Cedille's Classical Chicago Podcast

Welcome to Cedille’s new podcast, Classical Chicago!

Each episode highlights a new release and features interviews with your favorite Cedille artists along with excerpts from the recording. Scroll down to listen to the show — in full or in shorter sections — and to view behind the scenes photos. You can also subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes

Episode 12 — Anthony McGill

The latest episode of Cedille's Classical Chicago Podcast features an interview with virtuoso clarinetist, Anthony McGill. In conversation with Steve Robinson and Cedille President Jim Ginsburg, Anthony discusses his new album with the McGill/McHale Trio including working with his brother, the challenges of performing in such an unusual ensemble, and his interest in recording new works like Valerie Coleman's Portraits of Langston.

The McGill/McHale Trio, an international all-star ensemble of flute, clarinet, and piano, makes its recording debut with Portraits, featuring world-premiere recordings of new compositions and arrangements for this captivating combination of instruments. Trio flutist Demarre McGill, a Chicago native, has served as principal flute of the Seattle, Dallas, and San Diego symphony orchestras, as well as acting principal of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.. His brother, Anthony McGill, is principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic and former principal of the Met Orchestra. Michael McHale, one of Ireland’s leading pianists, has performed as soloist with the Minnesota, Hallé, Moscow, and Bournemouth Symphony Orchestras and all five of Ireland’s major orchestras.

The “title track,” Valerie Coleman’s Portraits of Langston is a six-movement suite inspired by Langston Hughes’s poetry. Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) reads a Hughes poem before each movement.

Episode 11 — Jorge Federico Osorio

Episode 11 — Jorge Federico Osorio

The latest episode of Cedille's Classical Chicago Podcast features an interview with virtuoso pianist, Jorge Federico Osorio. In conversation with Steve Robinson and Cedille President Jim Ginsburg, Osorio shares his thoughts on Schubert and Brahms, his international career as a musician, and what makes Chicago an important city for classical musicians today. 

Osorio's latest album, Final Thoughts — The Last Piano Works of Schubert & Brahms is now available for pre-order from 
CedilleRecords.orgAmazon.com, and iTunes. To support Osorio and the work of other Cedille artists, we encourage you to tell you friends and post reviews!

Episode 10 — Pacifica Quartet

The latest episode of Cedille's Classical Chicago podcast features an interview with Pacifica Quartet member Sibbi Bernhardsson. The Pacifica Quartets latest album Brahms Piano Quintet / Schumann String Quartet No. 1  is now available from Cedille Records and on Amazon and iTunes. In the podcast, Sibbi discusses the Pacifica Quartet's career, working with legendary pianist Menaham Pressler, and what's next for the ensemble.

Episode 9 — Gaudete Brass

Episode 8 — Mischa Zupko & Sang Mee Lee

Episode 7 — Dover Quartet

Episode 6 — Jennifer Koh

In the sixth episode of Cedille's Classical Chicago Podcast, violinist Jennifer Koh sits down with Steve Robinson to discuss her latest release, Tchaikovsky: Complete Works for Violin and Orchestra. She describes the inspiration behind the album, growing up as the child of Korean immigrants, and reveals why her violin teacher lied to her when she was a young student.

Jennifer Koh, Musical America’s 2016 Instrumentalist of the Year, headlines an album of Tchaikovsky’s complete works for violin and orchestra. It’s the “remarkable . . . thoughtful and vibrant” (Strings Magazine) American violinist’s first recording of music by Tchaikovsky, who has figured prominently in her rise to the top ranks of violinists worldwide. Tchaikovsky’s Concerto in D Major is one of the most celebrated and daunting works in the violin repertoire. The subdued Sérénade mélancolique illustrates the composer’s ear for orchestral color. The delicate Valse-Scherzo melds old-fashioned elegance with spirited playfulness. Souvenir d’un lieu cher’s poignant, nostalgic mood gives way to a delightful finale.

Koh shared the top prize in the 1994 Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow, where she played the Tchaikovsky (and Brahms) concerto and won three special prizes, including for the best performance of Tchaikovsky’s work. The star violinist has a long history with her album collaborators, Denmark’s Odense Symphony Orchestra and its chief conductor, Alexander Vedernikov. In recent years, audiences have heard Koh perform the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Munich Philharmonic under Lorin Maazel, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Carlos Miguel Prieto, Japan’s NHK Symphony under Vedernikov, and the Odense Symphony Orchestra under Christoph Poppen. 

Episode 5 — Lincoln Trio

How is the Lincoln Trio like an arranged marriage? The Trio answers this question while discussing its origins, why they enjoy playing work from "outsider" composers, and the inspiration behind their latest album, Trios From Our Homelands.  The Lincoln Trio is renowned for creating “worthwhile programs of serious classical music that are wholly winning and simply delightful” (ClassicsToday.com). For its newest Cedille Records album, “the brilliant Chicago-based Lincoln Trio” (WRTI-FM, Philadelphia)  has crafted a highly personal program of inventive 20th-century piano trios by composers from the individual players’ ancestral homelands of Switzerland, England, and Armenia, respectively. 

Described by The Strad as "sensational" and "bewitching" and as "models of vibrancy   and control" by Gramophone, the GRAMMY-nominated, Chicago-based Lincoln Trio —Desirée Ruhstrat, violin; David Cunliffe, cello; and Marta Aznavoorian, piano — takes its name from its home, the heartland of the United States, the land of Lincoln. 

A one-of-a-kind album, Trios From Our Homelands offers stellar performances of substantial works that many listeners will be discovering for the first time. The 1922 Piano Trio by England’s Rebecca Clarke brims with attractive melodies presented with virtuosity and musical ingenuity. Armenia’s Arno Babajanian, whom Mstislav Rostropovich called “a brilliant composer,” is represented by his passionate Piano Trio in F-Sharp Minor from 1952. Swiss composer Frank Martin wrote his tuneful Trio on Popular Irish Melodies, the best-known work on the album, in 1925.

Episode 4 — Fifth House Ensemble

Our fourth episode features an interview with flutist Melissa Sznoza and double bassist Eric Snoza, members of the cutting-edge chamber music group Fifth House Ensemble. In conversation with WFMT General Manager Steve Robinson and Cedille Records President Jim Ginsburg, they talk about the group's unique new collaboration with the Israeli folk band Baladino on Cedille's June 2016 release, Nedudim. Named after the Hebrew for “wanderings,” Nedudim is a world-premiere album of eleven new vocal and instrumental works created from a palette of international influences, including accents of Indian raga, plus fresh arrangements of folk melodies from the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East. The album’s title evokes its geography-hopping global perspective.

Praised by The New York Times for its "conviction, authority, and finesse," Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble is defined by its limitless imagination and energy and an insatiable desire to bring transformative performance experiences to audiences of all types. Baladino's music comes from their homeland, Israel - a country comprised of Diaspora Jews who migrated through different parts of the world, bringing with them musical influences from the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. As Israelis born to immigrant parents from Middle Eastern countries, the members of Baladino hold a deep connection to their parents' countries of origin, both musically and culturally.

Episode 3 — Cavatina Duo

Episode 3: Cavatina Duo

Our third episode features an interview with guitarist Denis Azabagic and flutist Eugenia Moliner — collectively, the Cavatina Duo. They discuss Sephardic music, their work with living composers, and the personal story behind their new release, Sephardic Journey with WFMT General Manager Steve Robinson and Cedille Records President Jim Ginsburg. 

Sephardic Journey, the duo’s third Cedille Records album, features five world-premiere recordings of new works — not arrangements — written expressly for them. All are based on early Sephardic melodies in the way Bartók, for example, used Hungarian folk music in his own compositions. Alan Thomas’s Trío Sefardí for flute, cello, and guitar draws on melodies from the Sephardic diaspora. Joseph V. Williams II’s Isabel for flute and guitar pays tribute to a tragic victim of the Spanish Inquisition. Carlos Rafael Rivera’s Plegaria y Canto (al Bodre de La Mar) for alto flute, violin, and guitar depicts an intimate scene of despair and hope on the Spanish coast. David Leisner describes his Love Dreams of the Exile for flute, guitar, and string quartet as “stream-of-consciousness meditations on Sephardic folk music.” Clarice Assad’s Sephardic Suite for flute, guitar, and string quartet evokes contrasting aspects of romance and family life. Stellar guest artists include Cedille label-mates violinist Desirée Ruhstrat and cellist David Cunliffe from the Lincoln Trio and the Avalon String Quartet.

Sephardic Journey is available from iTunes/Apple music here.

Episode 2 — Eighth Blackbird

Episode 2: Lisa Kaplan from Eighth Blackbird

In our second episode, Eighth Blackbird pianist Lisa Kaplan discusses the ensemble's latest album, Hand Eye. Lisa tells Steve and Jim about the origins of Eighth Blackbird, how the ensemble pushes artistic boundaries, and the inspiration behind the album. Eighth Blackbird has won Grammy awards its last four Cedille recordings, dating back to 2007. Its September 2015 Cedille release, FILAMENT, won the GRAMMY for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance at this year's award ceremony. On Hand Eye, the new-music sextet joins forces with Sleeping Giant, a collective of six young American composers “rapidly gaining notice for their daring innovations, stylistic range and acute attention to instrumental nuance” (WQXR Radio).

Pianist Lisa Kaplan is a founding member of Eighth Blackbird. Born in Motown, Kaplan specializes in performing new works by living composers.  She has won numerous awards, performed all over the country, and premiered new pieces by hundreds of composers, including Andy Akiho, Derek Bermel, Jennifer Higdon, Amy Beth Kirsten, David Lang, Nico Muhly, George Perle, and Steve Reich. Kaplan has collaborated and make music with an eclectic array of incredibly talented people, including Mario Batali, Jeremy Denk, Bryce Dessner, Glenn Kotche, Gustavo Santaolalla, Steve Schick, Robert Spano, Dawn Upshaw, and Michael Ward-Bergeman, to name just a few. Recently, she has greatly enjoyed the opportunity to do some composing and arranging for Eighth Blackbird. 

Hand Eye is now available from iTunes/Apple music here.


Episode 1 — Third Coast Percussion
Episode 1: David Skidmore from Third Coast Percussion

Our first episode features an interview with David Skidmore from Third Coast Percussion. In conversation with WFMT General Manager Steve Robinson and Cedille Records President Jim Ginsburg, David talks about the group's founding, its relationship with Steve Reich's music, and their new album on Cedille Records. In February, Third Coast Percussion made their Cedille label debut with Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich, an 80th birthday salute to visionary American composer Steve Reich, a Pulitzer Prize winner and founding father of musical minimalism. An album of sonic delights, the recording offers four of the composer’s most celebrated works for percussion. In the magical Mallet Quartet, vibraphone melodies unfold over marimba rhythms. Sextet, almost symphonic in scope with two pianos added to the percussion battery, is full of surprises. The short, Japanese-commissioned Nagoya Marimbas exhibits pentatonic coloration. Third Coast Percussion is joined by eighth blackbird’s Matthew Duvall for Music for Pieces of Wood, played on five wooden slats tuned to specific pitches for an astonishing variety of sounds.

David Skidmore is an ensemble member and Executive Director of Third Coast Percussion. As a chamber musician, David has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Center Festival, Kimmel Center, EMPAC, June in Buffalo, Klangspuren Schwaz, the Ojai Music Festival, the Bang On a Can Marathon and three Percussive Arts Society International Conventions. David was a member of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble from 2007-2011 and Ensemble ACJW from 2008-2010. David has performed and collaborated with many of the world’s finest musicians including conductors Pierre Boulez, Lorin Maazel, David Robertson, and Michael Tilson Thomas, composers Steve Reich, Steve Mackey, Matthias Pintscher, and Peter Eötvos, and chamber ensembles So Percussion and eighth blackbird. David has performed as a soloist in Europe, Asia, and the United States. David has also performed as a member of the Lucerne Festival Academy, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Pacific Music Festival, and the National Repertory Orchestra. David is also a composer, and his works are performed regularly in concert halls and universities across the country. David taught for four years on the percussion faculty at the Peabody Conservatory. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music. His teachers were Michael Hernandez, Shawn Schietroma, Michael Burritt, James Ross, and Robert Van Sice.

Part 1: About Third Coast Percussion and Steve Reich, with movement from Mallet Quartet (11 1/2')

Part 2: About Steve Reich's impact, and interpreting and recording his music, with movement from Sextet (15 1/2')

Part 3: About Third Coast Percussion's Steve Reich mobile app and TCP's collaborations, with excerpt from Negoya Marimbas (11')

Part 4: Music for Pieces of Wood as example of TCP's way of interpreting Reich with excerpt, plus information on TCP's upcoming performances (9')

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