Music with Minnesotans: Bonnie Marshall

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
May 9, 2012

St. Paul, Minn. — What a delight to meet Bonnie Marshall. She's a sunny personality, but it's her curiosity about the world and music that makes her so enchanting.

Bonnie raises money for the American Composers Forum as the Vice President of Development. Her background is in jazz — mainly through listening to the "vinyl catalog of the great American jazz composers." Growing up in a blue collar neighborhood of New Jersey, Bonnie says there just weren't youth orchestras or music camps or the Suzuki method.

So her introduction to music in general was from the messiness and rawness of jazz performances — ones improvised and never the same twice. This led her musical tastes to be open to eclectic and adventurous music, whether mainstream or super "crunchy."

And that makes her perfect for a job working with living, breathing and creating composers. Bonnie tells me a story about writing a grant for commission funds from the National Endowment for the Arts for the very talented American composer Christopher Theofanidis and that she listened to one of his pieces hundreds of times while writing.

Listening like that — and also meeting and getting to know so many composers personally — Bonnie finds the processes of these composers and their development as artists thrilling and always intriguing and that adds to her joy when listening to their music.

Bonnie Marshall's playlist:

Christopher Theofanidis, Rainbow Body - Spano/Atlanta

Gabriela Frank, Hilos - ALIAS Chamber Ensemble

Graham Reynolds, String Abstractions: No. 7. Blue Pepper

Next week University of Minneosta Biology professor John Pastor is my guest. His name in Hungarian is Janos Pasztor and he brings a creative mix of Hungarian music and musicians.

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