The conversation regarding the LGTBQ community has become pervasive in today's public debate. It hasn't just become a driving force in the deciding this election's presidential nominees but it's become a thesis for human rights.
With so many innovative composers now edging into the mainstream, navigating the forms and structures of the new musical landscape can seem a daunting task, for listeners and young composers alike. To be sure, modern works have enjoyed an increase in visibility, but while there is no shortage of outlets for these pieces to be judged, there are precious few opportunities for them to be studied. Forever straddling the "cutting-edge" or the "ultra-contemporary", much of the 21st Century repertoire has been anxiously awaiting induction into the western---if not, global---music canon. To remedy this, David Harrington, Artistic Director of the Kronos Quartet, has recently flung open a new door, embarking on a project that has the potential to fundamentally transform the way music is taught in the 21st Century. Welcome to the Fifty for the Future Project.
An interview is a complicated, intoxicating beast. You rarely ever know who will be presented in front of you. Sure, you know their name, seen their film, read their book or listened to their CD but these are flesh and blood human beings we are talking about. They are only predictable in their unpredictability. I knew deep down in my bones my newest interview Brian Dennehy would, well, be Brian Dennehy. Star of stage and screen, Mr. Dennehy could be anyway he wants to be and who could blame him? He's Brian Dennehy. He has chased Rambo, wandered through a Peter Greenaway film, found the fountain of youth in Cocoon and its sequel.
A blues artist in today's musical conversation may have a difficult time finding their place. The blues, of course, is one of America's traditions, one that is deeply rooted in the soil of Americana and music history as a whole. But in the case of the Reverend Shawn Amos, discovering the blues was not only a way of locating his voice but finding his seat in the musical conversation, too.
Life extends outward in unusual patterns here on planet Earth. Perhaps existence is rooted in plant life and the way it communicates with the modern world. Mamoru Fujieda and his chilling post-minimal magnum opus Patterns of Plants, the electrical activity of plants has become the basis, and composition, of his seminal 1997 recording.
Independent filmmaker and documentarian Robert Mugge is one of the greatest chroniclers of American roots music working today. For more than thirty years, he has carefully preserved and documented pieces of American culture that may have otherwise been lost in the foggy haze of time. To coincide with the release of three new DVDs that explore Louisiana cultural music on DVD - Zydeco Crossroads: A Tale of Two Cities, The Kingdom of Zydeco, and Rhythm N Bayous: A Road map to Louisiana Music March 25, Mr. Mugge sat down with Classicalite to talk about the blues, film making and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina -
Lisa Moore is more than just a seminal New York pianist who founded the iconic Band on a Can All-Stars. Her dynamic performances incorporate elemental designs that help her channel a unique flow in the way she plays the instrument. In a one-of-a-kind, one-night only showing, Lisa Moore will take to the downtown dwelling (Le) Poisson Rouge this Tuesday, Feb. 23 for a release show of her new album The Stone People.
The Avant Music Festival 2016 is upon us! With events held from February 20th to March 5th, attendees can experience the full breadth of artistic expression in the uninhibited caverns of The Wild Project, at 195 E. 3rd St. in Manhattan. Since its founding in 2010 by Randy Gibson and Megan Schubert, the Avant Music Festival has fulfilled its pledge to be a "platform for contemporary American composers to experiment with long-form concerts and the full programmatic experience of their work." It is within this setting that maverick vocalist Joan La Barbara will be performing John King's "Mini-Operas" series with fellow vocalist Gelsey Bell on February 27th.
Hristo Vitchev deserves to be heard. His website describes him as an impressionistic, modern jazz guitarist. However, one listen of his new CD In Search of Wonders, you are struck by the timelessness of Mr. Vitchev's music. The guitarist fronts a tightly structured quartet that features him on guitar, Jasnam Daya Singh on piano, Dan Robbins on bass and Mike Shannon on the drums. In real life, they are four different individuals but, as a band, they are one, as Mr. Vitchev will be the first to tell you.
Water, it is the source of life and death. It is sustains and corrodes. When it pours outside our window, it torments us but also it comforts us, heals our weaknesses. If there is a greater power on earth, it has yet to be found. Water or lack thereof can bring a country, a state or a city to its knees faster than economic sanctions. Like many in the art world through the ages, French classical pianist Helene Grimaud is fascinated by water, as a muse, a metaphor and bringer of life. Her didactic approach to the project was due to her strong belief in environmentalism. Classicalite sat down to talk with Ms. Grimaud about water and Water.
Aladdin Theater, Milwaukie Street, just off busy Powell Boulevard in Southeast Portland, Oregon. This was where I would meet the man who has been dubbed one of the most influenial figures in nuevo Flamenco music, the very affable and witty Jesse Cook. The guitarist's charm and easy sense of humor reminded my date and me of another performer we had seen recently--the slightly more famous Hugh Laurie. Jesse began a new version of his One World Tour on an unseasonably warm day for Portland. But before anything else could happen, the globe-trotting guitarist had to be dad and put his kids to bed in Toronto.
With Nadia Sirota finishing up her much-anticipated residency at Symphony Space, so, too, has her latest episode of WQXR-Q2's Meet the Composer podcast just wrapped with everyone's favorite working composer, Nico Muhly. And for their parts together, Sirota and Muhly will soon be packing up to hit the road with one of our own favorite working composers' collective, Iceland's Bedroom Community--for the third iteration of their grand "Whale Watching Tour."
The classical crossover smash, Lang Lang, has released his most recent disc to date, Lang Lang in Paris. The LP is heavily rooted in the pianist's affinity for Chopin and Tchaikovsky. In the package is an exclusive performance from Lang Lang in the Hall of Mirros at the Chateau de Versailles in Paris, also--where he feels the music is most authentic and where he felt the pieces were presented most accurately.
It seems, for lack of a better word, unconventional for an album of religious chants to take the number one spot on Billboard's Classical Traditional Chart in its first week of release. And it's even more unconventional that it has maintained the spot for two weeks straight.
By now, we all know André Rieu. That exceptional Dutch violinist and impresario who has made a name for himself, near literally, as the, quote, "King of the Waltz." However, if you've somehow not yet had the pleasure to take in all that maestro Rieu and his 60-piece Johann Strauss Orchestra (founded 1987) are about, you're in luck, indeed. This Tuesday, October 20, all that musicianship and magic that was on stage for Rieu and band's one-night-only "2015 Maastricht Concert" is coming to movie theaters all across this country.