Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A Conversation with Composer John Kander

A familiar sight and sound: John Kander at the piano.
Liane Hansen, NPR
A familiar sight and sound: John Kander at the piano.

Composer John Kander and lyricist Fred Ebb are the heart and soul of some of the most recognizable songs of stage and screen: "Cabaret," "All That Jazz" and of course, "New York, New York."

Their partnership lasted 40 years, and when Fred Ebb died in 2004, they still had four different musicals in the works.

Kander has just turned 79. Liane Hansen paid a visit to his Manhattan home studio... a cozy basement room with a garden view and a baby grand piano.

Minstrel Show is one of the four projects under way before Ebb's death. The others are an original musical called Curtains, a musical based on The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder and a musical version of the Friedrich Durrenmatt play The Visit.

Start spreading the news.

This story was produced by Elaine Heinzman.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Liane Hansen
Liane Hansen has been the host of NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years. She brings to her position an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter, and on-air host at both the local and national level. The program has covered such breaking news stories as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deaths of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In 2004, Liane was granted an exclusive interview with former weapons inspector David Kay prior to his report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The show also won the James Beard award for best radio program on food for a report on SPAM.