Ellen Kushner bio
Ellen Kushner unites her talents as writer, producer and storyteller in her role as host of PRI's "Sound & Spirit with Ellen Kushner." Bringing an intellectual openness, a keen ear, a lush voice and a genuine enthusiasm to each show, Kushner has deftly crafted "Sound & Spirit" into what Bill Moyers calls "the best program on public radio, bar none."
A graduate of Barnard College's Program in the Arts, Kushner also studied anthropology, ethnomusicology and folklore at Bryn Mawr College. She first worked in New York City as a fiction editor, copywriter and artists' representative before moving to Boston to join WGBH Radio as the host of some memorably eclectic local programs. She was selected to become the national host of WGBH's innovative "Nakamichi International Music Series" (distributed by PRI) and went on to produce three award-winning Jewish holiday specials for PRI before being invited to create and host "Sound & Spirit," which first went on national air in April 1996.
Kushner's family holiday story, "The Golden Dreydl: A Klezmer 'Nutcracker' for Chanukah" (2002 Gracie Allen Award), which she performs live every year in several cities with Shirim Klezmer Orchestra, originated as a "Sound & Spirit" radio project, and is now commercially available on CD from Rykodisc. For Rykodisc she and her staff also created the "Sound & Spirit" collection "Welcoming Children Into the World." Her adult performance piece, "Esther: The Feast of Masks" (2004 Gracie Allen Award), has been broadcast on "Sound & Spirit" and tours the United States.