Because of the pandemic, the concert had to take place without an audience in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein. The performance was broadcast to over 90 countries all over the world and watched by more than 50 million viewers on TV. The program contained works by members of the Strauss family, including seven premieres of works not previously heard at a New Year's Concert.
For January 25 2020, the WFMT: Chicago 'Featured New Release' is The 2021 New Year's Concert in Vienna, conducted by Riccardo Muti. SEE THE PAGE
Inspired by her own mixed-race heritage and career-long engagement with diverse musical traditions, pianist Lara Downes creates and curates a new digital recording venture, Rising Sun Music, that sheds a bright light on the music and stories of Black composers over the past 200 years. Featuring a wide range of leading instrumentalists and vocalists (including Ms. Downes) whose work defines the creative energy of this generation and the next, the series presents a new EP of music-each exploring a different theme -to be released the first Friday of every month starting February 5. Featured performers include Nicole Cabell; Regina Carter; Anat Cohen; Lara Downes; Randall Goosby; Stewart Goodyear; Ivalas Quartet and more.
READ THE FULL BroadwayWorld ARTICLE
The Violin Channel recently caught up with Grammy Award-winning violist and pedagogue, Kim Kashkashian, on her concert series "Music for Food" - a musician led initiative for local hunger relief. The "Music for Food" events are donation–based fundraising concerts, where the presenters and artists pledge to give all proceeds and fees to local food banks and pantries. The initiative was inspired by fellow violist, Carol Rodland's, Rochester–based food drive concerts entitled "If Music be the Food." Now celebrating its 11th season, "Music for Food" has provided over one million meals to cities around the U.S. and the world. We sat down with Kim to discuss this project, its beginning, and what she sees in its future.
READ THE Q&A
Violins of Hope is an artistic and educational project composed of instruments that were owned by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust. Violins in the collection were played in the concentration camps and ghettos, providing a source of comfort for some and a means of survival for others. The project was founded by Amnon Weinstein and his son Avshalom, Israeli luthiers who collect these instruments, refurbish them to concert quality, and bring them to communities all over the world, so that their voices can be heard again. The Violins of Hope have traveled to Jerusalem, Sion, Madrid, Maastricht, Monaco, Rome, Berlin, London, Bucharest, Dachau, Dresden, and Auschwitz. In the United States, the project has been presented in Charlotte, Cleveland, Houston, Jacksonville, Sarasota, Washington, D.C, Cincinnati, Nashville, Birmingham, Knoxville, Phoenix, Louisville, Fort Wayne, and San Francisco.
Niv Ashkenazi: Violins of Hope is the first solo album to be recorded on one of these instruments. Niv Ashkenazi is the only violinist in the world to hold an instrument from the Violins of Hope collection on a long-term loan, and this album was conceived as a way to create a lasting record of the voice of that violin. Ashkenazi is joined on the album by his fellow Juilliard graduate, pianist Matthew Graybil, and the duo first worked together on the project at various ‘Violins of Hope' events in Sarasota Florida in 2017. The Weinstein family commented; "Niv is the only violinist we trust absolutely to bring out the sounds of long gone horrors, with an honest sound and much love for this music and our legacy."
The music on Niv Ashkenazi: Violins of Hope was chosen to reflect the life and experiences of the violin. Many of the composers featured were directly affected by the Holocaust. Robert Dauber composed his only surviving work, the Serenade, in 1942, while he was interned in Theresienstadt. He died in Dachau of typhoid in 1945 at the age of 26. Szymon Laks was a Polish composer whose successful career in Paris was cut short in 1941 when he was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. While in Auschwitz, Laks served as the concertmaster of the Birkenau Men's Camp Orchestra. Other composers, such as Paul Ben-Haim and Julius Chajes, fled Europe in the 1930s to escape the oppressive creative and political situation they faced. Also included is John Williams's iconic Theme from Schindler's List, written for Itzhak Perlman.
The album alsoincludes a commission from award-winning Israeli-American composer Sharon Farber, an adaptation of the final movement of her cello concerto Bestemming. Bestemming tells the true story of Holocaust survivor and Dutch Resistance hero Curt Lowens in his own words. The final movement of the concerto; ‘Triumph' was arranged for violin, piano for four hands, and narrator. Farber plays one of the piano parts on the recording, and actor Tony Campisi provided the narration.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, major Violins of Hope events taking place in Los Angeles in March and April 2020 have now been tentatively postponed until January and February 2021. Once rescheduled, these events will include a day honoring Violins of Hope at Los Angeles City Hall, educational events for thousands of students, an exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, as well as scores of concerts hosted and produced by numerous partner organizations throughout Southern California, including; The Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts, the Long Beach Symphony, and others. 2020 Violins of Hope events still planned are slated for cities in Virginia and New Jersey. Additionally, the program will also be presented as a residency in Sarasota this November.
Virtuoso violinist Niv Ashkenazi has captivated audiences with his heartfelt musicianship and emotional performances. An accomplished soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician, he has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School. Pianist Matthew Graybil has performed throughout the United States and Canada since making his orchestral debut at age 14. The recipient of numerous awards and prizes, he is a graduate of The Juilliard School.
ARCHI Magazine reviewed the recording which appears as this story's cover image
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.
READ THE FULL York Daily Record ARTICLE
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.
READ THE FULL Korea Times ARTICLE
From a deeply stirring Mass to hauntingly re-imagined Leonard Cohen masterpieces, composer LUNA PEARL WOOLF: Fire and Flood encompasses 25 years of vocal and choral works by the innovative American- Canadian composer. The composer-portrait album features new and compelling performances from The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and NOVUS NY conducted by Julian Wachner, cellist Matt Haimovitz, soprano Devon Guthrie, mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata, and Broadway actress Nancy Anderson.
In her penetrating album notes, The New York Times contributing writer Corinna Da Fonseca- Wollheim comments, "Luna Pearl Woolf trains a zoom lens on the collective experience, sometimes plunging us right into the midst of destruction and anarchy only to pull back, in one swoop, to a clear-eyed plane of compassion." These arresting works include her frequently-performed cello- choir concerto, Après moi, le deluge, which emerges from the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; and the dramatic, low-voiced To the Fire, with its prophetic, Old Testament text. In One to One to One, "three female singers reflect and refract the male gaze in an uproar of vocal virtuosity" (Da Fonseca-Wollheim); while Missa in Fines Orbis Terrae journeys to the ends of the earth in search of revelation, mercy, peace.
Released by Pentatone/Oxingale Series, LPW discusses 'Fire and Flood' with Pennsylvania's WVIA Public Media host Erika Funke for 'Arts Scene.' LISTEN
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.
Lesher Center commissions Sarah McKenzie to compose concert work 'San Francisco - Paris of the West'
Posted: October 2, 2017 12:00 AM
| By: Admin
The Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek (CA) - located in the bay area just East of San Francisco - has awarded singer, pianist and composer SARAH McKENZIE with a highly paid composition commission to compose a full concert length work based on the theme "San Francisco - Paris of the West". The work will get premiered at the Lesher Center on September 14, 2018 with an all-star line-up put together especially for this event.
During much of its past San Francisco has been referred to (among others) as "Paris of the West". This was based on cultural influence, but also architecture of key buildings around the city. Sarah´s knack for everything French is well documented in her last two albums ("Paris in the Rain" and "We could be Lovers"), and as a composer in the style of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin or Rogers & Hart she has had a number of hit tunes already ("Quoi, Quoi, Quoi", "Paris in the Rain", "We Could Be Lovers", "One Jealous Moon", "Don´t Tempt Me"). As a Berklee College of Music student Sarah has lead a workshop at the Lesher Center for the Arts in 2014 and impressed the directors to entrust her with this commission, which is the first of its kind for the Lesher Center for the Arts.
Sarah records for the Impulse! (Universal) label and is signed to Universal Music Publishing in France. She just recently performed to 7.1 million people on the "Encontro com Fátima Bernardes" television show in Brazil and performed at the world-renown Montreux Jazz Festival this summer.
The magic of Christmas! Joy is in the air, everybody's in good cheer and you can hear carols everywhere. The outside is covered in snow, but it is warm by the fireside. Romance is at your heart, while you sit with your loved-ones under the Christmas tree. These are images that Sarah McKenzie creates in this original composition called ‘You, Me & the Christmas Tree'. It captures the spirit of Christmas. It's a song about love and being together. Sarah admits that only when she moved to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music did she grasp the full meaning of those legendary jazzy Christmas songs. In her home country of Australia she has never experienced a ‘White Christmas', so "a lot of those iconic songs only really started to make sense to me once I experienced winter on the East-coast of the United States with tons of snow and cold temperatures, but also saw the lit-up Christmas trees and Christmas markets, the smell of mulled wine and ‘chestnuts roasted on an open fire'. I instantly fell in love with that season of the year and always wanted to put my feelings in a song."
Sarah chose to record ‘You, Me & the Christmas Tree' with an A-lister cast of Jazz' finest: John Clayton on double bass, Jeff Hamilton on drums, Warren Wolf on vibes and Randy Napoleon on guitar. And they went to legendary Capitol Studios in Los Angeles for this recording, the studio in which a lot of famous Christmas albums have been recorded (Frank Sinatra's ‘A Jolly Christmas', ‘Christmas Carousel' by Peggy Lee, Diana Krall's ‘Christmas Songs'), but also the building on which the famous Christmas tree is lit up every year since 1958. According to Los Angeles Magazine that Christmas tree was the first of its kind, designed by Ollsen Lighting and it featured 4,373 bulbs at 25 watts each.
I was very lucky that during lockdown the Diablo Regional Arts Association in Walnut Creek, CA commissioned me to create a 60-minute video extravaganza with the theme MUSIC CONNECTS OUR WORLD. My idea was to create ten cross-genre video clips that would include musicians from all corners of the world and put the videos together with announcements so they become like a concert. The stylistic reach was from Bossa Nova to Tango, from Bebop to Choral Music. And there was this one song in my drawer that sounded a bit like pop music, but I did not really know what to do with it. My Australian producer Chong Lim, who I happened to speak to during that time, just had his tour as keyboarder for David Foster cancelled and he recommended that I speak to the drummer of that tour, John JR Robinson. John was all up for it and recorded the drums for the track and recommended that I speak to Michael Thompson for guitars. Michael then added the guitars and recommended that I ask Jon Gilutin to add Hammond B3. It was amazing! All these legends, who had worked with the likes of Michael Jackson, Lionel Ritchie, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion suddenly recorded a song of mine and I was playing and singing alongside them. I very much hope that you'll like it! Here is WAITING HERE FOR YOU.
When the corona virus hit in early March Sarah McKenzie was just on tour in France and all her shows got cancelled. At the same time the US government implemented a travel ban for everyone who was travelling from the Schengen territory so Sarah was unable to return to her home in Los Angeles immediately. ?In order not to get stuck during lockdown in a big city I rented an old school house in the very South of England, in Hastings at the English Channel coast. It was a very romantic place from the 17th century with vines on the outside and a large garden with roses and lots of other flowers and old, very stylish furniture on the inside and an old piano that I would play every day. We had planned to stay for two weeks, in the end it was 3 1/2 months. I found a small but well equipped recording studio in Hastings, that had an engineer who had recorded a lot of jazz, and a Yamaha baby grand piano. Perfect conditions to start working 24/7. The song SCHNELLER! was inspired by drives on the German highway. It is called Autobahn and it is one of the very few places in the world where there is no speed limit. For someone not used to this it is quite a frightening experience to travel at 130 mph. So once I had picked my finger nails out of the dashboard I thought this experience needs a song. I then had to find the right musicians for it. With Geoff Gascoyne (bass) and Donald Edwards (drums) I have a long lasting working relationship already, but who could play those trumpets? I was very lucky to then come across Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra's Kenny Rampton, who is a fantastic trumpet player and who put in the extra miles that it needed to make this song special. I hope you'll like it.'
After the great success of Sarah McKenzie's 2017 disc, Paris in the Rain(Impulse! Records), the 31-year-old pianist, singer, and composer returns with the poignant, Secrets of My Heart, reuniting with noted Australian composer, arranger, and events music director, Chong Lim, who produced her first two discs – Don't Tempt Me and Close Your Eyes. Recorded in New York City, Secrets of My Heart exudes cosmopolitan flair with its lineup that includes French bassist Pierre Boussaguet and Brazilian percussionist Rogerio Bocattoalongside guitarist Dan Wilson, drummer Donald Edwards, vibraphonist Warren Wolf,tenor saxophonist Troy Roberts, and cellist Jody Redhage Ferber(all of whom based in the United States).
After enchanting jazz fans with her 2015 Impulse! Records debut, We Could Be Lovers, Sarah McKenzie returns with the sensational follow-up, Paris in the Rain. Like before, the 28-year-old, Melbourne, Australia-born singer, pianist, composer and arranger teams with the acclaimed Brian Bacchus – who has produced classics for such stars as Norah Jones, Lizz Wright, and Gregory Porter – to deliver a gripping program of jazz classics and originals – all of which present McKenzie's incredible musicality in glamorous glory.
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