January 20, 2011
Winter Park Institute continued its engaging 2011 season on January 18 with a Writing a Biography workshop given by Terry Teachout, drama critic of The Wall Street Journal. Director of Music/Professor John Sinclair interviewed Teachout, who read excerpts from his unfinished manuscript, an upcoming biography of Duke Ellington titled Black Beauty, due out in 2013. Entertaining the audience with video clips and audio samples of Ellington's most notable compositions, Teachout offered his insight on the iconic musician and his own journey to sculpt his life into a narrative biography.
“When writing about a musician, it's not enough just to talk about the ladies he's entertained; you have to include his music and be able to understand what gives it its long-lasting relevancy, and that's what I bring to the table that other biographers haven't offered before," said Teachout.
Black Beauty will be the first scholarly source published on Duke Ellington in over 20 years. During this time there have been discoveries of resources and new ideas on the life of the man who Teachout described as a "difficult, complicated and manipulative creature." The event gave the audience a close look at what goes into writing a biography, and offered them a sample of Teachout's most recent literary accomplishments.
Sarah Hartman, Class of '11