Spring Arts Music / Spring Arts Music
The musical offerings this season initially presented themselves with a sense of doom–the symphony is flat-lined, her musicians scattered to the winds; presenters have a fraction of the gigs they used to field. With what will we fill our ears? Well, actually, an amazing array of options appears, if we expand our palette. Here is a fast tour of this year’s upcoming classical, jazz, and more obscure genre performances.
We’ll start with Duo Montagnard, a pair of musicians–Joseph Murphy on saxophone and Matthew Slotkin on guitar–both professors of music. Despite their instruments, this is not jazz. The duo plays contemporary classical compositions by living composers.
Next up is another genre-bending group, VIVO, at Hawaii Public Radio’s Atherton Performing Arts Studio. Vivo consists of clarinetist Norm Foster and violinist Duane Padilla, both Honolulu symphony players, along with Ruth Shiroma Foster on piano, ‘ukulele and vocals. They play a witty mix of standards by Cole Porter and others, with a Paris café twist.
Chamber Music Hawaii (CMH) begins the more traditional classical offerings with its mighty Tresemble, the supergroup formed by their wind, brass, and string ensembles. As usual, concerts are presented at both the Paliku and Doris Duke theatres.
The Satomi Yarimizo Quintet hosts New York saxophonist Rob Scheps for two shows at the Dragon Upstairs. The first features music of the Jazz Messengers with DeShannon Higa sitting in. The second features music by Wayne Shorter.
Linda Chatterton brings her renowned classical flute skills to the Orvis Auditorium for a program ranging from Bach to a world premiere of Takuma Ito’s new work, Trade Winds. Jonathan Korth accompanies on piano.
Last Saturday Roots
January’s last Saturday begins a long overdue showcase series for Honolulu jazz musicians, hosted by the Doris Duke Theatre and called Last Saturday Roots in Jazz. First up is singer Starr Kalahiki, herself overdue for acclaim, given her great pipes.
The series continues through May with Chuck James, drummer and patriarch of a generation of Honolulu drummers (2/3), bassist Dean Taba, back after years in L.A. (3/23), drummer and ‘ukulele stud Abe Lagrimas Jr. (4/27) and world-class trumpeter DeShannon Higa with the Subtonic Orchestra (5/25).
February opens up with what promises to be an incredible show by Toubab Krewe, a North Carolina group that blends West African instruments and rhythms into genre-bending grooves. They’ve established a reputation as an international must-see, whether you catch them at Bonaroo or concert stages (2/1).
Taiko Drum and Dance
UH’s Kennedy Theatre hosts Taiko Drum and Dance with Kenny Endo and guest artists Vicky Holt Takamine, Sonja Sironen and Chizuko Endo.
Onium Ballet Project
The Onium Ballet Project takes the stage at Paliku Theatre, with musical backup from the CMH Tresemble. Artistic Director Minou Lallemand has put together a program with music by Prokofiev and del Aguila that is sure to delight.
Afiara String Quartet
The Afiara String Quartet is a bright, young Canadian group, fresh out of a prestigious residency at Juilliard. They maintain an active involvement with new composers, influenced by their mentors the Kronos Quartet.
A Night in Bali
The UH Balinese Gamelan Ensemble presents a world-class performance every few years. This year brings us music, dance and shadow puppets for A Night in Bali at the LCC Theatre. Director I Made Widana has coached the ensemble for three years leading up to this event.
Students are an underrated resource for good music. The boundaries between symphonies and university ensembles are permeable, and your average college student has more time invested in their practice than your MD. April is the beginning of the hot time, and the student spotlight shines through the following:
Hawaiian Chorus and Ensembles
UH Hawaiian Chorus, Hula and Chant Ensembles by Vicky Holt Takamine, kumu hula, and Nola A. Nhulu, chorus director.
CMH closes their spring offerings with a Tresemble concert featuring some obscure but lovely pieces definitely worth a listen, including Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro (no, Bolero was not his only work).
Others at Atherton
Hawaii Public Radio begins their mid-year offerings at the Atherton in May. Shows include: Celtic-infused acoustic music (5/4), Ian O’Sullivan, a classical/slack key guitarist (5/18) and the Chris Vandercook Band, featuring jazz and blues fusion (5/25).