Live and Local
Saturday night, the Springfield Classical Guitar Society will present a recital by John McClellan, one half of the Hanser-McClellan Guitar Duo. He plays classically, of course, but has also collaborated with country singer Vince Gill and is an authority on finger-pickin’ guitarist Chet Atkins. I’ll talk with John McClellan on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also have a live preview of The Clean House, the current production at the Station Theatre in Urbana.
Charlie King calls himself a musical storyteller and political satirist and in 2014 celebrates 50 years as a performer and 40 as a songwriter. He normally travels with his musical and life partner Karen Brandow but is making a solo tour that includes Urbana on Sunday. I’ll talk with Karen on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also hear about Saturday’s concert in Decatur featuring Giuseppe Verdi’s Four Sacred Pieces.
We bill the show as “your connection to local performances.” But on the Tuesday edition of the show, I’d like to draw your attention to the latest recording by American pianist Simone Dinnerstein, on which she plays all of Bach’s Two- and Three-Part Inventions. Much more than a Bach specialist, she has a wide repertoire and has made some interesting collaborations. Join me to explore this and more with the artist herself.
In December 1968, an obscure California scientist gave a ninety-minute demonstration of much that would come to define modern computing: videoconferencing, hyperlinks, digital text editing and something called a “mouse.” Composers Mikel Rouse and Ben Neill and their collaborators have made a hybrid theater piece called The Demo, which they’ll present in Urbana Friday night. I’ll talk with Neill and director Bob McGrath on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.”
The Piper’s Hut Concert Series, which brings primarily traditional, acoustic Celtic music to the Champaign-Urbana area, will open its 2014 offerings with a concert by singer and flutist Nuala Kennedy. Growing up in a musical area of Ireland with historical links to Scotland, she developed a passion for the traditional music and languages of both countries. She’ll play in Urbana Monday night and play for us live on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.”
It’s not every jazz pianist—or every musician, for that matter—who can say he has multiple degrees in math, physics and technology. But Vijay Iyer is more than an extraordinary pianist. He’s also a composer, record producer and writer on topics musical and scientific, a MacArthur Fellow and, as of this year, an endowed professor at Harvard. Vijay Iyer has brought his trio to Urbana for three performances this week, and he’ll join us live on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.”
Percussionist Joseph Gramley has performed with major ensembles and artists in both classical and popular music. He’s also a member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, which plays music from around the world. Gramley will play a concerto by Chinese composer Chen Yi with the Illinois Symphony this weekend, and he’ll be my guest on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also hear about Friday night’s concert in Champaign by The Prairie Ensemble.
The University of Illinois band program has a rich history and remains the largest college band program in the country. American music figures enormously in the band literature, and on Thursday evening the UI Wind Symphony will play a concert called “American Icons.” I’ll welcome the conductors of the concert to the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also hear a preview of the annual “All Out A Cappella” show at Unity High School in Tolono.
The Haifa Symphony Orchestra of Israel is making its first tour of the United States, including a stop in Urbana on Saturday. Their soloist will be the young pianist Roman Rabinovich, who happens also to be a gifted painter. We’ll talk about music and art on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.” We'll also hear a live preview of Wednesday's recital in Urbana by University of Illinois faculty violist Rudolf Haken.
I first heard of the wonderful South African a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo the same way most Americans did, through Paul Simon’s Graceland album. Shortly after that record, they won the first of four Grammy awards, and their latest CD, Always With Us, was released just last month. They’re currently touring the United States and will sing in Charleston on Wednesday. I’ll talk with one of their founding members on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.”
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