There comes a time in the life of most string quartets when, for better or worse, Beethoven must be confronted. For the acclaimed Belcea Quartet (named after its first violinist Corina Belcea), that time is now. The London-based group, founded at the Royal College of Music in 1994, is thoroughly steeped in Beethoven's 16 string quartets — pieces written throughout the early, middle and late stages of his career in an epic sweep of compositional mastery and imagination.
Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 8:29 am
American cellist Alisa Weilerstein has been attracting intense heat over the last few years. Not only did she win a 2011 MacArthur "genius" grant, but in 2009 she gave a blistering performance of Kodaly at the White House for President and Mrs.
Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 1:12 pm
Ben Sollee is not only an unconventional cellist, but also an unconventional human being. Recently, he took his cello, walked up the long steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the mall in D.C. (along with the Mason Jar Music film crew) and began to perform. It's not legal to do that, but like I said, Ben Sollee — the guy who bikes his cello across the country — is not a follower. The following video captures the moments in the shadow of Lincoln amid a throng of tourists.
The three seasons of Treme have all found their way to Mardi Gras; appropriately, the day is always depicted with all the spectacle, vice and musical mayhem you might expect. Josh Jackson of WBGO returns to break down the many musical scenes in this year's go-round.
Patrick Jarenwattananon: So many flashes of live music this episode. Let's start at the beginning. Did you recognize the band where Lieut. Colson and his fellow officer are talking, and there are (clothed) women on poles in the French Quarter?
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 7:32 am
Saxophonist Gregory Tardy came of musical age in New Orleans, then moved to New York after being picked up by drummer Elvin Jones' band. He found his way into a wide variety of groups — including a long tenure with Andrew Hill during the pianist's prolific final years — and made several albums as a bandleader. Still an international-caliber musician, Tardy has been less visible in the big city since he moved to Knoxville, Tenn., for a teaching position, but he returns here with his own concept and own band.
Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 11:36 am
Few classical musicians these days are serious improvisers — aside from organists and early-music practitioners. But pianist Gabriela Montero is absolutely fearless when it comes to creating a new piece, right out of the air, right on the spot. At her concerts she takes requests from audience members. They can suggest a song for her to improvise on, or simply a topic of interest.
When catastrophe strikes, when lives and livelihoods are lost, we hold tight to family, friends and our deepest beliefs for consolation. We also sometimes turn to music. With its inexpressible power, music can help channel memories, soothe the loss and salve the pain. And it can uplift, reminding us of our resiliency.