Nationally public, BJ Leiderman birthdays unabashed

Staff reports

Since moving to the Swannanoa Valley a few years ago, composer/pianist/singer B.J. Leiderman has made a lot of friends with his music and outgoing persona.

Many more people know him by name, since he’s given frequent on-air credit for the many National Public Radio themes he’s written. Friends and fans alike will gather at the White Horse Black Mountain on Saturday, Feb. 27 for a birthday salute to Leiderman.

Born in Norfolk, Virginia, Leiderman spent his high school and college years building his musical chops and repertoire in beach town bands. It was then that he discovered a natural talent for writing jingles.

Studying broadcast journalism, he he was approached by NPR staffer Jim Russell to compose theme music for a new as-yet-unnamed morning show (which became “Morning Edition”). His relationship with NPR established, BJ went on to compose themes for “Weekend Edition,” “Car Talk” and “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.”

The call of music was so strong that Leiderman abandoned broadcast journalism for a life of performing, composing and recording. He’s currently working on his first album of original music, “Natural Public Leiderman.”

The number and caliber of musicians who will be on hand for Leiderman’s birthday bash is a measure of the respect and affection his peers have for him. Included in the festivities will be poet Barbie Angell, songstress Rhoda Weaver, singer/songwriter/poet (and White Horse co-owner) Bob Hinkle, songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire Jeff Thompson, the powerhouse Zuzu Welsh Band - and the birthday boy himself.

Happy B’day, BJ!

What: B.J. Leiderman birthday bash

When: 9 p.m. Feb. 27

Where: White Horse Black Mountain

Cost: $15 advance, $18 door