Jason Vieaux‘s mother was a school librarian who bought him his first classical guitar for $50 when he was a young boy. Fast forward several decades later and Mr. Vieaux is now a Grammy-winning musician who tours internationally, performing to eager audiences at almost every major classical guitar festival in the world. Vieaux is also no stranger to Philly: He’s Curtis faculty, and he’s performed numerous concerts here. He’ll be returning to World Cafe Live on May 7th to perform with the Al-Bustan Takht Ensemble, part of the LiveConnections concert series which aims to pair unlikely artists for interesting music making. We caught up with Vieaux to discuss his upcoming show and why Philly is such a hotbed for classical music. Read more »
Friends, supporters and patrons of the arts gathered at the Curtis Institute of Music on Saturday night for the screening of Maestro, an intimate, unprecedented glimpse into the life of a renowned conductor and a vibrant, contemporary portrait of the world of classical music. For two years a film crew followed Grammy award-winning conductor and Curtis alum Paavo Jarvi, violinists Joshua Bell and Hilary Hahn, as well as an array of other musicians to show the importance of classical music and music education.
More photos from the Curtis screening of The Maestro after the jump »
When Joseph Hallman was a child, his mother would tell him that he was so open-minded that his brain would fall out.
Thankfully that never happened, and years later it may be that very open-mindedness that the Philly-based composer can credit for much of his success, including the recent news that his album, Sprung Rhythm, was nominated for a 2014 Grammy in the Best Surround Sound Album category. And get this, among the five albums up for the award are works crediting Paul McCartney and Les Claypool.
Even before his Grammy nomination, the 34-year-old had been touted for his wide scope of work: In 2011, NPR named him one of the top 100 Composers Under 40. Major companies, like the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and Pittsburgh Symphony have played his compositions. And sensing greatness long before the nominations were revealed, The Washington Post called Hallman’s work on Sprung Rhythm “skillful” and claimed that he was a composer “to watch.”
So what inspires the young songster? “Anything and everything,” he says. His list of influencers includes everyone from Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A. and modern composer Nico Muhly to American Horror Story. (He recently composed a piece of music inspired by his fascination with witches and the television show.)
Hallman sees music as being part of who he is, that there’s a self-awareness in his compositions he calls “organic.”
“My music is me,” he says. Indeed, this might be the best way to describe Hallman’s philosophy on music-making. In a world of pop-star generators like American Idol and The Voice, his approach to cranking out tunes is refreshingly simple: “Just be yourself.”
Sprung Rhythm is available for purchase on iTunes. You can follow Joseph Hallman on Twitter: @HallmanComposer.