“Spaced Out: Klingon music? It’s just one of the many languages mastered by this inventive band”

"Spaced Out" article illustration of il Troubadore by Jon Silpayamanant (2010)

So the interview with me about the il Troubadore Klingon Music Project is out now (see the online version at this link).  We’ve got a pretty busy weekend as we’ll be making an appearance at a local production of The Pirates of Penzance (in Outer Space) given by the New Albany High School choral department (May 15-16) as well as making an appearance at the Louisville Science Center as part of their current exhibit Star Trek: The Exhibition (May 15).  I will also be playing in the pit for the production so will be sweating it out in full Klingon uniform for a couple of hours.

This weekend I’ll also be playing a couple of other shows (as if it wasn’t busy enough for me, eh?).  The Louisville KlezmerFest with my Klezmer band, River City Klezmer.   And il Troubadore will be giving a (non-Klingon) performance at the Batesville Public Library (Saturday, May 14).

Now I need to make some repairs to my Klingon costume from the last convention!

Continue reading ““Spaced Out: Klingon music? It’s just one of the many languages mastered by this inventive band””

Performances: “Hello, Dolly!”

NAHS students in rehearsal for "Hello, Dolly!"

If you’re reading this post that is because it has been pre-posted as I will be in the middle of the NAHS Theatre Department’s production of Jerry Herman’s, “Hello, Dolly!”  As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, this show will run four nights, so I will be out for the next three evenings and Sunday afternoon.  Here’s a blurb about the show:

It’s been over 20 years since Dolly Levi graced the stage at New Albany High School, but now the world’s most loved matchmaker is making her return for a highly limited engagement! Jerry Herman’s popular hit musical HELLO DOLLY will open this week in the NAHS auditorium for a four-night run, beginning with opening night on this Thursday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students and senior citizens.
Other performances are Friday and Saturday, April 8th and 9th at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 10th at 2:00 p.m. Reservations may be made by calling the theatre office at (812) 981-7650.

Continue reading “Performances: “Hello, Dolly!””

Alternative Strings and the New Golden Age of String Playing

Alternative Strings
Julie Lyonn Lieberman’s Alternative Strings by Amadeus Press (2004)

For some time ASTA (American String Teacher’s Association) has been focusing on training string music teachers to develop Alternative String programs.  Last year I had decided that I need to formally join the organization (which I haven’t done yet but still intend on doing) so that I can be better informed about the programs, literature and techniques being created by those involved in the organization.

ASTA apparently has an “Alternative Styles Award competition” which I learned about after reading Rory Williams “Report from an ASTA Roundtable: ASTA roundtable finds alternative-styles education moving a step ahead—slowly” in the Strings magazine from the conference in Georgia in 2009.  Here’s what sparked my interest in the organization:

Vighnesh Viswanathan, 14, milled about the exhibit hall with his father and sister at the 2009 American String Teachers Association National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. What set him apart from the several hundred teachers, dealers, and performers that visited that day in mid-March was not just his age, but his name badge, which proudly proclaimed “winner.”

“It’s for the Alternative Styles Awards competition,” he said, smiling from ear to ear.

One of 12 string players chosen out of 35 applicants, Viswanathan, of Westford, Massachusetts, won the Junior Division of the “Recognition of Established Traditions” category. His specialty: Carnatic (Indian) violin.

“He studies classical music, too,” his father says.

Viswanathan is part of a growing number of bilingual string players—those who can play both classical and alternative styles—who are seeking a well-rounded education. But nearly a decade after ASTA first embraced alternative styles as a viable pedagogy, the question remains whether teachers and institutions—from the elementary to the graduate level—can accommodate these students.

Continue reading “Alternative Strings and the New Golden Age of String Playing”

Local Louisville Linkblogging

Earlier today I had the pleasure of attending the monthly meeting of GLMTA (Greater Louisville Music Teachers’ Association) as a guest of one of their members at the Strassweg Auditorium in the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library.

Local pianist, Denine LeBlanc, gave a delightful presentation titled “Staying Current” where she played and talked about new music resources available to music teachers really focusing on the idea that living composers are a great pedagogical resource that should be tapped into more than they are.  I picked up her latest CD, Weep No More, which is the second in a series of CDs she’s release featuring the compositions of Kentucky composers.


Later today, musicians of the Louisville Orchestra and the visiting resident orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra from Washington DC will give a concert to help benefit the Keep Louisville Symphonic non-profit organization.  The concert will feature University of Louisville School of Music Violin professor, Patrick Rafferty, playing Samuel Barber‘s Violin Concerto as well as other works by American composers from what I understand.  The concert is titled “A Celebration of Symphonic Music in America” and more information may be found at this link.


Speaking of the University of Louisville School of Music, there is a Composers’ Electronic and Electro-acoustic Music Concert at Bird Hall in the School of Music building beginning at 7pm.


I’ve recently been asked to perform at an upcoming Louisville Avant-Garde Concert Series in late June.  I’ll post more details about that and maybe post about some of my more “experimental” types of performances that I’ve given over the years.

Tuesday Rehearsal Reflections: River City Klezmer Band

I’m posting this now as I may or may not be back in time tonight to finish a post before midnight.  If you folks hadn’t noticed I am attempting to blog once a day–more for the discipline than anything else, but also because I have been really inspired by Eric Edberg‘s (one of my former cello teachers and someone who I still consider a mentor–at least he’s still teaching me things even to this day!).  As an aside-if you haven’t been following Eric’s Sabbatical adventures in New York City–you should!  Some really neat and interesting things happening there an I envy him his time being spent there!

You folks now know what I do on Mondays, Tuesdays are a little different.  I’m usually giving private lessons at IU Southeast to college students as well as kids enrolled in the IU Southeast Arts Institute (which is primarily for k-12 ages), but as I also teach lessons on Wednesdays I’ll wait till tomorrow to blog about this experience (which will be interestingly difficult as the privacy of students is always an issue!).

But what I do want to blog about is that Tuesday nights are also a rehearsal night for me.

Every first and third Tuesdays I make the journey across the river to Louisville, Kentucky to the Jewish Community Center of Louisville to rehearse with the River City Klezmer Band from 7:30-9:00 pm.  This is an amateur group of folks at various level of abilities and stages of musical ability.  Very few of the group are professional musicians and as we often say before our shows the whole idea of Klezmer is to bring together whatever musicians happen to be there to play Klezmer music. Continue reading “Tuesday Rehearsal Reflections: River City Klezmer Band”