Lisa Germano

lisagermanotop2

Lisa Germano (wow, more than a singer-songwriter, she plays a variety of instruments as you well may know) is releasing a new album titled No Elephants in February of next year, and having heard it, I am blown away by her music yet again. Taking the path to a very self-made musical place has really taken her seemingly so far apart from the days when she was mostly playing sideman to John Mellencamp and appearing with artists like Billy Joel, Simple Minds, etc. Her efforts as a musician showed a person of prowess, but her music revealed much more complex pictures and a vulnerability that couldn’t always be fully expressed by a full rock band.
She had a few minutes to speak with me about some of this.

CM: I had a chance to hear the new CD No Elephants–For me, It is very hard to describe your music, even ever since your first album! I really enjoy it, and this new one is already a classic (My favorite tracks so far are “A Feast” and “Strange Bird”). It’s interesting for its brevity at 35 mins. and it leaves one wanting more. The thing that catches me a good deal of the time is your use of non-musical things and making them musical, and here the most obvious thing is the cell-phone interference static noise on a few of the songs. Can you talk about this and where you came up with this idea?

Lisa: On my new record No Elphants, I wanted to convey my confusion and frustration relating to people on cell phones, our abuse of communication and how this affects our relationship to the earth and its beings. So many people on their cells or computers. Not communicating is sad to me, so Jamie Candiloro and I found all sorts of sounds relating to this and added them into many parts of the record sometimes to me funny in a tragic sort of way. The communication with the animal sounds, cell and computer sounds dancing together is the point here..
Jamie is awesome–always finds what I’m hearing. Continue reading

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!

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

Sarah Chang

Photo courtesy of Andrzej Pilarczyk

The one and only Sarah Chang! (I feel that you can only say this with an exclamation point) had time to talk to me. Is my life changing??

The violinist was getting ready to do a concert with the LA Phil, and a very generous member of the orchestra let Sarah borrow her laptop to do this interview on Skype, so, naturally I’m inclined to be more nervous than she is, considering she’s the one about to do a big show, but I was relatively cool throughout.

CM: Before you called in, I was just watching the clip of you at 10 years old playing Paganini’s Concerto #1!

Sarah: Oh, God!

CM: [laughs] Why, you don’t think it was good? It looked great to me! Continue reading

Drop it like it’s hot, Mr. Perlman via If It Ain’t Baroque

Chris McGovern:

Jenn German posts the Ithzak Perlman appearance on Colbert! “Drop it like it’s hot!”

Originally posted on If it ain't Baroque...:

You simply cannot begin to imagine the extent of my supreme joy when Stephen Colbert announced that his guest tonight was Itzhak mothereffin’ Perlman. Or maybe you can – everyone loves Itzhak mothereffin’ Perlman!

EDIT: I very much apologize for my inability to get the embed code to work, but I am SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED about these videos that I’m just going to post the links. Okay? Again, I’m really sorry, but it’s Itzhak mothereffin’ Perlman, people!

You should know that when Colbert said “Drop it like it’s hot” I laughed and clapped a little.

View original

Jennifer Koh ~ On Playing Violin and Einstein

Photo courtesy of Juergen Frank

Violinist Jennifer Koh had some time to talk with me about a few things: her multi-tiered project Bach & Beyond, which is both a compelling series of concerts as well as her upcoming CD. She’s also been performing in this interesting stage production you may have heard something about: Philip Glass’s opera Einstein On The Beach at BAM, where she got to not only play the violin part but also portray Einstein himself. Number one, how often do we see a concert violinist perform in any kind of opera onstage, and how often is it a female violinist portraying a male character?

In any event, look for some interesting projects from Jennifer, including the CD, some West Coast performances of Einstein, and more performances of the Bach & Beyond concerts. Continue reading

Todd Reynolds

Photo courtesy of Kevin Kennefick–KJKPhoto

Well, I am already in great pain from having to pinch myself so much this past week–We have Todd Reynolds on here today!
Yes, that guy that we know from having been a founding member of ETHEL, having been involved with both Steve Reich and Musicians and Bang On a Can, and has a side project with 2 of the BOAC All-Stars called Typical Music, did a duet onstage with Zoe Keating, and has a superb debut album titled Outerborough. That Todd Reynolds!

Todd had a few minutes to speak with me about his appearance at the Rite of Summer Festival on Governors Island on Monday, September 3rd at 1 PM and 3 PM with guests Jonny Rodgers, Jordan Tice and Matthias Kunzli. He had a little extra time for other things too! Continue reading

Leila Josefowicz

Leila Josefowicz, a marvelous virtuoso of the violin who, much like Hilary Hahn, is a Curtis Institute graduate and studied with Jascha Brodsky, took a few moments from her busy life as both a violin virtuoso and a mother (now for the 2nd time) to talk about the upcoming release of Esa-Pekka Salonen‘s Violin Concerto that is slated for September. Josefowicz has proven she is a great interpreter of the classics, and lately has become the champion of new works by composers such as John Adams, Thomas Ades and Oliver Knussen to mention a few.

Leila will be performing the Salonen Concerto in concert several times this coming season.

CM: First of all, congrats on the arrival of your second child! Very happy for you! Has having children proven relatively easy to work your career around?

Leila: Thanks on the congrats!! Our little guy, Rex Christopher Borton is now 9 weeks and a very hearty boy. We are very happy. It is always going to be my biggest challenge to balance my two passions, violin and family life. Family life makes me play violin all the better so they come first. But to schedule things intelligently is better for all human beings, not just ones with a family :-) Continue reading

Hilary Hahn & Hauschka ~ Why The Audience Is Polarized

Hilary Hahn and Hauschka at their first live appearance in tandem with the release of their collaborative album Silfra at the Yellow Lounge in Berlin, Germany, May 10th, 2012 (Photo courtesy of Stefan Hoederath)

When artists create the same kind of music consistently, even if it has been identified with the artist or group in some kind of iconic way, there is a natural tendency to want to break from that routine and take a road less-traveled for a fresh perspective. After all, musicians are still human and the tendency to clear their heads is just something that’s practically instinctive. Grammy award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn pretty much did this with the recently-released album Silfra–As a collaboration with indie composer-pianist Hauschka (aka Volker Bertelmann). The album marks not necessarily a big change of pace for him, but a very decidedly different direction for Hahn, and some critics and fans are somewhat divided on both the CD and the live improvisational work they have done to promote it. Continue reading