BBC Radio 3's The Colour Of Genius by Ella Spira

The Colour of Genius

The Colour of Genius is a BBC Radio 3 program on Philippa Schuyler by Ella Spira, broadcast in October 2011

Schulyer, a forgotten American genius, was flag-bearer for gender and racial equality whose career as pianist and composer was destroyed by prejudice and a mother who sculpted her life as a genetic experiment.

Philippa Schuyler’s life should have been one of fame and reward. Fêted by composer Leonard Bernstein, her work was performed by five leading American orchestras in her teens. She was ranked alongside Aaron Copland. But in reality it was a deeply traumatic career.

For Ella Spira she is a fascinating enigma, a kindred spirit as a woman in a man’s world. But can her talent ever be separated from the complexities which surrounded it, a life as a ‘prodigy puppet’ ruled by tarot cards and failed love affairs, and her bizarre death in a helicopter accident over Vietnam after recasting herself from black to white?

The Colour of Genius (sample)

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