Airs Thursday, January 17 and 8:00 p.m. Edgar Meyer is a bassist for modern times. Whether he's writing a bass concerto, performing with Yo-Yo Ma, teaching at the Royal Academy of Music, or playing bluegrass with his pals in Nashville, his virtuosity and original compositions have put him in a class by himself. In 2006, the Savannah Music Festival invited Meyer to perform a program of his original compositions with multi-instrumentalists Sam Bush and Mike Marshall, along with violinist and SMF Associate Artistic Director Daniel Hope. While his work can be complex to rehearse and play, it is always engaging and optimistic to hear.
Airs Thursday, January 10 at 8:00 p.m. The second episode of Punch Brothers music from their 2011 appearance in Savannah. The forward movement of contemporary American stringband music has always been fueled by a tradition that existed outside the classroom setting. When a young person attempts to pursue an American style such as bluegrass, Cajun, country or blues, the earliest method of learning often begins with imitating music from recordings. Later on, participation in jam sessions, lessons with a mentor, and getting connected with better players is the easiest route toward figuring out how to play your instrument. In this episode we listen to a group of mostly non-formally trained string players that has developed a wholly original sound based on their collective approach to music making. Part Two of Two
Airs Friday, January 4 at 12:00 noon In December of 1891, Czech composer Antonin Dvorak accepted the offer of Jeanette Thurber to become the director of the National Academy of Music in New York City. Mrs. Thurber hoped that the conservatory, which she founded in 1885, would foster the development of American concert music. It was Dvorak's opinion that the future music of America must be based on its folk melodies, which would serve as the real foundation of any serious and original school of composition in the United States. The first half of this special features a performances of Dvorak's music by the Emerson String Quartet, including the String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat Major Opus 51 and the String Quartet No. 12 in F Major Opus 96 ("The American"). Dvorak’s final two quartets, with their mastery of form, color and expression,are a fitting summation of Dvorak's exceptional achievement in this genre. On the 2nd half of this special we’ll hear the Emerson Quartet performed the Cypresses for string Quartet and his Opus 105, the 13th quartet written by Dvorak.
Airs Thursday, January 3 at 8:00 p.m. The first of two episodes culled from the Punch Brothers 2011 performance at the Trustees Theater during the Savannah Music Festival The tradition of stringband playing in the United States dates back at least 200 years. In the early 19th century, the fiddle-banjo duo that was essential to the dance music of the day eventually incorporated other instruments such as the guitar, mandolin and double bass. Such an assemblage, of whatever instrumentation, became known simply as a "stringband." By the 1870s, African-American dance houses had musicians who played violin, banjo and bass fiddle, and by the 1920s and 30s, stringbands were among the forerunners of modern country music and bluegrass. Soon, artists began to record stringband music in collaboration with other popular music styles such as blues and jazz. In this episode, we listen to a stringband that has drawn upon nearly every style of music from the past 100 years, the Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile. Part one of two.
Airs Thursday, December 27 at 8:00 p.m. The complete performance by Junior Brown at SMF 2011 as part of a double bill with The Flatlanders entitled "Giants of Texas Country". In this episode, we listen to the complete 2011 performance by Junior Brown at the Lucas Theatre for the Arts, where he played an hour-long, non-stop set on his original instrument made up of a 6-string electric and a lap steel guitar. He calls it the "guit-steel", and like his singing voice, it's eclectic, but definitely the one and only.