music

Public Domain/Wikimedia

Sergei Eisenstein's silent film, "Battleship Potemkin," retains its status as one of the most influential and deeply studied films of all time. But as with all silent films, the experience of watching it is much better with music.

Nearly 100 years after it was made,  Britt Festival Orchestra director Teddy Abrams asked orchestra bassist Nathan Farrington to create a new musical soundtrack to accompany the film.

Nandanupadhyay/Wikimedia

Benares, India (Varanasi, if you prefer) is nearly 7,500 miles from the Rogue Valley.  But Deobrat Mishra, musician and teacher, made the long trip to share his music. 

And it's not the first time; this marks our second visit with the sitar master and teacher, who comes from a long line of musicians and composers. 

Brian Lanker/Danceability.com

The Oregon Bach Festival's 2019 season starts Friday in Eugene and runs through July 13. One highlight is the Bach in Motion project premiering on Friday, July 5. 

DanceAbility International partners with OBF to connect Bach's music to dance. Choreographed by DanceAbility founder Alito Alessi, co-choreographed by Shannon Mockli, and led by conductor Jane Glover, this is a centerpiece event for the two-week festival.

Jefferson State Choral Coalition/Facebook

"How do I get to Carnegie Hall?"  "Practice, practice, practice."  An old joke, maybe, but also a reality for the leaders of the Jefferson State Choral Coalition, based in the Rogue Valley. 

JSCC premieres a new work called "Turn The World Around" in Medford on the first of June, then the piece moves to New York for a performance a week later.  At Carnegie Hall.  The work is composed by JSCC Musical Director Kirby Shaw, with lyrics by Markita Shaw. 

Southern Oregon University

The longstanding connection between Southern Oregon University and its sister school in Guanajuato, Mexico includes many cultural interchanges. 

And those include percussion groups from SOU and Guanajuato University playing together.  The first of two concerts comes this week in Ashland (May 24), the second six days later in Guanajuato, with the theme “From North: Rugged Landscapes…to South: Celebración de la hermandad.” 

Foundry/Pixabay

If you have a favorite song, here's a test: explain why you like it.  Music has a way of penetrating the soul in ways that can defy description.  "It has a good beat and I can dance to it" is just one of many many reasons to like a song. 

Nolan Gasser can explain it, up to a point.  He plays, composes, and studies music.  And he was a major figure in the Music Genome Project, which makes Pandora Radio work. 

Gasser gets into the reasons why we like, dislike, and move to music, in his book Why You Like It: The Science and Culture of Musical Taste

siskiyousingers.org

Many heroes emerged from the Second World War, some more obscure than others. 

Chiune Sugihara is credited with saving thousands of European Jews by letting them escape through Japan.  He is remembered in a choral composition, "Butterfly," by Rogue Valley composer I'lana Cotton

The piece premieres at a concert (April 27 & 28) by the Siskiyou Singers, which commissioned it. 

RV Symphony

The Rogue Valley Symphony reached out for a world-class pianist to perform in its final concerts of the season, "Masterworks 6." 

And RVSO reached all the way to... Ashland.  That's where Alexander Tutunov works and plays and teaches piano. 

He'll play Beethoven's Piano Concerto #3 in the concert.  And we get a musical preview, as Tutunov and RVSO Musical Director Martin Majkut pay us a visit... in the music studio, complete with piano. 

reverendhortonheat.com

We'd call Josh Gross a music aficionado, but it's hard to say that on the radio.  What he has is great love for, and knowledge of, music. 

And we ask him to share it with us once a month on a segment we call Rogue Sounds.  Josh scans the lists of musical acts coming to the region, and gives us a list of five to consider.  This month: Larry and His Flask, Patrimony, Reverend Horton Heat, Dravus House, and Wordsauce. 

Pixabay

Put on your guitarist face and get into air-guitar stance, we're going to talk about axes.  And not the kind that cut down trees. 

Electric guitars, specifically solid-body electric guitars, came into their own in the rock n' roll era.  And two companies battled for dominance in sales and prestige: Fender, with the Esquire/Broadcaster/Telecaster and later models, and Gibson, with the Les Paul model. 

The rivalry is portrayed in Ian S. Port's book The Birth of Loud: Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry That Shaped Rock 'n' Roll

Laura Razzano from Bohemiantrio.com

Both the Britt Festival and the Siskiyou Music Project are dedicated to music and music education.  So it's only natural they join forces to bring some notable musical acts to town. 

The Bohemian Trio visited high schools in the region and played a concert on piano, cello, and saxophone.  And we get to visit with the trio in the studio as the members finish up their residency. 

Wikimedia

Nearly 60 years after her death, we still can't seem to get enough of Billie Holiday.  She was a one-of-a-kind singer and performer, influenced by many factors, religion among them. 

It is that context that Tracy Fessenden explored in the book Religion Around Billie Holiday

Webster Young calls the Rogue Valley his home, but his work is heard all over the world.  Young is a composer of symphonic music, ballets, and operas. 

His Fifth Symphony was performed last summer in Ukraine, and the event is a subject of a documentary film coming soon to the Ashland library. 

Pixabay

There's still way too much left-over turkey for us to produce a new Exchange.  So we offer a few gems from programs past on this Black Friday (no, we're not shopping).  
At 8: a visit to the Memphis studio of Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll.

Pexels/Pixabay

A man with a mallet at the Eiffel Tower.  Should we call the police?  No, because he has government permission to whack on the tower. 

Confused yet?  Joseph Bertolozzi is a composer and percussionist, and he marveled at the range of sounds produced by the most visible symbol of Paris.  So he took a variety of strikers to a variety of surfaces, recorded the sounds, and ended up with an album called "Tower Music." 

It will be performed in public live for the first time on Thursday at Southern Oregon University, by the Left Edge Percussion Ensemble. 

malekjandali.com

Everyone who goes to the symphony notices the violins and the cellos.  But do the violas get any respect? 

They will this weekend (October 19-21), when the Rogue Valley Symphony presents one of its "Masterworks" concerts, this one featuring a brand-new viola concerto by Malek Jandali

We hear more about the work, from the composer. 

mainstreetquartet.weebly.com/

We get voices blended in the studio all the time, but not usually blended in song.  So it's a rare treat to have some barbershop quartet singers pay a visit. 

The Rogue Valley Harmonizers are the host group for "Hee Haw and Harmonies," Saturday at the Craterian in Medford (October 6th). 

And the other artists include the group Main Street, international champions a year ago.  How do they make such harmony, with no instruments and not so much as a drum? 

Hans/Pixabay

We cast our attention backwards on the musical timeline pretty easily, from hip-hop back to Bach.  But before that?  A little fuzzy, generally. 

And that's why Musica Matrix exists, to share music from the time of Shakespeare and earlier with audiences young and old.  The group plays this Saturday (October 6th) at Ashland Springs Hotel. 

Eleanor Stills via NPR

First the Hollies. Then Crosby, Stills and Nash. Then Crosby, Stills Nash and Young. Then, a long solo career.

Graham Nash hasn't just seen the history of contemporary popular music, he's made much of it.

Nash plays tonight (October 3rd) at the Cascade Theater in Redding, and he's making a major donation to help victims of the Carr fire.

caballitonegro.com

The composer John Luther Adams is famous for creating works about the great outdoors, many inspired by his years living in Alaska. 

Adams won a Pulitzer Prize for "Become Ocean" in 2014.  Another work, "songbirdsongs," (lower-case letters deliberate) plays to an audience in Ashland this weekend (September 29). 

Tessa Brinkman and Terry Longshore of Caballito Negro perform, with a roster of guest artists. 

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