When Mary Gauthier first began to make a name for herself as a musician in the late '90s, she was heralded as one of the most poignant and powerful songwriters of her generation — an amazing accomplishment for someone who wrote her first song at 35. Originally from New Orleans and currently based in Nashville, Gauthier has battled back from hard knocks and bad habits, bouncing between rehab centers and homeless shelters throughout her teens.
Marking their 12th anniversary season the Brightmusic Society of Oklahoma presented their fifth series of concerts on Monday, April 20th at All Soul’s Episcopal Church and Tuesday, April 21st at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Oklahoma City. Featuring pianist Stephen Beus and three quartets for piano and strings, the program opens with Mozart’s Quartet for Piano and Strings No. 2 in E-flat Major, K493, the work among the first written in the genre. The Piano Quartet in a minor, Op 67 of Joaquin Turina, completed in 1931, is suffused with the characteristic grace of Spanish folk music.
In his new memoir, Words Without Music, Philip Glass tells the story of how he slugged a man in the jaw in Amsterdam. At a concert, a quarrelsome audience member climbed onto the stage and began banging on the composer's keyboard. That was in 1969, when Glass' repetitious, slowly evolving music fell on many ears like a needle stuck in the groove of a record.
The Juilliard String Quartet was established in 1946 as an all-purpose quartet that would embrace music from every era. Its founders' intent was to "play new works as if they were established masterpieces and established masterpieces as if they were new."
Although they share the same last name, it's hard to imagine a less likely pairing than Luz Elena Mendoza and Sergio Mendoza.
While both have roots in Mexico, Luz Elena makes her home in the Pacific Northwest and has fronted a band called Y La Bamba. That group sets Luz Elena's deep, evocative voice against backing vocals so rich, I once described Y La Bamba's other singing members as bearded choirboys. There were direct Mexican influences in the music, but not many.
For the last two years, pianist Ethan Iverson has been at the center of what looks, in hindsight, like a serious creative whirlwind. He re-conceptualized Stravinsky's ballet The Rite Of Spring in its entirety (!) for his trio The Bad Plus, and then, for good measure, recorded an album of all-original Bad Plus music (Inevitable Western).
World-music DJ Betto Arcos is back — this time, with music he's found all over the African continent. The host of Global Village on KPFK in Los Angeles recently joined NPR's Arun Rath to discuss new albums from four different corners of Africa, including soulful songs from a prison in Malawi, dance music from Congo and a collaboration between a Malian singer and a Cuban pianist. Hear their conversation at the audio link, and check out the music below.
The Minnesota Orchestra plays Havana this weekend. It's the first professional U.S. orchestra to perform in Cuba since the United States and the island nation began the process of normalization last December. For the musicians, this trip is about healing — both diplomatically and for themselves.
Fifty years ago, the Ramsey Lewis Trio sat in a Washington, D.C. coffee shop, musing over what it could add to its set that evening. It was booked for a run at Bohemian Caverns — the group had issued a live album made at the nightclub, and it was gearing up to record a follow-up live album. Over walked a waitress, who inquired about the band's predicament.