The programs for "Great Conversations in Music" were created and hosted by the late Eugene Istomin (1925-2003), one of the world's most admired classical musicians. The four-part series was commissioned by the Library of Congress in 2001 and produced and directed by Peter Rosen of Peter Rosen Productions, Inc. Filmed between December 2001 and March 2003 at the Library of Congress and the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, the television series spotlighted distinguished pianists, string players, composers and conductors and offered engaging and informative discussions led by Istomin on the state of the art of music. During his more than six decades as a world-class pianist, Eugene Istomin developed close friendships with nearly all of the great names in classical music; he drew on some of these in the closing years of his life to make this series of programs for the Library of Congress. Some of the treasures from the Library's collections sparked lively dialogues among the participants in this series concerning performance practice and pedagogy; the Library of Congress is home to the world's largest repository of music manuscripts and memorabilia, including manuscripts of Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Copland and Bloch.
These programs were broadcast for the first time on WETA-TV in Washington, D.C., in June of 2005 and will be featured on other public broadcasting stations in the future.
For this Web version, additional footage is provided for the four original programs, and another program, entitled "Chamber Music," is released here for the first time. Additional resources are also provided to enhance and support the programs, including written transcripts with helpful notes, a bibliography, a list of related Web sites, biographies of the musicians, and discographies.