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.
Carlos Glick from THE BANNER wrote...The Piano Guys' latest album is spectacular. For me, the music in this album is not inspiring, but it is very motivating. The songs that really inspire me are "You Say," "Someone to You," "Someone You Loved," "Thinking Out Loud," "Happier," "Bless the Broken Road" and "More than a Feeling/Long Time." These songs really kept me motivated because not only is the melody beautiful, but whenever I listen to the songs, it gets me pondering about my life. I would rate this album a 10 out of 10. Every song on this album is very original like all their past albums are. They take a popular song and either mix or jam it up with a classical piece.
Having spent the last decade together releasing chart-topping music, debuting stunningly original music videos and touring in sold-out venues across the globe, THE PIANO GUYS will celebrate their tenth anniversary as a group with the release of their tenth new album 10, out November 20 from Sony Music Masterworks. Available for preorder now, the 2-disc album reflects on The Piano Guys' greatest career moments thus far with fifteen newly-remastered fan favorite tracks from the past decade as well as introduces their next chapter with seven brand new songs and six tracks never-before-released CD. Making its debut today alongside album preorder is the first of these new tracks, a newly-recorded rendition of Lauren Daigle's chart-topping hit "You Say" that combines the uplifting ballad with Beethoven's "Sonata Pathétique" to create a rich mosaic of strings and piano – listen here. As visually creative as they are sonically, The Piano Guys pair today's release with a new music video filmed amidst the gorgeous scenery of their home state of Utah.
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