Spring Arts Music

Spring Arts Music
The crew of Toubab Krewe will perform at LCC in Feb.
Image: Courtesy Toubab Krewe

What’s left of Honolulu’s post-Symphonic music landscape is hardly a wasteland. Here’s why.

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.


Duo Montagnard

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.

Orvis Auditorium, 2411 Dole St., Fri., 1/18, 7:30pm, $5–$12


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.

Atherton Performing Arts Studio, 738 Kaheka St., Sat., 1/19, 7:30pm, [hawaiipublicradio.org]

The Tresemble

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.

Paliku Theatre, 45-720 Keahala Rd., Kaneohe, Sun., 1/20, 4pm; Doris Duke Theatre, 900 S. Beretania St., Mon., 1/28, 7:30pm $20–$25, [chambermusichawaii.org]

Rob Scheps

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.

The Dragon Upstairs, 1038 Nuuanu Ave. Thu., 1/24 and Thu., 1/31, 8–11pm, $10

Linda Chatterton

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.

Orvis Auditorium, Thu., 1/24, 7:30pm, $5–$12

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).


Toubab Krewe

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).

Leeward Community College Theatre, 96-045 Ala ‘Ike, Fri., 2/1, 8pm, $15–$30, 455-0385

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.

Kennedy Theatre, 1770 East-West Rd., 2/8, 2/9, 2/15–17, various times, $5–$24, [hawaii.edu]

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.

Paliku Theatre, Sun., 2/24, 4pm, $30–$35, 489-5038


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.

Doris Duke Theatre, Fri., 3/1, 7:30pm, $43–$45, [honolulumuseum.org], 532-8768

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.

Leeward Community College Theatre, Sat., 3/23, 8pm, $12–$30, 455-0385


Student Performances

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:

UH Chamber Music Ensembles, I-Bei Lin, director; Orvis Auditorium, Sun., 4/7, 4pm, free
HPU Orchestra Spring Concert; Hawaii Theatre, Sat., 4/20, 7pm, $5–10
UH Pau Hana Concert: Student performances include Japanese gagaku and koto, Okinawan, Chinese, Nepali and Hawaiian genres; Orvis Auditorium and Barbara Smith Amphitheater, Sun., 4/28, 3pm, free


Hawaiian Chorus and Ensembles

UH Hawaiian Chorus, Hula and Chant Ensembles by Vicky Holt Takamine, kumu hula, and Nola A. Nhulu, chorus director.

Orvis Auditorium, Wed., 5/1, 7:30pm, $6–$10

Tresemble Closer

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).

Doris Duke Theatre (5/6), Paliku Theatre (5/13), 7:30pm, $20–$25, 489-5038

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).

Atherton Performing Arts Studio, 7:30pm, $15–$30, 955-8821, [hawaiipublicradio.org]