In-Studio: Anne Richardson

Anne Richardson landscape

Cellist Anne Richardson, a past winner of the Classical 90.5/PNC Wealth Management Young Artist Competition, will return to Classical 90.5 for an exclusive in-studio, March 2nd at noon, here at Louisville Public Media (619 S. Fourth Street). She’ll play solo Bach, and Beethoven and Saint-Saens with pianist Sharon Lavery.

Free and open-to-the-public. Members can reserve a lunch from City Cafe at (502) 814-6565.

From The Top: On the Stage and In the Classroom

From The Top at Lincoln Elementary

From the Top, a radio show that features young classical music talent from around the nation, airs on Classical 90.5 each Sunday at 6pm. Listen below to 5 vignettes by Sara Soltau, our education programs manager, who spent time behind the scenes with the cast for the Louisville show. Hear the stories of High-Schoolers Aubree Oliverson, Ayana Teruchi, Clayton Stephenson, and Cole Gregory as they did outreach at Western Middle, Lincoln Elementary, YPAS, and Fairdale during the week of the Louisville show. Find out what the school kids learned from the visits as well as what the performers learned from the outreach.

Hear the Louisville show on Classical 90.5 Sunday 2/28/16 at 6pm.

Classical 90.5 partnered with The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts on this ambitious project which included a live-taping of NPR’s From the Top with host Christopher O’Riley in Whitney Hall on February 3rd as part of the Gheens Great Expectations concert, sponsored by The Gheens Foundation.  In addition, Classical 90.5 and The Kentucky Center worked with From the Top’s education outreach staff and JCPS to bring these outstanding soloists into four schools to bring their inspiring artistry to music students.

Nathan Gunn Goes Old-School

Nathan Gunn Sharkey Photography

Baritone Nathan Gunn calls himself “old-school” when it comes to recitals.

“That’s just how I was raised, and I’ve been trying to break out of that mode,” Gunn said in a recent interview.

“Old-school,” in this sense, means that the performer doesn’t actually speak to the audience or interact with them in any way other than the music being presented. That’s the traditional format — the idea being that the music speaks for itself, maybe with the aid of some printed program notes — but more performers, like Gunn, are learning to talk to the audience.

“[That makes it] more of an evening, a conversation,” said Gunn. “It’s also a very effective way of making music, and the point is to communicate to other human beings.”

Gunn will be singing, and speaking, at the University of Louisville Comstock Recital Hall this Saturday evening, as part of the Speed Concert Series. He’ll be accompanied by his wife, pianist Julie Gunn, who collaborated with him on choosing the songs for the program.

One of the most in-demand baritones working in opera today, Gunn has been seen on stages throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Paris Opera, and the Royal Opera House. Many critics see him as part of a “new generation” of opera singers who not only have beautiful voices but deliver strong acting alongside movie-star looks. In 2006, the New York Times cheekily suggested that he might also capable of singing with his shirt on, a nod to his occasional bare-chested appearances in various opera roles. (Ed. note: see video below)

Presumably, he’ll be fully clothed on Saturday as he performs Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe, a song cycle written in 1840 that tells a sad, romantic tale.

“If you know the story, he’s this guy who’s in love with a woman who doesn’t love him, which probably makes up 95 percent of all German art songs on the planet,” Gunn said.

Gunn decided, in a fit of “art song humor,” to follow the thoroughly tragic Dichterliebe with the song “Everything Happens To Me,” usually associated with Frank Sinatra.

“We’ll see if anybody chuckles, cause it’s sort of funny… yeah, it’s nerdy, I know,” Gunn said.

The program will also include some American art songs by composer William Bolcom, some cowboy songs arranged by Julie Gunn, and a still-to-be-decided ballad.

Gunn says he enjoys doing recitals because he gets to be in control of the musical quality, as opposed to an opera, where there are so many other variables at play.

“You’re dealing with a gajillion different things. You’re dealing with your colleagues, you’re dealing with lights, you’re dealing with costumes, you’re dealing with a large-scale event. What I love about recital is that anything can happen,” Gunn said.

And anything does. In a recent appearance with Broadway singer and actor Mandy Patinkin (he and Gunn have toured with a two-man show), Gunn completely forgot the words to “Over the Rainbow.”

“And I just stop. And he looks at me and he’s like, do you want me to sing it in Yiddish? And I’m like, you know this in Yiddish? And he starts to sing it in Yiddish. And those are the sort of moments that you cannot plan,” said Gunn. “And I’m telling you, that’s what most people loved.”

Nathan Gunn appears on Saturday evening at 7:30 pm at U of L’s Comstock Recital Hall, as part of the Speed Concert Series. More information, including ticketing, is available here.

This story comes from Tara Anderson, 89.3 WFPL News Arts and Culture Reporter.

classical-guitar

Every weekday at 10:30am I play what I call a “guitar pick.” It’s a work featuring the guitar. It can be as a solo instrument, in a chamber setting or with orchestra. On Monday I presented a performance of what it widely considered the international anthem of guitarists – Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Memories of the Alhambra) by Francisco Tarrega. Composed in 1896, Tarrega made generous use of the picking effect known as “tremolo” throughout the piece. While the thumb picks the bass line, the other digits on the picking hand quickly alternate on the melody. Novice listeners to the piece often conclude that the work is being played by two guitarists. This composition holds a special place in my heart as it was part of the opening music to our wedding, which was played expertly by Louisville guitarist Dale Grider.

Other guitar picks from this week were:

Francisco Tarraga – Recuerdos de la Alhambra – Valerie Hartzell
JS Bach – Partita BWV 1002 – Michael Long
Maurice Ravel – Pavane – Julian Bream and John Williams
Federico Moreno Torroba – Sonatina – Eduardo Fernandez
Giuseppe Torelli – Concerto for guitar and violin – Karl Scheit, guitar

My ukulele pick this week is a cover by Eva Walsh, of a Black Eyed Peas song. Trust me.

Neil Rao: Where is He Now?

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Classical 90.5’s Young Artist Competition showcases our region’s top musical talent. Every fall kids ages 8-18 compete for a spot in our live on-air studio recital.

But where do our winners go from there?

I caught up with our 2010 Young Artist Competition Winner Neil Rao, a percussionist and marimbist who recently played Carnegie Hall with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra.

Neil talked about the the weightiness of playing in Carnegie Hall, the work it took to get there, and gave advice to young musicians who are trying to make it in the music world.

He said it really boils down to three things: practicing, people skills, and your motivation- really having a cultivated reason for why you are a musician.

And why is Neil a musician?

“I’m a musician because I love spreading the joy that comes across people’s faces and comes across people’s hearts when they hear these wild sounds from every single spectrum of emotion you can have.”

Listen to Neil’s story and watch him playing his original composition below: