Singletary Center Signature Series
The Singletary Center for the Arts celebrates 40 years of great performances in the 2019-2020 season.
Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists of our time: his flawless technique combined with his inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit has solidified his renown as an American master. He is sought after throughout the world for concerto appearances with leading orchestras and conductors, and regularly gives recitals and appears with ensembles on the world's great concert stages and at the most prestigious festivals. Highlights of recent years include a recording and performances of J.S. Bach's complete sonatas and partitas for solo violin and recitals with his long time duo partner pianist, Akira Eguchi. He regularly appears with the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco Symphonies, the Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, and in multi-year residencies with the Orchestras of Montreal, Stuttgart and Singapore.
Mr. Shaham has more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs to his name, earning multiple Grammys, a Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d'Or, and Gramophone Editor's Choice. His most recent recording in the series 1930s Violin Concertos Vol. 2 was nominated for a Grammy Award. Mr. Shaham was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990, and in 2008, received the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. In 2012, he was named "Instrumentalist of the Year" by Musical America. He plays the 1699 "Countess Polignac" Stradivarius, and lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their three children.
Founded in 1918, the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra is a 100-member all-student orchestra performing under the leadership of Conductor and Artistic Director John Nardolillo. The group is made up of undergraduate and graduate students from across the United States, Asia, South America and Europe. The orchestra has performed with world-renowned concert artists including Itzhak Perlman, Lang Lang, Sarah Chang, Gil Shaham, Lynn Harrell, Marvin Hamlisch, Denyce Graves, Christine Brewer, Pink Martini, Ronan Tynan, Mark O'Connor, Wynonna Judd, Keith Lockhart and Arlo Guthrie. The orchestra has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., toured the state of Kentucky regularly, and toured China, playing concerts in major concert halls in Shanghai, Tianjin, Hangzhou, Yangzhou and Beijing. The orchestra's performance at Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts was broadcast on China Central Television, a network reaching more than 1.5 billion viewers.
October 4, 7:30pm - Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer, & Zakir Hussain with Rakesh Chaurasia
There's a bit of the sorcerer in Béla Fleck (banjo), Zakir Hussain (tabla), Edgar Meyer (double bass), and their special guest Rakesh Chaurasia (bansuri - Indian flute). Most musicians hope at most for proficiency in their chosen form, but these gentlemen move from bluegrass to Western classical to Indian classical to jazz, transmuting genres into something uniquely their own as though they'd gotten hold of the alchemist's tools that legendarily changed lead into gold. In any case, it's music that transcends description; ineffable, indefinable, and very beautiful.
Throughout his more than 40 years of performing, Béla Fleck has taken banjo playing to some incredibly unlikely places--not just bluegrass, country, and "newgrass," but also into classical, jazz, pop, and world music. This 15-time Grammy Award winner has been nominated in more categories than any other artist in Grammy history and remains a powerfully creative force in bluegrass, jazz, classical, pop, rock, and world beat music around the globe.
Often hailed as a classical tabla virtuoso of the highest order and one of India's reigning cultural ambassadors, Zakir Hussain boasts a profile of unique contributions to contemporary world music. Throughout his career, he has taken part in many unique collaborations with artists including but not limited to George Harrison, Yo-Yo Ma, Joe Henderson, Van Morrison, and Herbie Hancock. Over the past several years, Zakir has written several concertos on commission for the Symphony Orchestra of India, The Nashville Symphony, and the National Symphony Orchestra.
Hailed by The New Yorker as "... the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively unchronicled history of his instrument," Edgar Meyer is a solo classical bassist who is unparalleled. A MacArthur fellow and 6-time Grammy Award winner, Meyer has carved out a remarkable and unique niche in the musical world both as a performer and a composer. With collaborations central to his career, Meyer has performed with Yo-Yo Ma, Mark O'Connor, Joshua Bell, Sam Bush, Mike Marshall, and, of course, Béla Fleck.
In the world of flute, Rakesh Chaurasia has lived up to the name of his flute maestro uncle, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia quite well. Rakesh has carved himself a niche, evolving an approach to playing that maintains the purity of the flute while also managing to capture the attention of young listeners. Having received numerous awards and accolades; collaborated with names such as Joshua Redman, Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer, and more; and performed at venues across the world both as a classical and experimental flautist, Rakesh is a sure-fire crowd pleaser.
October 19, 7:30pm - Postmodern Jukebox
Inspired by founder and arranger Scott Bradlee's childhood love of classic jazz and Motown, Postmodern Jukebox, also widely known by the acronym PMJ, is a rotating musical collective that was founded in New York City in 2011. PMJ is known for reimagining popular modern music into different vintage genres, especially early 20th century forms such as swing and jazz. In the 8 short years since its inception, PMJ has released 22 albums with several nearly topping Billboard Jazz and Heatseekers charts.
PMJ has also gained a large online following, amassing over 1 billion YouYube views and 3.6 million subscribers. The group has covered songs by artists ranging from Lady Gaga and The Strokes to Katy Perry and the White Stripes. Since beginning as a small group of friends making music in a basement in Queens, New York, PMJ has grown to feature and include over 50 members in its rotating cast gone on to feature 70 performers and tour six continents.
November 15, 7:30pm - Alias Brass Company
Founded in 2013, the Alias Brass Company looks to educate the next generation of musicians, promote and enhance instrumental versatility, and assist in ensuring that music is sustainable and thriving in today's society. Described as "the only name for music innovation" by Martin Hackleman, formerly of the Canadian Brass, the Alias Brass Company's performances are refreshing blends of classical, jazz, pop, and modern pop-culture that captivate audiences around the world.
Beyond being stellar performers, the Alias Brass Company are champions of music education who are dedicated to inspiring the next generation of musicians and music lovers. Alias Brass seeks to inspire not only through their performances but also their acclaimed workshops and presentations such as their "Tech-Tet Creativity Seminar", which is a one-of-a-kind interactive presentation for emerging young musicians that focuses on the challenges of creating chamber music in the 21st century.
The Alias Brass Company is no stranger to the international stage, having performed at foreign venues such as the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta, Canada, and having toured the US from coast to coast. Additionally, they have performed and given masterclasses across the US as performers on the 2017-18 Allied Concert Services roster.
December 11, 7:30pm - Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show
The Blind Boys of Alabama are recognized worldwide as living legends of gospel music. Celebrated by The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) with Lifetime Achievement Awards, inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and winners of five Grammy® Awards, they have attained the highest levels of achievement in a career that spans over 70 years.
The Blind Boys are known for crossing multiple musical boundaries with their remarkable interpretations of everything from traditional gospel favorites to contemporary spiritual material by songwriters such as Eric Clapton, Prince and Tom Waits. They have appeared on recordings with many artists, including Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville, Susan Tedeschi, Ben Harper, Patty Griffin and Taj Mahal. The Blind Boys of Alabama have appeared on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Late Night with David Letterman, The Grammy® Awards, 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report and many other television shows.
January 17, 7:30pm - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Bluegrass Band
Bands have been covering Beatles tunes for decades, but the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Bluegrass Band is a Beatles cover band like no other! In 2002, after seeing Paul McCartney on his U.S. tour, lead vocalist and guitarist Dave Walser was inspired to form a Beatles cover band of his own. Thus, The Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Bluegrass Band was born! For over a decade, this band has been touring all over the U.S., reimagining the music of the Fab Four as though it were distilled somewhere in the Black Mountain Hills of Dakota. The result? A musically satisfying, crowd-pleasing twist of bluegrass, jazz, classical, and old fashioned rock n' roll. The band is comprised of four very unique musicians: Dave Walser on guitar and lead vocals, Bach Norwood on double bass and vocals, Reginald Rueffer on fiddle and vocals, Gerald Jones on banjo and mandolin. The "Bluegrass Beatles" present new and innovative takes on classics like Eleanor Rigby, Come Together, Blackbird, and many more.
February 15, 7:30pm - American Spiritual Ensemble & the Kentucky Jazz Repertory Orchestra perform the music of Duke Ellington
Comprised of some of the finest classically trained singers in the United States, the mission of the American Spiritual Ensemble is to keep the American Negro spiritual alive. Since its inception by Dr. Everett McCorvey in 1995, the ASE has thrilled audiences around the world with its dynamic repertoire ranging from spirituals to classical to jazz and Broadway numbers highlighting the Black experience. The American Spiritual Ensemble is unique in that over 90% of the members are accomplished soloists who have sung in theaters and opera houses world wide, including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and abroad in Italy, Germany, Britain, Scotland, Spain and Japan. The resulting sound of this group is something that choral groups with two or three featured soloists cannot duplicate. The American Spiritual Ensemble has presented diverse concerts throughout the United States, Europe and South America and has toured Spain twelve times presenting more than 100 concerts.
The Kentucky Jazz Repertory Orchestra is a 17 piece big band co-directed by UK School of Music professors Miles Osland and Dick Domek that is especially suited for and highly skilled at recreating authentic swing-era arrangements. The KJRO captures the energy, excitement and rhythmic feeling and pulse of the big band music of the swing-era. Close your eyes and you may think you're back in the late 1930's or early 40's, dancing to Duke Ellington in the Cotton Club, Jimmie Lunceford in the Savoy, Benny Goodman in the Roseland or Count Basie in the Woodside. In 1999, KJRO released their first CD "Ellington Celebration," a retrospective of Duke Ellington's music from the 1920's to the 1970's, establishing the KJRO as one of the best jazz repertory orchestras currently performing.
February 22, 7:30pm - Raul Midón & Lionel Loueke
Raul Midón is an American singer/songwriter and guitarist like no other. After studying in the University of Miami's jazz program, Midón began his career as a sideman and session singer for acts such as Shakira, Julio Iglesias, and Jose Feliciano. Midón aspired to a solo career, though, and after touring with Shakira he moved to NYC to release his first album, 1999's Gracias a la vida. Since then, Midón has released 9 more studio albums as a solo artist, collaborated with legends like Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers, and worked with the company Cakewalk to develop a home studio that would allow him to be the sound engineer on his own albums despite his blindness. Midón has received back-to-back Grammy nominations for Best Vocal Jazz Album for his 2017 release, Bad Ass and Blind, and his 2018 release, If You Really Want.
Hailing from the West African Republic of Benin, Lionel Loueke is one of the most talented jazz guitarists and vocalists of this era. Loueke began his musical journey as a percussionist at the age of 9, but became interested in and began playing guitar as a teenager. He showed incredible passion and determination to defy his financial circumstances, going so far as to replace his strings with bicycle cables when they broke. This passion and determination took Loueke on to study at the National Institute of Art in Ivory Coast, the American School of Music in Paris, Berklee College of Music, and eventually at the Thelonious Monk Institute. Since finishing his studies and beginning his professional career Loueke has released 11 albums as a bandleader and recorded more than 30 as a sideman, working with noteworthy artists such as Esperanza Spalding and Herbie Hancock and winning several awards in the process.