It started in 1966 as a three-week agreement among composer and conductor Thad Jones, drummer Mel Lewis and Max Gordon, the proprietor of The Village Vanguard in New York. And it continues, gloriously.
A hymn is a faith song, and Joe Pug knows about faith. It was a leap of faith which moved him to quit school in pursuit of songwriting in the first place. So it's no surprise that his stirring new song "Hymn #76" balances on faith. "To love me is to set up on a mountain," he sings. "Every step is harder than the last."
Classical 88.7-1's sister station in Oklahoma City, KCSC, was at the OK Mozart International Festival 2012 in Bartlesville. Music Host and Producer Kimberly Powell posted dispatches from her week at the Festival - fascinating behind-the-scenes insights into the artists and performances. Be listening for highlights from this year's Festival later this year, produced by Kimberly.
KCSC Music Host and Producer Kimberly Powell Friday, June 15th Thursday morning's mini concert featured the Violin and Piano Sonata in a minor, Op 105 by Robert Schumann. Though Schumann's tenure in Düsseldorf as the municipal music director proved difficult, bringing him as much tribulation as it did opportunity and ending sadly, he enjoyed there one of his greatest outbursts of creativity.
The guitarist Marc Ribot has played in just about every conceivable setting in New York City. But through his involvement in punk bands, funk and soul groups, film scoring, the noise community, session work with rootsy singer-songwriters, South American and Caribbean folkloric projects, the contemporary classical scene and all the other experiments, he's also long held a love of jazz, from its hairiest to most clean-shaven expressions.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 3:45 pm
When friends learn that my nearly six-year-old has been playing violin for three years, their voices shift a bit, especially if they also have a child learning an instrument. Two questions come in quick succession: "Does she like it?" and "How do you get her to practice?" There's a nervous energy to their queries, and usually a little laugh, too. Either they've been struggling with kids who have a hard time practicing, or they recall their own childhood boredom.
The four-man vocal ensemble New York Polyphony sings ancient music built for big resonant spaces. Since they can't just pop into St. Patrick's Cathedral any time they need to practice a renaissance mass, the group rehearses sometimes in the Jackson Heights home of bass singer Craig Phillips. There, in a modest-sized living room, they can hear every detail. "It's a very different experience rehearsing in a dry room and a small room," says tenor Geoffrey Silver. "You actually hear what you and your colleagues are singing, there's no watercolor wash over what you are doing."
It's tough to concentrate on the rigors of Beethoven with jackhammers pounding in your ears. So when they started demolishing the building next to Jonathan Biss, he moved his piano out of his apartment into a separate studio, away from the commotion. "I would get up in the morning, the piano wasn't there, and I had to leave my apartment to go practice and I've decided that's a much more productive way of working," he says. Biss needs a good working environment for his massive project.
Jeremy Denk has his own personal "piano boot camp." Actually, it's his cramped Manhattan apartment. Beside his beloved books, a trusty coffee pot and a laptop, there's not much to do except practice. Which Denk does, hours and hours a day on a Steinway wedged into his living room. On a good day, he brews pot of coffee number one at about 11, then plays for about five hours. Perhaps a run to the gym, then pot number two is brewed at about 6, followed by more playing — until the neighbors complain.
Nurturing young talent is a long tradition in the classical music world, and many professional orchestras have their own youth orchestras. But it stands to reason that an organization with the kind of international stature the Cleveland Orchestra enjoys would have a top-notch youth ensemble. It does. And it's called, not surprisingly, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra — COYO for short. The young musicians have just embarked on a European tour.