The Illinois Symphony Orchestra will open its 20th Anniversary Season Saturday and Sunday in Springfield and Bloomington with the debut of its new Music Director, Alastair Willis. I had the privilege of speaking with Mr. Willis before his audition concerts, and on the day his new position was announced. I'll be pleased to welcome him for a wide-ranging conversation on the Tuesday edition of Live and Local.
Live and Local
The Champaign-Urbana Symphony has an opening for a new music director, and this season's Classics concerts conductors are all candidates. The first of those, Farkhad Khudyev, will lead the orchestra Saturday night, and he'll be my guest on the Friday edition of Live and Local. I'll also talk with the delightful Irish mezzo-soprano Naomi O'Connell, winner of the 2011 Concert Artists Guild Competition, who will sing in Urbana Sunday afternoon.
Savion Glover is a Tony Award-winning tap dancer, choreographer and producer. One of his mentors, the great Gregory Hines, once called him "possibly the best tap dancer who ever lived." Glover will bring his show "SoLe Sanctuary" to Springfield Sunday night, and he'll be my guest on the Thursday edition of "Live and Local." I'll also talk with one of the eight Canadian siblings who are the band Leahy. They'll perform with the Danville Symphony Saturday.
Rick Kubetz and Terry Bush trace their musical roots to the coffee houses of the 1960s when they were children. Today, they describe their music as "the sort of folk-rock jazz-pop smoothie that might be served in a country blues bar." Their songbook includes the humorous and the historic, "un-love love songs," and some hits no one else knows. Rick and Terry will play in Urbana on the 20th, and they'll join me live on the Wednesday edition of Live and Local.
Michael Luxner, music director of the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, first encountered Gustav Mahler's enigmatic 6th Symphony when he was a kid in New York. Nearly four decades later, he finally has the chance to conduct it, on the MDSO's concert Saturday night. Michael Luxner will join me for an hour's discussion of the Mahler Sixth, with lots of musical examples, on the Tuesday edition of Live and Local.
The Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company will continue its 2012 season with a production of the popular musical from 2005 called The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. It opens Thursday at Parkland College, and we'll have a live preview by members of the cast on the Monday edition of Live and Local. The daily program lets you know who's playing where and when throughout our listening area.
African-American composer George Walker won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for his work Lilacs for voice and orchestra. Now 90, Walker is in Urbana this week for a performance of his music by Sinfonia da Camera. I'll visit with Mr. Walker on the Friday edition of Live and Local. Also, local musician "Bruiser" Rummenie and poet Steve Davenport will join us for a live sampling of their newly released collaborative CD.
During this presidential election year, at least 44 theatres, colleges and high schools will produce a play called 44 Plays for 44 Presidents; among them the University of Illinois. We'll have a live preview on the Thursday edition of Live and Local. And I'll talk with Springfield-based singer-songwriter Ben Bedford, whom Rich Warren has called one of the "50 most significant folk singer-songwriters of the past 50 years."
Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani and American Butoh dancer Vanessa Skantze will give a concert of improvised sound and movement Wednesday night in downtown Champaign. They'll join me on the Wednesday edition of the program. And I'll talk with fiddler and pianist Jonathan Whitall of the traditional Irish band Chicago Reel, who will play in downtown Urbana Sunday night.
During today's edition, I'll play a selection of recordings by local performers, and a few visitors who have played in our area. Are YOU a local acoustic musician, or one who occasionally plays in our area? We'd love to have your recordings to play during these weekly features. Please mail CDs here: Kevin Kelly, Illinois Public Media, 300 N. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801. Thanks, and enjoy the show!