Tom Cole

Tom Cole is an editor on NPR's Arts Desk. 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 Desk, 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.

Thirty years ago this week, an unknown filmmaker walked into a club in Washington, D.C., with a videotape in his hand. It was one of those nights when anyone could screen their work ... but this was the first public screening of a short documentary that's gone on to become the very definition of a cult classic.

Jean-Baptiste "Toots" Thielemans, the Belgian-American musician who cut a singular path as a jazz harmonica player, died in his sleep Monday in his hometown of Brussels. He was 94.

Watching a Terence Davies film is like watching paintings come to life. On the other hand, the filmmaker jokes, "The people who don't like my films say it's about as interesting as paint drying."

Still, Davies (pronounced "Davis") has plenty of defenders. More than one critic has called him Britain's greatest living film director, and French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard — who was famously not a fan of British moviemakers — called Davies' 1988 full-length feature breakout, Distant Voices, Still Lives, "magnificent".

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We're going to travel up the California coast now to remember one of the architects of the San Francisco Sound of the '60s.


The National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, two federal grant-making agencies aimed at investing in American culture, turn 50 on Tuesday. There will be a yearlong celebration commemorating the agencies' history — and future.

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It seemed as if he'd go on forever — and B.B. King was working right up until the end. It's what he loved to do: playing music, and fishing. Even late in life, living with diabetes, he spent about half the year on the road. King died Thursday night at home in Las Vegas. He was 89 years old.

Guitarist and composer John Renbourn co-founded the group Pentangle and went on to become revered by guitarists around the world. Renbourn was found dead of an apparent heart attack at his home in Scotland on Thursday, after failing to show up for a concert. He was 70 years old.

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.

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.

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.

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."