The new Maria Schneider album came to me on the day that Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Apple's Tim Cook, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Sundar Pichai appeared before the US Congress to answer questions about their impact: pure data lords. The title of the new album ‘Data Lords' is also about the impact that such companies are having not just on the US but on the rest of the world. The album is a major undertaking. Maria Schneider is acutely aware of the effect that the digital world has on creativity. She feels that the digital world reduces our own inner space, reduces creativity. Schneider writes: ‘I can't imagine I'm alone in often feeling desperate to get away from every device bombarding me with endless chatter, endless things –endless demands. Shutting it all down and encountering space and silence, I easily find myself again drawn to nature, people, silence, books, poetry, art, the earth and sky.' In some ways that is a summary of the album.
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New York Public Radio (NYPR), home of WNYC, Gothamist, WNYC Studios, WQXR, and The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, announced today that Edward Yim has been named Chief Content Officer for WQXR, New York City's classical music station. His appointment will take effect on September 28th.
In this role, Yim will be responsible for developing and implementing a strategic vision that helps WQXR reach a broader, more inclusive audience, drives digital innovation, bolsters WQXR's role in New York City's arts and culture ecosystem, and increases WQXR's relevance and service to the city's communities. Collaborating with teams across NYPR, Yim will oversee all of WQXR's programming and operations, from live broadcasts, podcasts, and digital content, to strategic partnerships, events and community engagement. He will also be responsible for managing the station's operating budget, and fundraising across NYPR's diversified revenue base of members, donors and sponsors. Yim will report to NYPR President and CEO Goli Sheikholeslami.
Yim brings to WQXR over two decades of experience at several of the country's premier music institutions, including American Composers Orchestra (ACO), where he has served as President and CEO since 2017. There, he led the organization's strategic planning, staff and fundraising while working closely with the artistic leadership to create the organization's profile and activity. During his tenure, ACO pursued its mission to perform, promote, celebrate, and commission music by American composers -- with particular focus on women, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming artists, Black and Latinx artists, and immigrant artists -- and championed works that challenged the notion of a core repertoire. Prior to ACO, Yim held senior positions at several of the nation's most significant music institutions, including the New York Philharmonic, New York City Opera, IMG Artists, and The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.
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It is hard to imagine a more energentic ambassador for the classical guitar than Sharon Isbin. With more than 30 albums to her credit, Isbin has made waves in the music world not only by premiering important works for the instrument but by seeking out cross-genre collaborations with such musicians as Steve Vai, Thaigo de Mello, Joan Baez, and many others.
Now as the COVID-19 pandemic paralyzes live music everywhere, Ms. Isbin has released two albums highlighting the possibilities of collaboration across national boundaries and genres. On August 4th she discussed the recordings and her career with Peter Haney of WORT's Back Porch Serenade.
In "Affinity," Isbin revisits concert favorites and debuts new works written for her by noted contemporary composers from three continents. These include Chris Burbeck's jazz-influenced concerto "Affinity," the album's title track, which Isbin performed in Madison with the Madison Sympohony Orchestra in 2017. In a second release titled "Strings for Peace," Isbin makes her first foray into Indian classical music, playing compositions in the Hindustani tradition by the noted Sarod virtuoso Amjad Ali Khan, together with the composer and his sons, who are also masters of the instrument. This release follows a successful tour of India that Isbin undertook with Khan in 2019.
Together, the two releases call for cooperation across boundaries of nation and faith at a time of increasing world tension and division. Although Sharon Isbin is not currently touring live, she did participate in the 2020 Colorado Music Festival, and the virtual concert, recorded in her living room, is still available for free viewing (registration required). Isbin hopes that these two new releases and her virtual performances will provide comfort to music lovers as everyone continues to struggle with restrictions on concerts due to the ongoing public health crisis.
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The American composer John Finbury writes his music thinking of whole America, Brazil and all South American countries. His music is interpreted by singer Magos Herrera on four of the seven songs, Chano Dominguez on piano, John Patitucci on double bass and Antonio Sanchez on drums. The production is by Emilio D. Miller. The music was recorded in two sessions in New York in 2019, before the virus changed everything. As always, for his part, the music is fascinating and the songs are a continuous change of South American rhythms coming from the various traditions of the continent. Everything is perfect in production, there is very little to complain about, the record is a perfect meeting between producer, composer and musicians. Salón Jardínhe is in a trio, with the pianist taking the applause for how he manages to interpret a bolero rhythm in such a sensual way, but to underline it is also the solo of John Patitucci who transforms his bulky instrument into a kind of guitar.
The lyrics are singer in Spanish and English with the sensual and sometimes dramatic voice of
Magos Herrera , as on All The Way To The End . Great album, a very high level production in the genre.
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Uncertainties have rocked the start of 2020, crushing promises of live concerts at venues and festivals. But today's artists aren't letting these aftershocks pause the show. The start of the new decade was blessed with so many fresh albums in various genres. While reality seems to grow more chaotic by the minute, these new releases are perfect for those who want to temporarily escape from the real world through retro-pop tracks and trancy synth beats blasting in their ears. Stacker created a list of the best 50 albums of the year so far, collecting data on top albums of 2020 from Metacritic. Each album is ranked according to its Metascore as of June 23, 2020, with ties being broken by the number of reviews.
#35. 'We Are Sent Here by History' by Shabaka & the Ancestors
- Metascore: 84
- Release date: March 13, 2020
Shabaka & the Ancestors are a contemporary jazz outfit brought together by saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings. "We Are Sent Here by History" melds saxophone, trumpet, drums, percussion, bass, and piano notes to evoke images of South Africa's traditions and culture.
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Chris Brubeck's Concerto for guitar and orchestra Affinity is a single-movement work in three sections: the first bright, jazzy and energetic; the second, based on a melody by his father, jazz great Dave Brubeck, mellow and Chopin-haunted; the third a whirling percussive dance infused with foot-tapping Brazilian and Middle Eastern vibes. Though Rodrigo isn't far away, either. Ably accompanied by the Maryland Symphony Orchestra under Elizabeth Schulze, Isbin gives a sparkling, virtuoso account that neatly underscores Brubeck's bountiful musical syncretism, while revealing a wider vista with smaller peaks and valleys visible in the distance.
Though smaller in scale, Brouwer's colourful El Decamerón Negro for solo guitar also boasts three sections but its romantic tale of love and war achieves its intensity through intimacy, Isbin relishing the sweeping scales and arpeggios, the toccata-like textures and the programmatic elements. After a delightful interlude in the form of a duet version, arranged by and performed with Isbin's former student Colin Davin, of Lauro's popular Waltz No 3, Isbin returns to the subject of love with Tan Dun's extraordinary Seven Desires, a surreal courting ritual between flamenco guitar and pipa, and Richard Danielpour's three Rumi settings for voice and guitar, Of Love and Longing, in which she is joined by the soprano Isabel Leonard. Thanks in large part to Leonard's clear diction and languid phrasing, we're suddenly made aware that a more transcendent, spiritual love was with us on the journey all along.
‘Affinity' by name, affinity by nature, Sharon Isbin's terrific latest recording evinces a wonderful talent for making fully hers what was written for her, regardless of style.
No doubt, you've heard some new music in rotation lately on KXPR - music that seemingly stands a bit outside of what you are used to hearing on the classical station. There's no question that the standard European repertory that we've come to associate with classical music is important. The music is beautiful, powerful, and well, classic. But there's a whole world of amazing and unique classical music either rarely presented or being created right now across the globe. On KXPR, we want to bring you examples of the diverse face of classical music today. Among our few examples of the broad classical music reach we're spinning, from Manhattan (New York OR Kansas) to Mumbai is....Amjad Ali Khan - "Love Avalanche" - Performed by Sharon Isbin.
Guitarist Sharon Isbin has been incredibly busy of late. One of her three albums released within the last year is called "String for Peace."
The record is Isbin's first foray into the intriguing sounds of Indian classical music. It's not always easy to separate classical music from its traditional European roots. But when I listen to the music of Amjad Ali Khan, I am reminded that there is so much more out there.
Isbin and Ali Khan have been working on making this collaboration happen for nearly a decade. Isbin's guitar is paired with traditional Indian instruments including the sarod, played by Amjad and sons, and the tabla. Ali Khan says of the collaboration, "The idea is to achieve a cross-fertilization at both the cellular and cosmic levels of two classical music traditions, which are often held to be radically different."
You can hear more about the recording on a recent episode of New Classical Tracks from Minnesota Public Radio.
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The first-time teaming of Poland's dynamic Marcin Wasilewski Trio and big-toned US tenorist Joe Lovano brings forth special music of concentrated, deep feeling, in which lyricism and strength seem ideally balanced.
Sony Music Masterworks today releases Not Our First Goat Rodeo, the long-awaited follow-up album to the GRAMMY Award-winning The Goat Rodeo Sessions, with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile.
Blues Hall of Famer Bettye LaVette has decided to release her stirring rendition of "Strange Fruit" ahead of schedule as it says as much about the history of American racism and the state of the country today.
Milan Records announces the Friday, August 21 release of I Am Woman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), an album of music from the biographical film surrounding Australian singer Helen Reddy as performed by Chelsea Cullen.
Praised by The Washington Post for playing with "an easy warmth, drawing the orchestra after him like a halo around a candle flame," cellist Kian Soltani follows his DG debut album, Home, with a Dvořák album centered on the famous cello concerto.
9 black classical performers speak with The New York Times about transforming the white-dominated field
Posted: July 16, 2020 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
With their major institutions founded on white European models and obstinately focused on the distant past, classical music and opera have been even slower than American society at large to confront racial inequity. Black players make up less than 2 percent of the nation's orchestras; the Metropolitan Opera still has yet to put on a work by a Black composer.
The protests against police brutality and racial exclusion that have engulfed the country since the end of May have encouraged individuals and organizations toward new awareness of long-held biases, and provided new motivation to change. Nine Black performers spoke with The New York Times about steps that could be taken to begin transforming a white-dominated field. These are edited excerpts from the conversations.
The first step is admitting that these organizations are built on a white framework built to benefit white people. Have you done the work to create a structure that is actually benefiting Black and brown communities? When that occurs, diversity is a natural byproduct. There needs to be intentional hiring of qualified Black musicians who you know are going to bring the goods to your audiences. Intentionally adding qualified Black board members to your organization: That's going to allow access to these communities you need to bring into the circle. Administratively, people who are in the room will bring different perspectives. Chamber groups like mine, Imani Winds, have the ability to be more nimble; we can make our own rules and make our own platforms. As a chamber presenter, you can support groups that bring blackness and diversity in their programs.
CONDUCTOR - Thomas Wilkins
It's incumbent upon leadership from the podium to be part of this: who gets hired, what repertory gets played, where the orchestra plays. If you're not willing, for example, to have minority music interns playing subscription concerts because they didn't take the audition, that doesn't make any sense to me. This person needs the opportunity to play this repertoire; you have to be willing to let that happen, and you can't bow to blowback from the full-time players.
In Philadelphia, for a community concert, they once found a high school that was acoustically inferior; aesthetically no comparison; the chorus in the audience behind me. It made no sense, except for the joy it brought to that community to have the Philadelphia Orchestra in their backyard. They want some sense that they count and they matter, and by going there it's us saying yes, you do.
I'm in my fifth year on the board of Chamber Music America, and more than half the board is people of color. It's very evenly balanced as far as gender and race; those changes were implemented through consulting work and training, and facilitated discussions among the board to make sure everyone was on the same page. Going through that process has been eye-opening, and proves how much time it takes. Now we are equipped to have these discussions about how this can trickle down to membership and granting opportunities. And I think presenting organizations need to take the time to get to know the artists. Getting to know new artists takes time and commitment; it's a commitment to widen your perspective.
CONDUCTOR - Roderick Cox
I would like changes to be made in how we train musicians in conservatories and universities. A lot of our thinking, and our perceptions of what's good music, becomes indoctrinated at that stage. I say this because even though I'm a person of color, I was guilty of not being accepting of new voices and styles outside of Beethoven, Schumann, all the usual music of the past. When we start with preconceived notions, we limit ourselves. People are afraid of being uncomfortable, but with discomfort comes growth. If students learn about composers like William Grant Still or Florence Price - and their approaches to making music - then they will become more versatile. And we will see that change taking place in our programming; schools won't just be producing conductors who want to do Wagner, Strauss and Mahler. I love these composers. But there are more voices to hear.
Over the last month, you've seen all these outpourings, and it's in these moments when you see: Are we really connected with the communities we're doing this work in? At the New York Philharmonic, where I am principal clarinet, I think there's been incentive to partner up with the Harmony Program, which does after-school music education. I'm doing the Music Advancement Program at Juilliard; the mission revolves around students from underserved communities. It's being a citizen in that way. The new way is actually getting on the ground and teaching, getting on the ground and having tough conversations about the state of our field and who we're trying to reach. Being there to help people understand that the orchestra is there for them.
SINGER Lawrence Brownlee
Artistic institutions need to be focused on representing and really serving the communities that they're in. There needs to be community engagement, not community outreach. Outreach is something you do occasionally. But you're always in the act of engaging; it's a constant effort. If there are changes in the administration, and the makeup of the board - every level of every artistic organization - that will spill into how this stuff is packaged. This is the beginning of change that can be meaningful. If we reinvent what the opera or classical music audience is, we won't have the disparities in people hired, people attending, even what's presented, because you will have different people coming up with new ideas.
It's like anything else: The organizations need to represent what America looks like. Well-intentioned people can just have blinders on. I don't look at it like a sinister plot; I look at it as people are going with what they're comfortable with. If we had more representation in the leadership, in terms of who is signing off on projects, you'll have more people bringing things to the table. What I saw at Opera Theater of St. Louis - where I did "Champion" and "Fire Shut Up in My Bones," which is going to the Met - is those people are open to a lot of ideas. But we have to bring the ideas to them. We have to open their eyes. I really think in the art music world, people are clamoring for something different. When we did "Champion" in New Orleans, this African-American guy in his 70s said, "If this is opera, I will come." That's a new audience member we didn't have before. "La Bohème" doesn't mean anything to him. But these contemporary stories do.
SINGER - Latonia Moore
Please, in the future, cast with your heart, not just with your eyes and your ears. Who gives you the goose bumps? Pick them. Some people see a Black tenor, and they think Otello. Or they see a Black soprano and they think Aida. "Who wants to see a Black Cio-Cio San?" You'll hear that. But yes, opera is a suspension of disbelief. When someone does "Eugene Onegin," they will often cast someone Russian or fluent in Russian. It doesn't have to be who you expect. There are other people who can sing it. When it comes to "Otello," you could paint everyone blue and paint Desdemona green. When it comes down to it, it's not about color; it's about difference.
COMPOSER - Tania León
Certain groups of people have felt that they did not belong, because most of the time they didn't see people who resembled them onstage. But even if things look good onstage, internally is that what is happening in the institution? It's a family type of thing. That person working in the office goes home and tells the people at home, and they usually have other friends. That is how audiences change. It has to be from the inside out. And if the stage reflects the society, you can find the best artists to be the ambassadors to those coming, and put them in front of the people. It could be the administrator, the person in charge of programming or a member of the orchestra. People have to address the audience, to let them feel "I am one of you." And you will see: The whole thing will change like you have no idea.
Imani Winds and E1 Music are pleased to announce: Imani Winds' Terra Incognita. The album marks the fifth release on E1 for Imani Winds which has, since the Grammy nominated debut release in 2005, established itself as the premier wind quintet in North America. The recording - titled Terra Incognita after Wayne Shorter's piece written for the group - celebrates new additions to the woodwind quintet repertoire with three unique compositions by jazz greats Jason Moran, Paquito D'Rivera and Mr. Shorter. These works, commissioned and written for the enterprising Imani Winds for their Legacy Project, have become staples in their repertoire, and audience favorites.
14 New 'ON' this week: 107 Total
Synd: APM/Performance Today, The Romantic Hours, PRI/Jazz After Hours Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, Minneapolis, Portland, Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Detroit, New Orleans, Memphis, Buffalo, Madison WI, San Antonio, Madison WI, Puerto Rico, Canada Online: NewMusicBox, WGOE, GreenArrow, Beethoven.com
'Tis the season to add some rhythm to your holiday music collection! Koch International Classics is pleased to announce the release of This Christmas, by the Grammy-nominated woodwind quintet: Imani Winds. This is not a sit-by-the-fireside holiday CD, as the Imani's have assembled a toe-tapping collection of thirteen yuletide favorites, with an all-star cast. From traditional treatments of Sleigh Ride and The Holly and the Ivy, to gospel-tinged arrangements of Go Tell It on the Mountain and Silent Night, This Christmas with Imani Winds is filled with the spirit and elegance that defines the holidays.
8 New 'ON' this week: 118 Total
SYND: APM/Performance Today & Pipedreams, PRI/Classical 24 Direct: XM/Pops, Music Choice/Classical Masterpieces&Classical Crossover, DMX/Chamber Music State Networks: Minnesota, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, New Jersey Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Wash DC, Philadelphia, Seattle, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Detroit, St. Louis, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, Memphis, San Antonio, Honolulu, Buffalo & Rochester NY, Tempe AZ, Canada Online: RadioIO/Classical Favorites
Imani Winds is the self-titled CD follow up on KOCH Classics to thier Grammy nominated "The Classical Underground." This groundbreaking group, Valerie Coleman, Toyin Spellman Diaz, Mariam Adam, Jeff Scott, and Monica Ellis, have been perfecting their pan-dialectical music since 1997, exploring the links between European, African & American musical traditions. Gramophone credits Imani with "taking the wind quintet where it rarely ventures."
7 New "ADD's" this week: 85 Total Stations
Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia(ADI), Atlanta, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Austin, Portland, Austin, Tampa, Buffalo, Madison WI