Tag Archives: western classical music

Artist Profiles: Cesar Peredo

Cesar Peredo
Peruvian flutist and composer Cesar Peredo studied flute at the National Conservatory of Lima. Peredo continued his studies at the Hochschule fur Musik in Detmold, Germany, under the tutelage of Michael Achilles, who was a student of Hans Peter Schmitz (principal soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra). He later studied privately in Los Angeles, California, with Arthur Hobermann, one of the most popular flutists in the Hollywood area.

At the same time he was studying in Europe, he attended master classes and courses with renowned soloists such as Paul Meisen, Hans Peter Schmitz, Maxence Larrieu, Andreas Blau, William Bennett,and others.

After returning to Peru, he studied composition with Celso Garrido Lecca and Enrique Iturriaga. In 2001, he won an honorable mention in a composition contest organized by the American Flute Association.

He has performed and/or recorded popular music with renowned Peruvian and international artists such as Placido Domingo, Zamphir, Joan Manuel Serrat, Juan Diego Florez, Pedro Aznar, Fito Paez, Tania Libertad, Gian Marco, Alex Acuña, Eva Ayll?n, Cecilia Barraza, Pepe Vasquez, Dave Valentin, Nestor Torres, Orlando “Maraca” Valle and others.

He participated on the Jolgorio CD of Peru Negro, which was nominated for a Grammy award in 2004 and 2005.

As a classical music soloist, he has performed with all Peruvian orchestras, interpreting concerts for flute and orchestra, some of which had never been performed before in Peru.

As a jazz and world music flutist he has recorded with the most important Peruvian artists.

For 10 years, he was principal soloist with the Lima Philharmonic Orchestra.

Currently, he is principal soloist with the Prolirica Symphony Orchestra (Peru) and conductor of the group “Los de adentro” (jazz & world music with Peruvian roots).

Discography:

Despertando (Adagio, 1999)
Pensamento (Adagio, 2000)
Cosas de Negros (Adagio, 2004)
A Felicidade en Vivo (Adagio, 2007)

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Artist Profiles: Claude Chalhoub

Claude Chalhoub – Photo by Jorg Brodstedt

Born in 1974 in Lebanon into a family of musicians, Claude Chalhoub was introduced to the violin by his father who played the rebec. At the age of eight his brother gave him his first violin, and he started to play at home with the family, mostly improvising Arab music. He soon entered the conservatory, but as the war took hold of Lebanon, the conservatory was closed and Claude was forced to continue his studies on his own, discovering most of the technique of the violin by himself. A teacher later told him that he didn’t want to change that technique but refine it, because music is about the sounds and the colors of these sounds, and not about theoretical discussions about harmonies and techniques.

Obviously his self styled technique was good enough to meet high academic standards, because at the age of 18 he was offered the prestigious Queen Elizabeth scholarship which allowed him to continue his studies at the Royal College of Music in London. He studied with professor Grigory Zhisling and Rodney Friend and was introduced to a large repertoire of classical music, not only during his studying hours, but mainly by listening to all the symphonic orchestras he could watch.

Classical music was not the only repertoire he absorbed. In London he was exposed to many different culture. Claude listened to Indian music, African music, and Chinese music. He searched for his own sound. In his 4th year of studies this search led to the first recording session of his own music, Red Desert, combining the sounds of an Indian tabla with those of Arabic improvisation and a string octet.

For his final recital at the conservatory he chose a composition of his own, “Oriental Images”, which turned out to be a huge success. In 1997 he received an award for excellence. His public debut on the stage of St. John?s in London?s Smith Square led to a series of successful European concerts.

In 1999 Claude was invited to Weimar to participate in the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim. The aim of this West Eastern Divan was to give young musicians from Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, the Middle East and Germany the opportunity to study and play music together. Barenboim selected Claude to be the musical director of the orchestra. During one of the chamber concerts, Claude attracted so much attention for his improvisational music that he was signed to record his first album. In the summer of 2000 he started to work with producer and guitarist Michael Brook in the Sound Factory in Los Angeles. At he same time he was invited to participate in Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road project in Tanglewood (USA). The self-titled album, Claude Chalhoub features Pakistani singer Forroukh Fateh Ali Khan, the brother of the legendary Nusrat. It was released in the spring of 2001 in the USA and Germany, England, France, Italy and other territories followed in 2002/2003.

In 2003 Claude also started touring with his own quartet and plays concerts in several German cities, France and Italy . The Traumzeitfestival in Duisburg, Germany commissioned him to write music for a group specially gathered for this festival. The premiere in Duisburg featuring the Indigo string octett, Trilok Gurtu on tabla , Gilad Atzmon on clarinet and saxophone plus Claude?s band was received with standing ovations.

For his performance at the prestigious WOMAD Festival in Rivermead, UK, Claude invited another outstanding musician to join his band: Indian flute virtuoso Ronu Majumdar.

Claude has composed soundtrack for several films: ?Hollywood Buddah?, ?Persona non grata? (Oliver Stone’s documentary on the Middle East conflict.) He also continues to teach at the conservatory in Beirut.

Discography:

Claude Chalhoub (Teldec Classics, 2001)
Diwan (Herzog Records, 2008)

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Significant Chamber Strings and Pipa Interplay

Lin Ma & Zhen Chen – On & Between (Navona Records, 2018)

On & Between is a remarkable encounter between western classical music and Chinese musical traditions. It is elegant and melodic music, combing piano and western chamber music instruments with pipa (an ancient Chinese lute) and Chinese folk music elements, plus one forgettable jazz piece.

The album is a reflection of the emotions experienced by an immigrant in a new country.

On & Between highlights the work of composer and pianist Zhen Chen and the exquisite, masterful performances of pipa player Lin Ma.

The other musicians who appear on the album include Cho-Liang Lin on violin; Elmira Darvarova on violin; David Geber on cello; Liang Wang on oboe; Howard Wall on French horn; Shenghua Hu on violin; Milan Milisavljevic on viola; Braxton Cook on saxophone; and Curtis Nowosad on drums.

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Superbly Crafted Songs of Lake Volta

Joseph Sheehan & Kinetic – Songs of Lake Volta (Ansonica, 2018)

Songs of Lake Volta is a fascinating project by Pittsburgh-based pianist, composer, and educator Joseph Sheehan. He recorded the album together with his superb contemporary jazz ensemble Kinetic and the all-female chamber music ensemble Kassia.

The material on Songs of Lake Volta consists of Ghanaian songs with original music by Sheehan. The result is a remarkable mix of Ghanaian melodies, contemporary jazz and classical music.

Kinetic features Joseph Sheehan on piano, the extraordinary vocalist Anqwenique Wingfield who sings in a variety of indigenous languages and incorporates classical, jazz, Ghanaian and soul elements in her vocal style. Another essential Kinetic member is guitarist Anthony Ambroso, who delivers an exquisite set of electric guitar parts influenced by jazz, blues and West African music. The rest of the band is an excellent rhythm section with Jason Rafalak on bass and Ryan Socrates on drums.

The Kassia Ensemble adds delightful classical music elements throughout the album. The members of the group include Dawn Posey on violin; Ashley Freeburn on violin; Maureen Conlon on violin; Si Yu on viola; and Katya Janpoladyan on cello.

 

 

Songs of Lake Volta is a beautifully-crafted album that illustrates a different side of African music through the prism of contemporary jazz and chamber music.

Buy Songs of Lake Volta from amazon

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The Final Album of an Australian Musical Icon

Gurrumul – Djarimirri [Child of the Rainbow] (Skinnyfish Music, 2018)

Djarimirri (Child of the Rainbow) is the final album recorded by Gurrumul Yununpingu (better known as Gurrumul), one of the most important and best-selling Indigenous artists from Australia. He passed away in 2017.

This recording is a fascinating combination of traditional songs and harmonized chants from the Yolngu aboriginal people of northeast Australia (Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory) and European chamber music.

Gurrumul delivered all the vocals in two aboriginal languages: Dhaŋu and Dhuwala. He was joined by a symphonic orchestra with arrangements by Erkki Veltheim with Michael Hohnen and Gurrumul. The cyclical, minimalist symphonic arrangements have similarities to the work of Philip Glass and Kronos Quartet.

 

 

The CD version is beautifully-packaged with traditional aboriginal artwork by Barrampani Yununpingu.

Djarimirri is a beautiful-crafted work of contemporary Australian music where Australian aboriginal traditional culture meets modern classical music.

Buy Djarimirri [Child of the Rainbow]

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Masterful String Intensity by Kittel & Co.

Kittel & Co. – Whorls (Compass Records, 2018)

Whorls is the debut album of a superb string band led by fiddler Jeremy Kittel, who was a member of the renowned Turtle Island Quartet. The ensemble features 5 talented musicians who deliver an exquisite mix of American and Celtic roots music, jazz and classical music.

The majority of the tracks on Whorls are instrumental, showcasing the instrumentalists’ virtuosity, improvisatory skills and melodic creativity. Mesmerizing vocals are featured on two tracks, provided by Kittel and Sarah Jarosz, who adds spellbinding ethereal harmonies.

The lineup on Whorls includes Jeremy Kittel on violin, viola and vocals; Josh Pinkham on mandolin; Quinn Bachand on guitar; Nathaniel Smith on cello and organ; and Simon Chrisman on hammered-dulcimer. Guest: Sarah Jarosz on vocals.

Whorls is a masterfully-crafted with stellar violin, cello, mandolin, guitar and hammered dulcimer performances.

Buy Whorls

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Artist Profiles: Camerata Romeu

Camerata Romeu

Camerata Romeu is a renowned all-female chamber music ensemble founded in 1993 by the Fundación Pablo Milanes. It’s led by Zenaida Romeu, one of the world’s few women conductors. Zenaida was born into a family of Cuban performers and composers spanning several generations.

They play everything from folk music and Mozart to fiery renditions of a new Cuban music using classical European form, yet drawing on the popular rhythms of the island taken from Africa, Spain, and indigenous cultures of Latin America.

Camerata Romeu has developed a unique sound that thills audiences in small Cuban towns, playing to packed houses in the United States and Europe.

Discography:

La Bella Cubana: New Classical Cuban Music (1996)
Cervantes (1999)
Cuba Mía (Bis Music, 2001)
Danza De Las Brujas (Bis Music, 2005)
Raigal (Colibrí, 2006)
Tampa Habana Oslo – En Vivo (Bis Music, 2007)
La Bella Cubana (Bis Music, 2007)
Non Divisi – Roberto Valera y Camerata Romeu (2008)
Saudações, with Egberto Gismonti (ECM, 2009)
Habanera, with Di Giusto (Naive, 2011)

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Artist Profiles: Arturo Sandoval

Arturo Sandoval – Photo by Manny Iriarte

Arturo Sandoval was born in Artemisa, a small village in the province of Havana, Cuba on November 6, 1949. Arturo started playing music at age 13 in the village band, where he learned the basics of music theory and percussion. After playing many instruments, he finally settled on the trumpet. As a child Sandoval had little exposure to Jazz. In a 1993 interview with Down Beat he commented, “The only thing I used to hear was traditional Cuban music, what we call “son”, which was played by a septet with a trumpet and bongos.” But one fateful day, a fellow trumpeter played him a record by Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker that turned his life around. It was love at first listen!

In 1964, he began three years of serious classical trumpet studies at the Cuban National School of Arts and by the age of 16, he earned a place in the country’s all-star national band. By this time, he was totally immersed in Jazz with Dizzy Gillespie his idol. Drafted into the military in 1971, Sandoval was able to play with the Orquesta Cubana de Musica Moderna and continued his daily practice regimen, an absolute must for trumpeters. After his discharge, he co-founded Irakere, which became Cuba’s most important Jazz ensemble, with saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera and pianist Chucho Valdés. They quickly became a worldwide sensation, and their appearance at the 1978 Newport Jazz Festival in New York introduced them to American audiences, and resulted in a recording contract with Columbia Records. But Arturo was in search of new musical possibilities and he left the group in 1981 to form his own band. He continued to tour worldwide with his group, playing a unique blend of Latin music and Jazz, and also as a classical trumpeter, performing with the BBC Symphony in London and the Leningrad Symphony in the former Soviet Union.

Sandoval’s talent has led him to associations with many great musicians, but perhaps the most important was with Dizzy Gillespie, a longtime proponent of Afro-Cuban music, whom Sandoval calls his spiritual father. The two musicians met in Cuba in 1977 when Gillespie was playing impromptu gigs throughout the Caribbean with saxophonist Stan Getz: “I went to the boat to find him. I’ve never had a complex about meeting famous people. If I respect somebody, I go there and try to meet them.” Because of the political situation in Cuba, the country was isolated from American musicians for nearly twenty years and during this first trip back,

Dizzy wanted to visit the black neighborhoods where musicians play guaguanco and rumba in the street. Sandoval offered to take Gillespie around in his car, and only later that night when he took the stage with Gillespie did Sandoval reveal himself as a musician. Their friendship remained strong until Dizzy’s passing in 1992. Both men continued to play and record together regularly. It was while touring with Gillespie’s Grammy Award-winning United Nation Orchestra in Rome in 1990 that Sandoval requested political asylum. Thanks to the efforts of Dizzy and then Vice-President Dan Quayle, Sandoval was able to resettle in Miami. He became a full professor at Florida International University and soon recorded his American debut Flight To Freedom on GRP. Arturo was featured on Dizzy’s Grammy winning Live At Festival Hall recording with the United Nation Orchestra in 1992 and later that year, he did his second GRP album, I Remember Clifford, his tribute to trumpet legend Clifford Brown. His other GRP recordings include: Dream Come True, a collaboration with Michel Legrand, the Grammy winning Danzón, Arturo Sandoval and The Latin Train, and his most recent, Swingin’. Like Wynton Marsalis, Arturo has a parallel career as a classical performer. His recording, The Classical Album, features trumpet concertos by Hummel and Mozart as well as his own Concerto For Trumpet and Orchestra. He continues to perform with symphonic orchestras worldwide as well as conduct clinics for eager students.

Arturo has lectured at the Conservatoire de Paris, the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in the Soviet Union, the University of California Santa Barbara, the University of Miami, the University of Wisconsin, Purdue University, and at many other institutions all over the planet. Currently, he holds a full professorship at Florida International University in Miami, where he resides with his wife and son. Arturo has also written and performed on several film soundtracks including “The Perez Family”, “The Mambo Kings”, and “Havana”. Like all musicians, Arturo Sandoval spends most of his time on the road. When asked about having such a rich life in music, he reports that “I’m blessed. Can [you] imagine making your living doing what you love? I came from a very poor family from the middle of nowhere and could never imagine I would be able to do the things I have done. God has been good to me.”

Discography:

To a Finland Station with Dizzy Gillespie (Pablo, 1982)
Breaking the Sound Barrier, 1983)
No Problem (Jazz House, 1986)
Tumbaito (Messidor, 1986)
Straight Ahead (Jazz House, 1988)
Flight to Freedom (GRP, 1991)
I Remember Clifford (GRP, 1992)
Dream Come True with Michel Legrand (GRP, 1993)
Danzón (GRP, 1993)
Cubano 1994)
The Classical Album (RCA, 1994)
Swing Love (Babacan, 1995)
Concerto (Babacan, 1995)
Arturo Sandoval & the Latin Train (GRP, 1995)
Swingin’ (GRP, 1996)
Hot House (N-Coded, 1998)
Americana (N-Coded, 1999)
Ronnie Scott’s Jazz House (DCC, 2000)
For Love or Country, The Arturo Sandoval Story (Jellybean, 2001)
L. A. Meetings (Cubop, 2001)
My Passion for the Piano (Columbia, 2001)
From Havana With Love 2003)
Trumpet Evolution (Westwind, 2003)
Live at the Blue Note (Half Note, 2005)
Rumba Palace (Telarc, 2007)
A Time for Love (Concord Jazz, 2010)
Dear Diz – Every Day I Think of You (Concord Jazz, 2012)
At Middleton film score (Perseverance, 2014)
Eternamente Manzanero with Jorge Calandrelli (Perseverance, 2014)

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Artist Profiles: Xu Ke

Xu Ke

Xu Ke was born in 1960 in Nanjing, China. He received his B.M. in 1982 with honor from the Department of National Music at the Central Conservatory of Beijing, where he studied under the erhu master Mr. Yusong Lan. He was the principal Erhu player of the China National Traditional Orchestra in 1983.

In 1986, he toured the United States as the music director of a good-will Chinese music delegation. His solo debut performance in 1987 with the China National Traditional Orchestra in Beijing Concert Hall caused a great sensation in China, prompting the media to dub him a genius Erhu player.

Since 1987, he has been performing as a soloist with many orchestras throughout the world. The superb technique, deep understanding and! exciting interpretation of the erhu repertoire has earned Xu Ke an international following.

Xu Ke is the first erhu master in the world to record under the RCA label. he participated in the album Something ~ RCA Artists Meet The Beatles. He also received a platinum disc award from the Hong Kong recording industry in 1992.

Invited by Yo-Yo Ma, Mr. Xu participated in the Silk Road Project in July 2000 at the Tanglewood Music Center. Xu Ke joined with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble for an Asian tour to perform at Hong Kong Arts Festival, Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei in March 2001. He was also the artistic director of Silk Road Music concert in the 17th Tokyo Summer Festival.

Xu Ke has released solo and ensemble albums, including classical music played by Erhu, Cello, Piano.

Discography:

Maiden Mo Chou – A Fantasia (Pacific Audio/Video Co., 1988)
Song of the Birds (Sony Japan Family Club, 1997)
Sweetie (BMG Japan, 1999)
A String of Melodies (BMG Pacific, 1991)
The Yellow River/The Butterfly Lovers (BMG Pacific, 1992)
Melodie Favorite Violin Showpieces Performed on Erhu (BMG Victor, 1992)
My Way rhu Favorite Collection (BMG Victor, 1994)
Wind and Rhythm/Erhu Concertos (BMG Victor, 1994)
Zigeunerweisen-Erhu Classical Favorites (BMG Victor, 1996)
Elegy – Erhu Solo (BMG Victor, 1996)
Lullaby (BMG Japan, 1997)
Liebesfreud (BMG Japan, 1997)
Erhu Favorite Chinese Pieces (BMG Japan, 2001)
Erhu Favorite European Tunes (BMG Japan, 2001)
Horse Racing (XUA Records, 2003)
Liebesleid (XUA Records, 2004)
Think of Chinese Music of the New Era (XUA Records, 2004)
Xu Ke (XUA Records, 2005)
Preghiera (XUA Records, 2009)
Romance (XUA Records, 2009)
Le Rêve – Erhu Classical Favorites (XUA Records)

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Artist Profiles: Min Xiao-Fen

Min Xiao-Fen

Min Xiao-Fen is a virtuoso on the pipa. She was a pipa soloist for the Nanjing, National Music Orchestra, and was winner of numerous Pipa competitions throughout China.

Known for her virtuosity and fluid style, she has received acclaim for her classical, contemporary and Jazz performances. Min’s solo recording, The Moon Rising was hailed by BBC Music Magazine as one of the best CDs of 1996. Her recording Viper – Improvisations with Derek Bailey was one of the Wire’s albums of the Year in 1998. She also premiered Tan Dun’s Peony Pavilion, an opera with director Peter Sellars.

Min emigrated to the United States in 1992.

Discography:

The Moon Rising (Cala, 1996)
Spring River Flower Moon Night (Asphodel Records, 1997)
Zhou, L.: 8 Chinese Folk Songs / Poems From Tang / Soul (The Flowing Stream – Chinese Folk Songs and Tone Poems) (Delos, 1998)
With Six Composers (Avant, 1998)
The Floating Box (New World Records, 2005)
Huang, Ruo: Drama Theater Nos. 2-4 / String Quartet No. 1, “The 3 Tenses” (Naxos, 2009)
Dim Sum (Blue Pipa, 2012)
Mao, Monk and Me (2017)

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