Liberate Instrumental Music! The history of western music is one of the instrumental living in harmony (ahem) with the vocal. A Beethoven symphony, a Verdi opera. Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit, Duke Ellington's Isfahan. The Beatles' Let It Be, Herbie Hancock's Watermelon Man. But recently, instrumental music has gone missing. Become nearly invisible. Inaudible. In old media. In new. Words and music, yes. Music alone, no.
Instrumental music must be restored to culture's apex. We need an Instrumental Music Liberation Front. SymphRONica to the rescue. This record is the opening salvo. A journey through the great fountainheads of the instrumental. Jazz meets classical musics (emphasis on the ‘s': European, Québecois, Sepahrdic, Manouche). Let musical freedom ring! Let Instrumental Music be Liberated!
LISTEN TO THE JazzCast SEGMENT, attached
Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Myer and Chris Thile, each highly accomplished musicians in their own right, unite in their eagerly anticipated follow up album to Grammy Award winning The Goat Rodeo Sessions.
"Goat Rodeo" is an expression meaning a chaotic situation, one in which everything has to go right by skill or luck, or everything will be thrown off course. It's an appropriate title for the complexity of Not Our First Goat Rodeo. "Every Note A Pearl" shows this with dissonant notes in which the strings slide into new keys. In less skilled hands, this would be a mistake, but here it's a testament to the group's skill. It takes a good musician to sing in the wrong key on purpose, but it takes a great one to make the "wrong" key right.
Not Our First Goat Rodeo is a delicate ecosystem of sound. Like most ecosystems, any little change could bring the whole thing down, but here it's perfectly balanced. At the climax of "Scarcely Cricket" and "Not for Lack of Trying," each instrument takes on a life of its own. Rather than one sticking out and the rest supporting, they often each take their own stage, in a cacophony of interlocking chaos. A person can listen to the same track multiple times and get totally different impressions as the ear picks up new parts each time. It's the sonic equivalent of a forest path that demands multiple explorations to be fully known.
READ THE FULL mxdwn.com REVIEW
Violin virtuoso Niv Ashkenazi joins FM91: Toledo OH to talk about Violins of Hope, an artistic and educational project composed of instruments that were owned by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust. With his fellow Juilliard graduate, pianist Matthew Graybil, Niv has released the first solo album to be recorded on one of these instruments.
LISTEN TO THE SEGMENT
Since bursting on the scene as a child prodigy, Benjamin Grosvenor has established himself as the most exciting and accomplished British pianist of his generation. Remarkably mature for his 27 years, he has five albums under his belt since being the youngest pianist to sign with Decca in 2011. His latest release, the two Chopin concertos, marks his first orchestral outing since his 2012 Rhapsody In Blue album which featured Saint-Saens' second and Ravel's G major concertos as well as George Gershwin's showstopper.
Opinion has always been divided over Chopin's ability as an orchestrator. There are some who think his scores for the two piano concertos, both written when he was 20 and still living in Poland, are boring and unadventurous. Others believe he got the job done, albeit unspectacularly, and that the instrumentalists complement the soloist.
Whichever camp the listener falls into, there is no doubting that the piano writing is wonderful and memorable, and under the fingers of Grosvenor backed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra the two concertos are glittering and achingly lovely, fully-formed masterpieces.
His technique shows great clarity and technical ease. His touch is light and there is an innate artistry, taste and thoughtfulness in his playing. Still only 27, there is no telling what new heights he may scale. This is certainly a beautiful and impressive survey of Chopin's two masterworks.
READ THE FULL LIMELIGHT REVIEW
Norwegian composer and pianist Ola Gjeilo presents a stunning collection of brand-new original works for solo piano, composed and performed by Gjeilo himself. NIGHT is an intimate and meditative collection of peaceful piano music, inspired by the twilight hours in the place he now calls home – New York City.
Gjeilo's musical style is often described as cinematic and evocative, characterised by warm harmonies, flowing melodies and gently rocking, repeated figures. He is an exclusive Decca Classics recording artist, and the new album follows the highly successful Winter Songs (2017) and Ola Gjeilo (2016), which also feature Tenebrae, Voces8 and the Choir of Royal Holloway. NIGHT is his first solo piano album to be released on Decca.
Gjeilo is one of the most frequently performed composers in the choral world. He grew up outside Oslo, Norway in a musically eclectic home listening to classical, jazz, pop and folk, a broad background he later incorporated into his classical composition studies at The Juilliard School and the Royal College of Music in London.
He spoke with 89.7WCPE: Wake Forest, classical hoist - Rob Kennedy. Listen to the attached conversation.
On her latest release, multiple Grammy winner Sharon Isbin performs multi-faceted and virtuosic new works for guitar, written for her by four leading composers. From the Africa-influenced El Decameron Negro by iconic Cuban guitarist/composer Leo Brouwer, through the Chinese and Spanish-inspired Seven Desires by Tan Dun, to Richard Danielpour's sensual song cycle Of Love and Longing, and the jazz and world music-influenced Affinity by Chris Brubeck, Sharon Isbin gives her inimitable imprint to, and vastly enriches major new repertoire for guitar.
The album has been covered for the whole note. See review as cover image
Nicholas McGegan may no longer be the artistic director of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, but the record of McGegan's inimitable touch - unmistakable, in the case of Handel's Saul - remains to savor. Everything about his artistry, including the buoyant and sprightly tempos, sly humor, deep reverence for beauty, and capacity for sincere emotional expression come through on this, his final live recording with PBO.
Although Saul's covers and liner notes shockingly fail to give him credit, the recording was superbly produced, recorded, edited, mixed, and mastered by PBO's former recording engineer, David v.R. Bowles of Swineshead Productions, LLC. Set down in Berkeley's First Congregational Church in April, 2019, this digital-only release shows the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Philharmonia Chorale, under Bruce Lamott, in fine form. Auditioned in 24/192 high-resolution, Bowles's achievement captures all the nuance and color that were transmitted by First Congregational's uniquely live, resonant, and spacious acoustic, and leaves me deeply regretting both his departure and that of his husband, McGegan.
The recording is available on various streaming/download services, including Qobuz, Amazon, and others. If you download or stream this recording and discover yourself without libretto, biographies, and Lamott's introduction, you can find them at philharmonia.org/saul., Make sure to access them because they'll help you understand just how wonderful this performance is. Having said that, there are many times when the sound and music are so captivating that you may find yourself closing your eyes as your relish their beauties. PHOTO: Laura Barisonzi
READ THE FULL San Francisco Classical Voice REVIEW
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.
In the fall of 1968, a sixteen-year old high school student named Danny Scher had a dream to invite legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk and his all-star quartet to perform a concert at his local high school in Palo Alto, CA.
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.
Guitarist John Scofield celebrates the music of his friend and mentor Steve Swallow in an outgoing and spirited recording, made in an afternoon in New York City in March 2019 - "old school" style as Scofield says, acknowledging that more than forty years of preparation led up to it.
As the live concert scene vanished, 'at home music-making' surges / The New York Times
Posted: June 28, 2020 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
When the coronavirus sequestered Americans at home and forced businesses to close, Hale Ryan braced himself for a financial winter. As the director of sales and marketing at Metroplex Piano in Dallas and a 30-year veteran of the piano business, he had seen other crises - like 9/11 and the 2008 recession - damage sales. When the lockdown began in March, Mr. Ryan said in a recent phone interview, "I thought this was going to be the final nail."
Instead, he began to field a flood of requests for instruments. Even with his showroom closed, the economy nose-diving and the professional music world in tatters, he sold pianos.
"It's actually been the best three months that I've seen in retail," he said.
The piano market encompasses a wide range of instruments, from hand-built concert grands that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to factory-made uprights, digital pianos and keyboards designed for young learners. The high-water mark of piano sales in America was 1909, when 364,500 new acoustic pianos were sold in the country. Since then, radio, television, recordings and instrument technology transformed the way music is created and consumed. Only about 30,000 new acoustic pianos are now sold here each year, but the number surpasses a million when all digital varieties are included.
Even a lower-end instrument represents a significant investment, and can seem like a luxury during a time of economic uncertainty. And with showrooms closed this spring, potential buyers could no longer test-drive the possibilities. A sale represented not just a splurge, but also a leap of faith.
"It's actually been the best three months that I've seen in retail," said Hale Ryan of Metroplex Piano in Dallas.Credit...Metroplex Piano
And yet interviews with nearly a dozen dealers across the country reveal surprisingly robust sales that suggest a resurgence of at-home music-making just as the live concert scene vanished. Most of the dealers noted a rise in demand for digital pianos, which allow players to channel the sound through headphones: a key feature in households where working-from-home parents share space with distance-learning children. The phenomenon seems to be part of a general pivot toward home-based recreation, along with increased demand for gym equipment and bicycles.
Indeed, a significant portion of purchasers appears to be new to the market. Tom Sumner, the president of Yamaha Corporation of America, said in an interview that he had heard from retailers that between 20 and 25 percent of sales this spring were to first-time buyers.
"A good chunk of customers are people they've never seen before," Mr. Sumner said.
According to him, Yamaha sold 60 percent more digital pianos this April than in the same month last year. He added that the sales increase was especially significant because, in a typical spring, schools tend to make big purchases in preparation for fall band season. Because of the coronavirus, he said, that segment has dropped away, so the spike in sales likely comes from individual buyers.
Brian Majeski, the co-owner of Music Trades, a company that analyzes data about the musical instruments industry, said in an interview that across America, sales of digital pianos rose by 30 percent this April and May, with the trend appearing to continue into June. He also noted an uptick for acoustic pianos, though it was smaller and mostly driven by used instruments.
Still, Mr. Majeski said, "The question in our industry is: Will this stick? Are you creating a new generation of players, or is it a momentary spike with people who have time on their hands looking for things to do?"
The Piano Guys, a crossover group that has clocked over a billion YouTube views with music videos of its arrangements of pop and classical standards, began selling digital pianos for $2,000 to $8,000 on its website last December, typically bundled with online learning materials alongside proprietary sheet music. Steven Sharp Nelson, a member of the group, said that in the first months it sold a piano every two or three days. In April and May demand rose steeply; some days the band sold six pianos in one day.
He said it was the pandemic that had led many to learn to play the piano for the first time. "We're in a cadenza fermata," he said, referring to the moment in a classical concerto when the orchestra drops away and the soloist takes off on a flight of fancy. "People are improvising."
Isaac Namias, who sells restored acoustic pianos in Brooklyn, said email inquiries shot up when the virus hit New York. Under lockdown, he said, he sold nearly twice as many units per month as during normal times, mostly instruments in the lower price range, about $2,500 to $6,500. About half his business was driven by piano teachers referring students. Notably absent from the client list were professional performing pianists. Mr. Namias said, "They want to touch the piano, they know exactly what they're looking for."
But the reliance on hands-on, in-person sales seems to have lessened. Anthony Gilroy, a spokesman for Steinway, said in an email that although the company had seen a drop in sales when showrooms closed, the decline had been less than expected. In response to the pandemic, Steinway for the first time created an option to buy pianos directly from its website. And sales representatives using digital platforms were able to make big-ticket sales, including limited-edition Steinways costing upward of a quarter of a million dollars.
Mr. Nelson of The Piano Guys likened the trend to car sales. "To my mind it's like when people started selling cars on eBay," he said. "At first people thought that was crazy. But now a significant portion of car sales is done online."
Mr. Ryan, whose showroom in Dallas has since reopened, said he had organized virtual demonstrations of instruments on Zoom. "I never thought anybody would buy a $20,000 piano without playing it first," he said. But he sold several concert grand pianos this way, including a $200,000 Bösendorfer to a doctor who had been working on the front lines of the coronavirus.
"He is a pathologist and a serious player and he's always wanted a Bösendorfer," Mr. Ryan said. "He's stressed beyond belief and he just wants to get back to playing piano."
Utah sensation The Piano Guys release an all-new album Limitless (Portrait/Sony Music Masterworks) on November 9. On Limitless, The Piano Guys showcase their talent for reinventing the music of any genre, from contemporary pop and rock hits to classical compositions, Hollywood scores and even never-before-heard originals. Also, catch them on their U.S. tour, which kicks off in their home state of Utah on November 7 and continues through early 2019.
"As we go through life's cycles, sometimes we face the sun and sometimes we face stars that stretch on forever. We may extend our reach so far away from us at times that we forget we only need to look within to rediscover who we actually are and soar. We are limitless. We hope that's the way this music makes you feel." – The Piano Guys
With over a billion YouTube views for their 50 plus music videos,The Piano Guys announce the release of their new holiday album Christmas Together(Portrait) available October 27. The album features collaborations with music royalty from the pop, opera, and video worlds on classical themes, holiday chestnuts, and original compositions. Their seventh full-length studio album and second holiday collection, Christmas Together brings The Piano Guys' "Wonders of the World" quest back home for the holidays after their last album, Uncharted, found the Utah quartet roaming far afield to places like Scotland, Mexico, and Jordan.
15 NEW 48 TOTAL
Markets include: Los Angeles, Boston, Hartford, Saint Augustine, Santa Fe, MI(Statewide), AL(Statewide), WI(Statewide), WV(Statewide), Barcelona INTER: Canada, UK, Spain Online: Musicas Imaginadas, Zephyr Planet Radio, HNR, MainlyPiano, StageBuddy, AccuRadio, IMDb, LDS Living, Daily Herald
With over a billion YouTube views of their more than 50 music videos,The Piano Guys announce the release of their new album Uncharted(Sony - Portrait) which includes the upbeat new song "Okay" written by hit-makers Andy Grammer and Dave Bassett. Uncharted literally charts new territory for The Piano Guys. Continuing their "Wonders of the World" quest, they've shot three of their recent hit videos far afield – Scotland, Mexico, Jordan – while "Okay" shows them in the recording studio where they create their inspirational music, and in front of a cheering crowd of 20,000 at the USANA Amphitheatre in their home state of Utah.
13 NEW 33 TOTAL
SYND: The Bill Miller Show Direct: MOOD, Stingray Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Seattle, Long Island, Cedar Rapids IA, Saint Augustine FL. Online: Zephyr Planet Radio, Musicas Imaginadas, The Eclectic Chair, Mainly Piano
The Piano Guys continue their fairytale story of turning a musical hobby and friendship into an extremely successful worldwide career. The four talented dads from Utah, have climbed the Great Wall of China for their craft, landed atop Billboard charts, sold out tour dates around the world, accrued a massive social media following and scored YouTube viewership at 730 million-plus views. On November 13, they reach a new career milestone, releasing their first ever live album, The Piano Guys – Live!(Portrait/Sony Music Masterworks). The deluxe package features live audiofrom The Piano Guys' sold out performance at the world's most famous concert hall, Carnegie Hall in New York City, plus live video from their sold out concert at the stunning outdoor amphitheatre, Red Rocks in Colorado. Plus, The Piano Guys latest video"When Stars and Salt Collide," their take on the Coldplay hit, "A Sky Full of Stars, is a heartfelt dedication to their fans
21 NEW 48 TOTAL
SYND: Stingray Direct: MOOD Markets include: New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Madison, Canada Online: Live 365, Taintradio
The incredible success story known as - The Piano Guys, four talented dads from Utah, release their fourth studio album entitled Wonders on Portrait/Sony Music Masterworks. Not only has TPG climbed the Great Wall of China for one video, they have also landed atop the Billboard charts, sold out tour dates around the world, accrued a massive social media following and scored YouTube viewership at 500 million views. Wonders, a nod to the "Wonders of the World," features successful single/video releases from the past year such as, "Let It Go," "Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends," "Don't You Worry Child," and "Story of my Life." It also includes new songs with strong familiarity – "Batman Evolution" (The Piano Guys' take on various Batman themes over the years), a mash-up that incorporates melodies from Dave Matthews Band's huge hit "Ants Marching / Beethoven Ode to Joy," and Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition."
9 Total 32 Total
SYND: PRI/Echoes, Sixty Second CD, The Bill Miller Show, Galaxie Markets include: Cleveland, Berkeley CA, Kansas City, Long Island NY, Chattanooga TN, El PasoCanada Online: HLN, Humboldt 101, HuffPost, Live 365
With the success of The Piano Guys' first two major label releases, The Piano Guys and The Piano Guys 2, Portrait/Sony Masterworks releases the Utah-based classical-pop group's new holiday album: A Family Christmas. The album is also available as a deluxe set that includes a bonus DVD of their hit holiday music videos, plus a classic Yule Log video featuring all of the songs on the album. Produced by the group's Steven Sharp Nelson, Jon Schmidt, Al Van der Beek and Paul Anderson, A Family Christmas puts The Piano Guys' signature twist to such Christmas classics as "Silent Night," "Good King Wenceslas," and "Angels We Have Heard On High," which will be supported by a new YouTube video.
26 New 'ON' 134 TOTAL
SYND: PRI/Echoes & Classical 24 Direct: SiriusXM, Music Choice, MOOD, Galaxie Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Wash DC, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Cleveland, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Baltimore, Denver, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Detroit, Kansas City, El Paso, Jacksonville FL, Wichita KS, Buffalo, Albuquerque, Columbus OH, Honolulu, Canada Online: LIVE 365, Humboltdt 101, Taintradio, WGOE
They came together under the most serendipitous of circumstances, yet The Piano Guys will tell you it was all meant to be. And with over 750,000 subscribers to their YouTube channel - greater than most of today's major artists, and growing at the rate of 50,000 fans per month! - who's to disagree? These 5 dads from Utah began making music videos together for fun and their "hobby" turned into a worldwide phenomenon when their self-made YouTube videos amassed over 130,000,000 views collectively. Newly signed to Sony Masterworks, The Piano Guys release their self-titled major label debut recording.
6 New 'ON' this week: 37 Total
SYND: Dial-Global/AC, BETTERTV Markets include: New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, El Paso, Jacksonville FL, Wichita KS Online: Muruch, LIVE 365, WGOE