This Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 8pm ET/7pm CT/5pm PT, OurConcerts.live, a new online channel and streaming service, will bring together some of the industry's biggest stars for a virtual benefit concert. All proceeds will go to the Artist Relief Tree, a fund created in the past few weeks to financially support artists who are affected by cancellations due to COVID-19.
The concert will feature pianists Emanuel Ax and Jon Kimura Parker, mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges, violinist Rachel Barton Pine, clarinetist Anthony McGill, and harpist Bridget Kibbey. Tickets are available on the OurConcerts.live website (http://www.ourconcerts.live), with contributions beginning at $5.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected all of our lives, classical musicians and audiences among them. We're thrilled and grateful to be working with this wonderful group of artists, who are all generously donating their time, to bring live music to viewers everywhere while raising much needed funds to support the classical musicians who currently lack the ability to earn a living," says John Zion, Managing Director of MKI Artists and OurConcerts.live co-founder.
OurConcerts.live is a new online channel and streaming service that promotes the creation and widespread distribution of high quality, live classical music by uniting artists, presenters, and audiences. It allows performers to share their art from almost any setting, whether from home using a computer or smartphone, or from a studio or venue with a professional, multi-camera set-up. Performances can be viewed on a computer, tablet, mobile device, or cast to a television. In the near future, they will also be available via services like Roku or Amazon Fire.
"Our hope is that this venture will give performers and presenting organizations an income doing what they do best – enriching the lives of their audiences," says OurConcerts.live co-founder Gregory Pine. In contrast to free streaming events, which rely on advertising for revenue, OurConcerts.live, in collaboration with presenting organizations, sells tickets to live events. The service intends to offer subscriptions that will include access to multiple live concerts as well as on-demand content. The revenue from ticket sales and subscriptions will then be shared with both artists and presenting organizations.
OurConcerts.live was co-founded by John Zion – who helms the leading classical music management agency MKI Artists – and experienced tech entrepreneur Gregory Pine.
SEE THE PIX11 PAGE
Angele Dubeau's new album; 'Pulsations' brings together works that evoke strong images and possess a profound emotional intensity. "A pulsation marks time, it infuses its rhythm in it and also evokes the heart. Just like those composers whose music calls out to me and who, with their unique signatures, mark time, our time. Features the music of; Olafur Arnalds, Jean-Michel Blais, Ludovico Einaudi, Alex Baranowski, Craig Armstrong, Peter Gregson, Yann Tiersen, Abel Korzeniowski, Johan Johannsson, Max Richter and Dala.
Produced by Max Horowitz - Crossover Media, This content, as well as the related podcast, are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) for redistribution and adaptation.
LISTEN TO This week's 'Pulsation with Angele Dubeau' - 'Porz Goret' by Yann Tiersen
Carnegie Hall presents the world's leading artists virtually every night during its season; Lincoln Center's theaters are almost never dark. Then there are the dozens of smaller venues scattered throughout town. Planning a concert-going calendar, then, has always been a balancing act, full of disappointment that you can't be in multiple places at once.
Then came the coronavirus pandemic, which caused performances to grind to a halt earlier this month.
I haven't had the heart to delete events in my own calendar, even though in the coming week there's no chance I'll see the premiere of a Kate Soper opera in Montclair, N.J., or hear Mitsuko Uchida play Beethoven's "Diabelli" Variations at Carnegie.
But I also haven't had the time.
In-person performances have been replaced by a deluge of digital ones - live streams and recently unlocked archive recordings - that have made for a calendar hardly less busy than before concert halls closed. It's enough to keep a critic happily overwhelmed, yet also wondering whether the industry is making a mistake by giving away so much for free.
The live streams began immediately, with production values ranging from tinny iPhone videos to cinema-ready sophistication. On March 12, the day New York theaters shuttered, the pianist Igor Levit gave a lo-fi performance from his living room, while the Berlin Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra played to empty halls and audiences at home. (In retrospect, these groups of 100 or so musicians should probably have stayed as far apart as the rest of us.)
Since then, a day hasn't gone by without something to stream. In the past week alone, I've been able to watch older performances I missed; ones I had hoped to travel for this spring; ones that would otherwise seem unfathomable, like the pianist Maria João Pires coming out of retirement. If anything, I'm taking in more music than before; the only difference is that now I can be in multiple places - or at least multiple browser tabs - at once.
Many of these videos have had more charm than a typical classical concert, with banter, a casual dress code and imperfect production. Before a scorching streamed performance of Frederic Rzewski's "The People United Will Never Be Defeated!" for the 92nd Street Y - cut short because, hey, the technology isn't reliable - the pianist Conrad Tao worked through his feelings about the medium, talking to the camera in his apartment like a confessional vlogger.
On Monday, the publisher Boosey & Hawkes hosted a live score-reading of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring" on YouTube; alongside the video was a candid chat that included artists like the composer David T. Little and the conductors Teddy Abrams, Christopher Rountree and Marin Alsop. (Ms. Alsop was openly, hilariously critical of the often slow tempos in the chosen recording, Lorin Maazel and the Cleveland Orchestra.)
In breaks from live streams, you can watch archived films. The Industry, an experimental Los Angeles opera company, has made "Sweet Land," whose run was cut short by the closures, available on Vimeo for the more-than-worth-it cost of $14.99. (This is one of the few organizations putting a price tag on their work.)
Once you see how many operas are available online, your free time quickly evaporates. Beth Morrison Projects is putting one on its website every week; right now, you can watch Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek's "Song From the Uproar." (Another Mazzoli-Vavrek piece, "Breaking the Waves," is streaming on SoundCloud.) Rai, the Italian public broadcaster, is playing Gyorgy Kurtag's widely hailed "Fin de Partie," filmed during its premiere run in Milan in 2018.
And a production of Beethoven's "Fidelio" at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, originally planned for this month but then canceled, was thankfully recorded. The direction, by the actor Christoph Waltz, may be a bit chilly; but the sculptural set, by the architects Barkow Leibinger, is a subtle and mesmerizing reflection of the music, propulsive under the baton of Manfred Honeck.
Last weekend, live streams escalated to marathons. The cellist Jan Vogler organized a 24-hour event called Music Never Sleeps NYC, which coincided with Deutsche Grammophon's globe-trotting relay of solo performances for Piano Day. Never have I felt so productive spending hours on YouTube.
Among the Piano Day artists were Ms. Pires, out of retirement for an elegant and lucid reading of Beethoven's "Pathétique" Sonata; and Daniil Trifonov, both eerie and endearing in a mask and gloves as he introduced himself from the Dominican Republic with a selfie video. Music Never Sleeps was a feel-good miracle of coordination and collaboration across musical forms and genres. When it overlapped, at 7 p.m. Eastern time, with a moment for New Yorkers to applaud out their windows for those on the front lines of the pandemic, the conductor David Robertson and the pianist Orli Shaham cleverly offered Steve Reich's "Clapping Music." Later, Inon Barnatan gave an elegant, at times sublime performance of Schubert's Piano Sonata in B flat that I hope to one day hear in person.
The two marathons were studies in contrast. Music Never Sleeps was a soft fund-raiser - not quite a telethon, but presented with the suggestion that fans donate to the NYC Covid-19 Response & Impact Fund and the Local 802 Musicians' Emergency Relief Fund. Piano Day, however, was simply a celebration of top-shelf talent: artists who could - and have - sold out Carnegie, playing here at no cost to viewers.
Like almost every other live stream of the past month, Deutsche Grammophon's felt dangerously reminiscent of the internet's early days, when prestige journalism - including The New York Times - was available for free. Publishers later regretted not monetizing their work from the start; I hope the classical music industry doesn't end up in the same position.
Freelancers, whose incomes depend on live performance, are in crisis as even summer festivals begin to announce their cancellations. The New York Philharmonic is anticipating a loss of $10 million in revenue because of its closure; the Met Opera, up to $60 million.
And yet these are the same artists and organizations giving away their music for free. The Philharmonic launched a website of archived performances, NY Phil Plays On, and is broadcasting older concerts on Facebook every Thursday. The Met is digging into its collection of high-definition movie theater transmissions for nightly streams. It's heartening to witness, and the exposure may be helpful, but it doesn't even begin to cover lost revenue.
So if you like what you hear, donate. Think of the industry as a giant Central Park busker, happy to play but leaving that guitar case open and ready for tips.
The world of classical music has never been more accessible. Rarely, though, has it ever been so endangered. And it's up to all of us to decide just how much it's worth.
Joshua Barone is a senior staff editor on the Culture Desk, where he writes about classical music and other fields including dance, theater and visual art and architecture.
Shabaka Hutchings is known to many as a key player in The Comet is Coming and Sons of Kemet and his strength of delivery and presence in a line up is formidable. Shabaka & The Ancestors' first album ‘Wisdom of Elders' released on the Brownswood label unleashed a powerful force on the music world and showed an enlightened and aware musician willing to place his beliefs and tenets before the audience as well as his music. ‘We Are Sent Here By History' is released on Impulse and is a reflection of immense changes in society – and more to come. Shabaka has referred to the album as " meditation on the fact of our coming extinction as a species. It is a reflection from the ruins, from the burning."
Shabaka & The Ancestors came about after Shabaka visited Johannesburg to play with trumpeter/bandleader Mandla Mlangeni. Mandla connected Shabaka with a group of South African jazz musicians that Hutchings admired. After several sessions, their first album ‘Wisdom of Elders' was made. This follow-up record reunites the group, who recorded in Johannesburg and Cape Town. There is about this album a sense of urgency, an unrelenting darker energy and it is presented as a major social commentary in the context of ancient traditions. Shabaka explains this is, "what happens after that point when life as we know it can't continue."
'We Are Sent Here By History' mixes African and Afro-Caribbean traditions and takes an interesting concept - that of the griot. A griot is the holder of ancient aural traditions and the keeper of them. Therefore, an important aspect is the accompanying text to this album provided by South African performance artist Siyabonga Mthembu who chants and sings on this record and composed the lyrics. Shabaka chose song titles based on the lyrics and composed poems around each title.
Hutchings says, "'We Are Sent Here by History' is a meditation on the fact of our coming extinction as a species. It is a reflection from the ruins, from the burning; a questioning of the steps to be taken in preparation for our transition individually and societally if the end is to be seen as anything but a tragic defeat. For those lives lost and cultures dismantled by centuries of western expansionism, capitalist thought and white supremist structural hegemony the end days have long been heralded as present with this world experienced as an embodiment of a living purgatory." With that in mind, press play.
READ THE FULL JAZZ VIEWS REVIEW
Since the beginning of the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States and the world earlier this year, many, if not most, have put a stop to social gatherings. A shelter in place order directing all residents to stay inside until further notice went into effect in Sacramento County on March 20. A day later Governor Gavin Newsom announced a stay at home order for all of California.
In response to the call for social distancing to keep the virus at bay, arts organizations and presenters began canceling performances even before the stay at home orders were issued.
Artists and musicians know, however, that the idea of a life without music is inconceivable. Thus, like so many aspects of our "new normal," musicians took to the internet and social media to begin performing for the public virtually.
Virtually is how Sacramento resident and internationally acclaimed pianist Lara Downes will release her new album. In lieu of a live tour, Downes will host a livestream performance on Facebook, Friday, April 3 at 5 p.m. from her home in Sacramento, co-produced by CapRadio. You can watch directly on this page or tune in on Facebook Live at facebook.com/capradio/videos.
Other public radio stations across the country will be sharing the event in real-time on their respective Facebook pages.
Lara Downes' uplifting new album "Some of These Days" revisits freedom songs and spirituals, historic expressions of hope and courage that remind us - in this time of global unrest and chaos caused by the coronavirus - of our human capacity for optimism, activism, and unification in the face of crisis. "For me, the motivation in creating this record has always been the relevance and timelessness of these songs," says Downes. ‘There's the pain, reaction to oppression, always hope, always a vision of a better place. All of those things are relevant and current today.'
With her livestreamed concert, Downes will also raise funds for Feeding America in support of national relief efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We invite you to be part of this celebration of the power of art in time of crisis. Watch, listen and share this Friday April 3 at 5 p.m. Tune in on Facebook Live at facebook.com/capradio.
SEE THE capradio PAGE
In these times where everyone is stuck indoors, relaxing neo-classical and ambient music has seen a boom. Film, TV, advertising and music composer Michael Whalen released a new album Sacred Spaces earlier this month that captures the type of music needed now. Whalen for this project avoided presets, creating and programming his own sounds in fine detail-more than 800-over a period of four months. The result is a powerful and captivating album that is beatless, but still has loads of energy underneath tracks like on "In The Footsteps of the Blessed." The album combines flutes, strings, pianos and light percussion to create a lush soundtrack to your time indoors.
SEE THE MAGNETIC MAGAZINE PAGE
Since first appearing on the scene in 2007, Toronto's Sultans Of String has never taken the easy road in terms of crafting their internationally acclaimed hybrid of folk, jazz and world music. Their latest album, Refuge, is their most ambitious yet, a collection of 13 songs that speak to the challenges facing the world's displaced peoples-their stories, their songs, their persistence and their humanity.
It features the group collaborating with over 30 artists, from the renowned banjo player Bela Fleck to Ojibway poet Duke Redbird and a string section from Istanbul, Turkey. However, all plans surrounding the release of Refuge on March 20 were put on hold because of the COVID-19 crisis, putting the band's expected earnings from touring in jeopardy and dampening what was supposed to be a celebration of the year of hard work put into making the album.
It is sadly a common story with many musicians who have had spring album releases scheduled. We spoke with Sultans Of String co-founder Chris McKhool about how he and the band are coping with our current reality, and how it could shape the future of the music industry. Refuge is available to purchase now physically and on all digital and streaming platforms. Find out more at sultansofstring.com.
fyi music news has 5 questions for Sultans Of String's Chris McKhool. Here they are
‘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.
Milan Records today announces the February 28 release of WENDY (ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK) with music by award-winning composer, songwriter and producer DAN ROMER and the film's award-winning director BENH ZEITLIN.
Wolfgang Muthspiel, whom The New Yorker has called "a shining light" among today's jazz guitarists, returns to the trio format with Angular Blues, the Austrian's fourth ECM album as a leader, following two acclaimed quintet releases and his trio debut.
World-renowned guitar hero Al Di Meola welcomes a new decade with an ambitious follow-up to his 2013 studio recording All Your Life: A Tribute to the Beatles with a sophomore homage to the Beatles, entitled Across The Universe, due out on earMUSIC on March 13, 2020.
Laila Biali, equally at home in both the pop and jazz worlds - WVIA Public Media - Graham Album Review
Posted: March 23, 2020 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
WVIA - The Graham Album Review
Singer-songwriters come in all kinds of musical flavors, from old-fashioned folkies to punk rockers. The most familiar musical format is of the acoustic-guitar wielding artist who strums and sings, and sometimes brings in a band for their recording. But there are a lot of piano-based artists, from Billy Joel to Elton John to Randy Newman to Bruce Hornsby. And some of those piano-types show some jazz influence in their music. This time, we have a pianist and vocalist who approaches the music from a jazz perspective. It's Canadian artist Laila Biali, whose new release is called Out of Dust. In fact, on most of Ms. Biali's previous albums, she could be considered a jazz vocalist. The new release takes a decidedly more pop direction, but maintains the general musical sophistication of jazz.
Thirty-nine-year-old Laila Biali, a native of Vancouver, began playing piano at an early age and studied classical piano. She attended the Toronto school known as the Royal Conservatory of Music, where she was attracted to jazz. She released her debut album called Introducing the Laila Biali Trio in 2003, and later moved to New York, where she played piano for artists including Paula Cole and sang backing vocals on a recording by Sting, and toured with Suzanne Vega and Chris Boti. While much of her material has been very much in the jazz vein, she has done some interesting pop-influenced recordings, including a very creative version of Joni Mitchell's Woodstock on her 2011 live album. In 2018, she won a Juno Award, the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy, for her eponymous recording, her last release.
Now she has come forth with Out of Dust which, with the exception of one song, consists of all original music, and the influences run more toward sophisticated singer-songwriter than jazz. Her co-producer on the album is her husband, drummer Ben Wittman, who has also produced singer-songwriters like Patty Larkin and Lucy Kaplansky. There is a fairly large cast on Out of Dust with various horn players, backing vocalists and a string quartet who appear on various tracks.
Many of the songs were inspired by some turbulence in her life, with the death of a friend to cancer, a family member to suicide, and then Ms. Biali being diagnosed with two auto-immune disorders. So some of the songs have a degree of poignancy to their lyrics, but most ultimately come to an optimistic conclusion. While the jazz influence is apparent in the instrumentation on many of the tracks such as acoustic piano, and a big acoustic bass sound, there are enough pop ingredients to widen the appeal beyond jazzheads,
Opening is a piece called Revival which celebrates the 2017 Women's March and teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. It takes a kind of Gospel influenced direction, with a great rhythmic groove. <<>>
Taking a more jazzy direction is The Monolith which also features the string quartet. It's a musically outstanding composition, which maintains an appealingly melodic sound with the kind of compositional details that would keep a jazz fan happy. <<>>
Glass House is one of my favorite pieces on the album with its shifting colors and intricate changing rhythms, in the context of an attractive song. <<>>
Wendy's Song revolves around a character facing a difficult time, again in a creative jazz-influenced setting. <<>>
Taking a rather different direction is the song Sugar done in a funky groove. The song seems to be literally about sugar, which given the oblique reference to Ms. Biali's medical problems, might have led to sugar being off limits. <<>>
Another attractive song carries the title Alpha Waves a reference to brain waves generally present during wakeful relaxation. The piece makes good use of the string quartet. <<>>
The album includes a pretty waltz in French called Au Pays de Cocagne which however translates as "in the land of cocaine." The lyrics were written by Sonia Johnson, a singer-songwriter in her own right. <<>>
The one cover on the album is Take Me to the Alley written by jazz singer Gregory Porter. Though this is some jazz influence, with the sax present, Ms. Biali takes the song in a decidedly more pop direction than Porter's original version. <<>>
Laila Biali's new release, Out of Dust, her seventh album, is her most pop-oriented to date, and an altogether fine record that combines Ms. Biali's excellent vocals, with her jazz sophistication, and some first-rate original compositions featuring articulate lyrics, some based on experience. The arrangements, though sometimes involving a bunch of added musicians, remain thoroughly tasteful, with the extra players providing some nice sonic colors.
Our grade for sound quality comes pretty close to an "A." The sound is clean and has good depth. Ms. Biali's vocals sound warm and inviting, and the mix keeps the added musicians and arrangements in perspective.
These days, there are not many vocalists who are equally at home in both the pop and the the legitimate jazz worlds. In that respect, Laila Biali is one of the best.
For nearly every major triumph-a highly acclaimed return to jazz, winning the JUNO Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year, touring the world-the singer-songwriter has faced private debilitating crises. In just a few short years, Biali lost a close friend to cancer, mourned a family member's suicide, and was diagnosed with two auto-immune disorders that threatened to upend her career. It was a period of change and heartache-but it was also a season of great inspiration and hope. The result is Biali's deeply personal new album, Out of Dust.