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.
As part of the organization's ongoing efforts to bring recorded music to audiences the world over, and especially during the COVID-19 crisis, Philharmonia Baroque Productions unexpectedly releases the live audio recording of Handel's Saul, the award-winning performances from April 2019, led by Handelian expert and outgoing PBO Music Director Nicholas McGegan. With an all-star cast featuring rising star countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen as David, alongside the Orchestra & Chorale, this June 5 digital-only release marks the 14th on Philharmonia's recording label, and Nicholas McGegan's final recording with the ensemble he has led for 35 years.
Philharmonia Baroque Productions to release pioneering recording of commissions by Pulitzer Prize winner Caroline Shaw. The collection features song cycle with Anne Sofie von Otter and a major work for chorus and orchestra with Avery Amereau & Dashon Burton
This April, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale (PBO) breaks new ground as a pioneer in bridging new music with old instruments-as PBO announces a collection of commissioned works composed by GRAMMY- and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw. "PBO& Caroline Shaw", the 12th release on the Philharmonia Baroque Productions label, coincides with the launch of the "PBO&" imprimatur, created to record and showcase vital contemporary composers who are committed to composing for the unique sounds of period instruments. The recording will be released on April 3 and reflects the range and versatility of Philharmonia's programming with music spanning the 18th to the 21st centuries.
Handel's late-career oratorio Joseph and his Brethren, though popular during Handel's day, eventually became one of the composer's most neglected large-scale works. As such, Joseph had only been recorded once before Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale decided to take it on for its latest recording project, the 11th on the Philharmonia Baroque Productions label. With a cast of early music specialists led by noted Handelian Nicholas McGegan, PBO makes a strong case for Joseph to regain its place among Handel's most often-performed oratorios such as Samson, Judas Maccabaeus, and Israel in Egypt.
The formidable cast includes the award-winning Philharmonia Chorale led by Bruce Lamott; mezzo-soprano Diana Moore as Joseph; tenor and GRAMMY nominee Nicholas Phan as Simeon and Judah, two of Joseph's brothers; soprano Sherezade Panthaki as Asenath, daughter of the high priest; and baritone Philip Cutlip as Pharaoh and Reuben, Joseph's eldest brother. Phan, who will sing the title role in Handel's Judas Maccabaeus during PBO's 2019/20 season, gives dramatic depth to the character of Simeon, who undergoes remarkable development, from fierce and tortured to pious and sympathetic, worthy of Joseph's tears. The character of Asenath, originally portrayed by French soprano Élisabeth Duparc, for whom the title role in Semele was created, has several dazzling arias, particularly "Prophetic raptures swell my breast" in Part III. They are executed with show-stopping gusto by Panthaki.
In order to appease the somewhat provincial tastes of King Louis XV, composer Jean-Philippe Rameau and his librettist Voltaire altered the original version of Le Temple de la Gloire, and for centuries it was lost. The manuscript was discovered-at the University of California, Berkeley's Jean Hargrove Music Library and was brought to the attention of conductor Nicholas McGegan. For decades, maestro McGegan dreamed of reviving the original work-a dream realized in April 2017 through a partnership between Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Cal Performances at UC Berkeley, Centre de musique de Versailles in France and New York Baroque Dance Company.