classical

Béla Fleck Unveils Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra with Nashville Symphony

Béla Fleck will present the world premiere of his Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra — one of the first ever written for the instrument — with the Nashville Symphony on September 22-24 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center. To be performed by Fleck on his vintage 1937 mahogany Gibson Mastertone banjo, the Concerto marks a significant new departure for Fleck, who calls the piece "a liberating experience for my efforts as a composer and hopefully for the banjo as well." Commissioned by the Nashville Symphony, Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra will be the centerpiece of the orchestra’s opening concerts in the 2011/12 SunTrust Classical Series.

Given the names Béla (for Bartók), Anton (for Webern) and Leoš (for Janáčék), Fleck seems to have been destined to play classical music. Having launched a prolific and wildly successful career as a genre-melding instrumentalist, first with the New Grass Revival and later with the Flecktones, he made the classical connection with his 2001 solo album Perpetual Motion. Released on Sony Classical, the recording went on to win a pair of GRAMMYs®, including Best Classical Crossover Album. Fleck has won a total of 14 GRAMMYs®, and, with 30 nominations, he has been nominated in more different categories than anyone in GRAMMY® history.

Fleck dedicates his new Concerto to pioneering banjoist Earl Scruggs, who first inspired him to take up the instrument. The composer says that the piece reflects the dual influences of classical music and bluegrass. “You can hear an evolution in my own writing of the piece as it goes on,” he observes, noting that he wanted to “explore the new possibilities of the banjo as a member or the orchestra, while respecting its roots in bluegrass and jazz.”

Concerto for Banjo and Orchestra is perfectly matched at the Nashville Symphony concerts with Aaron Copland’s famous Appalachian Spring, which celebrates the American spirit with music of breathtaking beauty and directness. Concluding the performance is Tchaikovsky’s larger-than-life Fourth Symphony, the Russian composer’s favorite piece, which sweeps the audience with an emotional palette that ranges from melancholy to exuberance. The Thursday, September 22, performance will be webcast live via the Nashville Symphony’s website.

For more information about the concert or to purchase tickets, please call 615.687.6400 or visit NashvilleSymphony.org.
The GRAMMY® Award-winning Nashville Symphony has earned an international reputation for its recordings and innovative programming. With 140 performances annually, the 84-member orchestra offers a broad range of classical, pops and jazz, children’s concerts and community engagement programs. As a national and international ambassador for Tennessee, the Nashville Symphony has received far-reaching acclaim for its 19 recordings on Naxos, making the ensemble one of the most active recording orchestras in the country. These recordings have received a total of 13 GRAMMY® nominations and six GRAMMY® Awards. On May 12, 2012, the Nashville Symphony will perform at Carnegie Hall as part of the Spring for Music festival, which recognizes orchestras for adventuresome, original programming.

New Tori Amos Album and Tour

Tori Amos marks her debut album for Deutsche Grammophon, the world’s most celebrated classical music record label with Night of Hunters, set for release this September.  The iconic, platinum-selling singer-songwriter continues her legacy of ground-breaking recordings with this 21st century song cycle inspired by select classical pieces spanning the last 400 years.

With Night of Hunters, Amos carries on the classical tradition of variations on a theme: taking inspiration from classical forms to create a bold new work while paying tribute to the mastery of the original compositions.

On Night of Hunters, which she wrote and produced, Amos comments “I have used the structure of a classical song cycle to tell an ongoing, modern story. The protagonist is a woman who finds herself in the dying embers of a relationship. In the course of one night she goes through an initiation of sorts that leads her to reinvent herself allowing the listener to follow her on a journey to explore complex musical and emotional subject matter.”

“One of the main themes explored on this album is the hunter and the hunted and how both exist within us,” the singer explains.

The release of Night of Hunters will be supported by a tour in Europe and the U.S. starting in Helsinki, Finland on September 28th.

With more than 12 million albums sold and multiple Grammy nominations, Tori Amos is one of the most successful and influential artists of her generation. A pioneer across multiple platforms, she was the first major label artist to offer a single for download, has had her songs turned into graphic novels, and has produced pioneering videos throughout her career. She is renowned for her passionate and broad fan-base, her critically and commercially successful tours, and her ever evolving live show. Ms. Amos is also a noted humanitarian and co-founder of RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), which is the United States’ largest anti-sexual assault organization.

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TOUR DATES

Tori will be heading out on tour this Fall in both Europe and the US. The first of shows are listed below. Links to buy tickets and on sale dates can be found at toriamos.com/tours

9/28  Finland, Helsinki, Ice Hall

9/30  Russia, St Petersburg, Oktyabrsky Hall

10/2  Russia, Moscow, Crocus Hall

10/4  Luxembourg, Den Atelier

10/5  France, Paris, Le Grand Rex

10/7  Italy, Milan, Teatro Arcimboldi

10/8  Italy, Rome, Auditorium Parco della Musica

10/10  Germany, Hamburg, Laieszhalle

10/11  Germany, Berlin, Tempodrom

10/13  Poland, Warsaw, Sala Kongresowa

10/17  Holland, Amsterdam, Carre

10/20  Norway, Oslo, Sentrum Scene

10/21  Denmark, Copenhagen, The Royal Theatre

10/24  Switzerland, Lucerne, KKL

10/25  Austria, Vienna, Stadthalle F

10/26  Germany, Frankfurt, Alte Oper

10/28  Belgium, Antwerp, QEH

10/29  Belgium, Brussels, Bozar

10/31  Germany, Essen, Philharmonie

11/2  UK, London, Royal Albert Hall

11/4  UK, Manchester, Apollo

11/6  UK, Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall

11/8  UK, Belfast, Waterfront

11/9  Eire, Dublin, Grand Canal Theatre

THE DEFINITIVE DAVE BRUBECK

Over the course of seven decades, Dave Brubeck has become one of the most iconic and influential figures in all of jazz. In that time, the pianist/composer/bandleader continually has defied conventions and preconceptions by grafting elements of numerous styles — classical, Latin, pop and more — into a solid and unwavering jazz foundation and creating a musical hybrid that still is deeply rooted in the jazz tradition. While his 1959 opus, Time Out, is considered a landmark recording, it represents only the tip of the iceberg that is Brubeck’s massive and enduring body of recorded work.

Concord Music Group provides a sweeping look at that body of work in The Definitive Dave Brubeck on Fantasy, Concord Jazz and Telarc. The ambitious two-disc collection — the latest in CMG’s ongoing Definitive series — assembles some of Brubeck’s earliest session work from the 1940s as well as some of his more recent recordings from the past few decades. The Definitive Dave Brubeck is set for release on November 16, 2010, in celebration of the music icon’s 90th birthday on December 6.

The collection’s comprehensive liner notes — written by music journalist and historian Ashley Kahn and based on a recent interview with Russell Gloyd, Brubeck’s manager/producer/conductor of more than 30 years — carefully parse out each of the 26 tracks in the set and the relationship between the two distinct periods represented on each disc. Disc 1 chronicles the Fantasy years, from the very beginning of Fantasy Records in the 1940s to the end of 1953, when Brubeck still was learning, absorbing, experimenting and recording mostly standards and other jazz repertoire — already proving himself to be a top-tier musician and bandleader. Disc 2 follows the artist from the 1980s to the early years of the 21st century, performing many of his own compositions, still exploring and creating vibrant music.

“The link between these two discs is one of consistency,” says Gloyd, producer of The Definitive Dave Brubeck collection. “Most of the elements of Disc 2 — melodic ideas and musical innovations, the choice of songs and sidemen — can be traced back to Disc 1, especially with the early Trio recordings.”

Regardless of where one lands on the continuum of Brubeck’s career, the exploratory nature of his approach to music remains constant. “Whether it’s his earliest recordings or his more recent releases, Brubeck is consistently probing, curious and inventive,” says Nick Phillips, Concord Music Group’s Vice President of Jazz and Catalog A&R and director of Concord’s Definitive series. “He’s a rare artist who has never put up barriers between genres. Here you have someone who was studying classical music and classical composition in a conservatory setting, but ultimately decided to become a jazz artist. That, however, didn’t mean he’d put up a wall between jazz and classical, or jazz and Latin, or what have you.”

As one example, Russell Gloyd cites Brubeck’s Trio recording of “How High the Moon”:  “Note that Dave cut this right at the height of bop but took it in a completely different direction, recording counterpoint for the first time and winding up closing in the style of a Bach chorale.”  Another example, more than three decades later, is Brubeck’s recording of “Take Five” live in the Soviet Union, in which he quotes the theme from the first movement of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony in his piano improvisation.

The juxtaposition of the early and recent recordings within a single collection highlights what Kahn calls the “scripted quality” to the Dave Brubeck story, “as if some master novelist sketched out the narrative in advance. There’s hardly a wasted step or a creative dead-end in his career; early decisions and musical forays consistently predicted or prepared Brubeck for what followed . . . To recognize this aspect of Brubeck’s career is to grasp the idea that serves as the foundation for this collection: the first time the earliest echoes of his musical genius have been combined with his best recordings of recent years.”  Indeed, it makes for a most fitting celebration of the 90th anniversary of the legendary artist’s birth.

On Monday, December 6th, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will also celebrate Brubeck’s birthday with the premiere of Dave Brubeck: In His Own Sweet Way, a new documentary executive-produced by Clint Eastwood and narrated by TCM Essentials co-host Alec Baldwin. Directed by Bruce Ricker, the film features perceptive interviews with such well known luminaries as George Lucas, Sting, Wynton Marsalis and Bill Cosby and performances by Keith Emerson, Yo-Yo Ma and David Benoit.

For all of the insight provided by The Definitive Brubeck, the story is far from over.  Unimpeded by the approach of his 90th birthday in early December, Brubeck continues to follow the narrative. “He has always been, and continues to be, a restlessly creative artist,” says Gloyd.

TRACK LIST:

Disc 1
I Found a New Baby
The Way You Look Tonight
(Back Home Again In) Indiana
Laura
Singin’ in the Rain
That Old Black Magic
Sweet Georgia Brown
Perfidia
Avalon
How High the Moon
Look for the Silver Lining
This Can’t Be Love
My Romance
Lulu’s Back in Town
Over the Rainbow
How High the Moon
All the Things You Are

Disc 2

Koto Song
Black and Blue
St. Louis Blues
Take Five
(Variations On) Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
Here Comes McBride
Waltzing
Day After Day
Forty Days

Denver-Based Guitarist Grant Gordy To Release Debut Album May 11

Grant Gordy, the Denver-based guitar player whose lifelong study of music, from Bill Evans to The Beatles and beyond, has informed his own writing and arranging, will release his self-titled debut album on May 11.

“[He] belongs to the new elite family of American acoustic practitioners who are pushing the ever-expanding envelope of a musical frontier … Bluegrass, newgrass, jazz, classical and even ‘dawg’ are all audible influences in Grant’s musical vision,” says David “Dawg” Grisman, whose David Grisman Quintet Gordy subbed in and would ultimately join as guitarist. “[His] guitar stylings offer a rare blend of flat-picking virtuosity, jazz exploration and classical sensibility …”

“Pterodactyl,” “Grapes” and “Lila” are just three of the compositions on the new CD, which also includes Gordy’s “Blues to Dawg” that he invited Grisman to contribute his signature mandolin playing to. Each song in the collection exemplifies Gordy’s spirit of adventure and sense of self.

Gordy describes himself: “At heart, I'm really an improviser; that's what very first drew me to playing music — the idea that you can make things up as you go along — but I'm also very interested in composition. I like the idea of a group of musicians having as much room and freedom to explore and improvise as they want, but within a context of a compelling arrangement that can be exciting for, and draws in, the listener.”

Gordy’s touring behind the release include:

Friday, June 11, KRFC Radio-Fort Collins, “Live at Lunch” show
Saturday, June 12, Brewgrass Festival, South Pearl Street, Denver
Saturday, June 12, Little Church in the Pines, 536 Gold Run Road, Salina
Wednesday, June 16, Dazzle Jazz Club, 930 Lincoln St., Denver
Thursday, June 17, Bongo Billy’s Cafe, 300 W. Sackett Ave., Salida
Wednesday, June 23, Club Passim, 47 Palmer St., Cambridge, Mass.
Thursday, June 24, Caffe Vivaldi, 32 Jones St., New York City

Tracy Bonham & Company + Tony Trischka

Join multi instrumentalist Tracy Bonham for new music from her upcoming release Masts Of Manhattan as well as old favorites and covers with new twists. She has an amazing line up: Nicole Federici: viola, violin. Dan Cho (Regina Spektor): cello. Mike Duclos: bass. Konrad Meissner: drums (Matt Nathanson). Tracy weaves in and out of alternative rock, where she is most commonly known, to bright moments of Classical, Eastern European, and Gypsy music in just a few brushstrokes. Tracy and her band will be joined by special guests Tony Trischka on banjo. Come join Tracy and her friends every first Wednesday of each month for the next four months, and watch collaborations unfold.

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