Two time Emmy winning composer Michael Whalen sits down for an in depth interview to discuss music production, his new album, and the music biz with Rob Mullins. They covered a lot of ground in 50 minutes. Music. Life. Rhodes pianos. Advice for young composers. Duran Duran. Quincy Jones. David Foster. The "three questions" that every young musician asks me and much, much more. Enjoy the attached wide ranging conversation.
Data Lords is the new double-album by Grammy Award-winning composer and bandleader Maria Schneider. Inspired by conflicting relationships between the digital and natural worlds, the recording features Schneider's acclaimed orchestra of 18 world-class musicians.
"No one can deny the great impact that the data-hungry digital world has had on our lives. As big data companies clamor for our attention, I know that I'm not alone in struggling to find space – to keep connected with my inner world, the natural world, and just the simpler things in life," says Schneider. "Just as I feel myself ping ponging between a digital world and the real world, the same dichotomy is showing up in my music. In order to truly represent my creative output from the last few years, it felt natural to make a two- album release reflecting these two polar extremes."
Here and Now host Robin Young speaks with Schneider about "Data Lords." (Photo by Briene Lermitte)
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When the coronavirus forced concert halls and opera houses to close in March, a flood of music came online. The livestreams proved especially gratifying, offering a jolt of you-are-there excitement. Many of these programs were offered for free.
But musicians and institutions have to make money. Will the public pay for music online?
The answer is just beginning to emerge. The artists and organizations who can draw sizable numbers of paying customers may be those who already had globally prominent brands before the pandemic. The Metropolitan Opera, for example, has recently begun a series of livestreamed recitals featuring star singers, sophisticated camerawork and vibrant audio. The tenor Jonas Kaufmann's recital last month, tickets for which cost $20, was viewed by 44,000 people - not a bad gross.
The second program in the series took place on Aug. 1, with the soprano Renée Fleming and the pianist Robert Ainsley performing live from Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. (The film is available through Friday, and Sunday afternoon brings a new livestream featuring Roberto Alagna and Aleksandra Kurzak.)
Ms. Fleming was in splendid voice, singing with honeyed tone and elegant phrasing. She delivered some favorites, like "O mio babbino caro." But she also included novelties, like a coquettish aria from Leoncavallo's - not Puccini's - "La Bohème" and lesser heard arias from operas and oratorios by Handel and Korngold. And she began with a premiere composed for her: John Corigliano's eloquently understated "And the People Stayed Home," a setting of a poem written by Catherine M. O'Meara that went viral at the start of the pandemic.
Prerecorded offerings might seem less fulfilling to music lovers who are longing for the live concert experience. Yet if the content is substantive and the quality of the video high, these programs can be rewarding. Caramoor, in Katonah, N.Y., is streaming the four musicians of Sandbox Percussion and the pianist Conor Hanick, through Sunday, for $10.
Caramoor, usually a summer favorite just north of New York City, has this year presented a series of livestreams, with tickets for purchase, from its intimate, elegant Music Room. The programs have been adventurous and excellent, including a recent one featuring members of the Knights, a chamber orchestra, playing a premiere by Anna Clyne and a Brahms sextet.
The Sandbox Percussion program had to be filmed in advance, since the works being performed utilized an enormous array of unusual and cumbersome percussion instruments. The concert included inventive pieces by Andy Akiko, Juri Seo, Amy Beth Kirsten and David Crowell, variously complex and demanding contemporary scores.
But the premiere of Christopher Cerrone's "Don't Look Down," an 18-minute concerto for prepared piano and percussion quartet, was the highlight. As he explained in an interview before the performance, Mr. Cerrone began composing the score just as the shutdowns started in March, and finished it only recently. So it's a piece written in lockdown. The piano is prepared similarly to John Cage's innovative techniques, but with fewer screws and pieces of metal inserted between the piano strings, and more materials like putty - which dampens and distorts sounds - and fishing wire, which allows the strings to be bowed to create eerie, whining tones.
The first movement, "Hammerspace," begins with the whooshing of a bike pump and droning gongs. In time, restless riffs played with mallets burst forth. Amid rushes of rhythmic, spiraling figures on the prepared piano, fragments for the percussion instruments coalesced into fleeting almost-melodies.
The second movement, "The Great Empty," is more elemental, with music gurgling and heaving over ominous bass tones in the piano. The final movement, "Caton Flats," is named for the mixed-use development in Brooklyn where Mr. Cerrone lives. As he said in the interview, the music recalls the metallic noise of construction crews at work in his neighborhood this summer.
Tanglewood, perhaps America's most eminent summer music festival, has opted for offering only prerecorded online programs - some from its archives, but many filmed earlier this summer. One, recorded in June, was put online on Saturday evening: the pianist Daniil Trifonov playing Bach's "The Art of the Fugue" in one of the studios of Tanglewood's new Linde Center. (The program is available for $12 through Saturday, when a recital by another pianist, Conrad Tao, goes online.)
Mr. Trifonov played this work, Bach's final piece, at a recital at Alice Tully Hall in early March, one of the final concerts in New York before the lockdown. His performance then was magnificent, combining youthful inventiveness, crisp articulations and, for a performer still in his 20s, profoundly insightful musicianship. The Tanglewood performance was even better, though the chance it offered to see Mr. Trifonov up close - to watch as a finger on his right hand gave extra pressure to a crucial note - may have made it especially absorbing.
Though he was not required to do so, Mr. Trifonov performed wearing a mask, which came across as a gesture of solidarity with those watching from home. Playing these complex and compelling fugues, Mr. Trifonov displayed an unusual kind of virtuosity - not flashy, but precise, nuanced and subtle. Rippling passagework was not like filigree but substantive: Each note mattered.
For Fugue 14, which Bach died before finishing, Mr. Trifonov, who is also a composer, dared to do the job and played his own completion. Good for him that, rather than feeling intimidated, he paid homage to Bach by adding his own personal take. The intricate contrapuntal lines unfolded effectively, the music taking a quasi-mystical turn and becoming harmonically elusive delicate and gentle, with a cushioned landing at the end instead of a full stop.
Worth paying for? Worth waiting for? I'd say yes, on both counts.
Australian violin virtuoso Ray Chen has established himself as one of the most prodigiously talented and captivating instrumentalists to emerge internationally. A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Aaron Rosand, Ray is a former 1st prize winner at the Menuhin and Queen Elisabeth International Violin Competitions.
His debuts include solo engagements with major international orchestras – including ongoing collaborations with the San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony and the London Philharmonic. Ray was announced as one of Forbes Magazines' 30 Under 30 recipients, an ambassador for Sony Electronics – and a collaborator and consultant on a number of film score and video game projects.
Last week, he released his new ‘Solace' album on the Decca Classics label – recorded professionally from his home during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Ray currently performs on the 1735 ‘Samazeuilh' Stradivarius violin, on generous loan from the Nippon Music Foundation – and is under world-wide general management with CAMI Music, in New York.
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Intimate original chamber music John Finbury – AMERICAN NOCTURNES/FINAL DAYS OF JULY: In June of 2020, I reviewed producer/arranger John's wonderful "Quatro" album, which got near perfect marks… on this new album, John and his players give you some of the most intimate original chamber music you will ever listen to… here's a video clip for the album…
…since you're there already, I strongly recommend that you SUBSCRIBE to John Finbury's YouTube channel, so you can watch many more exciting performances.
The players on this new excursion are Tim Ray – piano; Eugene Friesen – cello; Roni Eytan – harmonica; and Roberto Cassan – accordion… Produced and arranged by John Finbury and Bob Patton… though the album is partially classified as New Age, John's music is always unique and different… the beautiful "Winter Waltz" even has some strong elements of jazz, and will be a favorite among DJ's, I believe.
The gentle guitar on "Black Tea" melds seamlessly in with the other instruments, giving you the gift of pleasant (yet stirring) memories… the relaxed pacing makes the tune a total winner.
I had no trouble (at all) in making my choice for personal favorite of the eleven enchanting songs offered up… the title track, "Final Days Of July", will touch your heart deeply with its' beautifully crafted tones!
I give John and his musical partners a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating, with an "EQ" (energy quotient) score of 4.98 for this fine album. Get more information on the Green Flash Music page for the release. Rotcod Zzaj
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Blues Hall of Famer Bettye LaVette is set to release; 'Blackbirds,' on August 28 via Verve Records. Blackbirds features songs primarily popularized by some of her peers, other iconic women in music, who she personally respected and admired. The album finds LaVette in top form delivering powerful renditions of songs that touched her personally. It also re-unites her with producer Steve Jordan.
From Dinah Washington's "Drinking Again," Nina Simone's "I Hold No Grudge," Nancy Wilson's "Save Your Love For Me" and more, all delivered in LaVette's rich and raspy tone with a touch of the blues.
Bettye LaVette is a native of Detroit. Her first recording in 1962, at the age of sixteen, was on Atlantic Records. She later charted with such singles as "He Made A Woman Out Of Me" and "Do Your Duty," Since then she has recorded ten albums. Her most recent album Things Have Changed, also produced by Steve Jordan (John Mayer, Keith Richards), was released on Verve in 2018 and received two GRAMMY nominations, which brings her total Grammy nominations to five.
WPFW: Wash DC, Tim Masters spoke with BL about the new recording and her amazing career. Listen to the attached interview.
From Poetry to Song: A Russian Poet's Work Makes a Debut
A new album by classical composer Mark Abel features four musical adaptations of Tsvetaeva's poetry- a first for the English-language genre. Mark Abel
For most in the English-speaking world, the name Marina Tsvetaeva is obscure. While often revered as one of the greatest Russian poets of the early Soviet period, Tsvetaeva's work has by-and-large failed to garner an international audience.
One American artist, however, has recently completed a project putting Tsvetaeva's work to music in English – reportedly the first time her poetry has been adapted to classical music in English.
In his new album, The Cave of Wondrous Voice, California-based journalist-turned-musician Mark Abel focuses his talents on creating a masterful chamber-music sound, including a groundbreaking song cycle of four of Tsvetaeva's poems.
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The first-time teaming of Poland's dynamic Marcin Wasilewski Trio and big-toned US tenorist Joe Lovano brings forth special music of concentrated, deep feeling, in which lyricism and strength seem ideally balanced.
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.
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.
Milan Records announces the Friday, August 21 release of I Am Woman (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), an album of music from the biographical film surrounding Australian singer Helen Reddy as performed by Chelsea Cullen.
Praised by The Washington Post for playing with "an easy warmth, drawing the orchestra after him like a halo around a candle flame," cellist Kian Soltani follows his DG debut album, Home, with a Dvořák album centered on the famous cello concerto.
89.3KCUR plans to launch 24-Hour classical music station in Kansas City
Posted: August 16, 2019 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
Kansas City is one of the few metropolitan areas of its size in the country without a full-time classical music broadcaster. That may be about to change.
KCUR 89.3 has signed an agreement to purchase KWJC 91.9 FM from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, with the intention of bringing 24-hour classical music programming to Kansas City. On Thursday, KCUR - Kansas City's public radio station - filed an application with the Federal Communications Commission to approve the purchase. "Given the strength of the performing arts community and the classical music community in town, we think it's a huge hole, both for audiences and performing arts organizations," KCUR general manager Nico Leone said. "We see in market after market that classical music stations can be a rising tide for performing arts organizations."
Recorded live to the highest industry standards in front of the magnificent scenery of Beijing's Forbidden City, this unique gala concert celebrates the 120th anniversary of Deutsche Grammophon. The concert features conductor Long Yu and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, both freshly signed as exclusive recording artists to Deutsche Grammophon, and performances from Aida Garifullina, Daniil Trifonov, Mari Samuelsen, and more.
Impulse! has brought together some of the great progressive jazz musicians of our time to pay tribute to The Beatles'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. A Day In The Life: Impressions of Pepper will be available on vinyl for Record Store Day on November 23, available on CD, digital, and streaming platforms on November 30, with a wide vinyl release on January 18, 2019.
A Day In The Life: Impressions of Pepper includes performances and interpretations by artists such as UK saxophonist and Impulse! recording artist Shabaka Hutchings, Impulse! pianist Sullivan Fortner, Verve recording artist Miles Mosley, Onyx Collective, percussionist Antonio Sanchez, guitarist Mary Halvorson, The JuJu Exchange and more.
This stellar lineup represents some of the great progressive jazz artists from around the world: Shabaka from the UK Jazz scene, Miles Mosley and Cameron Graves from LA's West Coast Get Down, Onyx Collective from NYC, Makaya McCraven and the JuJu Exchange from Chicago.
Many people picture grim-faced Beethoven, shaking his fist at the heavens and persisting through deafness and illness to compose works of transcendent beauty, but he also stirs emotions that feel both deeply personal and ubiquitous. There are moments of red-cheeked optimism, quiet introspection, playful dances, heroic declarations, a restless search for the sublime. And while Beethoven is perhaps most famous for his sonatas and symphonies, he composed an opera, chamber works, songs, sacred music, incidental music for the stage, even dances. Taken together, these selections paint a rich portrait of Beethoven's humanity, which has attracted artists of the highest caliber such as Leonard Bernstein, Carlos Kleiber, Janine Jansen, and Martha Argerich. Some of these recordings are legendary, but all of them jump out with their undeniable virtuosity and brilliance. This collection may remind you of that iconic portrait of immortal Genius suffering for Art, but it will also reacquaint you with an artist from another time who somehow captured so much of the human experience.
Decca Records is proud to release The Official Recording of The Royal Wedding, one of the most eagerly awaited events of the year. Having recorded the entire service live at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle today, every piece of music, the readings, blessings and the vows will be available to listen to permanently on all streaming services in just a few hours: a first for a Royal Wedding. The physical album, on CD, will then be released into retail stores around the world from 1st June.
The musical highlight of the moving and joyous ceremony was British cellist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, one of the most exciting musicians of his generation, who was personally asked by the bride and groom to perform at their wedding. The 19-year-old musician took centre stage for the all-important signing of the register. Dressed in a black Paul Smith suit with vibrant pink tie, Sheku played three beautiful pieces: "Sicilienne" by von Paradis, Schubert's "Ave Maria," and "Après Un Rêve" by Fauré. He was accompanied by orchestra*, as the Royal Couple officially became husband and wife. Knowing he was performing not only for the Royal Family, 600 invited guests in the Chapel, and an estimated global audience of up to three billion people, the talented teenager was thrilled to be involved in the occasion:
History was written in 2000 BC, and 2018 marks the 150th anniversary of Brahms' Lullaby, so this precious musical tradition has deep cultural and emotional roots. These personal songs bring people together, span generations, and tell stories about where we come from, who we are now, and our hopes for the future. The legacy continues with the release of Hopes and Dreams: The Lullaby Project on Decca Gold (Verve Label Group). The recording is inspired by the Lullaby Project, a program of Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute which pairs pregnant women, new mothers, and family members with professional artists to write and sing personal lullabies for their babies, supporting maternal health, aiding child development, and strengthening the bond between parent and child. Hopes and Dreams: The Lullaby Project features fifteen lullabies written by parents from across New York City, as performed by Fiona Apple, the Brentano String Quartet, Lawrence Brownlee, Rosanne Cash, Joyce DiDonato, Janice Freeman (The Voice 2017), Rhiannon Giddens (Nashville), Angélique Kidjo, Patti LuPone, Natalie Merchant (10,000 Maniacs), Dianne Reeves, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Pretty Yende, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
The second installment of the Jazz Loves Disney series, Jazz Loves Disney 2: A Kind of Magic features guest artists including Angélique Kidjo, Laura Mvula, Jamie Cullum, Jacob Collier, George Benson, Madeleine Peyroux and more, taking on beloved melodies from the Disney canon. The album will be released on Verve Records on November 10. The Jazz Loves Disney series celebrates the nostalgia and universal appeal of the music of Disney films. The rich catalogue of Disney songs that span genres and generations inspired producer Jay Newland and arranger Rob Mounsey to continue the series.
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The Passion of Charlie Parker is a new album from producer Larry Klein that tells the story of Charlie Parker using his music as inspiration for new songs that narrate his life. Guest artists include Gregory Porter, Madeleine Peyroux, Kandace Springs, actor Jeffrey Wright, and more. The album will be available on impulse!/ Verve digitally on June 16, with physical release to follow on June 30. Larry Klein says, "With this album I've endeavored to do something new and different in an effort to illustrate who ‘Bird' was as an archetypal character, and to draw attention to the huge impact that his work had on Jazz." Rather than create another tribute of traditional bebop tunes, Klein partnered with lyricist David Baerwald to create a musical play that tells the story of Charlie Parker's life while still playing with the jagged melodic nature of Charlie Parker's compositions.
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SYND: Jazz After Hours, Jazz Happening Now, Jazz Inspired, Voice of America Direct: SiriusXM Markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Portland, Miami, Detroit, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Austin, Denver, Albuquerque, Orlando, San Antonio, Sacramento, Louisville, Knoxville, Madison WI, Rochester, Tampa, Honolulu, OR(Statewide), WV(Statewide), VT(Statewide), KS(Statewide), MS(Statewide), HI(Statewide), Toronto, Vancouver INTER: Canada, UK Online: GreenArrow, Jazz & Blues Report, KUHS/Vaya, Soulandjazz.com, Jazz Weekly, Radio Valencia, Que4 Radio, Freaky Party, theguardian