News, Commentary on Classical Music, Jazz, Theater, Dance & More

Bela Bartok

Christel Lee

Violinist Christel Lee Wins 11th International Jean Sibelius Competition >>

Last week, Korean American-Canadian Violinist Christel Lee was announced the first-prize winner of the 11th International Jean Sibelius competition in Helsinki, Finland. The widely sought-after prize is only attainable in five-year intervals, starting in 1965 (only eight years after the competition’s namesake, Finnish composer and violinist Jean Sibelius, died).

Keith Jarrett

REVIEW: Keith Jarrett, 'Creation' and 'Barber/Bartok/Jarrett' (ECM Records) >>

For the first time in 19 years, ECM has released 2 Keith Jarrett CDs, a jazz project and a classical album. 'Creation' melds highlights of six solo piano performances into one seamless whole. 'Barber/Bartok/Jarrett' contains two concertos plus a quick goodbye.

'Bela Fleck: How to Write a Banjo Concerto'

WATCH: 'Béla Fleck: How to Write a Banjo Concerto' Documentary with Nashville Symphony >>

Béla Fleck's thrilling new documentary film, Béla Fleck: How to Write a Banjo Concerto, follows that instrument's trailblazer (and, lest we forget, 15-time GRAMMY winner) through one of his most challenging musical journeys--down deep into the heart of the symphony orchestra. And Classicalites will be equally thrilled to know the doc is now available on iTunes.

Jake Schepps

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Banjo Player Jake Schepps >>

Banjo player Jake Schepps sure is opening up the possibilities for his instrument: contemporary classical bluegrass? Yes, a thousand times so. In fact, his latest album, Entwined (Fine Mighty), is the perfect manifestation of a seemingly non-existent genre. Featuring new compositions from the likes of Marc Mellits, Gyan Riley, Matt McBane and Matt Flinner, Schepps' traditional, five-band string band sounds anything but trad here. Curious how Schepps & Co. got wise, Classicalite got on the horn with this Scruggs-slash-Stravinsky to talk process, commissioning and what's next for him, instrument and ensemble.

Jake Schepps' Quintet

Bluegrass Pioneer Jake Schepps Releases New Album 'Entwined' >>

Jake Schepps, banjo pioneer and trailblazer in the contemporary bluegrass scene, will release his latest album "Entwined" Jan. 27, to be performed live on his North American tour. The latest album will features bold, new work by ingenious classical composers written for the quintessential bluegrass combo of banjo, mandolin, guitar, violin and bass and will be performed at an intimate evening show at Subculture in New York City Feb. 4. The show will highlight the album’s all-acoustic work by Schepps from contemporary-classical composers Marc Mellits, Matt McBane and Gyan Riley, as well as mandolinist-composer Matt Flinner. Schepps reached out to musicians who have compelled him in the hopes that "Entwined" would make a big statement. The musicians all responded in their own unique ways. Mellits’s reckless and highly rhythmic eight-part Flatiron and McBane’s five-movement Drawn translates traditional bluegrass instrumentation into the age of electronica. Riley’s Stumble Smooth combines free jazz, bluegrass, gypsy music and jagged modernism, which Schepps calls “the burliest piece of music I’ve ever worked on in my life.” Flinner rounds out the group with bluegrass-infused, classically-inspired modernism. The result is an album with beautiful Appalachian tones but also bold, thrilling, new textures.

EXCLUSIVE: Ensemble (L)PR Founder David Handler Talks Bartók, Jonny Greenwood and the U.S. Premiere of Bryce Dessner's 'Lachrimae'

EXCLUSIVE: Ensemble (L)PR Founder David Handler Talks Bartók, Jonny Greenwood and the U.S. Premiere of Bryce Dessner's 'Lachrimae' >>

Alongside Béla Bartók's now classic 'Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta' and selections from Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood's first score for Paul Thomas Anderson, the concert features the U.S. premiere of another Classicalite favorite--National bro/Brooklyn composer Bryce Dessner's 'Lachrimae.'

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