Pacific Symphony announces more guest artists and world premieres in 20-21 / SFCV

Pacific Symphony is keeping on with programming that works. Today, the orchestra announced its 2020–2021 classical series, underwritten by the Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation. On the schedule: lots of guest artists, plus a continued commitment to signature events. The biggest name coming to Orange County next season is Lang Lang, who plays Beethoven's Second Piano Concerto with the orchestra on Oct. 4. Longtime Music Director Carl St. Clair conducts the one-night-only concert. As of now, tickets to this performance are only available to season subscribers. Guest soloists for 2021 include Emanuel Ax, who plays Mozart, Jan. 14–16; James Ehnes, soloing in the Sibelius Violin Concerto, Feb. 25–27; and Rachel Barton Pine, who performs the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, May 6–8, her first appearance with Pacific Symphony. READ THE FULL SFCV ARTICLE
Bookmark and Share

The Bad Plus confirm their 2020 spring tour / NYSMusic

The American jazz trio The Bad Plus confirmed their 2020 spring tour following the release of their second album, ACTIVATE INFINITY, which was released in October of 2019. The spring tour will include a multi-show residency at Village Vanguard in New York City for six consecutive days. The tour will begin on March 19th in  Kenosha, WI at the Bedford Concert Hall and will wrap up on April 12th in Washington, DC at the Blues Alley. The tour will include multi- show residencies not only in New York City but also in Oakland, CA and Washington, D.C. as well. The New York City residency is taking place at the Village Vanguard on March 24th through the 29th. The Oakland, CA residency will take place at Yoshi's on April 3rd and 4th. Washington's residency will take place at the Blues Alley on April 10th through the 12th.  The Bad Plus is made up of bassist Reid Anderson, drummer Dave King, and pianist Orrin Evans, hailing from Minneapolis, MN. Their newest album ACTIVATE INFINITY was produced by The Bad Plus themselves and engineered and mixed by Andy Taub at NYC's Brooklyn Recording back in May of 2019. SEE THE DATES via NYSMusic
Bookmark and Share

Sheku Kanneh-Mason releases; the Elgar Cello Concerto / New Classical Tracks

He performed at the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018. Two years earlier, at the age of 17, he won the BBC's Young Musician Competition. And he's appeared on Britain's Got Talent with his six musical siblings. Yet, cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who is just 20 years old and still studies at the Royal Academy of Music, is grounded in the music he loves. He's just released his second solo recording. It features Elgar's Cello Concerto in E minor and other pieces that are close to his heart. "What I'm always searching for is the most convincing and expressive way to play the music that I'm playing. There are lots of pieces of music that I really, really want to learn. I think meaningful playing is what I practice for." READ & LISTEN TO MPR: New Classical Tracks: 
Bookmark and Share

Take a look at Johann Johannsson's trailer for 'Last and First Men' and tell us you're not intrigued / Vanyaland

One of the greatest losses to both avant-garde music and cinema in the past decade was the tragic death of Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson. Known best for his score for Mandy and his work with Denis Villeneuve on films like Sicario and Arrival, Jóhannsson's work became quickly beloved by cinema-heads the world over, which made his passing at 48 even more bitter; he had a lot of life yet to live and a lot more work to do. This included a burgeoning directorial career of his own - a year before his passing, the composer premiered his first film, an adaptation of Olaf Stapleton's sci-fi classic Last and First Men (which influenced the likes of H.P. Lovecraft, C.S. Lewis, and Arthur C. Clarke, and which you should really check out given that it's available for free online), in a work-in-progress exhibition at the Manchester International Film Festival, which he scored live alongside a narration done by Tilda Swinton. Well, a completed version of Last and First Men will have its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival next week, and it already has a trailer ready to go. Take a look at this and tell us that you aren't intrigued. READ THE FULL Vanyaland ARTICLE
Bookmark and Share

Benjamin Grosvenor chats with classical radio about new Chopin PC recording

British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor presents a new recording of two concerto favorites: Chopin's Piano Concertos Nos.1 and 2, released on Decca Classics. Recorded with Elim Chan and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), the record marks Benjamin's fifth album on Decca Classics, following the hugely successful Homages in 2016, and is his first orchestral album since 2012. These works have been an active part of Grosvenor's repertoire since his early teens: "Chopin was the first composer to whom I felt a strong connection as a child. I have always been drawn to his music, and his piano concertos are among some of the finest in the repertoire." Of the new recording, which came to fruition following a successful performance of the Piano Concerto No.2 with Elim Chan and the RSNO in 2018, Benjamin notes: "I am delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Elim and the outstanding musicians of the RSNO." Benjamin appears this spring in the US performing the Piano Concerto No.1. In conjunction with this new release, BG has made some time available TODAY!, February 29 to speak with classical radio in the US. Watch for our tweets throughout the day
Bookmark and Share

When Anoushka Shankar translates loss, separation and pain in 'Love Letters,' she is accompanied by Alev Lenz / The Indian Express

It's a well-known predicament - the idea of ferrying someone to your mind space. When sitarist Anoushka Shankar takes us there as she translates loss, separation and pain in her personal life in Love Letters, she is accompanied by German-Turkish singer-songwriter Alev Lenz's voice. Through a string theory that Shankar builds with her sitar in Bright Eyes - a heaving piece from Love Letters - Lenz's bare voice fits like a glove. It's as if it was made to be sung along with the sitar. She modulates her voice, goes up and down the scales effortlessly and finds minor yet majestic inflections that make the song a very tightly-knit merger (fusion is a wretched word, as most serious musicians believe). On Friday, at Delhi's Siri Fort auditorium, when she sat behind a piano and sang, the now very famous piece, live, along with Shankar, among other accompanying artistes, she built on the sense of catharsis that the two found while creating Love Letters. "It was really natural," she says. "We were just two friends making songs that we felt were important and things we wanted to communicate as women. It was creatively the most satisfying process. We didn't have the usual pressure that people do while making an album. Since both of us were dealing with heartbreak around the same time, it became a common process," says Lenz. READ THE FULL Indian Express ARTICLE
Bookmark and Share

Benjamin Grosvenor visits 'Between the Keys' on New Jersey's Classical Network

27-year-old Benjamin Grosvenor is considered to be one of the greatest pianists of his generation, or any other generation, for that matter. Ever since emerging in his teens as a prodigy mature beyond his years, Grosvenor continues to evolve artistically, as he builds a legacy of recordings that often achieve reference status, such as his Chopin Scherzos and Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit, and a new release encompassing both Chopin Concertos. This week, Grosvenor will be the featured guest on Episode 243 of the ASCAP Deems Taylor Virgil Thomson Award winning program Between the Keys, hosted by The Classical Network's Artist-in-Residence, composer/pianist Jed Distler. "Benjamin was an absolute delight to interview," says Distler. "He's warm, affable, unassuming, yet completely comfortable with his high place in the pianistic firmament, and passionate about a wide range of music. Long after our official conversation ended, we kept on talking shop and sharing repertoire ideas. No wonder all of my pianist friends adore Benjamin, personally and artistically." Grosvenor's new recording of two concerto favorites: Chopin's Piano Concertos Nos.1 and 2, released on Decca Classics, was recorded with Elim Chan and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO). The album marks Benjamin's fifth on Decca Classics, following the hugely successful Homages in 2016, and is his first orchestral album since 2012. Tune in to Between the Keys this Tuesday February 18th at 10:00 PM with special guest Benjamin Grosvenor, including musical selections by Ravel, Mendelssohn, Bach, Chopin and Brett Dean, only here on The Classical Network and New Jersey.
Bookmark and Share

Ted Poor's album release show is set for Columbia City Theatre / The Stranger

Ted Poor, who the NY Times wrote; "a trustworthy engine in countless modern-jazz settings," isn't your typical jazz drummer, and either is his New Deal/Impulse! debut recording 'You Already Know.' If you're at all familiar with the Seattle-based Poor's explorative career-or the wide-ranging work of his principal collaborators here, the deeply influential guitarist-producer Blake Mills and the saxophonist Andrew D'Angelo-this should come as no surprise. Poor's album release show is set for the Columbia City Theatre on March 7,8 SEE The Stranger PAGE
Bookmark and Share

Inside this! issue of UNCUT, the cosmic torchbearer of London jazz; Shabaka Hutchings is round to talk about ecstatic improv

Robert Plant, Karen Dalton, Elton John, Stephen Malkmus, Maria McKee, Shabaka Hutchings and Iggy & Bowie – plus our CD of the month's best music – all feature in the new Uncut, dated April 2020 and available to buy in UK shops from February 20. Inside the issue, you'll find: SHABAKA HUTCHINGS: The cosmic torchbearer of the London jazz scene, lynchpin of Sons Of Kemet, The Comet Is Coming and Shabaka And The Ancestors, invites Uncut round to talk "ecstatic improv", radical reinvention and esoteric philosophies. On March 13, Shabaka & The Ancestors will make their Impulse! debut with the band's sophomore album 'We Are Sent Here By History.'  SEE UNCUT PAGE
Bookmark and Share

Matt Haimovitz set for world premiere of Tapestry Opera's 'Jacqueline' / CJN

When Matt Haimovitz performs at the world premiere of Tapestry Opera's Jacqueline: a portrait of virtuosity, the audience can anticipate music that resonates with the poignant timbre of the famed cellist's intimate association with Jacqueline du Pré as her young protégé. Rising from a young prodigy herself, to peak fame as one of the world's greatest virtuosi and ultimately succumbing to a tragic finale, English cellist du Pré was recognized in her prime as an exquisitely talented female soloist. At the heart of du Pré's life, strings a loving relationship with celebrated pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim that blossomed in Israel. The story goes that in 1967 – while the couple were performing concerts before, during and after the Six-Day War – du Pré felt such an overwhelming connection to Judaism as a musician that she converted to Judaism to marry Barenboim. Tragedy struck in 1971 when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She died at 42 in October 1987 and was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Golders Green in London.  As Haimovitz explains that the opera portrays du Pré's struggle with an illness that stole her identity, her musical gift and life, his blue eyes reflect a genuine adoration of du Pré simultaneously with his great love for the instrument. Haimovitz's relationship with du Pré grew from a serendipitous phone call during Passover in New York when he was 13. He recalls, "(Itzhak) Perlman said, ‘Can you come over, because Daniel Barenboim is here and we'd love to play some chamber music.' I took the bus. I played the "Brahms E-Minor Sonata" with Daniel, not realizing the emotional importance of the moment. That was the first time he had played with another cellist since Jacqui had become sick. Daniel was so overwhelmed, he lifted me up, gave me a big hug, and invited me to work with him on various sonata repertoires and concerti. A year later, he invited me to make my European debut as he conducted the English Chamber Orchestra in London at the Barbican." Tapestry Opera's Jacqueline runs at the Betty Oliphant Theatre from Feb. 19 – 23. READ THE FULL CJN ARTICLE
Bookmark and Share

Luna Pearl Woolf covers Leonard Cohen and Jacqueline du Pre / BroadwayWorld

From a deeply stirring Mass to hauntingly re-imagined Leonard Cohen masterpieces, LUNA PEARL WOOLF: Fire and Flood encompasses 25 years of vocal and choral works by the innovative American-Canadian composer. The composer-portrait album features new and compelling performances from The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and NOVUS NY conducted by Julian Wachner, cellist Matt Haimovitz, soprano Devon Guthrie, mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata, and Broadway actress Nancy Anderson. Luna Pearl Woolf's new opera JACQUELINE, about the life of Jacqueline du Pré, premieres at Tapestry Opera in Toronto this week. READ THE FULL BroadwayWorld ARTICLE
Bookmark and Share

Robin McKelle chooses to fuse, on 'Alterations' / MAKING A SCENE

Alterations is jazz vocalist/composer Robin McKelle's follow-up to her 2018 Melodic Canvas which we covered on these pages. While that was mostly an album of originals, McKelle chooses here to, as she says, "fuse jazz, soul, r&b, blues and rock while keeping continuity in the music." These are mostly familiar songs from some of the most celebrated women in song interpreted through a jazz lens. They include Dolly Parton, Sade, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Janis Joplin, Carole king, Billie Holiday, Joni Mitchell, and Land Del Ray. For good measure, McKelle adds just one of her own, in tribute to female artistry. READ THE FULL MAKING A SCENE REVIEW
Bookmark and Share

Top 10 Albums for February

Anoushka Shankar :

Love Letters - EP

‘Love Letters' marks a different direction for the internationally celebrated artist; it offers a shift in intimacy and content and comes at a pivotal time in her career as she signs to her new record label, Mercury KX. Hailed by the Guardian as a "virtuoso sitar player", Anoushka truly pushes the boundaries of how the instrument is heard and perceived and "uses it as a vehicle for creativity" (Times). Love Letters documents a time of profound flux for Anoushka: health issues, heartbreak, domestic upheaval – "These were difficult times, which pushed me into some very vulnerable places. I've written from a personal place before, of course, but there was something particularly tender about the process this time, and it was a creative challenge to be brave enough to allow the music to remain as raw as it began" she says.
Danny Bensi - Saunder Jurriaans :

The Lodge OMPS

Milan Records today releases THE LODGE (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) with music by DANNY BENSI & SAUNDER JURRIAANS (Ozark, Chef's Table, Fear The Walking Dead).  Available everywhere now, the album features score music written by the duo for the chilling horror film, which made its debut at last year's Sundance Film Festival.  Directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala and starring Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh, Alicia Silverstone and Richard Armitage, The Lodge makes its US theatrical debut today via NEON. 
Lele Marchitelli :

The New Pope - Music From The HBO series

Milan Records today releases THE NEW POPE (ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK FROM THE SKY – HBO – CANAL+ SERIES produced by FREMANTLE'S THE APARTMENT and WILDSIDE, co-produced with HAUT ET COURT TV and THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO) with music by LELE MARCHITELLI.  Available everywhere now, the album features score music written by Marchitelli for Paolo Sorrentino's nine-episode original series starring Jude Law and John Malkovich.  Also included on the album is the show's theme song from Sofi Tukker and Charlie Barker, a special new edit of Afterhours' "Voglio Una Pelle Splendida" recorded specifically for the show, Recondite & Henrik Schwarz' techno classic "Motion" and more – full tracklist below.  Created by Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino (Youth, The Great Beauty) and his follow-up to 2016's The Young Pope, The New Pope premiered on HBO in January and airs on Monday nights at 9:00pm ET.    
Jake Shimabukuro Trio :


Referred to as "the Jimi Hendrix of the ukulele," Jake Shimabukuro is a true virtuoso, and exhibits his talents once again with the release of  ‘Trio', available February 14th through Music Theories Recordings. It's been a decade and a half since covering Jake's cover of George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" went viral and propelled Jake to a level of success most never plausible with a ukulele. Now, with nearly twenty albums already under his belt, Shimabukuro enlists the help of bassist Nolan Verner and guitarist Dave Preston, as well as legendary producer R.S. Field, in presenting the ambience of a classic jam session taken into a studio and transformed into a captivating 13 track album.  p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #4d4d4d} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #4d4d4d; min-height: 14.0px}
Artists For Peace And Justice :

Let the Rhythm Lead: Haiti Song Summit Vol. 1

Let the Rhythm Lead: Haiti Song Summit Vol. 1 is a meeting of musical styles and traditions that brings together the world views of songwriters Paul Beaubrun, Jackson Browne, Habib Koité, Jenny Lewis, Raúl Rodríguez, Jonathan Russell and Jonathan Wilson alongside members of Haitian roots band Lakou Mizik at the Artists Institute of Jacmel.  Steeped in polyrhythmic drumming of Haitian Vodou, complex notes of Spanish Tres, Flamenco and Malian Guitar, interwoven with North American folk and rock, Let the Rhythm Lead is a musical odyssey, employing an array of diverse songwriting traditions and genres to tell stories of new friendships and collaborations, powerful spirits and ancient traditions, all the while honoring humanity, love, understanding, awakening and rejuvenation. Six languages narrate the journey with singing in English, French, Creole, Khassonké, Manding and Spanish. All Press Secured By MISSING PIECE GROUP
Joey Alexander :


Joey Alexander, the Grammy-nominated jazz pianist, composer and bandleader has released his major label debut album, WARNA on Verve Records. The album is primarily a collection of reflective, moving new and original music by an experienced and confident musician. Translating as "color" from Alexander's native language of Bahasa, WARNA follows four Motéma Music albums that garnered the pianist three Grammy nominations and such honors as historic critics' and readers' poll victories in DownBeat and JazzTimes. Joining Alexander on the new album are bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Kendrick Scott, who comprise the core piano trio. On select tracks, Venezuelan-born percussion Luisito Quintero, and flautist Anne Drummond, join on to stunning aural effect. 
Robin McKelle :


Robin McKelle is pleased to announce the February 14th, 2020 release of her new album Alterations. Vocalist Robin McKelle delves into the catalogue of some of the most celebrated women of song, interpreting these masterworks through the lens of the jazz idiom. On Alterations, McKelle follows in a long tradition of female song interpreters, lending her sultry vocal stylings to classics by a diverse list of female innovators including Dolly Parton, Sade, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Janis Joplin, Carol King, Billie Holiday, Joni Mitchell, and Lana Del Ray. McKelle is joined on this release by a group of consummate musicians including co-producer, pianist and arranger Shedrick Mitchell, acoustic and electric bassist Richie Goods, drummer Charles Haynes, guitarist Nir Felder.  In addition, esteemed saxophonist Keith Loftis is featured on McKelle's sole original composition on this release, "Head High"; and renowned trumpeter Marquis Hill is featured on Lana Del Rey's "Born to Die".  The first single from Alterations, McKelle's rendition of Sade's "No Ordinary Love", will be released in late January. Alterations will be released on Doxie Records and distributed and marketed by the Orchard. ALL PRESS SECURED BY LYDIA LIEBMAN
Ryuichi Sakamoto :

The Staggering Girl OMPS

Milan Records today releases THE STAGGERING GIRL (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) with music by Academy Award-, Golden Globe- and GRAMMY-Award winning composer and musician RYUICHI SAKAMOTO.  Available everywhere now, the album features music from the Luca Guadagnino-directed short film, which was produced in collaboration with Valentino's creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli and showcases the fashion house's couture designs.  Having made its debut at Cannes Film Festival last year, The Staggering Girl will be available to watch exclusively on the curated streaming service MUBI tomorrow February 15.   
Shabaka & The Ancestors :

We Are Sent Here By History

On March 13, Shabaka & The Ancestors will make their Impulse! debut with the band's sophomore album We Are Sent Here By History. Their breakout 2016 album, Wisdom of Elders, established Shabaka & The Ancestors as a sudden force in spiritual jazz. But where that record warned of impending societal collapse, this one unfolds within it. Shabaka refers to the album as a "meditation on the fact of our coming extinction as a species. It is a reflection from the ruins, from the burning." On the lead single "Go My Heart, Go To Heaven," Siyabonga pays homage to his father's favorite church song. The word "hamba" (or "go") is repeated, and within the context of this track, it's "about the point where one gives in and wants out of this world," Siyabonga says. "But in times of darkness is a call to the light and the heart."
Snack Cat :

Young Love

Just like their debut EP, Snack Cat's newest single "Young Love," was born on an LA rooftop. Guitarist and bandleader Aleksi Glick was in town, this time for a wedding. Something about the time and place got him thinking about his first serious relationship back in college with a girl from LA. He thought about the concept of one's first love, and how with all the rocky and passionate twists and turns, it plays such a huge part in shaping just about everyone's human experience. The track is an infectious blend of R&B, soul and jazz, with a pop-like chorus that will have you singing along. Much of it was recorded live to capture the magic of the band's ‘live sound' and energy. It was recorded by heavyweight producer/recording engineer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, Kurt Vile) with help from Jeremy Delaney at Kaleidoscope Sound and mastered by the legendary Greg Calbi (John Lennon, David Bowie, John Mayer, Bruce Springsteen) at Sterling Sound.