American Masters spotlights musical genius of Robert Shaw

The life of Robert Shaw, who inspired generations of music and musicians with his scores and adaptations, takes the baton on American Masters this Sunday, June 23, at 2 p.m. on Arizona PBS.

WATCH: “Robert Shaw: Man of Many Voices” on American Masters

Narrated by David Hyde Pierce, the biography traces Shaw’s journey as one of America’s greatest choral music conductors. Renowned for his interpretations of classical music’s choral masterpieces, Robert Shaw (April 30, 1916 – January 25, 1999) had no formal training yet inspired generations of musicians with the power of music. Known as the “dean of American choral singing,” Shaw’s career spanned six decades.

He was the son of a preacher and a self-taught musician who sold millions of recordings and received 16 Grammy Awards, a George Peabody Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Music in America, a Guggenheim fellowship and a National Medal of the Arts.

He was an early champion of the Civil Rights movement. But he also struggled with alcohol, anger and insecurity.

Interviews include musicians Yo-Yo Ma, Sylvia McNair, Alice Parker, Marietta Simpson and Florence Kopleff, as well as President Jimmy Carter and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young. The film is packed with powerful performances, the film features a treasure trove of rare archival letters, photographs and concert footage gathered from around the world.

 

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