Janine Jansen - Brahms | Bartok / WBAA review

There are many stories about Brahms Violin Concerto, or I should specify, there are lots of stories about violinists and performing the masterpiece. Once a violinist thought they were hired to play Brahms, where there was no rehearsal with the orchestra, just the concerts – as the soloist had a good relationship with the music director and musical group performing together. Since the composition has a lengthy orchestral introduction, he was relaxed with his violin at his side as the conductor raised his baton. When the orchestra began Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto (with just a few measures of music/seconds before the soloist plays) instead of the Brahms, it was quite a shock for the violinist to begin this other standard work! Janine Jansen is the latest violinist to record Brahms Violin Concerto, and the first to pair it with Bartok's First Concerto. There's something magical about Janine's playing. Jansen controls a great grittiness in articulation, with finesse whenever it is needed – but overall, the excitement is key, and often bold. That is not to say that her sound is ugly, but a certain passion exudes on this disc. READ John Clare's FULL WBAA: W Lafayette IN ARTICLE
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Lara Downes new 'Artist Sessions' features - Rachel Barton Pine

According to the records maintained on this site, the next installment of The Artist Sessions, the occasional series of "close encounters between musicians and audiences" created and curated by pianist Lara Downes, will take place almost half a year after its predecessor at the end of this past August. At this next event Downes will engage in both conversation and music-making with violinist Rachel Barton Pine. The topic will celebrate rarities of the duo repertoire for violin and piano. Of particularly interest will be the focus on three African-American composers, William Grant Still, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and Daniel Roumain. The other composers to be presented will include significant women from the Romantic period, Clara Schumann from Germany and Amy Beach from the United States. There will also be time to present some of the less-frequently performed music by Ludwig van Beethoven.  READ THE FULL examiner.com ARTICLE
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BSO 100th Anniversary Concert features Joshua Bell / Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is, quite rightly, the primary star of Thursday's centennial concert at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall - 100 years to the day since the ensemble debuted. But a little extra star power doesn't hurt. Joining music director Marin Alsop and the BSO will be one of the most gifted and popular violinists on the scene, Joshua Bell. He'll be the soloist in the Suite from Bernstein's "West Side Story" (arranged by William David Brohn), a work Bell recorded 15 years ago with the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by former BSO music director David Zinman. "I've always loved the Meyerhoff," Bell says. "I have many fond memories of every concert [I played there] with David Zinman, one of my favorites. And I love 'West Side Story.' I have started playing the Suite again. After I recorded it, I dropped it for many years." READ THE FULL Baltimore Sun ARTICLE
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Snarky Puppy teams with David Crosby on 'Somebody Home' / RollingStone

Snarky Puppy is one of the more versatile groups on the planet right now. A Grammy-winning orchestra, the group is also an expert backing band, as demonstrated on its Family Dinner albums, guest-studded affairs that raise money for worthy causes.  On the brand new - Family Dinner Volume Two - CD/DVD, the band teams with David Crosby, who contributed a brand-new song - 'Somebody Home. 'A portion of the album's proceeds benefit the Roots of Music, a charity that provides musical opportunities for youth in New Orleans, where the album was recorded. WATCH THE VID AND READ RollingStone ARTICLE     
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Igor Levit makes SF recital debut / SFGATE

The young Russian German piano virtuoso Igor Levit has garnered excited and well-deserved attention in recent months. He performed Bach's "Goldberg" Variations in an extravagantly sparse New York staging by performance artist Marina Abramovic, and released a phenomenal three-disc set pairing that work with variation sets by Beethoven and Frederic Rzewski. Now Levit brings his keyboard gifts to the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on Thursday, Feb. 11, in his first local recital - Sonatas by Beethoven and Prokofiev along with works by Bach and Schubert. SEE SF GATE LISTING
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Ron Davis interview with Radio Canada

Toronto's extraordinary pianist-composer Ron Davis has established himself as one of the most original, enjoyable voices in jazz today. Ron looks within, and ensures that every piece he plays and story he tells has meaning. He is unconstrained by boundaries – jazz, world, pop, and classical are all places Ron calls home. These qualities are all on display on Ron's new recording, his tenth, Pocket Symphronica (Really Records). It features a mashup of Ron's electric/acoustic jazz/pop quartet plus an energetic string quartetplaying his own tunes, inflected with Middle Eastern sounds (D'Hora); pop (Variations on Poker Face and Lady Gaga); and funk (GruvMuv). LISTEN TO Ron's interview with Radio Canada.  
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Helene Grimaud talks 'Water' with Classical Radio

Hélène Grimaud's latest album for Deutsche Grammophon, produced by Nitin Sawhney, was inspired by her abiding fascination with Nature's most precious gift - Water. The set conveys imaginative imagery from mighty oceans and great lakes to raindrops and snowflakes as well as contemplation on the safety, security and supply of this essential resource.  "What inspired the idea to record this album is really the fascination that so many composers of the 19th and 20th centuries seem to have had with the element of water," Grimaud says, and in conjunction with this release, yes, she is Helene Grimaud talking 'Water' TODAY Tuesday Feb. 9, Ddiscussing the topic and the music with Local and Syndicated Classical Radio including; NPR, C24, BBC Radio 4, SiriusXM, KMZT Los Angeles, WFMT Chicago, WRUW Cleveland, WRTI Philadelphia, WABE Atlanta,  KUHA Houston, KING Seattle, KQAC Portland WRCJ Detroit & Minnesota Public Radio.
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Alisa Weilerstein Romances Rachmaninov / Houston Public Media

Start your Valentine's Day week with cellist Alisa Weilerstein's introduction to the music of Sergey Rachmaninov. Who was this romantic man, and what makes him different from all the other guys – I mean, composers? Weilerstein walks us through Rachmaninov's Sonata in G Minor for Cello and Piano. Plus, she talks about her musical relationship with performing partner, pianist Inon Barnatan, and what it's like to be part of a long-term creative duo. Music in this episode is all from Weilerstein and Barnatan's CD, Chopin and Rachmaninov Cello Sonatas. Barnatan and Weilerstein, chose for this first recording the Chopin and Rachmaninov cello sonatas – each a monumental work for both instruments – which they have been exploring together in concert for years, as well as shorter works by each composer.  LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT Audio production by Todd "Toight like a toiger" Hulslander with grrrr aargh's from Dacia Clay and editing by Mark DiClaudio. If you enjoyed this episode with Alisa Weilerstein, check out her other Classical Classroom episode – all about the Aspen Music Festival and playing solo cello.
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Vocalosity plays Ohio University / The Post - Athens

Deke Sharon said he wakes up every morning and gets to do what he loves, and what he loves is a cappella. Sharon has produced, directed and arranged a cappella performances for NBC's The Sing-Off, Lifetime's Pitch Slapped and even worked on the set of Pitch Perfect. But only one of his creations has been dubbed his "baby": Vocalosity, The a cappella group will perform in the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The Vocalosity experience is both a live concert event and a new album. Universal Music Classics has just released their debut record. SEE The Post
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David Crosby - Snarky Puppy is 'most advanced band i've seen' / New York Times feature

"I know you're all wondering why I called you together," David Crosby said to peals of laughter as he sat down. Mr. Crosby, the crinkly folk-rock eminence, had come to Lil' Frankie's in the East Village for dinner with a half-dozen members of the group he once hailed on Twitter as "quite possibly the most advanced band in the world ... certainly the best I've heard/seen." That would be Snarky Puppy, a barnstorming, groove-centric instrumental act with a rabid fan base and a blithely unplaceable style. And if the name doesn't ring a bell, it's probably just a matter of time. Snarky Puppy, which won a recent Grammy and is up for another one this month, has carved out an improbably strong niche. The band also has a new label - ( GroundUp, with international distribution through Universal Music Classics ) and will release "Family Dinner Volume Two," their 10th album on Friday, Feb. 12.   READ THE FULL New York Times ARTICLE
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Igor Levit plays UW / Seattle Times

It's common practice in the classical-music world - and an often annoying one - to introduce young soloists by reeling off a litany of their competition prizes, strung together like a list of battles won. But Igor Levit has been winning attention in the cutthroat arena of virtuoso pianists through a remarkable chorus of critical praise for his searching intellect and maturity of purpose - qualities that don't necessarily shine at competitions. Reviewing his Southern California debut last year, Los Angeles Times critic Mark Swed proclaimed: "He is the future." Igor Levit plays this Wednesday, Feb. 10, at Meany Hall, University of Washington. Part of the UW President's Piano Series. READ THE FULL Seattle Times ARTICLE
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Inbal Segev Gives World Premiere of Gity Razaz's - 'Legend of Sigh' / CityLimits

Cellist Inbal Segev, known for her "warm, pure and beautiful tone" (Strings Magazine) will give the world premiere performance of Legend of Sigh, a brand new multimedia, immersive piece for cello and electronics written for her by composer Gity Razaz with video and projection design by filmmaker Carmen Kordas. Presented by National Sawdust. The concert is part of Razaz's appointment as composer-in-residence at National Sawdust and will also include her piece Valley of Not-Knowing for soprano, baritone, piano, cello, and clarinet. Inbal Segev has recently released her latest Vox Classics album. The monumental solo Cello Suites by J.S. Bach. Recorded in New York City's Academy of Arts and Letters, Segev who Strings Magazine wrote has a "warm, pure and beautiful tone" brings that sound to bear working with Grammy-winning producer Da-Hong Seetoo. SEE THE City Limits PAGE    
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Top 10 Albums for February

Bill Frisell :

When You Wish Upon A Star

When You Wish Upon A Star, the latest project from legendary guitarist/composer Bill Frisell features music from iconic film and television scores. Conceived not only as an homage, but as a celebration of music-making with longtime collaborators and their collective commitment to refined interpretation of material. Produced by Lee Townsend (Loudon Wainwright III, John Scofield, Carrie Rodriguez), the LP brings together an all-star "dream team" of musicians including; violist Eyvind Kang, drummer Rudy Royston, bass player Thomas Morgan and vocalist Petra Haden.  31 NEW  96 Total SYND: NPR, Westwood One, CBC, Sixty Second CD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Detroit, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Louisville, Wichita, Honolulu, Toronto Online: Taintradio, Jazz From Gallery 41, Dirty Dog, all about jazz, WSJ 26 Jazzweek ADD's
Snarky Puppy :

Family Dinner Volume Two

After establishing themselves as a do-it-yourself entity on their own terms, Snarky Puppy, the band that "stands out with a furious commitment to defying musical categories" (LA Times)is now embarking on a significant new chapter of their musical journey, entering into a partnership with their first-ever major label home, Universal Music Classics.  Snarky Puppy is led by award-winning bassist/guitarist/composer/ arranger Michael League, whose creative grassroots approach with the band has been admired as a model for independent artists. The joint partnership sees UMC as the exclusive distributor of all releases under GroundUP Records, the label owned and operated by League.  Michael League comments, "We're creating a very unique relationship here. GroundUP is remaining fully independent and handling all artistic processes for each album we release. UMC is using their strength as a major music industry player to advertise and distribute those albums. Each entity is sovereign, but in combining our respective strengths and working together to cover both ‘indie' and ‘major' bases, I believe we will see a kind of synergy happening. It's a best-of-both-worlds scenario."
Pink Floyd's :

Wish You Were Here Symphonic

Alice Cooper and Rick Wakeman are among the performers on DECCA CLASSICS' new symphonic version of Pink Floyd's legendary album Wish You Were Here, released to mark its 40th anniversary.  The London Orion Orchestra were joined by the guitarists Dave Fowler and Steve McElroy from The Australian Pink Floyd Show to record Wish You Were Here Symphonic, a project produced and masterminded by Pete Smith, working with the New Zealand conductor, Peter Scholes, who arranged the tracks and conducted the recording: the album was recorded, mixed and mastered at the world famous Abbey Road studios in London where the original Pink Floyd album was made.
Ibrahim Maalouf :


KALTHOUM is a celebration of women who overturned the course of history, women whose artistic influence has had an impact that reaches all the way down to our lives today. So I chose an emblematic figure, a genuine monument in the history of Arab people, and incidentally someone whose voice is the one I've listened to the most, ever since I was a child: Oum Kalthoum. 40 Total SYND: CBC Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Baltimore, Albuquerque, Boulder, Knoxville TN, Honolulu, Canada Online: Taintradio, Jazz Weekly, MOJA, GURU
Daniela Mercury :

Virtual Vinyl

Daniela Mercury is a Brazilian singer, songwriter and record producer. Since her breakthrough, Mercury has become one of the best known Brazilian female singers, selling over 20 million albums worldwide.  She is also the Brazilian female performer with most #1 hits in the country, with 14. Mercury's self-titled debut album was released in 1991 through independent record company Eldorado. The lead single of the album, "Swing da Cor", which features Olodum, became a number-one hit in Brazil, and the album was soon known as Swing da Cor. Another song from the album, "Menino do Pelô", which also features Olodum, became Mercury's second top-ten hit in Brazil, charting at number four. Daniela Mercury has had been on an amazing career path spanning 3 decades of Brazilian/World Music creativity, and now with the release of her new album Virtual Vinyl she is once again poised to reach the Top of the Charts. 32 NEW  37 TOTAL Direct: MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Cleveland, Houston, Berkeley, Albuquerque Online: Taintradio, BestOfBrazil, GURU
Cast Albums :

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Studio Cast Recording of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the only stage collaboration from two masters of the American musical, Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, is the first ever studio recording of the acclaimed American stage score based on the Academy Award-nominated film. Featuring a 25 piece orchestra, a choir of 32 and some of Broadway's most formidable talent: Michael Arden (Big River) as Quasimodo, Patrick Page (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark) as Dom Claude Frollo, Ciara Renée (Pippin) as Esmeralda, Andrew Samonsky (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) as Captain Phoebus de Martin and Erik Liberman (Lovemusik) as Clopin Trouillefou, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a dramatic retelling of the famous love story on a grand scale, with a lush, emotionally rich score. The musical features a score by Alan Menken (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast) and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin). 23 Total SYND: The Bill Miller Show, CBC Direct: Music Choice, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Cleveland, New Orleans, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Seattle, Baltimore, Hartford CT, Madison WI, Canada Online: Humboldt 101, Taintradio
Milos :

Blackbird - The Beatles Album

After delighting audiences with the classical heritage of the guitar on his three previous albums, acclaimed guitarist Miloš Karadaglić returns with a pleasantly surprising departure; Blackbird – The Beatles Album.  Performing delicate new arrangements of iconic songs by The Beatles, the "charismatic, sensitive player" (The New York Times) collaborates with celebrated artists from the varied worlds of pop, jazz and classical, including Tori Amos, Gregory Porter, Anoushka Shankar, Sergio Assad and Steven Isserlis.  The album will be released on January 15, 2016 on Mercury Classics/UMC. 26 Total SYND: CBC Markets include: Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Baltimore, New Orleans, Albuquerque, Raleigh NC, Toronto Online: Taintradio, Jazz From Gallery 41 9 Jazzweek ADD's
Soundtracks :

Downton Abbey: The Ultimate Collection

Coinciding with the U.S. premiere of the final season of the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series Downton Abbey, Decca Records/Universal Music Classics releases Downton Abbey: The Ultimate Collection. The 2-CD set features musical highlights from all six seasons of the show. BAFTA and Ivor Novello Award nominee and 2-time Emmy award winner John Lunn composed the music that is such an integral part of the show, as well as played piano on soundtrack.The instrumental score is performed by the Chamber Orchestra of London, conducted by Alastair King, and features three vocal tracks. 36 NEW  38 Total SYND: C24, The Score, Sixty Second CD Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice, Stingray, MOOD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Detroit, Baltimore, Denver, Portland, St. Louis, Detroit, New Orleans, Canada Online: CinemaScore, Taintradio
Sultans Of String :

Subcontinental Drift

SiriusXM Independent Music Awards winners, Sultans of String are releasing their fifth album Subcontinental Drift featuring special guest, sitar master, Anwar Khurshid. The new album was produced by band co-founder Chris McKhool, recorded at The Drive Shed Recording Studios in Toronto. Subcontinental Drift is being released on Sultans of String/CEN through RED Distribution, a division of Sony Music on February 5. 35 TOTAL SYND: CBC Direct: MOOD Markets include: New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Albuquerque, San Antonio, Wichita, Chattanooga TN, Maui, Canada Online: Taintradio, worldbeat Canada
Vocalosity :


From the creative mind of artistic producer and music director Deke Sharon (Pitch Perfect, NBC's The Sing-Off) comes Vocalosity, an all-new a cappella experience that is both a live concert event and a new album. Releasing their debut record on Universal Music Classics, Vocalosity came together through the passion and vision of Sharon, dubbed the "father of contemporary a cappella."  Having built a career in a cappella as a singer, arranger, director and producer,Vocalosity is the culmination of everything he has accomplished over the past twenty years in this genre. Sharon explains, "Working with these all-star singers in VOCALOSITY and getting them ready to go on the road and connect with audiences through the power of music is the most important thing I can be doing right now."