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Ann Cleare

EXCLUSIVE: MATA Festival Q&A Spotlight with Ann Cleare >>

Founded by Philip Glass, Lisa Bielawa and Eleonor Sandresky in 1996, the MATA Young Composers Now! Festival strives to present emerging compositional talent sourced from across the globe. The 2015 edition at The Kitchen continues in that very tradition, featuring quite the varied array of exemplary young voices. So, with a nod to the spirit of MATA, itself, Classicalite has chosen three composers to speak with about that career-defining opportunity: a MATA commission. Our final entry is Ireland's own Ann Cleare, whose MATA-commissioned piece Eöl closed out the festival Saturday night, as part of the "Incomparable Contrivances" program performed by the Talea Ensemble. Cleare's percussion-heavy mini-concerto expertly explored the resonant qualities of handmade sculpture and proved to be one of this year's highlights.

Adam de la Cour

EXCLUSIVE: MATA Festival Q&A Spotlight with Adam de la Cour >>

Founded by Philip Glass, Lisa Bielawa and Eleonor Sandresky in 1996, the MATA Young Composers Now! Festival strives to present emerging compositional talent sourced from across the globe. The 2015 edition at The Kitchen continues in that very tradition, featuring quite the varied array of exemplary young voices. So, with a nod to the spirit of MATA, itself, Classicalite has chosen three composers to speak with about that career-defining opportunity: a MATA commission. Our second entry comes care of U.K. composer Adam de la Cour, whose MATA-commissioned piece Corporate Talent Factors Next Top Idol! will premiere tonight as part of the "Bearthoven Buckshot" program performed by, well, Bearthoven. Our second composer extraordinaire is the UK's Adam de la Cour, whose MATA commissioned piece Corporate Talent Factors Next Top Idol! will premiere tonight as part of the "Bearthoven Buckshot" program performed by Bearthoven. Cour's bio reads "active as a vocalist, electric guitarist and clown" but his satire littered style of writing is really what's at the heart of his genius. A well rounded artist indeed, Cour has put in time with Michael Finnissy as well, learning the ways of the ways of the comic book artist. Below, we gain insight on how Cour's talents intertwine with the harsh realities of 2015's economic landscape.

Wang Lu

EXCLUSIVE: MATA Festival Q&A Spotlight with Wang Lu >>

Founded by Philip Glass, Lisa Bielawa and Eleonor Sandresky in 1996, the MATA Young Composers Now! Festival strives to present emerging compositional talent sourced from across the globe. The 2015 edition at The Kitchen continues in that very tradition, featuring quite the varied array of exemplary young voices. So, with a nod to the spirit of MATA, itself, Classicalite has chosen three composers to speak with about that career-defining opportunity: a MATA Fest commission. First, we chat with Chinese composer Wang Lu, a 2014 Guggenheim composer and pianist whose work Urban Inventory opened on Tuesday--as part of the "Curiouser and Curiouser" program, featuring performances of Lu's work by Sweden's Curious Chamber Players.

Robert Sirota

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Robert Sirota >>

With both European bona fides (that Watson fellowship with Nadia Boulanger in Paris) and studies with composers that can sound European (those PhD lessons with Leon Kirchner at Harvard), American composer Robert Sirota remains precisely that: a quintessentially American composer. In his mature works, thorny chromaticism often plays nicely within rounded, deliberate forms. And there's always a true economy of means -- no motive where none intended. European-inspired, maybe, but his is a curious blend, no doubt informed by Sirota's many academic appointments up and down America's eastern seaboard (NYU, BU, Peabody, Manhattan School of Music). Not that Robert Sirota is an ivory tower, himself. Case in point: Sirota's brand new, beguiling work for Sandbox Percussion, Spindrift.

Loren Mazzacane Connors

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Loren M. Connors >>

The one, true guitar hero, Loren Connors is nothing if not prolific: 50-plus records as far flung as Drag City to Ecstatic Peace/Father Yod to Table of the Elements, as well as countless more via his own imprints (Daggett, St. Joan, Black Label, etc.) under at least as many aliases (Loren MazzaCane Connors, Loren Mattei, Guitar Roberts, ad inf.). Despite being diagnosed with Parkinson's in the early 1990s, live and in-person, Connors continues pretty much unabated (cf. with Keiji Haino at the Whitney, with Tim Hecker at the Wick, that sold-out show at ISSUE Project with girl-in-a-band du jour Kim Gordon). Faster than Derek Bailey, more powerful than Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca combined, able to leapfrog over Ry Cooder with a single, boundless bar of blues, his 65-year-old l'éminence grise answered some of Classicalite's none too pressing queries via e-mail.

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.

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Lisa Loeb

EXCLUSIVE: Lisa Loeb Talks Off-Broadway Premiere of New Kids Musical ‘Camp Kappawanna’ >>

It's been more than two decades since we first heard from Lisa Loeb. And while I need not mention that certain song of hers by name, if you still see Mrs. Loeb as that impossibly twee twentysomething in those tortoiseshell frames pining at the center of Ethan Hawke's continuous shot, well, you're only hearing what you want to. Nine more stories later, Lisa Loeb's become a bona fide polymath. Singer, songwriter, child lit author, burgeoning eyewear magnate, two-time reality TV star (on two different networks, no less), as a mother of two, too, she's proof that you can indeed have it all. Latest case in newest point: Loeb's musical, 'Camp Kappawanna.'

EXCLUSIVE Avi Avital Performs and Talks Vivaldi for Carnegie Hall Performance March 11 #GrandPerformance

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite's #GrandPerformance with Avi Avital & Ian Holubiak >>

In this very first episode of Classicalite's brand new 'Grand Performance' series, mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital stops by 346 Grand Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to talk and play old Bach transcriptions--as well as his newest Vivaldi ones for Deutsche Grammophon--with our own Ian Holubiak.

Donna Lewis

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Donna Lewis >>

Yeah, it’s not easy transitioning from pop princess to jazz singer. Just ask Welsh singer-songwriter Donna Lewis. Famous for her pop hits “I Love You Always Forever” and “At The Beginning,” Lewis will be releasing 'Brand New Day,' her new jazz-inflected album, on March 10--featuring the talents of jazzers like David King, Reid Anderson and Ethan Iverso. Of course, Lewis’ move into a more stripped-down version of herself isn’t all that surprising for longtime fans. Even in her vocal salad days, those soulful turns and impressive range made her stand out among the starlets.

Gil Morgenstern

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Gil Morgenstern on 'Reflections International Series' >>

How has audience performance perceptions shifted in the 21st century? As a technologically dominated art audience, are we still able to process multiple media at once? In a world obsessed with multitasking, have we lost our ability to really watch and listen? These are but some of the questions that Gil Morgenstern hopes to incite--and perhaps even answer--with his 'Reflections Series International.'

EXCLUSIVE Jason Vieaux and Yolanda Kondonassis Talk Upcoming 92Y Recital, Performing

EXCLUSIVE: Guitarist Jason Vieaux, Harpist Yolanda Kondonassis Talk 92nd Street Y Recital, Performing 'Together' and the Plight of Plucked Strings >>

One of the most unique duos in classical Christendom, the pairing of Grammy-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux with Grammy-nominated harpist Yolanda Kondonassis is no accident. Of course, their recently released LP for Azica, 'Together,' is hardly a standard marriage; no, there's much more that lies beneath the strings. As part of the 92nd Street Y's "Art of the Guitar" series, Vieaux and Kondonassis will be performing that album, in its entirety, this Saturday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. The program strictly follows the recorded disc, all the while bringing unique insights into two instruments that don't normally sit together on the stage.

EXCLUSIVE Shara Worden a.k.a My Brightest Diamond Talks American Composers Orchestra: Sins and Songs and More

Classicalite Q&A with Shara Worden (a.k.a My Brightest Diamond) >>

Upon earning her undergrad in opera from the University North Texas, like so many others before and since, a doe-eyed Shara Worden packed up her scores and moved to New York City. Studying privately with Australian composer/violinist Padma Newsome, palling around with people like the Dessner brothers, she was determined--perhaps destined, even--for their kind of "crossover." And, indeed, just like Clogs and The National did, Worden struck gold first with the indie-r stuff. Cases in point: a gorgeous slew of remarkably baroque records--Bring Me the Workhorse (2006), A Thousand Shark's Teeth ('08), All Things Will Unwind ('11), last year's This Is My Hand--on Asthmatic Kitty Records, ground zero for through-composed indie rock.

Exclusive: ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ Author Blair Tindall Dishes on Hit Amazon TV Series

EXCLUSIVE: 'Mozart in the Jungle' Author Blair Tindall Dishes on the Hit Amazon TV Series--Renewed for 2nd Season >>

'Mozart in the Jungle,' the hit TV series about love, ambition and jealousy backstage at the symphony, was recently renewed for a second season on Amazon Instant Video. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Tindall about her book, the series, and life after 'Mozart in the Jungle.'

Angela Morley

PHOTO: 'Angela Morley' (1924-2009) by Derek Erdman (2012) >>

Morley, Angela passed away peacefully at age 84, January 14th, 2009. Angela also wrote arrangements for the Boston Pops Orchestra and for Yo Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman.

2CELLOS

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with 2CELLOS (Luka Šulić and Stejepan Hauser) >>

It’s not every day that you see two cello players opening up for Elton John. Or playing on a hit TV show like Glee. But I guess Luka Šulić and Stejepan Hauser aren't your ordinary cellists. Together, they make up 2CELLOS--one, singular stringed sensation bridging the gap between musics classical and pop. You'll recall, Šulić and Hauser rose to fame at the frog of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.” Some 9 million YouTube views later, yeah, 2CELLOS (2CELLI?) is a household name. Recently, I had the pleasure to speak with the duo about their new album 'Celloverse,' just how they come up with their music video ideas and, most importantly, bananas. Lotsa bananas.

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