David Remnick with Kelefa Sanneh: Holding the Note

Tue. May 23, 2023 6:30pm - 7:30pm EDT
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The Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and editor of The New Yorker reflects on a half century of American music.

Book Cover of Holding the Note by David RemnickOver the past three decades, David Remnick has profiled some of the greatest creative minds of our time. In his new book, he gathers in one place intimate portraits of some of the most celebrated musicians, songwriters, and performers of the past fifty years including Buddy Guy, Mavis Staples, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and Patti Smith. Mixing interviews, biography, and analysis, Remnick carefully considers their life and work through the lens of time, memory, and place.

Remnick speaks with New Yorker staff writer Kelefa Sanneh about these legendary figures, writing on music, and how the greatest popular songs have a way of embedding themselves in our memories.

To join the event in-person | Doors will open 30 minutes before the program begins. For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, but registration does not guarantee admission. All registered seats are released shortly before start time, and seats may become available at that time. A standby line will form 30 minutes before the program.

To join the livestream | A livestream of this event will be available on the NYPL event page. To receive an email reminder shortly in advance of the event, please be sure to register! If you encounter any issues, please join us on NYPL's YouTube channel.


David Remnick headshot © Brigitte LacombeDavid Remnick has been the editor of The New Yorker since 1998 and before that was a staff writer for the magazine for six years. He was previously The Washington Post’s correspondent in the Soviet Union. He is the author of several books, including King of the World, a biography of Muhammad Ali, named the top nonfiction book of the year by Time magazine in 1998, and Lenin’s Tomb, winner of the Pulitzer Prize.

Kelefa Sanneh headshotKelefa Sanneh is the author of Major Labels: A History of Popular Music in Seven Genres. He has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2008; he is also a contributor to “CBS Sunday Morning.” He came to The New Yorker from The New York Times, where he had been the pop-music critic since 2002. Previously, he was the deputy editor of Transition, a journal of race and culture based at the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute at Harvard University. He lives in New York City with his family.


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In-Person | Assistive listening devices and/or hearing loops are available at the venue. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation or CART (Communication Access Real-Time Translation) captioning service by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email accessibility@nypl.org or use this Gmail template. This venue is fully accessible to wheelchairs. 

Livestream | Captions and a transcript will be provided. Media used over the course of the conversation will be accompanied by alt text and/or audio description. You can request a free ASL (American Sign Language) interpretation by emailing your request at least two weeks in advance of the event: email accessibility@nypl.org or use this Gmail template.



Please submit all press inquiries to Sara Beth Joren at least 48 hours before the event: email sarabethjoren@nypl.org or use this Gmail template.

For all other questions and inquiries, please email publicprograms@nypl.org or use this Gmail template.

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LIVE from NYPL is made possible by the continuing generosity of Celeste Bartos, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos, the Margaret and Herman Sokol Public Education Endowment Fund, and the support of Library patrons and friends.

David Remnick © Brigitte Lacombe
Kelefa Sanneh © Jason Nocito

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Stephen A. Schwarzman Building 476 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10018