York Daily Record - Mike Argento writes......Robin Spielberg was looking forward to a good 2020. The pianist and composer was working on her 19th record and had a tour scheduled with legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb, who penned such iconic songs as "By the Time I Get to Pheonix," "Galveston," "Wichita Lineman," "Up, Up and Away" and countless other timeless tunes.
She had toured with Webb before – her husband, producer and talent agent Larry Kosson represents Webb, among other artists – and it was always a great time. "I'm Jimmy's driver, shoe-shiner, everything," Spielberg said. "I always joke with him in the car, telling him, ‘You're an icon." And he would say, ‘Say that one more time and I'll slap you in the face.' So then, I'd have to say it over and over again."
She was also eager to get back on the road to promote her new record, "Love Story," released Feb. 7, her 19th record and first to be pressed on vinyl - bright red vinyl at that.
They played one date of the 20-city tour and were scheduled to play in her adopted home, York County, on March 28. Then the pandemic began. And everything changed.
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The Korea Times - Kwon Mee-yoo writes.....Pianist Cho Seong-jin will premiere an unheard piece by Mozart in Salzburg on the occasion of the classical composer's 265th birthday. Cho will play Mozart's "Allegro in D K626b/16" at the Great Hall of the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation, Wednesday, which mark's the Austrian composer's birthday as well as the opening date of the first-ever virtual edition of Mozartwoche, or Mozart Week, festival. "It is a great honor to be invited to give the premiere of a formerly unknown work by Mozart in the city of Salzburg, where the composer was born," Cho wrote on his Twitter, Friday.
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Multi Grammy & Emmy nominated recording artist, TV star and activist Jon Batiste announces a new single "I Need You" from his forthcoming ‘black pop' album WE ARE. The album is set for worldwide release on March 19 (Verve Records). On "I Need You" Batiste showcases his vocal range, accompanied by his once-in-a-generation musicianship. Produced and written in collaboration with songwriter Autumn Rowe and producer Kizzo, the song is communal and deceptively sophisticated. It fuses the sound of early 20th century black social music, with modern pop production and a hint of hip-hop storytelling. He expertly alternates between belting high notes in full voice, to singing harmony with himself on the choruses, to delivering the verses in a ‘farm rap' style. Batiste then dives into two killer instrumental breaks on both piano and saxophone - all in less than 3 minutes. Says Batiste, "This song is a vibe cleanse. After 2020, this is like a warm hug," says Batiste. "Let's bring the vibes back!"
Watch Batiste Lindy Hop his way through new single on the attached video. About the video, boingboing's GARETH BRANWYN writes.... "Jon Batiste everybody." One of the upsides of COVID-19 isolation has been getting to know Stephen Colbert and his musical director, Jon Batiste, a lot better. During the Trump Virus shit-show, Jon has been a little nightly dose of heartfelt music and unwavering positivity. In this video, the single to his forthcoming record, We Are, a group of Lindy Hoppers in a gallery photograph come to life and dance with him and another female patron. Sadly, upon seeing this, my first thought was: Where are their masks?
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textura writes.....A Quiet Madness is somewhat of a curious title for William Susman's latest release. The composer's music is seldom hushed, and neither is it deranged-not that there's any suggestion the title should be taken literally anyway.
The influence of classical minimalism on Susman's melodious music is undeniable, but he uses it as a foundation upon which to construct his own distinctive edifice. These settings enchant as they wend their way through different instrumental groupings, from the violin-and-piano serenity of the opening Aria on through the wholly transporting Seven Scenes for Four Flutes and beyond. Though its material was written between 2006 and 2013 and recorded on two continents, a cohesive impression forms due to the through-line of the composer's voice and the smart sequencing. By distributing three parts of the solo piano work Quiet Rhythms in amongst the other pieces, the album conveys a unified character capable of accommodating dramatic contrasts between the earthy and the ethereal.
For now, the forty-eight minutes of A Quiet Madness offer more than their fair share of listening rewards as a representative sampling of his artistry.
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Iconic NYC jazz club rallies to stay open amid pandemic.
WPIX11's Magee Hickey writes....Like so many jazz clubs and music venues across the city, 'Birdland' has been shuttered on West 44th Street since the pandemic began last March, except for a brief reopening last month. What better way to open the Save Birdland fundraiser than hearing the legendary Catherine Russell sing its anthem: the lullaby of Birdland. Birdland, the jazz corner of the world, has been around for longer than most of us can remember. It first opened in 1949 on 52nd Street with big names, including Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and Billie Holiday. They performed regularly with Billy Taylor as the house pianist.
Owner Gianni Valenti feared would have to close permanently until producer Tom D'Angora held a successful fundraising telethon to save the West Bank Café on Christmas Day. "After a very successful West Bank Café campaign, some of my friends said 'can you do the same for Birdland,'" D'Angira told PIX11 News. "Birdland can't close. We can't have a New York without Birdland. That's impossible."
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For Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson's debut album on Deutsche Grammophon, he is performing selections of Philip Glass's Piano Etudes. Ólafsson's fascination with reinterpreting the Piano Etudes grew as he toured and performed the works with Glass himself. Released for the composer's 80th birthday, the pianist says; "On the surface, they seem to be filled with repetitions. But the more one plays and thinks about them, the more their narratives seem to travel along in a spiral," he explains. "My approach to each of the etudes is to enable the listener to create his or her own personal space of reflection."
The Guardian's Killian Fox writes.....We got this as a Christmas present from my father-in-law, who's a pianist and musicologist, and I think it's one of his favourite records. Ólafsson is an Icelandic pianist and here he's playing works by Philip Glass, for whom repetition is a big thing. The album has a simplicity that for me becomes almost majestic in the end. It's so precise and so clear – it feels almost mathematical but also very soulful. You listen to it for a little while and new details keep emerging. I've been playing it all the time since we got it. Photograph: Antonio Olmos
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The Daily Freeman's Diane Pineiro-Zucker writes......The Ashokan Center has always focused on hands-on outdoor education and the environment, so when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early March, 2020, it immediately became clear that things were about to change drastically, said Jay Ungar, the center's president and chief executive officer.
The Ashokan Center, at 477 Beaverkill Road in Olivebridge, has served about 5,000 schoolchildren annually during academic years since 1967 and has offered on-site dance camps for adults and families each spring and summer since 1980. But it saw enrollment drop and then disappear as the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing made it difficult if not impossible to continue business as usual.
"We leapt into the world of what's now called virtual programming," Ungar said. "I rebel against that word because virtual reality is not real, but online programming is real. It's the real thing, only it's online."
COVID "has been devastating to many non-profits and commercial businesses and small businesses. It's rewriting the world as we know it," Ungar said. "Who knows what the world will be like when we reach whatever the next step is? But for this particular organization, the Ashokan Center, while it's been a struggle and it's been difficult, it has opened possibilities that we never thought of before.
"So, our world is going to continue to include some of this virtual programming in the future and we never would have embarked on it if we hadn't essentially been forced."
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An ensemble that attracts rave reviews and sell-out crowds at prestigious venues everywhere from Vienna to New York, the sensational SIGNUM saxophone quartet are now set to present their first Deutsche Grammophon album.
The recording presents three works by Mozart, all in chronological order and in minor keys. Grimaud sees his use of the minor as suggestive of "confrontations with fate or destiny". Written in memory of his late wife, Larissa Bondarenko, Silvestrov's The Messenger – 1996 "establishes a connection between the world that once existed and the present day." It offers "both a response to and an echo of Mozart's music – this idea of acknowledging and paying tribute to what has gone before is central to his art as a composer."
For her latest studio album, pianist Hélène Grimaud travels to Salzburg where she creates a fascinating juxtaposition between the eternal Mozart and the Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov (b. 1937). Hélène has long had a passion for Silvestrov's music, which some call post-modernist or even neoclassical. The composer's own words hint at why this is for her so intriguing: "I do not write new music. My music is a response to and an echo of what already exists."
In selecting the music for this album, Hélène has carefully chosen music by Mozart that fits into an overall dramaturgy: from Mozart's famous unfinished D minor Fantasy, Helene transitions seamlessly into the great D minor concerto K. 466 - one of the most popular amongst Mozart's 27 concertos (and one of only two in a minor key). The C minor Fantasy here signals "the end of Mozart" and a new beginning: The Messenger starts with a theme reminiscent of Mozart, and like a messenger, creates a connection between the present and the world that existed before. Melancholy and hope, sadness and exuberance can be felt emanating from both Mozart's and Silvestrov's works. The Messenger, one of Silvestrov's most performed works, is dedicated to his wife Larissa Bondarenko, who had recently passed away. The Two Dialogues with Postscript that serve here as an epilogue, leave the outcome open, leading the way to Schubert, Wagner and beyond.
Pianist Hélène Grimaud is set to release her new album Memory on September 21th on Deutsche Grammophon. The album explores the nature of recollection through a series of exquisite pianistic miniatures, with a choice of repertoire embracing everything from impressionistic reveries by Chopin and Debussy to the timeless, folk-like melodies of Valentin Silvestrov. The French pianist's latest Deutsche Grammophon recording addresses music's unique ability to bring images of the past back to life in the present moment, to conjure up vivid evocations of time and place.
Memory and music make perfect partners. Both are fleeting, never fixed, always subject to interpretation. Our identities are formed from memories, just as so many of our most enduring experiences are rooted in music. Hélène Grimaud wanted to explore the universal nature of memory, its place in the lives of us all. Memory, she explains, uses music to probe the many levels of human consciousness.
Grimaud's challenging, eloquent artistry runs throughout Perspectives, a personal selection of highlights from her Deutsche Grammophon catalog that offers a strong flavor of the pianist's penetrating insights into landmarks of her instrument's repertoire. The double-disc album, scheduled for release on 7 April 2017, embraces the composers and compositions that have left the deepest impressions on her soul. It features both extracts from monumental concertos by such titans as Beethoven, Brahms and Bartók, and transcendent solo scores by Bach, Mozart and Chopin among others. Each disc is rounded off by a delightful "encore" – Brahms's Waltz in A flat and Sgambati's arrangement of Gluck's "Dance of the Blessed Spirits," respectively – both pieces enjoying their first CD/streaming release on this album.
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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 is set for worldwide release on February 5, 2016 and conveys imaginative responses to everything from mighty oceans and great lakes to raindrops and snowflakes as well as inviting listeners to contemplate the mounting threats to the safety, security and supply of this essential resource.
55 NEW 77 TOTAL
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With inimitable passion and spiritual dedication, Hélène Grimaud has climbed the Mount Everest of the romantic piano repertoire, performing The Brahms No. 1 and No. 2 Piano Concertos with Andris Nelsons conducting which will be released as a dual disc by Deutsche Grammophon on September 30, 2013. Believed to be the first woman pianist of the 21st century to release both the Brahms piano concertos, Grimaud recorded the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, op. 15 live with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra) at Munich's Herkulessaal; and the Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, op. 83 with the Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna Philharmonic) in Vienna's legendary Musikverein. It is Grimaud's first recording with the Vienna Philharmonic.
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