For the second year, the Drapkin Institute for Music Entrepreneurship presents the Classical Crossover Showcase at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival in Austin, Texas.
Following on their sold-out debut showcase in 2010, this showcase presents six of the finest bands from around the country, featuring classically trained musicians that have crossed over to the mainstream, and brought their amazing virtuosity with them. These musicians have been leaders in their fields, with professional experiences ranging from the Chicago Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, educations at top schools like Eastman and Juilliard, from New York to Tehran, and even the best kickin’ solo bass clarinetist in the United States!
Friday, March 18, 2011 at St. David’s Bethel Hall
301 E 8th St. Austin, Texas 78701
8:00 PM Green Golly
The Green Golly Project was created by flutist and producer Barbara Siesel and singer, songwriter, actor and playwright Keith Torgan, to introduce children all-the-world-over to classical music through live music and story-theater. “Green Golly & Her Golden Flute” is the first in a series of stories that feature Green Golly – a young girl living in a tower who unlike her famous counterpart Rapunzel is ever-curious, enthusiastic and one amazing flute player.
To date “Green Golly & Her Golden Flute” has been performed many hundreds of times for many thousands of children throughout the United States. Wendy Whiting of Otterhop.Com said that the CD version is a great way to turn even the “squirmiest kids into life-long classical music lovers”. The popular blog Mommy PR called it “57 minutes of awesome” and “Hannah Montana” executive producer Steven Peterman said “this could be a classic”.
The Green Golly Flute for beginning flutists will be introduced at the National Flute Association Convention this August in Charlotte, North Carolina along with a series of method primers and the children’s book with illustrations by award winning artist Suzanne Langelier-Lebeda, as well as an animated TV show featuring Green Golly and her friends are currently in development.
The “SXSW Classical Crossover Showcase” presentation of Green Golly & Her Golden Flute features Siesel & Torgan accompanied by The Green Golly Fairy Tale Orchestra: an eleven piece chamber ensemble. The shiny new flute and chamber ensemble arrangements were created by composer Bruce Lazarus.
Barbara Siesel’s multi-faceted career includes performing, teaching and producing. Audiences around the world have heard her in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Great Hall in St. Petersburg, and Central Conservatory in Beijing, in addition to concert halls in Japan, Korea, Spain and Taiwan. Some of her upcoming activities include a China tour for concerts, master classes and the production of the Green Golly Flute and creating the book version of Green Golly and Her Golden Flute with writer Keith Torgan and illustrator Suzanne Lebeda. She received a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree from The Juilliard School, where she studied with Samuel Baron. Additionally, she studied with Julius Baker, Thomas Nyfenger and Gerardo Levy and attended Master Classes with Jean Pierre Rampal and James Galway.
Keith Torgan, singer, songwriter, guitarist, actor and storyteller, is a multi-talented artist with more than twenty years of experience in children’s music who has appeared at hundreds of theaters, cabarets, universities, museums, schools, and libraries throughout the United States. Torgan was composer at the Williamstown Theater Festival, founder and songwriter for “Morgan, Torgan & Teri,” guest performer and writer for BMG’s “Early Ears” series, and composer and lyricist for the Simply Elementary flagship program, There’s Always a Dragon to Slay. He has written a multitude of songs and is the creator of all the Green Golly Project stories and songs. He received his training at Circle in the Square Theatre School, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and State University of New York at Albany.
9:00 PM Yiddish Cowboys
Yiddish Cowboys performs the ethnic music of Eastern European Jews – often know as klezmer music, and sometimes thought of as Yiddish Wedding Music. It is lively, energetic and a great deal of fun!
Yiddish Cowboys are Austin’s leading Klezmer band and perform regularly at the Kosher Store at HEB – the only glatt kosher deli and klezmer in a 5 hour driving radius!
10:00 PM Michael Lowenstern
A cross between Eric Dolphy, Meat Beat Manifesto, NPR’s This American Life, The Gap Band and Igor Stravinsky, Michael Lowenstern’s sound is hard to define; it’s ClassicoFunkTronica.
On stage, Michael brings not only his formidable skill and finesse on the bass clarinet, but also his sense of humor, a deep appreciation for pop culture, an enthusiasm which can only be called infections and, well, cool toys. His shows employ computers, props and electronic gizmos, and Michael brings everything from consumer electronics (a Kaoss toy synth & an iPad), to a WiCoder (combination EWI and vocoder – way too coo!!), to a few harmonicas and the occasional piece of home-made electric gear, assuming it wasn’t confiscated by the TSA.
Michael has written music for concert, film, dance and various other new media over the span of his 20-year career. Actively involved with technology in sound and music, Michael has been a pioneer in the field of interactive computer music, having created or performed over a hundred works for bass clarinet and electronics. His collaborations have included remixes for the landmark recording In C Remixed (featured on NPR’s RadioLab), Michael Gordon’s video opera Chaos and various dance works with David Lang. To date he can be heard on over fifty CDs, including five solo recordings of his own. Random factoid: the solo bass clarinet clip you hear as the theme to NPR’s “Science out of the Box” segment – that’s Michael too.
Michael travels regularly as a guest lecturer at universities around the country. A former faculty member of the Juilliard School and New York University, he is currently on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
11:00 PM NYCO
Ted Atkatz’s decision to leave his gig as the principal percussionist in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was a bold one. Exchanging his drumsticks for a Nord keyboard and a Gibson acoustic, he began singing an altogether different tune. He wrote twelve songs, collaborated with three of Chicago’s finest musicians, and NYCO was born.
Two, NYCO’s debut album, resonates with the sincerity and energy of great rock’n roll, capped by Atkatz’s striking melodies. Produced by Grammy-award winner Jim Tullio, reviewers have called the album a “must-own.” Chicago’s own Q101 FM and WXRT 93.1 FM, stations that helped bring bands like Wilco and Smashing Pumpkins into the mainstream, have lately taken to spinning NYCO’s tunes. The soulful “English Song” has already garnered significant attention, and has even been dubbed a “pop classic” by WXRT DJ Richard Milne.
Onstage, Atkatz is joined by Dave Bowers and Devin Staples. NYCO’s second album, “Realize” came out on May 18, 2008.
12:00 AM Threefifty Duo
Threefifty Duo has been described as a “classical guitar duo with a rock edge,” as musicians Brett Parnell and Geremy Schulick seamlessly weave their contemporary rock sensibilities into the rich fabric of classical guitar. After years of writing and performing together and with a second album under Threefifty’s belt, the duo’s stylistic tendencies have further expanded, with genre blurred by an intensely personal sound that is rhythmic, infectious, engaging, and at once both new and accessible.
Formed in the halls of The Yale School of Music, taught by renowned classical guitarist Benjamin Verdery, and molded by the multi-faceted music scene of their hometown New York City, Threefifty Duo has gone on to play in a diverse array of respected venues and festivals, such as The 92nd Street Y, Southpaw, Pianos, The New York Guitar Festival, The Monkey, Bennington College, Sarajevo’s Dom Armije, Genghis Cohen, Connecticut Guitar Society, and California State University at Long Beach, where choreography was set to their music. Recent projects have also included a collaboration with video artist Jennifer Stock. In the fall of 2010 Threefifty Duo set off for a three-week tour of the UK, where they played as part of CMEAS’ Fall UK Tour and the Lancaster Music Festival.
Their self-titled debut album marked the duo as innovators in classical guitar programming, moving effortlessly between the compositions of their classical heroes, contemporary counterparts, and their own creations. While the album captured the verve and enthusiasm of a well-practiced and polished duo, it is Threefifty’s sophomore effort, “Circles,” that presents the listener with a volume of all original compositions and a full emergence of the duo’s distinctive voice, highlighted by Dominic Frasca’s sumptuous production.
Threefifty Duo has been featured on WNYC’s “New Sounds” with John Schaefer and Premier Guitar magazine’s website, and has received critical acclaim from Time Out NY, Guitar Edge magazine, Vintage Guitar Magazine, Classical Guitar News, Minor 7th, Lancashire Life, and the UK’s Classical Guitar Magazine, who wrote of it: “Brilliant! … each track is an attention-grabbing item and throughout there are no low-points. The style is difficult to describe: performing on classical guitars and steel-stringed guitar, Circles is an amalgamation of classical/rock/folk; sometimes romantic, sometimes thrillingly energetic, but at all times spell-binding. Loved every second of it and will play it time and again.”
1:00 AM Fared Shafinury & Tehranosaurus
Fared Shafinury is an Iranian-American musician living in Tehran, Iran and Austin, Texas. Born on the Gulf of Mexico, Shafinury absorbed the feel and rhythms of jazz, blues, indie rock, western classical and north Hindustani music. However, it is Persian classical music that has always held a sacred place in his heart.
Although primarily self-taught in the setar, santur, and the vocal repertoire known as the radiff, Shafinury has had the privilege of studying under some of Iran’s most prominent Masters including: Ostad Mozaffari, Ostad Zolghadr, Ostad Shaari, Ostad Soukuti and Ostad Mohammad Reza Lotfi. At 26 years of age, Shafinury’s music is the progeny of his talent, passion, and environments – producing a sound that is simultaneously singular in character and universal in appeal.
Shafinury has recorded his forth-coming début full-length album, Behind the Seas, at Avaye Darya studios in Tehran and at Premium in Austin, Texas. Now, back in the states, Fared has brought together friends and talent from Austin’s vibrant music scene – including Jason Mckenzie of Atash on Tabla, Drummer Andy Beaudoin, Chris Ledesma on Bass and Guitar, Emmon Hall & Roberto Riggio on Violin, and Joey Santori on Cello. Playing under the name Tehranosaurus, the band brings to life Shafinury’s modern vision of Persian classical music.