Rhapsody in Black

Jon Batiste pushes the boundaries of classical music

Jon Batiste received 11 Grammy nominations in 2022.Mick Management

Rhapsody in Black - Jon Batiste


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January 26, 2023

Pianist Jon Batiste has been pushing the boundaries of classical music since he was a child. He grew up in a musical dynasty, like the Jackson 5. He started playing piano at 11, released his first album at 17, and, by 25, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Juilliard School. But that traditional training has not stopped him from fusing jazz and R&B with classical music to create an unforgettable sound.

Musical selections from Jon Batiste

Bohemian Blaccksody

Batiste took the first track, “BLACCK,” from his 2020 Grammy-nominated album Chronology of a Dream: Live at the Village Vanguard, and combined it with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody" to create “Bohemian Blaccksody.”

Movement 11

His groundbreaking composition “Movement 11” caused a commotion for its nomination as best contemporary classical composition during the 2022 Grammys. Some people felt it didn’t belong, but the Recording Academy understands the evolving nature of music. His composition is part of his inherited culture and that of all Black artists who came before him. 

Serenades With a Melodica

Batiste loves playing the melodica, a handheld free-reed instrument similar to a pump organ or harmonica, even though the same feeling was not held by his Julliard professors. Regardless, he kept playing. Listen to him perform on the infamous instrument.


Host: Tesfa Wondemagegnehu

Producer: Dan Nass

Writers: Andrea Blain and Scott Blankenship

Executive Producer: Julie Amacher