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For his new film, Grand Piano, actor Elijah Wood plays an acclaimed concert pianist who must tackle an unplayable piece while simultaneously battling wits with a homicidal sniper in the audience. Maybe small change for someone who already climbed Mt. Doom and defeated the Prince of Darkness, but gripping all the same. With echoes of Hitchcock and de Palma, Grand Piano is a thriller in the classic mold, and Wood's tuxedoed portrayal of first-class pianist Tom Selznick is first-class as well -- though he admits that classical music is the genre with which he is least familiar.

"I often think of musical genres as being the sea," says Wood. "I've jumped into the sea of jazz, I've spent time researching and getting into jazz. Classical is something that is so massive that it's daunting to be honest, and there are so many multiple recordings of classical compositions, I don't even know where to start. But I'd like to eventually."

In a wide-ranging conversation with Soundcheck host John Schaefer, Wood talks about his many musical proclivities: his portrayal of a classical pianist without being a piano player; his on-again/off-again record label and work with the band Apples In Stereo; his moonlight career as a DJ who spins old Afro-funk records; and the records that are exciting him today.