Joyce DiDonato interviews with VIAPublicMedia

With her album 'Songplay,' Mezzo-Soprano Joyce DiDonato takes a new and creative angle on vocal music from the Baroque and Classical periods, as well as from the 20th century. The 14 tracks on Songplay succeed in being simultaneously familiar and unexpected. The album serves up music by Vivaldi in both its customary Baroque purity and swinging to the heady rhythm of a samba. It brings a tango sizzle to an aria by Vivaldi's contemporary Marcello, and it plays with the voice of Bach in George Shearing's ‘Lullaby of Birdland'.    DiDonato speaks with Eastern PA's VIA PUBLIC MEDIA, ArtScene host Peter Wynne about her new recording featuring special arrangements with pianist Craig Terry and friends for the Erato label. LISTEN p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #4d4d4d} 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}
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  Interview with WVIA's Erika Funke

Lang Lang - Piano Book is Winnipeg: Classical 107 'May Record of the Month'

"Piano Book" is a collection of miniature masterpieces performed by one of the world's most celebrated virtuosos. "With Piano Book I'm going back to my first love, to the pieces that made me want to become a musician in the first place" Lang Lang states in the preface to his latest disc. Released in March 2019 with Universal Music Group and Deutsche Grammophon, the album features well-known masterworks thoughtfully chosen and performed by the global superstar on his first studio album since 2016. From Bach's Prelude in C minor, to Mozart's 12 Piano Variations on "Ah, vous dirai-je, Maman" to Poulenc's Villageoises, there is something for every classical piano lover. There are also many works from the present day, like compositions by Yann Tiersen and Max Richter, as well as cultural works such as Sweden's Limu, limu, lima or the popular Chinese folksong Jasmine Flower.  Lang Lang's Piano Book is the Classical 107 - Winnipeg 'May Record of the Month with McNally Robinson Booksellers.
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Tedeschi Trucks Band plays 'Kimmel' / JamBase

The Tedeschi Trucks Band served as the musical guest on last night's ( Wednesday's ) episode of ABC late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live. Led by Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, the 12-piece performed four songs during an outdoor concert held on the streets of Los Angeles and one that was broadcast on the show. Kimmel Live featured a performance of "Shame" from the band's recently released Signs LP. "Signs, High Times" off the album was the opener for the group's unaired portion of the concert. Derek and Susan then led the band through "When Will I Begin" and "Hard Case" from Signs. The Tedeschi Trucks Band's finale was "I Want More," a track from 2016's Let Me Get By. Watch pro-shot video of the entire four-song concert below as well as "Shame" from the broadcast via JamBase
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Mark O'Connor will not be just fiddling around in Juneau / Juneau Empire Q&A

Mark O'Connor, the three-time Grammy Award-winner will close out the 33rd annual Juneau Jazz & Classics Festival with the O'Connor Band at at Centennial Hall and will be part of a free jam on Friday, May 17 at TK Maguire's Lounge. The O'Connor Band which is a foot-tapping, twangy bluegrass outfit that includes O'Connor's son, wife and daughter-in-law. The 57-year-old virtuoso is an accomplished classical musician with a jazz background in addition to being a hell of a fiddle player. O'Connor took time to answer some questions from the Capital City Weekly ahead of both his festival-closing concert and jam session.   READ THE Juneau Empire Q&A       (Courtesy Photo | Jim McGuire)
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Jess Gillam is the youngest classical #1 saxophonist ever

Hailing from Ulverston in Cumbria, Jess Gillam is blazing a trail in the music world with her outstanding talent and infectious personality. She is the first saxophone player to sign an exclusive recording deal with Decca Classics and has already released three digital singles on the label as well as her new album 'Rise.' The winner of the "Sound of Classical Poll" at the Classic Brits, Jess presents a stunning collection of tracks that reflect her varied and colorful musical tastes and inspirations. Includes beautiful cover versions from two of Jess's biggest heroes, Kate Bush and David Bowie, and film music hits from John Williams and Michael Nyman. Watch the attached video.
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Lara Downes discusses 'Holes in the Sky' with classical radio

Lara Downes new album, Holes in the Sky, on Portrait / Sony Masterworks label is a genre-fluid collection of music written and performed by today's leading female artists, celebrating the contributions of phenomenal women to the past, present, and future of American music. The album tells the story of what women and girls can contribute to the world when they are given a chance - their dreams can make holes in the sky. Lara collaborates with an extraordinary multi-generational group of female guest artists on this album, including the iconic singer / songwriter Judy Collins, boundary-breaking violinist Rachel Barton Pine, pianist Simone Dinnerstein, fast-rising cellist Ifetayo Ali-Landing, and the urban youth vocal ensemble Musicality. In conjunction with the release, LD sat down with Classical Radio Networks and Stations for back to back sessions today May 14, and tomorrow May 15, to discuss the particulars.
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'American Rapture' highlights the most intriguing components of the RPO's musical identity in the Ward Stare era / Rochester City Newspaper

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra's new album "American Rapture" highlights the most intriguing components of the RPO's musical identity in the Ward Stare era. "American Rapture" represents both these inclinations, in a live recording that achieves the vibrancy of a concert performance combined with a polished, hi-resolution sound.  On the world premiere recording of Jennifer Higdon's mercurial Harp Concerto, the crystalline precision of Yolanda Kondonassis's harp, the rhythmic buoyancy of Stare's conducting, and the cohesion of the orchestra achieve a kind of mystical alchemy. This is especially the case during the boisterous, at times cacophonous final movement, "Rap Knock." Patrick Harlin's "Rapture," also in a world premiere recording, proves that it's every bit the defiant orchestral showpiece it was when Stare and the RPO first performed it in 2016. READ THE FULL Rochester City Newspaper REVIEW
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Schiff, Laws, Einaudi and Winston make KCRW - Rhythm Planet: New Music Discoveries

This week's Rhythm Planet playlist showcases my picks for the best new releases in mostly jazz and world music. We will hear pianist András Schiff play one of my favorite Schubert impromptus on the keyboard of the composer's day, the piano-forte, precursor to the modern piano. I prefer modern pianos, but this album gives you a sense of what the piano sounded back then during Schubert's brief lifetime (1797-1828). We transition to the gorgeous sound of Hubert Laws' flute, playing the Kurt Weill/Ira Gershwin classic "My Ship." This track is an oldie, but I'm featuring it because Laws has a show coming up on Saturday, May 18, at the Moss Theater in Santa Monica. He's one of my heroes, and I plan to catch this rare performance. The music of Ludovico Einaudi-recently dubbed "the most streamed classical musician of all time"-can be heard seemingly everywhere in movies, advertising, etc. I helped to debut Einaudi's first album, Diario Mali, with Malian kora player Ballaké Sissoko back in 2003. The pianist/composer has since reached international stardom. Einaudi has launched a new series of albums called Seven Days Walking, with each "Day" to be released a month apart. He performs at Walt Disney Concert Hall on June 16, and it will surely sell out so grab your seats now. I was surprised to receive a new album from pianist George Winston, from whom I hadn't heard anything for a long time, probably due to his struggle against cancer. Winston helped build the Windham Hill label, beginning with his best-selling 1981 album Autumn. His new solo piano album Restless Wind sounds different from his earlier work, with Winston showing more pianist facility than before. I like the differences. Winston frequently visited Morning Becomes Eclectic back in the Stone Age when I hosted it, bringing in a satchel of New Orleans blues, Brazilian guitar, and other albums as my guest host in the early 1980's.  SEE THE FULL KCRW: Los Angeles - Rhythm Planet: New Music Discoveries PAGE
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Christopher Tin set for his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall / BroadwayWorld

Christopher Tin, the two-time Grammy Award winner is making his Carnegie Hall conducting debut  on June 9 with the presentation of his classical crossover album Calling All Dawns. Presented by DCINY, Tin, the DCINY composer-in-residence, will be leading a mass choir of singers performing Calling All Dawns with a full orchestra. Featured soloists are Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, Mezzo-Soprano, Michael Odokara-Okigbo (Michael O.), Tenor, Camille Brault, Mezzo-Soprano, Holly Sedillos, Soprano, and Deanna Choi, Soprano. 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} READ THE FULL BroadwayWorld ARTICLE
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Katarzyna Musial discusses 'My Spanish Heart' with classical radio

With the release of My Spanish Heart (DUX recordings) pianist Katarzyna Musial builds upon her previous successful recording Come Dance with Me. My Spanish Heart continues to explore the idiom of dance through musical expression with this time focusing on renowned Spanish composers. In this album, Katarzyna Musial revels in the artistic and cultural splendors of the Iberian peninsula. "You don't have to be born in a culture to be enamored with it," she explains. In fact, her love affair with Spain was first sparked during childhood when, at five years old, she simply fell in love with the country upon a visit with her parents. The pianist sat down to discuss the recording with classical radio in May 14 an 16.
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The main attraction of RPO's 'American Rapture' is the Jennifer Higdon harp concerto dedicated to Yolanda Kondonassis / The Rehearsal Studio

This Friday Azica Records will release its first recording of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. The ensemble is led by Ward Stare, who became its Music Director on September 1, 2014. The title of the new recording is American Rapture; and, as is usually the case, it is currently available for pre-order through its Web page on  The Rochester band became recognized nationally (if not internationally) as a platform for the performance of new compositions, particularly works by American composers. I was therefore delighted to see that the ensemble's Azica debut featured two world premiere recordings by two generations of American composers. The "main attraction" of the album is the harp concerto that Jennifer Higdon (born in 1962) completed last year, written for and dedicated to the virtuoso harpist Yolanda Kondonassis. This concerto begins the album, which concludes with one of the young American composers currently on the rise, Patrick Harlin (born in 1984). He is represented by "Rapture," inspired by experiences described by James Tabor in his book Blind Descent, which explores the practices of "extreme" cave exploration. Between these two offerings is a new recording of one of the pieces that Hanson had previously recorded on Mercury, Samuel Barber's Opus 9 (first) symphony. READ THE FULL Rehearsal Studio REVIEW
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Andras Schiff reveals a new way of listening to Bach's Partitas at London's Wigmore Hall / The Independent

Sir Andras Schiff – the honorific suits him better with every year that passes – is on a roll. After demonstrating in concert the suitability of the fortepiano for Schubert's works, he has just brought out a CD (Franz Schubert – Sonatas & Impromptus) which drives the point unarguably home: to call this performance of the final two sonatas revelatory is nothing less than the truth, because the sound-world on his immaculately restored 1820 Brodmann up-ends all our expectations of these mysterious works; a Steinway, for all its sonic splendour, suddenly seems wildly inappropriate. Now Schiff is showing us a new way of listening to Bach's Partitas, and if the aural readjustment is less dramatic than the one with Schubert, it's no less fundamental. As is usual with Schiff recitals, the Wigmore is getting him to repeat the performance to cope with the demand for seats, and if they'd scheduled further repeats those too would have been filled to capacity. Nobody else fills the hall the way this Hungarian-born pianist – now gratefully British – routinely does. The concert is performed again at Wigmore Hall tomorrow 14 May.    READ THE FULL Independent REVIEW   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}
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Top 10 Albums for May

Angelique Kidjo :


On April 19, Angélique Kidjo will release Celia (Verve/Universal Music France), an album that honors Celia Cruz, widely known as "the Queen of Salsa" and the most popular Latin artist of the 20thcentury.  On Celia, Angélique explores the African roots of the Cuban-born Cruz and reimagines selections from Cruz's extraordinary career in surprising new ways, infused with an explosion of sounds and rhythms from Cuba, Africa, the Middle East, America and beyond.  The album includes performances by Tony Allen (Fela Kuti) on drums, Meshell Ndegeocello on bass, and British saxophonist Shabaka Hutchins plus his band Sons of Kemet.   
Luciano Pavarotti :


From the filmmaking team behind the highly-acclaimed documentary The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years, PAVAROTTI is a riveting film that lifts the curtain on the icon who brought opera to the people. Academy Award winner Ron Howard puts audiences front row center for an exploration of The Voice...The Man...The Legend. Luciano Pavarotti gave his life to the music and a voice to the world. This cinematic event features history-making performances and intimate interviews, including never-before-seen footage and cutting-edge Dolby Atmos technology.  A CBS Films Polygram Entertainment Brian Grazer presentation, PAVAROTTI is an Imagine Entertainment and White Horse Pictures production.  DIRECTED BY: Ron Howard  WRITTEN BY: Mark Monroe  PRODUCED BY: Nigel Sinclair, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Michael Rosenberg, Jeanne Elfant Festa  OPENING IN THEATERS LIMITED ON JUNE 7, 2019 
Seth MacFarlane :

Once In A While

Seth MacFarlane will release his fifth album Once In A While (Verve and Republic) digitally, and the physical CD will be available on April 26th. The reflective album, which MacFarlane calls "a collection of wistful, pensive songs," features songs by Irving Berlin, Rogers and Hart, and Johnny Mercer. The tracks for Once In A While were recorded alongside the songs for his last album, 2017's In Full Swing- and material for another, future record- in a marathon 2016 session at London's legendary Abbey Road Studio 2, the room in which the Beatles cut the majority of their catalogue. Unlike the hard-charging big band swing of his previous project, the thirteen songs on this album are all ballads that MacFarlane says "deal with longing, lost love, and sadness, infused with fond recollection and a hint of hope." "They're not necessarily sad break-up songs," says arranger Andrew Cottee. "They're more reflective, thoughtful, even philosophical, but they're not all torch songs."
Radical Face :


"Hello, Hope, it's been a while," go the opening lines of "Dead Ends", the centerpiece of Ben Cooper's latest EP as Radical Face. After giving eight years of his life, creatively and emotionally, to his three-part The Family Tree series -- The Roots (2011), The Branches (2013), and The Leaves (2016) -- Cooper had indeed lost touch with hope. He'd too long grasped ideas and perceptions that held him back from peace. Speaking with a professional finally enabled him to let go, something he's honored by naming his new effort Therapy.  On Therapy, Radical Face has let go of all his past narratives. Instead of an intricate saga, he's kept his parameters simple. Instead of acoustic folk, he's written lush compositions. Instead of his troubled past, he's focused on his scarred present. Unsure yet confident, battered yet resilient, Cooper is taking Radical Face in a poignant new direction. And there's hope there.
Philip Bailey :

Billy Jack from 'Love Will Find A Way'

For over 50 years, Earth Wind and Fire provided the soundtrack to the lives of many.  With award winning albums and chart-topping hits such as "September", "Devotion", "Reasons" and "Keep Your Head to the Sky" EWF have stood the test of time and continue to be a force in music. Philp Bailey, one of the lead singers, also experienced solo success with "Easy Lover" and "Walking on the Chinese Wall." This new album, Love Will Find A Way, has Philip teamed up with some of today's hottest, progressive Jazz artists such as Robert Glasper, Christian McBride, Kamasi Washington, Casey Benjamin, Chick Corea, Steve Gadd and more. The single, "Billy Jack", was written by the legendary Curtis Mayfield and produced by both Robert Glasper and Philip Bailey.
The Stan Getz Quartet :

Getz at The Gate

On November 26, 1961, saxophonist Stan Getz and his relatively new quartet of Steve Kuhn, John Neves, and Roy Haynes performed at New York's Village Gate. The show was professionally recorded, possibly for eventual release, but was soon forgotten and the tape languished in the vaults for almost 58 years. On June 14th, Verve Records/UMe will release the 2-CD, 3-LP Getz at The Gate, which includes every note recorded that night.  This recording and this quartet both serve as a sort of "road not taken" for Stan Getz. Having just returned from living in Europe, Getz assembled a new quartet and was exploring a slightly more modern and aggressive sound with this group. Steve Kuhn had only recently finished playing with John Coltrane's quartet and a more modern music and sound - personified by Coltrane - was gaining popularity. 
Sarah McKenzie :

Secrets of My Heart

After the great success of Sarah McKenzie's 2017 disc, Paris in the Rain(Impulse! Records), the 31-year-old pianist, singer, and composer returns with the poignant, Secrets of My Heart, reuniting with noted Australian composer, arranger, and events music director, Chong Lim, who produced her first two discs – Don't Tempt Me and Close Your Eyes. Recorded in New York City, Secrets of My Heart exudes cosmopolitan flair with its lineup that includes French bassist Pierre Boussaguet and Brazilian percussionist Rogerio Bocattoalongside guitarist Dan Wilson, drummer Donald Edwards, vibraphonist Warren Wolf,tenor saxophonist Troy Roberts, and cellist Jody Redhage Ferber(all of whom based in the United States).    
Vikingur Olafsson :

Bach - Reworks

Following his critically-acclaimed Johann Sebastian Bach album, pianist Vikingur Ólafsson releases a double LP of Bach Reworks, featuring new arrangements of his Bach transcriptions from electronic artists such as Valgeir Sigurðsson and Ben Frost (Prelude BWV 855a), Peter Gregson (Above and Below, B Minor), and Ryuichi Sakamoto (BWV 974 – II Adagio – Rework).
Ilan Eshkeri :

The White Crow OMPS w/Lisa Batiashvili

Half-hearted concessions to freedom of expression were not enough to hold Rudolf Nureyev in the Soviet Union. The young dancer, a superstar soloist of the Kirov Ballet, caused an international sensation when he became the first Soviet artist to defect to the West during the Cold War. The White Crow, a new film directed by Ralph Fiennes, charts Nureyev's journey from childhood poverty in Siberia and meteoric rise as a principal dancer to the decisive moment of his defection in June 1961 at Le Bourget airport in Paris. The story's personal and political drama surges through Sir David Hare's screenplay and is intensified by the austere beauty of Ilan Eshkeri's original score. Deutsche Grammophon is set to release the soundtrack album on 22 March 2019 to coincide with the movie's international release.
Ludovico Einaudi :

Seven Days Walking - Day 1

Ludovico Einaudi has played piano on an Arctic glacier, performed at huge pop music festivals, and become the most-streamed classical artist in the world, but the composer and pianist's new album may be his most ambitious project yet. On March 15 2019, he released the first episode of a seven-part new album called Seven Days Walking (Decca Records/Universal), before embarking on a North American tour at the end of May.  Einaudi also announces today his signing of a new worldwide contract with Decca Records, under Universal Music Group. After nearly 15 years and six album releases together, Decca – the world's No.1 classical music label – is thrilled to renew its working relationship with Einaudi and be the home to his music globally. This is the first time Einaudi's music will be released via Universal Music Group in the United States.