In addition to my role at this radio station, I’m privileged to conduct a local, eclectic chamber orchestra called The Prairie Ensemble. The winds, brass and percussion of the Ensemble will give a concert next Sunday that will also feature a new local choir called Prairie Voices. On the Monday edition of the show, I’ll preview some of the music and talk with Prairie Voices director Laurie Matheson.
Live and Local
Composer Peter Michalove earned his degrees in music in the 1970s, but left music shortly after for other pursuits. Now retired, he resumed composing several years ago and will present a recital of his works in Champaign Friday night. We’ll meet Peter and hear some live samples on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.” And I’ll talk with Donald Schleicher, conductor of the University of Illinois Symphony Orchestra, who will play Friday night in Urbana.
Tony DeMarco has been performing and teaching Irish fiddle music for more than thirty years, and is now one of the leading exponents of the New York slash Sligo fiddle style. Siobhán Butler is an accomplished percussive dancer who has performed internationally with the likes of Celtic Crossroads and Cherish the Ladies. They’ll give a house concert in Urbana Tuesday night, and will join me live on the Tuesday edition of Live and Local.
The dance program at the University of Illinois will present its annual February Dance concerts Thursday through Saturday, with works by both faculty members and graduate students, with some set to live music. I’ll talk with two of the choreographers on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” And we’ll hear about the 38th Annual Central Illinois Jazz Festival, happening this weekend in Decatur.
This week I’ve been presenting highlights from previous editions of “Live and Local,” with live performances in our studio by musicians from and visiting Champaign-Urbana. On the Friday edition of the show, we’ll hear a variety of musical styles from faculty members of Urbana’s Community Center for the Arts; and former Pittsburgh Symphony concertmaster Andres Cardenes will join pianist Ian Hobson and horn player Bernhard Scully for music by Brahms.
On the Wednesday edition of the show, we’ll hear live performance highlights representing each of the last three years. The Urbana-based trio Mean Lids will join us with their special brand of music for contra dancing; the local Arcadia Chamber Players will play music by Bohuslav Martinu; and the duo from Atlanta, Georgia, called Montana Skies will offer a sort of classical fusion, for guitar and electric cello.
Champaign-Urbana plays host to a wealth of musicians of all stripes, and this week we’re presenting encore broadcasts of live performances from our show by musicians both from and visiting these twin cities. On the Tuesday edition, we’ll hear African music presented by the Robert E. Brown Center for World Music, as well as singer-songwriter Violet Vonder Haar and her colleagues from Columbia, Missouri.
Illinois fiddler Dennis Stroughmatt has made himself a specialist in French Creole and Cajun language, culture and music. He has just released a new CD exploring the music of Midwestern French America, and is preparing to perform at the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival between June 21st and July 1st. We’ll talk with him on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” And we’ll preview the “Young at Heartland” Senior Acting Program Summer Showcase.
When you read Kent Conrad’s short bio, you may not learn that he has practiced law and translated Chinese for the Air Force. But his abiding love is music, especially musical theater, and he’s involved in two productions for Summer Studio Theatre at the University of Illinois. We’ll preview the show Gone Missing and Kent’s solo cabaret on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.”
Stringtown Lane is a small historic road in Piatt County. It’s also the name of a trio of Monticello musicians who play an eclectic mix of country, folk, pop, Latin and German music—and anything else they like. They’re doing a show at Monticello’s Brown Bag Deli Friday night, and they’ll play for us live on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.”