Tom Cole

Tom Cole is an editor in NPR's Arts Information Unit. He develops, edits, produces, and reports on stories about art, culture, and music for NPR's news magazines Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and All Things Considered. Cole has held these responsibilities since February 1990.

Prior to his work with the Arts and Information Unit, Cole worked for three and a half years as an associate producer for NPR's daily classical music program Performance Today, and also for Morning Edition, where he coordinated and edited news reports and produced music programming.

From April 1979 to July 1986, Cole worked for NPR member station WAMU-FM in Washington, DC. He was the production manager for the daily operation of studios, and also served as a reporter, writing and producing music features that were broadcast locally and nationally. In addition, from October 1985 to November 1986, Cole worked for Voice of America as a producer for VOA Europe.

Since 1977, Cole has been the host and producer of a weekly three-hour program of music and interviews broadcast on public radio station WPFW-FM in Washington.

Over the course of his career, Cole has produced or collaborated on a number of public radio projects. He co-edited the Peabody Award-winning NPR documentary, "I Must Keep Fightin' : The Art of Paul Robeson." He was also an advisor, contributor, and co-editor of the Peabody Award-winning " series, The NPR 100, the top 100 songs of the 20th century.

A native of Washington, D.C., Cole has studied classical guitar at The American University and privately. He also studied comparative literature at Catholic University in Washington, DC, and at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.

5:07am

Wed December 11, 2013
A Blog Supreme

Remembering Jim Hall, A Different Sort Of Guitar God

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:10 am

Jim Hall performs with his trio and fellow guitarist Julian Lage at the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Jim Hall was a guitar god, but not in the sense that he could blaze through a zillion notes a minute. He was worshipped by guitarists around the world, but you'd never know it from talking to him.

"I don't really have all that much technique anyway, so I try to the best with what I have you know," he said to me earlier this year.

Read more

7:30pm

Mon April 22, 2013
The Record

Richie Havens, Folk Singer Who Opened Woodstock, Has Died

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 3:05 pm

The crowd at Richie Havens' Woodstock-opening set on Aug. 15, 1969.
Paul DeMaria New York Daily News via Getty Images

Richie Havens once told NPR that he believed all music is folk music. Listen to Havens speak about Woodstock, Greenwich Village and why he loved performing in Neda Ulaby's remembrance, broadcast on Morning Edition, at the audio link on this page.

Read more

5:22pm

Wed February 13, 2013
The Record

Saving The Sounds Of America

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 9:44 pm

A 16-inch lacquer disc, a format used in the 1930s, from the collection of the Library of Congress. Most of the lacquer, the part of the disc where the sound was etched, has been lost to decay.
Abby Brack Library of Congress

We've been able to record sound for over 125 years, but many of the recordings that have been made in that time are in terrible shape. Many more, even recordings made in the past 10 years, are in danger because rapid technological changes have rendered their software obsolete. So Wednesday, the Library of Congress unveiled a plan to help preserve this country's audio archives.

Read more

7:33am

Sat November 10, 2012
Commentary

What A Life: The Day I Met Elliott Carter

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 11:29 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Elliott Carter died this week, a month shy of his 104th birthday. He had a huge influence on modern classical music. So in 2008, when Elliott Carter was celebrating his centennial, NPR's Tom Cole went to New York City to interview him. And he has this remembrance of what it was like to meet the storied composer.

TOM COLE, BYLINE: I was terrified. I mean, this was a man who had lived history; a composer who'd won two Pulitzer Prizes, for his Second and Third String Quartets.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Read more

6:58am

Sun July 22, 2012
Music Interviews

Janet Feder: An Avant-Garde Artist Takes A Real Risk

Originally published on Mon July 23, 2012 11:46 am

Janet Feder built a career on unusual instrumental guitar playing. Her new album, Songs With Words, will feature her singing for the first time.
Courtesy of the artist

Janet Feder does things to her guitar.

"If I play the second string with nothing on it, it sounds like this," Feder says, plucking out a note. "Just a pure pitch."

Read more

1:30pm

Thu June 9, 2011
The Record

Steve Popovich, Producer And Label Exec Who Signed Meat Loaf, Is Dead

Steve Popovich, who died Wednesday, was one of those old-fashioned guys who started at the bottom and worked his way up to the top but never forgot why he got into the music business. It might sound like a cliché but it's true, and it's a good story. Popovich died in Tennessee, where he lived. He was 68 years old.

Read more

6:45pm

Tue May 10, 2011
The Record

Library of Congress Launches 'National Jukebox'

"Livery Stable Blues" by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band is considered to be the first jazz recording ever released.
Recorded Sound Section, MBRS Division, Library of Congress

The National Jukebox is spinning tunes – and you don't have to drop any coin to get it to play. Today the Library of Congress and Sony Music Entertainment announced the launch of what's being billed as "the largest collection of historical recordings ever made publicly available online."

Read more

12:30pm

Tue April 26, 2011
The Record

Phoebe Snow, 'Poetry Man' Singer, Has Died

Phoebe Snow had one of the most distinctive voices in pop music. It went silent Tuesday morning, more than a year after Snow suffered a brain hemorrhage. She was 58.

Snow was 22 when "Poetry Man" reached the Top 10 in 1975. The song sounded like nothing else on the radio. It was refreshing and unusual to see someone embraced on the strength of her voice and songwriting alone — and not her looks. She was not the prefab concoction we've come to know as a pop princess, yet Snow soon graced the cover of Rolling Stone.

Read more

3:27pm

Mon April 25, 2011
The Record

A Kink Kook Listens Again — This Time With A Critical Ear

The Kinks are my favorite band. I am what used to be called (by their lame publicity machine anyway) a "Kink Kook."

Read more

12:30pm

Thu April 14, 2011
Song Of The Day

John Renbourn: Renaissance Dance

John Renbourn was among the best of the guitarists to come out of the British folk-rock, folk-jazz, folk-Baroque or whatever-you-want-to-call-it movement of the early 1960s. Davey Graham forged the path of combining jazz, classical and folk on a fingerpicked, steel-stringed guitar.

Read more

5:31pm

Tue April 12, 2011
A Blog Supreme

Billy Bang, Jazz Violinist And Vietnam Veteran, Dies At 63

Billy Bang, a violinist known for intense performances and a wide-ranging sensibility, died Monday night, his manager Jean-Pierre Leduc confirmed. Bang, who had been suffering from lung cancer, was 63.

Born William Walker in 1947, Bang was an important figure on the experimental jazz scene that blossomed in New York in the 1970s. But he gained wider recognition in the last decade for a series of recordings which drew on his military service during the Vietnam War.

Read more