Donal Fox ~ On Jamming with Hilary Hahn at Skaneateles

Donal FOX(Lou Jones)

Pianist-composer-improviser Donal Fox is performing this year at the 34th annual Skaneateles Festival.
Known for some incredible work in both jazz and new music, Donal has also been very active as a collaborator and experimentalist in merging styles. Besides his solo appearance at the upcoming festival on Thursday, August 15th at 8 PM, he’ll be playing with none other than a longtime favorite of The Glass and a veteran of this festival, Hilary Hahn, on Saturday the 17th at 7:30 PM at a special evening devoted to a collaboration never before seen by the public, and something that promises to be a real treat for both fans of jazz and classical. Hilary will also be appearing on Friday the 16th playing a solo recital at 8 PM.

Donal had a few minutes to talk about the show. Continue reading

Preview of Laila Biali at Subculture

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“It is the ultimate task given to the musician, whether as singer or instrumentalist, to create a unique signature or fingerprint that is instantly recognisable as their own. What is surprising and delightful in Laila Biali is that both as vocalist and pianist she accomplishes this with equal aplomb. She is an exciting and unique talent, and I admire her greatly.” – Sting.

Award-winning Canadian Jazz pianist and vocalist Laila Biali has been garnering not only national attention but world-wide recognition for her music, which has been performed at prestigious venues spanning four continents including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Tokyo’s Cotton Club, Peru’s El Festival Internacional de Lima, and Carnegie Hall in New York City. She has toured with Grammy award-winners Chris Botti, Paula Cole and Suzanne Vega and recorded with and supported pop icon Sting.

Laila is performing two more shows of her residency at NYC’s Subculture on Monday, July 22nd and Monday, July 29th at 7 PM. Click here or on the bottom for info/tickets.

Laila takes the best of pop, rock, classical and soul, informs it with her knowledge of Jazz and weaves it all into her musical arrangements. Her latest studio recording Tracing Light received a JUNO nomination for “2011 Best Vocal Jazz Album of the Year” and her most recent release Live in Concert, recorded live in February 2012 in front of a gracious audience at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, Canada, captures the spirit of live performance so essential to Jazz. Live in Concert was added in rotation at 73 radio stations in North America.

Laila Biali – Show Me The Place (Leonard Cohen)

Critics have called Laila a “keyboard virtuoso” (Toronto Star) with “a voice that makes the listener shudder” (Montreal Gazette), celebrating her “bold musical ventures, youthful funkiness, ingenuity, verve and depth” (Ottawa Citizen) and her “ability to meld traditional jazz with contemporary pop so effortlessly that neither style seems out of place on the same record” (Spinner Magazine). Her accolades include “SOCAN Composer of the Year” and “Keyboardist of the Year” at Canada’s National Jazz Awards.

As an educator, Laila has been on faculty at Stanford University’s renowned summer jazz workshop. She is also a member of the all female, New York based neo-Classical quartet Rose & The Nightingale whose members have toured with Grammy award-winner Esperanza Spalding. She currently splits her time between Toronto and New York City.

Click here for tickets for Laila’s July 22nd show
Click here for tickets for Laila’s July 29th show

Laila Biali.com

Virtuosity matters: Evgeny Kissin in between the bar line

Sketch (on iPad) by Roman Rabinovich (pianist, visual artist)

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Written by Ilona Oltuski

Originally published on GetClassical.org

“Pure obsession!” commented a stage manager at the Berlin Philharmonic, when he almost had to escort Kissin off the stage, so it could be prepared for the concert later that night. “You would think he practiced enough by now.”  Such perplexed responses to his intensity when working at the piano are nothing new to Kissin; as a young boy coming home from school and rushing to the piano with his coat still on he already displayed the same kind of compelling drive: “I made it clear to my Mom even then that I was not to be held back,” remembers ‘Zhenya’, as those close to him call the 41-years-old Kissin.

It might well be that this passionate love for the piano, in combination with his indomitable spirit – have both contributed to making Kissin into the person he is today: an exceptional artist and virtuoso pianist who, undeterred by any potential for negative fall-out, neither shies away from calling his own shots, nor from speaking his mind on a range of issues some would consider not fit for a pianist to comment on. Continue reading

Cory Smythe ~ On the Recent Tour with Hilary Hahn and Related Things

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ICE‘s Cory Smythe, the lucky (He earned it because he is really THAT good; let’s just say fortunate) gentleman that just finished touring as a pianist with Hilary Hahn in Europe and the US (and a gig in Turkey as well), is here to discuss that experience with The Glass!

Cory is gearing up to preview a new work of his this Saturday at NY’s Dimenna Center, and he is planning to release a follow-up recording to 2011’s pluripotent this coming fall, which oddly enough, is when we can expect to finally see the release of Hilary Hahn’s In 27 Pieces encores CD, which Cory also happens to be featured on. Look out for these and more performances with ICE this season. But for now, we needed to ask him about working with HH. 🙂 Continue reading

Anthony de Mare ~ On Liasons II: Re-imagining Sondheim

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On Saturday, March 9 (7 pm), as part of Symphony Space’s The Music of Now Series, pianist Anthony de Mare returns to the Peter Jay Sharp Theatre for the second installment of Liaisons: Reimagining Sondheim from the Piano. Marrying his reputation as a champion of contemporary classical music with his deep respect for legendary musical theater composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, de Mare is building a unique piano repertory by commissioning 36 leading contemporary composers from the classical, jazz, theater, and film worlds to write short solo piano pieces inspired by Sondheim’s music.

Anthony de Mare’s sold-out Symphony Space concert last April featured seventeen of the commissioned works, including pieces by Steve Reich, William Bolcom, Fred Hersch, and Marc-Anthony Turnage. On March 9, de Mare will premiere fifteen new compositions by Eve Beglarian, Jason Robert Brown, Mary Ellen Childs, Michael Daugherty, Peter Golub, Annie Gosfield, Phil Kline, Nico Muhly, John Musto, Thomas Newman, Eric Rockwell, Frederic Rzewski, Rodney Sharman, Bernadette Speach, and Nils Vigeland. The works draw on famous and lesser-known Sondheim songs from Sunday in the Park with George, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music, Follies, Company, and other shows.

For tickets/info, click here or on the link on the bottom.

Anthony de Mare had a few minutes to speak about the beginnings of the project and the workings of the production. Continue reading

Martin Bresnick ~ On the NY Premiere of “Ishi’s Song” at Lisa Moore’s Upcoming Sunday Gig, and Related Things

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The great composer Martin Bresnick had a few minutes to speak with me about his piece “Ishi’s Song”, which is about to have its NY premiere by his wife, the great pianist Lisa Moore this Sunday afternoon at 3 PM at The Church of the Transfiguration. Lisa will also be performing works by Haydn, Schumann, Scriabin, Janacek and Jerome Kitzke. For info on tickets and directions, see bottom of the page.

CM: Can you please talk about the piece “Ishi’s Song”?

Martin: “Ishi’s Song” was commissioned by Emanuele Arciuli, the great Italian pianist. He was the start of it, and the money for it came from the people at the Aeroporti di Puglia (The Airports of the Italian Province of Puglia) because Emanuele was interested in Native American visual arts and culture. Interestingly enough, this Italian guy loves the art work of Native Americans, and he asked a number of folks to make piano pieces on the basis of art works or other subject matter from Native American traditions. One of the most famous stories about Native Americans is the story of Ishi, who was an Indian from Northern California, who may have been one of the last Native Americans to live completely independently from white people. Unfortunately his tribe, the Yana-Yahi Indians were practically all killed and rooted out of their homes… Continue reading

Jeff Myers

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Composer Jeff Myers, whose name you probably have seen because violinist Hilary Hahn had this thing called the In 27 Pieces project where she had new pieces commissioned from 26 composers. When it was apparent that there was a 27th that was yet to be announced, she then launched a contest where up and coming composers were invited to submit a piece for Hilary to be selected as the 27th encore–Jeff was the selected winner with a work titled “The Angry Birds of Kauai”, and sadly, I have not yet heard it, but Alain Matalon, who recently attended Hilary’s concert in Turkey, has heard it (Published in Seen and Heard International, 1/7/13):

“Jeff Myers’ ‘The Angry Birds of Kauai’ (no relation to the popular computer game), the winner among the more than 400 works that were submitted for the project, is built upon a wide range of influences from Filipino kulintang music to overtone music. Mostly dodecaphonic in style, this high strung music gives equal weight to both instruments where the violin mimics the sound of exotic birds while the piano provides the sound of nature in the background.”

Continue reading

Jenny Lin at LPR ~ A Review

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Shatanjennylin1

Jenny Lin
Jenny Lin, piano
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Written by Jeremy Shatan

In the Western Classical tradition, virtuosity is a given, at least if you want to have a hope of revealing the music behind all those little black dots. The is mainly due to the specific techniques used to play the instruments employed, and to the tendency of many composers to seek the limits of those techniques.
That said, virtuosity for its own sake is not something that interests me. I prefer to listen to what should be a communication from another soul than to think about technique when at a performance or listening to a recording. I recognize that I may be in a minority as the popularity of virtuoso musicians playing show-stopping music seems to be holding steady.

Jenny Lin proved herself to be a virtuoso beyond a doubt when she performed arrangements of show tunes at Le Poisson Rouge last Tuesday night. Her technique was flawless, making use of every aspect of the piano’s dynamic and tonal range. At times my mind wandered into thinking about the neuro-muscular system, and the phenomenal control she had over her fingers and forearms. It was truly dazzling playing and it seemed to engage the audience completely.

While Lin’s technique was straight out of the European tradition, her repertoire for the concert, drawn from her new album Get Happy, was strictly American. To put the audience in a lighthearted mood, a video (created by her husband–well done, sir) was played before she came on stage. It was a visual compendium of interpretations of many of the songs in her set, featuring Sinatra, Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Dean Martin, Gene Kelly, and, more often than you might expect, The Muppets. It was sort of a miniature That’s Entertainment, with snippets of several performances for each song included. The point of the video, as I saw it, was not only to help us “get happy,” but also to make it clear that Lin was taking her place in the long line of artists who had performed these songs, with no one approach being precisely definitive. Continue reading

Jenny Lin

Pianist Jenny Lin had a few minutes to discuss her new CD Get Happy, an album of theatrical show tunes arranged very superbly for solo piano by some of the greatest soloists of piano today such as Christopher O’Riley, Marc-André Hamelin, Greg Anderson and the late Alexis Weissenberg just to name a few (EDITOR’S NOTE: Jenny played the pieces just as superbly).

Jenny also has a couple of shows coming up in NYC on Tuesday, Nov. 27th at Le Poisson Rouge at 7:30 PM (Doors open 6:30; This one being the CD release party for Get Happy) and Thursday the 29th at Greenwich House Music at 8 PM; a show titled unCAGEd: FOR MERCE (A duet show with Lois Svard)

CM: I really enjoy listening to the new CD Get Happy! I’m a fan of arrangements transcribed for piano (solo, piano-duo, 2-piano, etc), and the people that worked up these arrangements are people I really like as well. Are the pieces mostly arranged for you and this project?

Jenny: The Greg Anderson piece, the Hamelin–those were written for me. The “Eliza in Ascot” by Stefan Malzew–that was also written for the project. Uri Caine also wrote one of “Honeysuckle Rose” that didn’t make it onto the CD, and that’s a bonus download on iTunes. The other arrangements all existed already. Continue reading