington University in St. Louis), Christine Lee Gengaro (Los Angeles City College), and Marilyn McCoy (Columbia University). For readings of historical documents, Season 1 features actor James Lurie as the voice of Mahler, and Laura Gragtmans as the voice of Natalie Bauer-Lechner, a violist and close friend of the composer.

Interviews for future seasons have already been recorded with members of the Cleveland Orchestra; the Berlin, New York, and Vienna Philharmonics; and the Chicago, London, and Montreal Symphonies, among other ensembles.

Season 2, which will comprise five episodes devoted to Mahler's Symphony No. 2 in C minor (1894), is scheduled for release in 2021.

For more information about the Embrace Everything podcast, visit Also follow the podcast on Facebook ( and Twitter (@worldofmahler).

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