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Bela Bartok: Finding a Voice Through Folk Music

Bela Bartok had a breakthrough moment in his early 20s, when he heard a peasant woman singing folk songs. From that point on, he collected, recorded (on an Edison phonograph) and notated hundreds of songs from small villages in rural Hungary and Romania. His work preserving the music of those cultures had a profound influence on his own compositions.

Conductor Marin Alsop discusses Bartok and the profound influence the Hungarian composer has had on her career.

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Marin Alsop
In 2007, Marin Alsop became music director of the Baltimore Symphony, making her the first woman to head a major American orchestra. She was named a 2005 MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive the award. Between performances, she appears as an occasional guest on Weekend Edition Saturday and as a commentator for NPR.org's Marin Alsop on Music column.
Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.