Does what we put in our heads impact our outlook on life? The media you consume influences how you feel, but how exactly do one’s choices influence mood? Can a dose of music by Aaron Copland get you out of your funk? Will a movement of Igor Stravinsky heard at the wrong time send an emotionally fragile person over the edge?
When the jazz pianist Don Shirley died on April 6, his passing was not widely reported.
A New York Times obituary noted that the Jamaican born virtuoso pianist was trained in the classical repertoire. Later, the impresario Sol Hurok advised Shirley “to pursue a career in popular music and jazz.” Hurok warned Shirley that “American audiences were not willing to accept a ‘colored’ pianist on the concert stage.”