Koto Player Yumi Kurosawa Joins the Bernstein Artists Roster


We're proud to welcome koto virtuoso Yumi Kurosawa to our touring roster. One of today's most exciting soloists on Japan's national instrument, Kurosawa's koto repertoire includes classical Japanese compositions, as well as her own innovative and enchanting original works. She has played at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the Apollo Theater and been principal soloist with the Tokyo Symphony, the Orchestra of the Swan and Houston Grand Opera among others.  Her many collaborations have included a piece with the Beyonce-affiliated dance duo Les Twins.

Kurosawa has been described by Allan Kozinn of The New York Times as "an inventive, seemingly cosmopolitan composer... Ms. Kurosawa presents her themes gracefully and then undertakes intricate, sometimes adventurous variations, drawing on a timbral palette that ranged from warm and rounded to bright and metallic." 

She is currently working on a collaborative program with tabla player Anubrata Chatterjee, son of the world-renowned tabla master Anindo Chatterjee. She'll also be playing a special concert at the Kennedy Center celebrating the re-opening of the Terrace Theater where she will be joined by guest artist, hip hop dancer Virgil Gadson, for a special collaboration.

Kurosawa was just interviewed in a profile for Wall Street International. Learn more about Yumi Kurosawa here.

Tanya Tagaq shortlisted for 2017 Polaris Prize, subject of new documentary


After winning the prestigious Polaris Music Prize for her 2014 album, Animism, celebrated experimental vocalist Tanya Tagaq has been nominated a second time for her latest release, Retribution. Tagaq will perform at the Polaris Prize gala in September. This year's shortlist also includes albums from Feist, Leonard Cohen, and BADBADNOTGOOD.

Tagaq is getting ready to release a new music video for "Sivulivinivut," the latest single from Retribution. Meanwhile, she's the subject of a new feature-length documentary that's being prepared for a 2018 premiere. Tagaq will be officially confirmed as a Member of the Order of Canada, one of the country's highest civilian honours, at a ceremony in Ottawa on August 25.

Sirius Quartet's Gregor Huebner wins Grand Prize from NY Phil for new work; inspires new program: New World


Sirius violinist Gregor Huebner recently won the Grand Prize in the New York Philharmonic's New World Initiative Composition Challenge. The contest was open to all NYC-based composers with the challenge being to create an original composition based on one or more themes from Dvorak's New World Symphony.

Huebner's New World Nov. 9 2016 serves as a daring critique of our current tumultuous politics. Contrasting idyllic, hopeful themes of Dvorak's Largo from New World Symphony with the brutal gestures of Shostakovich String Quartet #8, Huebner encapsulates the changing attitudes towards the immigrant experience in America. The work is the centerpiece of a new concert program of original compositions and covers that reflect on today's uncertainty and instability while, in the end, creating a prevailing feeling of hope for the future.

Donal Fox announces new project with poet Quincy Troupe


Donal Fox is unveiling a new collaboration with renowned poet Quincy Troupe.  The two are reuniting for the first time since their work together on Donal Fox's 1997 album Gone City (New World Records), which The Green Mountain Jazz Messenger described as "powerful vernacular poems of African-American experience. These are not only enhanced by Fox's keyboard and string embroidery, but in effect turned into songs... Fox is an astoundingly swift and alert collaborator, and his running pianistic commentaries reinforce Troupe's impassioned delivery of his works."

The new program, Star Spangled Banner Fractured, is a vehicle to inspire, educate, and fuel dialogue in the critical fight for social justice in America.

Learn more about this project here.

Twelve Hours: Argentina Meets Japan


Pablo Ziegler with guest artists

Hector Del Curto, bandoneon
Yumi Kurosawa, koto

Named for the time difference between the port cities of Buenos Aires and Yokohama, this program explores a marriage of Argentine nuevo tango with Japanese traditional music, while celebrating the long legacy of the tango in Japan. The tango arrived in Japan in the 1920's and its popularity boomed through the 30's and 40's, spurred in part by the prohibition of American jazz during World War II. Ziegler, who first visited Japan in 1988 while on tour with his longtime collaborator Astor Piazzolla, has held a longstanding interest in Japanese traditional music ever since this first encounter. 

The evening will include solo and duo works from each culture, and culminate in the piece 12 Horas, commissioned from Pablo Ziegler by the Yokohama Noh Theater and the Yokohama Arts Foundation and premiered at Minato Mirai Hall in Yokohama in February 2016. 12 Horas is a mixed ensemble suite that celebrates the respectful exchange between these two vital cultural traditions, combining shakuhachi (traditional Japanese vertical bamboo flute), koto (traditional Japanese harp), bandoneon, piano, percussion and string quintet. With 12 Horas, Ziegler brings these traditional Japanese timbres in dialogue with the bittersweet sounds of Argentine tango.

Learn more about the program here.

Cyro Baptista brings 'Sound of the Community' to Buffalo


Percussion maverick Cyro Baptista recently realized the latest iteration of his 'Sound of the Community' project in Buffalo, NY in the last week of July. In this version, he conducted free daily inclusive music workshops along with collaborators Billy Martin (Medeski Martin & Wood) and keyboardist Brian Marsella. 

The community workshops coincided with Baptista's artist residency at Artpark, during which he collaborated with Buffalo-based sculptor Shasti O'Leary Soudant and students from the University of Buffalo to create an interactive, sound-generating public art work called "Beat Blossom." Baptista created an original composition that was performed at the installation's opening event.

Watch video from a previous iteration of Sound of the Community in Aguascalientes, Mexico here.

Pablo Ziegler offers new quartet program: Tango Suites


Tango maestro Pablo Ziegler - the Buenos Aires-born, Latin Grammy-winning pianist and composer who helped shape the modern tango - brings the rich Argentine musical tradition into a chamber music setting with his latest concert program: Tango Suites. 

The program features Ziegler's arrangement of his late, longtime collaborator Astor Piazzolla's iconic suite, Silfo y Ondina.  Ziegler, who was pianist for Piazzolla for over a decade and played on many of his most iconic recordings, is widely regarded as one of the finest interpreters of Piazzolla's music. Ziegler pairs the Piazzolla suite with his own tango suite: Buenos Aires, a tribute to the city of his birth and the ground zero of tango music and dance. Finally, Ziegler presents his Rhapsody in Tango, a brand new chamber work inspired by Gershwin's famous Rhapsody in Blue.

Learn more about the new program here.

Paul Dresher offers new program for Invented Instrument Duo with Joel Davel


Acclaimed composer, performer and instrument inventor Paul Dresher pairs up with percussionist Joel Davel for a new evening-length duo program that finds them performing live on a pair of large-scale invented musical instruments. Allan Kozinn, writing for the Portland Press Herald describes the project as "supremely inventive... The novelty of the instruments, not to mention Dresher's and Davel's imaginative use of them, gave the proceedings an exciting sense of mystery and surprise."

Playing the 15-foot Quadrachord or the 10-foot Hurdy Grande, both controlled by the late synthesizer pioneer Don Buchla's magical Marimba Lumina, Dresher and Davel create lush textures and rhythmically propulsive grooves that fascinate the ear and the eye. Exploring unique sound-colors amplified by live digital looping, this electroacoustic duo creates complex sonic layers as rich as a full orchestra.

Meanwhile, Dresher's interactive installation Sound Maze of large scale invented instruments has been receiving praise from critics and audience during its 3-month residency at the Napa Valley Museum.  It will next travel to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

Learn more about the Invented Instrument Duo here.

Rob Schwimmer preps for Theremin 100th anniversary

Serious Theremin © Steve J. Sherman.jpg

Pianist and theremin virtuoso Rob Schwimmer has been earning critical acclaim for his contributions to the Mark Morris Dance Group's Pepperland, a new dance work inspired by the Beatles's Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, with a score by Ethan Iverson (The Bad Plus) that re-imagines music from the iconic album. Writes London Jazz News

"The feel throughout is perhaps part Berlin cabaret, part woozy Nino Rota, with the sound of the theremin absolutely key, although Schwimmer's virtuosity makes it closer to a second, female, vocal line to complement the deeper register of Clinton Curtis, echoing the classical recordings of Clara Rockmore - the instrument's most celebrated exponent, and inventor Lev Theremin's great protege - more than the usual cheapo science fiction-signifier."

Schwimmer is wrapping up work on a new album of original solo piano works that will be offered as a touring program. Schwimmer will also be organizing a major event in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the development of the theremin in 2019, including new commissions for contemporary theremin works.

Learn more about Rob Schwimmer here.