Winter Park Institute

Terry Teachout

The Wall Street Journal Theater critic and author


Terry Teachout: Duke Ellington; The Man Behind the Mask

Speaker Video

Event Details

Drama critic of The Wall Street Journal, author, and playwright Terry Teachout will discuss his latest book Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington.

Speaker Bio

Terry Teachout is the drama critic of The Wall Street Journal, the critic-at-large of Commentary, and the author of "Sightings," a biweekly column for the Friday Journal about the arts in America. He also writes about the arts on his blog, “About Last Night” ( His latest book, Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington, will be published by Gotham Books in October. He wrote part of Duke at the MacDowell Colony and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012 to support the book completion. Satchmo at the Waldorf, his first play, was premiered in 2011 in Orlando, Florida, and was produced last year by Shakespeare & Company of Lenox, Massachusetts, Long Wharf Theatre of New Haven, Connecticut, and the Wilma Theater of Philadelphia. 

Teachout's previous books include Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, All in the Dances: A Brief Life of George Balanchine, and The Skeptic: A Life of H.L. Mencken. He has also written the libretti for three operas by Paul Moravec, The Letter (premiered by the Santa Fe Opera in 2009), Danse Russe (premiered by Philadelphia's Center City Opera Theater in 2011), and The King's Man (premiered by Kentucky Opera in 2013).

A graduate of William Jewell College, Teachout played jazz bass professionally in Kansas City before becoming a full-time writer. He contributed to The Oxford Companion to Jazz and Robert Gottlieb’s Reading Dance and has written track notes for Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology and liner notes for albums by Karrin Allyson, Diana Krall, Marian McPartland, Maria Schneider, Luciana Souza, and other artists. He served on the National Council on the Arts from 2004 to 2010. He lives with his wife Hilary in New York City and Connecticut.