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Music

 

The following is a diverse group of musicians — songwriters, sound artists, composers, conductors, and seminal artists — who’ve helped shape how, and why, we listen today.

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Christine Sun Kim

TED Senior Fellow, Sound Artist, and Composer

Christine Sun Kim uses the medium of sound in performance and drawing to investigate her relationship with spoken languages and her aural environment. Born deaf, Kim felt that she had no “ownership” of sound. In her multimedia presentations, she takes claim of sound and the relationship she has forged to it, by liberating the voice from social constraints and norms. 
 
Vijay Gupta

Founder of Street Symphony | 2018 MacArthur Fellow | TED Senior Fellow

Vijay Gupta is a violinist and educator whose efforts to merge music with mental health are changing the world, note by note. Gupta is the founder of Street Symphony—a musical advocacy program that empowers citizen-musicians by engaging with communities experiencing extreme poverty, incarceration, and homelessness. The results have been extraordinary.   
Patti Smith

Punk Rock Legend and Author of Just Kids, winner of The National Book Award | Author of Year of the Monkey (Sept. 2019)

Named one of the most influential people in the world in TIME Magazine’s TIME 100, Patti Smith is a poet, singer, songwriter, photographer, and fine artist. A seminal American artist, Smith has produced a body of work whose influence branches out through generations, across disciplines, and around the world.  
Jeff Chang

Social Historian | Author of We Gon’ Be Alright and Can't Stop Won't Stop | VP of Narrative, Arts, and Culture at Race Forward

“Culture moves before politics,” says Jeff Chang, who writes on art, multiculturalism, and racial progress in post-civil rights America with the sweeping authority of the best social historians. In We Gon’ Be Alright—his acclaimed essay collection, adapted into a digital series—he explores the meaning of diversity in an era of racial and economic resegregation: telling a lively and tumultuous narrative of modern American life.
 
Chuck Klosterman

Renowned Cultural Critic | Author of Ten Books, Including Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs

Pop culture, in all its distracting glitz, isn’t just entertainment. It is culture—American culture. And our most insightful guide is Chuck Klosterman. In his bestselling, culture-defining books, he’s pinned down modern America like no one else. And in fun, funny talks, he not only cuts to the bone of our media-saturated moment, but makes it the site of our shared, unlikely commonality.