ARTIST
STORY

IndieGoGo funded documentary now being made about Bill Frisell


Australian documentarian Emma Franz is making a film about guitarist Bill Frisell and funding it through an IndieGoGo campaign. The film is characterized as an intimate, behind-the-scenes feature film portrait of one of the most influential and creative artists of our time.
Bookmark and Share

The Bad Plus - The Rite of Spring / Classical Candor review


It's not uncommon anymore to hear Stravinsky's Rite of Spring played on any number of solo instruments and combinations thereof. Among the best recent applications of the theory was the solo piano transcription by Jon Kimura Parker. With the current disc it's a jazz arrangement from the trio The Bad Plus (Reid Anderson, bass, electronics; Ethan Iverson, piano; David King, drums), an innovative jazz ensemble that's been entertaining audiences with their eccentric and eclectic brand of music for the better part of two decades. This time, they try their hand at the Rite with generally favorably results.

The Rite lends itself especially well to jazz interpretations. Russian-born American composer Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) wrote it for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, where the music immediately scandalized him and, in part, the country. To be fair, the ruckus it caused probably had as much to do with Vaslav Nijinsky's choreography as it did with the music. In any case, The Bad Plus's jazz rendering brings out many of the primitive strains in the piece as well as much of its hushed lyricism. READ THE FULL Classical Candor REVIEW.
Bookmark and Share

Joshua Bell plays Stradivarius violin on The Today Show


The posessions of the late Huguette Clark, one of the wealthiest and most secretive women in America, will be auctioned off. They include a Stradivarius violin worth an estimated $7.5 million and a Claude Monet painting valued as high as $30 million. Joshua Bell visited Christie's auction house to perform with the Stradivarius from the estate. Watch Joshua Bell on The Today Show.
Bookmark and Share

Leif Ove Andsnes - The Beethoven Journey Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 4 / Classical.net review


This is the second volume in Leif Ove Andsnes survey of the Beethoven piano concertos and Choral Fantasy. I reviewed the first volume in this series (Concertos 1 & 3) here in 2012 and found the performances quite convincing in their rather understated way. I would say that these accounts are a little more in the mainstream in their approach. The Second is moderately paced and the music has plenty of meat on its bones, both in the piano and orchestral sonorities. That said, Andsnes never tries to overpower the sonic fabric with big fortes or a percussive sound, and the orchestra plays elegantly and accurately under his leadership. Andsnes is always subtle in his phrasing and is alert to the generally lighter character of the Second Concerto, which was really the composer's first concerto chronologically. To quickly sample Andsnes' style in this work, try the finale wherein the pianist is utterly effervescent in his deftly shaped runs, digital smoothness and overall interpretation. Everything brims with sunshine and gracefulness, the whole sounding delightfully playful and witty. In the Fourth Andsnes again takes a rather balanced approach, with fairly moderate tempos, creamy legatos, alertness to detail without any sense of fussiness, and a wide range of dynamics. His first movement cadenza – the more commonly heard one played by Barenboim, Rubinstein and most others – goes against this approach slightly in its tension, nervosity and drive. Yet, it fits in well with his darker take on this movement. The brief second movement is appropriately grim and somber. With the finale things come colorfully to life but with a bit of restraint initially. When that stomping, jovial main theme makes its second appearance, however, the music takes on an irresistible bouncy sort of rowdy character. The remainder of the movement is played splendidly by both pianist and orchestra. The sound reproduction by Sony is clear and powerful and the album notes by Jürgen Otten are quite informative. To those listeners interested in the Beethoven piano concertos, this disc should prove a worthy acquisition. -Robert Cummings
Bookmark and Share

Vijay Iyer joins the Brentano String Quartet for performance/interview this week@WQXR's Greene Space


Composer-pianist Vijay Iyer continues to galvanize the music world, creating works that embrace jazz, classical and electronic music and are "at once provocative and accessible, intellectually substantive and sensually attractive" (Chicago Tribune). Winner of the 2013 MacArthur "Genius Grant" and multiple winner in the 2012 Downbeat Critics Poll (Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Group of the Year, Pianist of the Year, and Rising Star Composer), Iyer comes to The WQXR - New York Greene Space to perform a varied program including selections from his newest album "Mutations," just released on ECM. "Mutations" is scored for piano, strings and electronics, and the world-renowned Brentano String Quartet will be joining Iyer for this performance.  They'll also play selections from Time, Place, Action, a new piano quintet Iyer wrote for the Brentano which had its New York premiere recently at the 92Y.  And, the evening will include solo piano works.  Hosted by WQXR's Terrance McKnight. A LIVE VIDEO WEBCAST WILL STREAM ON THIS PAGE
Bookmark and Share

Life-Changing Art: Yeahwon Shin / Baltimore Magazine interview


from Yeahwon Shin - Baltimore Magazine interview If it could be considered as a piece of art, the first one that changed my life was a musical instrument, the piano. I started to love playing since I was four, when my parents bought a piano for my older sister, who is six years older than me. When I heard the sound of piano for the first time, I immediately knew that I was in love with the sound. I haven't stop playing since. READ FULL Baltimore Magazine INTERVIEW 
Bookmark and Share

Kristin Chenoweth brings 'Broken Arrow' students to Carnegie Hall


Roughly 200 Broken Arrow fine arts students from Tulsa OK performed at Carnegie Hall in New York this past weekend. Not only did they get to perform at the iconic hall, but they were conducted by former Broken Arrow graduate - Kristin Chenoweth. As a part of the Kristin Chenoweth Fund for Arts and Education, the Broadway and TV star brought these students to New York to help raise money for B.A. schools. The wind ensemble, choir, orchestra, and bands showcased the diversity and vitality of their music program. 
Bookmark and Share

Mary Gauthier samples new album for Santa Monica audience / Los Angeles Times review


Onstage at a sold-out McCabe's in Santa Monica on Saturday night, Mary Gauthier immediately jumped into songs from her forthcoming album, "Trouble & Love," offering up "False From True" and the title track. Then she explained to the audience that she had decided to bring out the new material at the start "so you wouldn't think the new songs accidentally got happy." READ THE FULL Los Angeles Times REVIEW

 
Bookmark and Share

Leif Ove Andsnes - The Beethoven Journey Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 4 / Classical Candor review


Leif Ove Andsnes is foremost a pianist of subtlety, grace, and refinement. You have to understand that going in. He's not a big, bravura showman out to wow an audience with his audacious finger work, so you won't find a lot of showy glamour in his playing. Right away this may turn away some potential listeners who prefer more energy and bounce in their recordings. I would say it's all a matter of taste. Certainly, some performers are more fun than others simply because they give audiences what the performers think a given audience wants. You want it big and loud? They give you big and loud. You want deep, penetrating introspection or shades of melancholy or open sentimentalism or overt Romanticism? They provide it. But with Andsnes you pretty much get delicacy and discrimination above all else. Not that his interpretations can't be exciting, just in a different way.

So it is with this second album in a series titled Beethoven's Journey, which begins with Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19, written around 1788 but not published in final form until 1795, with another finale written in 1801. Whatever, it's relatively early Beethoven (1770-1827), and he hadn't yet quite found his own voice. Therefore, it's still a somewhat Classical rather than Romantic piece. Beethoven seemed mainly interested in the music as a showcase for his own virtuosic piano playing. It's a playful work in typical three-movement concerto form, although there is a rather lengthy introduction before the piano's introduction. READ THE FULL Classical Candor REVIEW.
Bookmark and Share

Bebel Gilberto to perform at Brasil Summerfest in New York City / Wall Street Journal


Bebel Gilberto will return to perform at this summer's Brasil Summerfest happening at various venues throughout New York City July 18th-26th 2014. Several veteran musicians will also take the stages, including Lenine, Baby do Brasil, Maira Freitas, Barbara Eugenia, and DJ Sany Pitbull. This year's festival will also for the first time feature documentary films about Brazil, in partnership with the New School, and a dance performance, A Batalha do Passinho, a frenetic, body-twisting dance contest that emerged from Rio's favelas. In addition to its past partner Central Park SummerStage, the festival's acts will also play for the first time at the Celebrate Brooklyn and Lincoln Center Out of Doors performing arts festivals. READ THE FULL Wall Street Journal ARTICLE.
Bookmark and Share

Jeff Ballard Trio - Times Tales / JazzTimes review


It's a testament to Jeff Ballard's skill as a leader-and this, at age 50, is his first official outing in that capacity-that on Time's Tales the drummer brings out some of the most inspired playing to date from his companions, Beninese guitarist Lionel Loueke and Puerto Rican alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón. Ballard understands that he must serve as anchor within this bass-less setup, but he's not about to allow himself or his co-conspirators to be tethered by configuration. Got expectations? Forget 'em. Time's Tales' repertoire and arrangements are gloriously all over the map: original compositions and unhinged explorations, a Gershwin standard and a piece by Bartók, Latin and NOLA rhythms and, most astounding, "Hangin' Tree," a raging Queens of the Stone Age cover on which Loueke unleashes some serious, never-before-heard-from-him demons. Ballard is comfortable within the trio format; his work with both FLY and Brad Mehldau's trio is always exceptional. Here he's enjoying putting to use that gift that so many drummers crave but don't achieve-he's exceedingly shambolic on the surface yet always in the pocket below. Ballard encourages that same free-floating inquiry in Loueke and Zenón (not that they need to be encouraged), knowing that however far afield they might stray, they will never lose their footing. So there's an appropriate flightiness to "Western Wren (A Bird Call)," credited to the three, all avian chitter-chatter, and great freedom in the open improvs "Free 1" (47 seconds) and the full-length "Free 3" (there is no "Free 2"). "Beat Street," Ballard's lone solo composition, comes closest to a drum showcase with its Congo Square tenacity, but he's equally content to supply gossamer toms on Loueke's "Mivakpola." For all of the chops at work, Time's Tales is mostly just a whole lot of fun. Sometimes that's quite enough.
Bookmark and Share

Joshua Bell celebrates with The San Antonio Symphony for the orchestra's 75th anniversary


The San Antonio Symphony, will celebrate its 75th anniversary with Joshua Bell at the Majestic Theatre, on June 14. Mr. Bell joins the Symphony under the direction of Music Director Sebastian Lang-Lessing in this program of musical selections performed during the June 1939 inaugural concert to include works from Wagner and Strauss, as well as the stunningly powerful Sibelius violin concerto along with Ravel's Bolero. 
Bookmark and Share
SEE ALL STORIES

Top 10 Albums for April

Angele Dubeau & La Pieta :

Blanc

"BLANC like purity and serenity. BLANC for luminous music that can bring interior peace through its strength and powerful evocation. Fully charged emotions that reflect the strange solitude found in illness. After months of battle against cancer, music has been my focal point, it has brought me comfort, tranquillity and sometimes, an essential escape. This music is of Brubeck, Dompierre, Golijov, Hisaishi, Morricone, Mozetich, Munsey, O'Connor, Phillips, Sakamoto, Schyman and Stevens. A music without artifice, real and filled with hope. This album tells my story, the story of a woman like many others who had to fight against illness and, serenely, came out of it stronger." The Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation Thanks You Thank you. By buying this album, you will be helping the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation to finance research and innovation, to support women affected by breast cancer and make breast cancer health a priority thanks to initiatives in education and awareness.  68 New 'ON'  72 TOTAL SYND: PRI/Classical 24 Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, Cleveland, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Denver, Portland, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Memphis, Buffalo Online: Taintradio, allmusic, Le Huffington Post, The WholeNote
The Bad Plus :

The Rite of Spring

Sony Music Masterworks releases Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, arranged and performed by The Bad Plus. The long anticipated recording FEATURING bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson, and drummer David King takes on one of the most influential works of the 20th century, a complex score fraught with revolutionary experiments in rhythm and metre, tonality and dissonance. The Bad Plus have a well-earned reputation for pushing the limits on what is expected of a piano-bass-drums trio, and for the past 14 years have seen the genre-smashing band creating a distinctive repertoire of inventive original music, along with a series of iconoclastic covers of such divergent artists as Nirvana and Neil Young, Aphex Twin and Ornette Coleman, among others. 23 NEW   94 Total SYND: PRI/Jazz After Hours & Here and Now, Sixty Second CD Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, Houston, Austin, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Albuquerque, El Paso, Madison WI Online: Taintradio, MOJA, Audiophile Audition, Off the Tracks, Antigravity, PopMatters, The Jazz Groove, Live 365, Jazz Weekly
Various :

Jazz and the Philharmonic

JAZZ AND THE PHILHARMONIC is a one-of-a-kind concert project conceived by music producer and impresario Larry Rosen featuring a star-studded roster of award-winning jazz and classical artists performing iconic compositions by legendary composers. The JAZZ AND THE PHILHARMONIC recorded program produced by Rosen, and executive produced by the National YoungArts Foundation, will be broadcast nationally on PBS TV stations and will be released internationally on CD/DVD and digitally by SONY Masterworks' OKeh Records. 17 New 'ON'  36 Total Direct: SiriusXM/Real Jazz Markets include: San Francisco, Philadelphia, Miami, Minneapolis, San Diego, Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Memphis, San Antonio Online: MOJA, RadioIO, Jazz From Gallery 41, Taintradio
Cypress String Quartet :

Schubert - String Quintet D956 | Quartettsatz D703

The Cypress String Quartet (Cecily Ward, violin; Tom Stone, violin; Ethan Filner, viola; and Jennifer Kloetzel, cello) is pleased to announce their new AVIE Records release of Schubert's String Quintet D956 with cellist Gary Hoffman paired with Schubert's Quartettsatz D703. The album was recorded at Skywalker Sound by Mark Willsher and produced by Cecily Ward.
Hafez Nazeri :

Rumi Symphony Project - Untold

Sony Classical is proud to announce the worldwide release for UNTOLD the much-anticipated major label debut from acclaimed Iranian composer, vocalist and virtuoso instrumentalist, Hafez Nazeri. An innovative synthesis of Middle Eastern and Western elements, UNTOLD introduces Nazeri as one of modern music's most exciting new visionaries. Co-produced by Nazeri and GRAMMY Winner David Frost, Untold is one of the first major releases celebrating the poetry and philosophy of the legendary 13th century Persian poet Rumi and his eternal message of peace, unity and love. This magnum opus features 38 Grammy Award winning musicians and engineers and took over four years and more than 5,000 studio hours in five countries to complete. 18 Total SYND: Sixty Second CD Markets include: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Berkeley CA, Albuquerque, Madison WI Online: Taintradio, Blogcritics
Vijay Iyer :

Mutations

Mutations is Vijay Iyer's first album as a leader for ECM, and a recording that will widen perceptions of the pianist-composer's work. At its center is "Mutations I-X", a composition scored for string quartet, piano, and electronics. A major piece built out of cells and fragments, it veers through many atmospheres, from moment to moment propulsive, enveloping, lyrical, luminescent, and strangely beautiful. Through thematic interactivity, the interweaving of acoustic and electronic sound-textures, and some decisive improvisational interventions in notated music, Vijay Iyer has created a multi-faceted suite whose very subject is change. Iyer gives a positive value to the concept of ‘mutation' in this music, and variously appears in it as an interpreter of notated elements, as an improviser, and as  "a sort of laptop artist, mixing in noise and different sounds," encouraging the transformative processes. 11 NEW 'ON' - 40 TOTAL Markets include: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver, New Orleans, Milwaukee, Austin, Detroit, Berkeley CA, San Antonio, Louisville, Rochester NY Online: Tainradio, Jazz from Gallery 41, WGOE
Mirian Conti :

Panorama Argentino

Following up on her 2012 Steinway release Nostalgias Argentinas, described as "a disc to savor" by The Absolute Sound and featuring "Infectious verve and impeccable musicianship" (Classics Today), Steinway artist and native-born Argentine pianist Mirian Conti continues to carry the banner for a vast and varied group of composers whose music is rarely heard outside of Argentina. On Panorama Argentino, the selections run the gamut from melancholy to mercurial, folding in the lyrical influences of Italian immigrants like Cayetano Troiani, the homebred impressionism of Ángel Lasala, the unapologetic Romanticism of Carlos Guastavino, the folkloric influences of Remo Pignoni and Enrique Albano, the brassy nationalism of Julián Aguirre, Buenos Aires rhythms from a trio of tango gods- Aníbal Troilo, Horacio Salgán and Mariano Mores, and a classical take on the form by Mario Broeders.  25 NEW ON  30 Total SYND: PRI/Classical 24 Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Sacramento, Louisville KY, Madison WI Online: Taintradio
Regina Carter :

Southern Comfort

Violinist Regina Carter is considered the foremost jazz violinist of her generation - a designation which doesn't quite paint the picture.  As a result of her curiosity, passion, and quest for beauty brought to every stop taken on her full musical journey, she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship (a "genius grant"). Those are more apparent than ever on her Sony Music Masterworks debut album Southern Comfort in which she explores the folk music of the South. The album will be released on and coincide with an international tour. 13 New 'ON'  97 TOTAL SYND: NPR/All Things Considered, PRI/Jazz After Hours Markets include: New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, St. Louis, Baltimore, Denver, Minneapolis, Portland, Houston, Detroit, New Orleans, Louisville, Madison WI, San Antonio, Virgin Islands, Canada Online: MOJA, RadioFreeAmericana, Jazz From Gallery 41, Jazz Weekly, Taintradio, World Magazine
Dhafer Youssef :

Birds Requiem

The oud-the 11-string, fretless, acoustic relative of the lute so central to the culture of the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean-is inextricably tied to tradition, more than 5,000 years of it. But in the hands of Dhafer Youssef,one of the most highly respected and influential virtuosi of the instrument in the world, the oud takes a giant leap into the future. For more than two decades, Youssef has paid his respects to the ancient legacy of the oud while integrating its melodious, robust and resonant-but simultaneously delicate tones-with modern sounds and sensibilities, transcending genre and defying the expected. On his new album Birds Requiem (OKeh Records) Youssef has created his most breathtakingly powerful work to date, a suite of 11 interconnected compositions that, he says, were "constructed as music for an imagined movie."
James Brandon Lewis :

Divine Travels

Even for an artist hailed by Ebony Magazine as one of "7 Young Players to Watch" who has studied with jazz heavyweights like Charlie Haden, Wadada Leo Smith, Dave Douglas, Joshua Redman, and Matthew Shipp, it takes considerable confidence and courage for a young musician to match wits with veteran improvisers like William Parker and Gerald Cleaver. But on his second release, Divine Travels, saxophonist James Brandon Lewis does just that, not only holding his own with that masterful rhythm section but leading them down fresh and unexpected pathways.
SEE ALL PROJECTS