Hilary Hahn with Trail of Dead ~ “To Russia My Homeland” (Live in Moscow, 2006)

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
Hilary Hahn ~ violin
“To Russia My Homeland” (written by Conrad Keely)
Live at unknown venue, Moscow, Russia; 4/22/06
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Apologies for the shaky camera, this was shot in a rock club in Russia by either a roadie or a band member, not sure)

This is something I decided to post for Hilary Hahn’s birthday, and since I wasn’t too sure if most people had ever seen this clip,  I thought now would be a good time. It’s something that continues to give me a very odd feeling for some reason. I’m not sure why since there are other classical violinists that play more than one kind of music all the time, but maybe it’s because I’m so used to the angelic image that Hilary Hahn puts out there whenever we see the classical performances that when I got a load of this, I was stunned. I knew that she’d played this piece on the album Worlds Apart and I even bought a copy of it (this was in 2005, so it was long before I ever became interested in downloading anything), but to see the way she moves here versus the way she moves in a regular fashion, you get the impression that she was possessed by something that combines Paganini with Jimi Hendrix (and it’s his birthday too, so, this is perfect for that as well).  Between all that and this rather dark rocker-chick look with the loose hair and black jeans (and electric violin), it’s a moment in Hilary’s career that continues to provide great bewilderment, fascination and merriment for me, among so many other things she does, so, in a way this is the status quo.

Happy Birthday, Hilary Hahn!

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

Hilary Hahn Performs Korngold at BYU ~ A Review

Hilary Hahn performing the Korngold Violin Concerto at De Jong Concert Hall at BYU on November 15th, 2012 (Photos courtesy of May Anderton Ryan)

The Utah Symphony and Hilary Hahn
Utah Symphony Orchestra
Thierry Fischer, conductor
Hilary Hahn, violin
de Jong Concert Hall at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
Thursday. November 15, 2012

Written by May Anderton Ryan

The arts have found a backdrop in the great American western mountains of Utah. The arts accept the challenge to thrive here in the desert, to capture natural beauty, industriousness, and to create a sense of community. Artists and musicians converge in the Salt Lake Valley to form the Utah Symphony.

I have never heard the Utah Symphony before Thursday night, and I haven’t heard a live, professional orchestra in at least three years. I was having withdrawals.

Last April, when BYU announced that the Utah Symphony would be performing at the de Jong Concert Hall, and when the school mentioned that Hilary Hahn would be a guest artist with the symphony, I knew that I had to go. I knew that I would.

I bought tickets on October 15, the day they went on sale, and my husband sat next to me in the sixth row. He could tell how excited I was to be there. We noticed the diverse crowd: Elderly people who have season tickets to the BYU concert series, college students who know members of the Utah Symphony and/or who Hilary Hahn is, families with little girls who play violin and look up to Hilary Hahn as a role model. Continue reading

Simple Minded Predators

Simple Minded Predators are (L to R) Rebekah Durham (fiddle, vocals), Miles Pittman (banjo, vocals), Bo DePena (guitar, vocals)

Simple Minded Predators are a group of players that are living in Brooklyn, though they are all originally from the South–Miles Pittman and Bo DePena are both singer/songwriters that met and jammed together and decided to add another when they met Rebekah Durham, a classically-trained violinist at a party, and as luck would have it, she also played really good fiddle music, and the group was born.

The group is still very much in its beginning stages, but please watch out for them and check out the music they do have available, it is really hot if you want to hear some great bluegrass and folk music. A clip from one of their gigs at Pete’s Candy Store that they recorded back in August (embedded on the bottom) is proof of this.
They are in the process of writing and recording their first CD.
The band had a few minutes to spare to speak with me via Skype Continue reading

Sybarite5

Sybarite5 are (L to R) Sami Merdinian (violin), Angela Pickett (viola), Louis Levitt (double bass), Sarah Whitney (violin) and Laura Metcalf (cello)

Chamber group Sybarite5 had a few minutes to talk to me about the Carnegie Hall debut they are about to have tonight at 7:30 PM (I believe tickets are still available) as well as those incredible arrangements of Radiohead songs they have been showcasing in concert. They also have a CD called Everything In Its Right Place that is available for download here on on the bottom link. Continue reading

Mohammed Fairouz

NY-based Arab-American composer Mohammed Fairouz had a few minutes to discuss his opera debut Sumedia’s Song (which you can purchase here on on the bottom link) and some very special New York premieres of his works, including New York Festival of Song’s commissioned premiere of A Prayer For The New Year on Dec. 4th at Merkin Hall, as well as some other recently performed pieces.

CM: Can you please talk about Sumedia’s Song? This is your first opera?

Mohammed: Sumeida’s Song is my first opera and I wrote most of it when I was fresh out of my teens. It’s based on a play from the 1950s by the great Arabic playwright Tawfiq al Hakim called Song of Death, which I adapted to create my opera. It struck me as an incredibly timely story since in the 2010’s, as I delivered Sumeida’s Song, a similar vibe was being emanated from Cairo and other corners of the Arab world that would eventually lead to the Arab Spring. Continue reading

Jenny Q. Chai ~ Reflections in Blue at LPR (A Review)

Reflections in Blue: Jenny Q. Chai at Le Poisson Rouge
Jenny Q. Chai, piano
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
Sunday, Nov. 4th, 2012

Written by Scottie Roche

On Sunday, November 4th, I had the immense pleasure of leaving behind the troubles inflicted on New York City and much of the East Coast by Hurricane Sandy to be transported to that other realm we call Music, by way of Jenny Q Chai’s show at Le Poisson Rouge. Understandably, things had been tense of late with a pivotal national election looming and the city devastated by a storm that had left the very area of the concert’s venue in total darkness for a week — Le Poisson Rouge was without power until the night before the concert.

That the performance happened at all is a testament to the resilience of New York City and the perseverance of an endearing performer who though she had difficulty reaching NYC from China and had spent the last few nights sleeping on the couches of friends (which she assured us were very comfortable.) “The show must go on,” the old adage maintains. I’m glad it did. Continue reading

A Facebook Post From a Friend About The Election

Written by Scott Parker

So it’s all well and truly over. And thank God too. It’s a gooooood morning around here folks, and I am just bursting at the seams to ponder the lessons learned in this election.

1. AMERICA IS CHANGING. The far-right view of the stereotypical Conservative is no longer playing with the majority of Americans. Minorities have greater power and influence. Women have greater power and influence. Gay people have greater power and influence. These are not debatable points–they are reality. To deny these very simple truths would be to live your life with your eyes closed–it might be an easy thing to do, but it’s also self-deceptive. If you are a hard-right Republican, you would do yourself some good to look at the tide of change that is engulfing this country and move your view to the center. You don’t have to, but if you don’t, as we’ve seen, you’ll pay a big price.

2. POWERFUL INTEREST CANNOT BUY DEMOCRACY. Karl Rove persuaded a bunch of millionaires that if he gave them a whole lot of money, he would deliver Barack Obama on a silver platter. That didn’t happen. The GOP kept the House, but let’s think about this objectively–all that money to keep things just as they were? Republicans–at least the ones with the ability to be objective–realize that they were lucky to hold onto what they held onto. Continue reading