Brooklyn Rider takes the idea of the string quartet to a new level. Already champions of new music and fresh approaches, the Brooklyn, NY-based group stretch the boundaries of the classic quartet, adding unusual instruments and other forms of art to the mix. In their Studio A session, they treated us to terrific, high-energy performances of, "Doina Oltului," a Roma-inspired piece, and, "Ascending Bird," originally arranged for quartet and Persian Fiddle (kamancheh).
Well, this was a new one for Studio A: a room full of musicians who can assemble and disassemble a saxophone and an M-16 rifle. The US Airmen of Note, the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force Band came by to play us some cool arrangements and chat about life as full-time military musicians.
The US Airmen of note play Charlie Parker's, "Segments" and a nifty arrangement of Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow" live in Studio A. (Personnel: MSgt Tyler Kuebler- Lead Alto and Music Director; MSgt Andy Axelrad - 2nd Alto; TSgt Tedd Baker 1st Tenor; TSgt Grant Langford -2nd Tenor; MSgt Doug Morgan Baritone Sax.
This month, the focus is on Interlochen Arts Academy's class of 2014. Among the works we'll hear: Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" performed by the Academy Orchestra, an excerpt from Ned Rorem's opera "Our Town" sung by soprano Sage DeAgro-Ruopp, and poet Sojourner Ahebee reads one of her own works. We'll aslo hear some Durufle courtesy of organist Bryan Dunnewald, and cellist Daniel Blumhard performs a work written for him by classmate Tevan Goldberg.
Carol Jantsch is known for elevating tuba playing to performance art (she's performed Flight of the Bumblebee in full bee suit and advertised her first tuba CD with a rap video). She is also the first woman to hold a Principal Tuba Chair among major orchestras in the United States (in this case, the Philadelphia Orchestra). Jantsch is at Interlochen this week, teaching the Tuba and Trombone Institute.
Jantsch says she thinks of herself as a musician first, and a tuba player second, and she's interested in playing pieces not originally intended for the tuba. She visited Studio A with accompanist Ellen Sommer-Bottorf and performed a wonderful rendition of Debussy's, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. If you think the tuba is nothing more than a background instrument that goes oom-pa-pa - you're in for an elegant surprise.