American music

color photo of Derek Bermel holding a pencil and sitting with a musical score
publicity photo / courtesy of Derek Bermel

It was a fateful trip to the art museum.

That trip decades ago, when Derek Bermel was just a kid - long before he became an award-winning composer and clarinetist -  that has landed Bermel on the list of Grammy Award nominees.

color photo of Caroline Shaw
Kait Moreno / carolineshaw.com

Six years ago, fifty bucks and an outside-the-box choir helped Caroline Shaw become the youngest person to win the Pulitzer Prize for music. Here's a look at some of what she's been doing more recently.

color night shot of headlights whizzing by the Arc de Triomphe, Paris
Sheila Sund/Wikimedia Commons /

It’s jarring to hear a honking car horn. But on the streets of Paris, honking horns – like good wine, café au lait and the Gallic shrug – are just a part of life.

So much so that when George Gershwin decided to compose an orchestral piece inspired by the City of Light, he gave the honking horns of the Parisian taxicabs practically top billing. And not long ago those taxi horns claimed the spotlight for a different reason.

color photo of Chamber Brews in performance
publicity photo/Chamber Brews / https://www.chamberbrews.com/about-1

Question: How can music by women composers be performed on more concerts?

Answer: Perform it.

That’s what the Columbus-based string quartet Chamber Brews is doing. And they're joining a growing number of professional ensembles in their quest to showcase music by composers who, by virtue of their sex, their race and/or their socioeconomic background, have traditionally been underrepresented on  classical music concerts.

photo of Antoine Clark conducting the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra
Ronald Hoehn / https://www.antoinetclark.com/photos

Columbus conductor and clarinetist Antoine Clark wants women musicians and musicians of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to be heard.

color photo of Jory Vinikour sitting at the harpsichord
Nuccio di Nuzzo / http://joryvinikour.com/presenters.shtml

You might think the harpsichord is a mere historic novelty, an outdated baroque cousin of the piano and fit only for the powdered wig set. If so, the American harpsichordist Jory Vinikour’s most recent recording might change your mind.

color photo of Wil B. and Kev Marcus playing their instruments
Black Violin / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYerKidQGcc

They’ve spent the last 15 years breaking stereotypes with their genre-busting songs and instrumentals. Now, Black Violin is adding a heavy dose of full-out inspiration to the mix.

color photo of rehearsal
Broad Street Presbyterian Church / William Boggs/Broad Street Presbyterian Church

Your beautiful infant child is diagnosed with cancer.

Months – even years – of doctor’s visits, tests, surgeries and medical treatments, like everything else in life, offer no guarantees. And even if the illness is brought under control, it still hangs over your family like the sword of Damocles.

It’s every parent’s nightmare. And Brittany and the Rev. Trip Porch, of Granville, have been living this nightmare ever since their son, Ward, was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer, nearly two years ago.

The Central Ohio Symphony
The Central Ohio Symphony

A renowned bassoonist, a respected conductor and a composer whose career is on the rise.

Christopher Weait has worn all three labels for most of his life. And this year he adds another label – octogenarian – to the list.

A former co-principal bassoonist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and OSU School of Music Professor Emeritus of bassoon, Weait is known in central Ohio and throughout the world as a top-flight orchestral musician and bassoon pedagogue.

color photo of Cosmos Trio in the Classical 101 studio
WOSU Public Media / WOSU Public Media

“This is an amazing place.”

That’s what San Francisco-based composer Stephen Main said recently about Columbus, the namesake of his new work Columbus Triptych, written for the Columbus-based Cosmos Trio.

Main’s Columbus Triptych is just one of a number of new works composed specifically for Cosmos Trio – comprised of flutist Katherine Borst Jones, violist Mary Harris and harpist Jeanne Norton – and featured on the group’s new recording, American Premieres (MSR Classics).

black and white photo of Wynton Marsalis playing trumpet
Luigi Beverelli / Courtsey of Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis' rare musical versatility has long been a beacon in the worlds of jazz and classical music. Now the Grammy Award-winning trumpeter and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer brings those worlds together in two new works for violin written for one of today's foremost violinists.

color photo of balloons lifting house in Up
Pixar, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / YouTube

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the animated film Up, directed by Pete Docter, produced by Pixar and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Set initially in Ohio, Up unfolds in dazzling visuals the outlandish adventures of an elderly widower and a young boy. 

color photo of Stephen Caracciolo conducting LancasterChorale
LancasterChorale / Facebook

“I call it real American music.”

That’s how Stephen Caracciolo, artistic director of the LancasterChorale, describes the program for An American Mosaic, the chorale’s upcoming concert of American folk songs, hymns, spirituals, concert works and popular fare. 

publicity photo / http://www.anthonymcgill.com/press/

Long before clarinetist Anthony McGill and flutist Demarre McGill launched coast-to-coast musical careers, as kids the brothers were each other’s musical inspiration.

“I grew up – even before I played an instrument – listening to my brother practice, for a few years actually. And so I learned probably what the sound of a wind instrument was because of him,” said Anthony McGill in a recent phone interview.

color photo o Yolanda Kondonassis surounded by harps
Laura Watilo Blake / yolandaharp.com

If you think playing the harp is something only angels do, then you’ve never met Yolanda Kondonassis. She's in part the reason why the new harp concerto that Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon wrote for Kondonassis is anything but angel food.

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