SMF Live

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1117 – António Zambujo

Portugal’s António Zambujo has been a leading voice in the resurrection of male fado singers. A nearly 200 year-old tradition, this expressive style of Portuguese song is associated with pubs, cafes and restaurants, and is often deeply melancholic. While Zambujo can deftly project the sorrow and longing of fado music, his performances are balanced with…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1111 – Sam Reider & the Human Hands

Sam Reider and the Human Hands are a Brooklyn-based collective of jazz and bluegrass musicians who made their SMF debut in the spring of 2018 on a co-bill with Mike Block & Sandeep Das. The San Francisco born accordionist-pianist-composer Sam Reider leads this ensemble in a performance of music from their most recent release, Too…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1110 – Etienne Charles’ Gullah Roots

In 2018, Trinidadian jazz trumpeter and composer Etienne Charles was commissioned by Rob Gibson for the Savannah Music Festival to compose a work that explored the Afro-Caribbean connections to Gullah music and the Gullah connections to American music. In this episode, we listen to the premiere of that work, live from the 2018 Savannah Music…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1108 – Hawktail

In this episode, we listen to excerpts from a 2018 performance by Hawktail, an acoustic quartet featuring Brittany Haas on fiddle, Dominick Leslie on mandolin, Jordan Tice on guitar and Paul Kowert on bass. The four members have performed at SMF on numerous occasions in different projects, including Haas Kowert Tice, Punch Brothers, Abigail Washburn,…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1103 – Terell Stafford Plays Lee Morgan, Part Two

Trumpeter Lee Morgan was an American jazz musician known mainly as one of the key hard bop players of the 1960s. Morgan came to prominence in his late teens after recording with saxophonist John Coltrane and drummer Art Blakey before launching his own solo career. Trumpeter Terell Stafford was only six years old when Lee…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1102 – Terell Stafford Plays Lee Morgan

Trumpeter Lee Morgan was an American jazz musician known mainly as one of the key hard bop players of the 1960s. Morgan came to prominence in his late teens after recording with saxophonist John Coltrane and drummer Art Blakey before launching his own solo career. Trumpeter Terell Stafford was only six years old when Lee…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1101 – Väsen and the Danish String Quartet

Nordic folk music includes a number of traditions from Northern Europe, especially the Scandinavian countries. In this episode, we listen to highlights from a 2016 SMF program called “When the Danes Met the Swedes” – combining the Swedish trio Väsen with the Danish String Quartet on a unique double bill.

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1052 – Julian Lage Trio 2018

Julian Lage is the sort of musician who makes every gesture feel both easeful and essential. The 30 year-old guitarist was a prodigy before he was 10, and has performed and taught at SMF in a wide variety of projects over the past decade. In this episode, we listen to Lage’s trio, featuring Jorge Roeder…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1050 – Yekwon Sunwoo

Gold medalist of the 15th Van Cliburn International piano compettiion, 28 year-old pianist Yekwon Sunwoo is a powerful and virtuosic performer, who, in his own words, “strives to reach for the truth and pure beauty in music.” In this episode, we listen to his SMF debut in a recital given during the 2018 festival at…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1049 – Tommy Emmanuel

In the spring of 2018, Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel made his Savannah debut at our festival, where he wowed the crowd with two completely different solo sets. Emmanuel’s playing incorporates a multitude of musical influences and styles, including jazz, blues, bluegrass, folk and rock, with the finger-style playing he absorbed from mentor Chet Atkins at…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1048 – Marc-André Hamelin 2018

Pianist Marc-André Hamelin is known worldwide for his unrivaled blend of consummate musicianship and brilliant technique in the great works of the established repertoire. This episode features highlights from his 2018 recital at the Savannah Music Festival.

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1047 – Stewart Goodyear – Part Nine

Many pianists have played all 32 Beethoven sonatas over their career, and some have even played all of them over the course of a season in a concert hall. But almost no one has ever attempted to play all 32 of them in one day, spread across three concerts. This is the ninth installment of…

Savannah Music Festival 1040 – Stewart Goodyear – Part Eight

Many pianists have played all 32 Beethoven sonatas over their career, and some have even played all of them over the course of a season in a concert hall. But almost no one has ever attempted to play all 32 of them in one day, spread across three concerts. This is the eighth installment of…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1038 – Stewart Goodyear – Part Seven

Many pianists have played all 32 Beethoven sonatas over their career, and some have even played all of them over the course of a season in a concert hall. But almost no one has ever attempted to play all 32 of them in one day, spread across three concerts. This is the seventh installment of…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1036 – Stewart Goodyear – Part Six

Many pianists have played all 32 Beethoven sonatas over their career, and some have even played all of them over the course of a season in a concert hall. But almost no one has ever attempted to play all 32 of them in one day, spread across three concerts. This is the sixth installment of…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1037 – Chouk Bwa Libéte

The music of Haiti combines a wide range of influences drawn from the many people who have settled on the island of Hispaniola. It reflects French, African rhythms, Spanish elements and others. “Rasin” is a musical style that began in the 1970s when musicians started combining elements of traditional Haitian vodou ceremonial and folkloric music…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1035 – Earls of Leicester 2017

The music of Flatt & Scruggs has been given new life by dobro player Jerry Douglas’ award-winning ensemble the Earls of Leicester. In this episode, we listen to the Earls’ second SMF performance, given in 2017 at the Lucas Theatre for the Arts.

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1032 – Stewart Goodyear – Part Five

Many pianists have played all 32 Beethoven sonatas over their career, and some have even played all of them over the course of a season in a concert hall. But almost no one has ever attempted to play all 32 of them in one day, spread across three concerts. This is the fifth installment of…

Schedule View Test – April 14

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1031 – Sanam Marvi

With compelling interpretations that draw deeply from one of the worlds great music traditions, Sanam Marvi is Pakistan’s young and brilliant vocal interpreter of South Asian spiritual, folk and classical poetry. A vocal warrior for peace, this contemporary daughter of interior sindh believes that there is comfort to be found in the wisdom of Sufis…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1030 – Cooder White Skaggs

Individually, Ry Cooder, Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White are acclaimed veterans of the roots music scene. But when they decided to join forces in concert as Cooder-White-Skaggs, they became an Americana supergroup steeped in traditional roots music. In this episode, we listen to their 2017 Savannah Music Festival performance at the Lucas Theatre for the…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1027 – Stewart Goodyear – Part Four

Many pianists have played all 32 Beethoven sonatas over the course of their career, and some have played all of them over the course of a season in a concert hall. But almost no one has ever attempted to play all 32 in one day. In this episode, we listen to excerpts from Stewart Goodyear’s…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1026 – Marcus Printup Youngbloods

For those who care deeply about jazz music and hope for future generations to keep the music alive and well, they recognize that to ensure the torch gets passed, there must be writing, education and performance continually made available to young audiences. Trumpeter Marcus Printup not only adheres to this philosophy, but he also believes…

Savannah Music Festival 1024 – Stewart Goodyear – Part Three

Many pianists have played all 32 Beethoven sonatas over the course of their career, and some have played all of them over the course of a season in a concert hall. But almost no one has ever attempted to play all 32 in one day. In this episode, we listen to excerpts from Stewart Goodyear’s…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1022 – Aoife O’Donovan

In the words of Irish-American singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan, “performing alone is a very solitary experience. Aoife makes the claim that “when you’re in a band and something amazing happens on stage, you look at each other, ‘Yeah! We’re so locked in.’ Or if something goes wrong, you can look at each other and shrug and…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1017 – Stewart Goodyear, Part Two

Many pianists have played all 32 Beethoven sonatas over the course of their career, and some have played all of them over the course of a season in a concert hall. But almost no one has ever attempted to play all 32 in one day. In this episode, we listen to excerpts from Stewart Goodyear’s…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1016 – Leyla McCalla

Leyla McCalla is an American musician of Haitian descent, who first became known for her work with the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Since leaving that group in 2012, she has been working to develop her own personal approach to music that encompasses her Haitian roots, American folk, Louisiana roots and gospel, along with jazz and classical…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1013 – German Lopez

German Lopez is an esteemed timple player from the Canary Islands, an archipelago off the northwest coast of Africa that belongs to the nation of Spain. In this episode, we listen to German Lopez’s SMF debut in 2017 alongside his musical partner, guitarist Antonio Toledo.

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1012 – Stewart Goodyear, Part One

Many pianists have played all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas over their career, and some have even played all of them over the course of a season in a concert hall, but almost nobody has ever attempted to play all 32 of them in one day. Canadian pianist Stewart Goodyear, in a program he calls Sonatathon,…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1011 – Mozart & Hummel

By the early 1880s, Johann Hummel’s father recognized that he had a child prodigy who had outstripped his own ability to teach him, so he jumped at the chance to move his family to Vienna where Mozart was then at his peak. When Mozart learned of this extraordinary young man, he invited him to his…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1009 – Jan Lisiecki

Though he rejects the label “child prodigy,” Polish-Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki started playing at age 5 and made his orchestral debut at age 9. His approach to music is a refreshing combination of dedication, skill and enthusiasm. In this episode, we listen to Jan Lisiecki’s Savannah debut from the 2017 Savannah Music Festival, recorded live…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1008 – Ebene Quartet with Daniel Hope & Simon Crawford-Phillips

Since 2004, Daniel Hope has been Associate Artistic Director of the Savannah Music Festival. During this time, his meteoric rise in the world of classical music has resulted from his all-out passion for connecting his music to audiences. He has also helped create original chamber music programs built around visiting artists from North America and…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1007 – Foghorn Stringband

Foghorn Stringband made their Savannah Music Festival debut in 2017 on a double-bill with the Dom Flemons Trio. With eight albums, thousands of shows, fifteen years of touring under their belts and an entirely new generation of roots musicians following their lead, Foghorn is comprised of Caleb Klauder (mandolin, vocals), Sammy Lind (fiddle, vocals), Reeb…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1005 – Richard Thompson

Richard Thompson is constantly ranked among rock n’ roll’s greatest guitarists and finest songwriters by the music press and fellow musicians. His return to the Savannah Music Festival in 2017 spotlighted his abilities as a solo performer, including material from his earliest days with Fairport Convention through his latest solo album.

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1004 – Mike Marshall & Edgar Meyer with George Meyer

Mandolinist Mike Marshall and bassist Edgar Meyer first began playing together in the early 1980s, and their genre blending musical projects over the years have been nothing short of remarkable. In this episode, we hear their 2017 Savannah Music Festival performance at the Lucas Theatre for the Arts, where they were joined by Edgar’s son…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1003 – Sarah Jarosz 2017

Singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz continues to build a career that includes an exceptional catalog of original songs, an impressive array of performing projects, and most recently a flurry of commendations including two Grammy Awards. In this episode, we listen to Sarah Jarosz’ 2017 return to the Savannah Music Festival, where she shared a…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1002 – Piano Showdown, the Latin Tinge

In a memorable Library of Congress interview with folklorist Alan Lomax, Jelly Roll Morton described the “Spanish Tinge” as tresillo and habanera rhythms of Afro-Cuban music that were an essential ingredient to jazz music. In this episode, we listen to a 2017 concert exploring that phenomenon with three acclaimed jazz pianists, Marcus Roberts, Danilo Perez…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 1001 – MSU Professors of Jazz Play Monk

The jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk was born in Rocky Mount North Carolina in 1917 and is the second most-recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington. During SMF 2017, we focused on two of jazz music’s most pivotal figures born 100 years ago: Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie. In this episode, we listen to Rodney…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 952 – Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge 2017

Guitarists Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge craft songs that sound familiar but are never easily classified. Percolating with tinges of bluegrass and folk, insinuations of jazz and pop, hints of classical and avant-garde composition, they rarely settle into any one category. Rather, their music dances around the territory between genres, never announcing its innovations and…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 951 – Joel Savoy & Kelli Jones

Joel Savoy, the son of Cajun musician/accordion builder Marc and musician/historian Ann Savoy, has been at the forefront of the Louisiana music revival of the past two decades. He is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, producer and record label (Valcour) founder who has won the Cajun French Music Association’s “Fiddler of the Year” Award twice, and was…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 950 – Stephen Riley Quartet

The ultimate goal of every jazz musician is to achieve his or her personal sound, an unmistakable voice whereby they blend expression, emotion and technique through mastery of their instrument. Tenor saxophonist Stephen Riley has one of the most distinctive voices in modern jazz, and this episode features his 2016 appearance leading a quartet backed…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 948 – Matt Munisteri

As an instrumentalist of prodigious technique, a session musician and producer, a selfless and devoted sideman, a contemporary master of 1920s and ’30s jazz styles and an ardent student of American folk traditions, Matt Munisteri’s journey through 20th century American music yields a vision that feels intrinsically whole. This 2016 SMF performance by Munisteri features…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 946 – The Tallis Scholars

Over four decades of performance and a catalog of award-winning recordings, Peter Phillips and The Tallis Scholars have done more than any other group to establish sacred vocal music of the Renaissance as one of the great repertoires of western Classical music. Formed in 1973, their goal was to bring Renaissance works to a wider…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 942 – Mike Marshall & Caterina Lichtenberg

The history of the mandolin goes back to 17th and 18th century Italy, when the instrument evolved from the lute family. Over time, the mandolin developed into primarily three types: the Neopolitan or round-backed mandolin, the carved top mandolin and the flat-backed mandolin. Whether it is used in western classical music, Brazilian music, bluegrass and…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 941 – Dave Rawlings Machine – Part Two

He calls it a machine, but it’s actually a band — a quintet to be precise, rooted in folk, country, blues and rock ‘n’ roll. Dave Rawlings’ longtime musical partner is Gillian Welch, and she joins him along with Willie Watson, Brittany Haas and Paul Kowert on this Savannah debut performance. This is part two…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 939 – Dave Rawlings Machine – Part One

Though he’s a guitarist, producer and singer, Dave Rawlings is probably best known as the longtime musical partner of singer-songwriter Gillian Welch. Together they have created an original body of work and an Americana roots sound whose beauty and brilliance is unique even ina city as musical as Nashville. In this episode, we listen to…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 935 – Brian Blade Fellowship

While generally acknowledged as one of the finest jazz drummers in the world, Brian Blade is also a singer-songwriter, a session man for Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, and the son of a singing preacher man from Louisiana. In this episode, we listen to his signature group, Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band, in their…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 934 – Catherine Russell

When you’re born into a renowned musical family, there’s generally a better chance of you understanding music not simply as a job, but as a way of life. Such was the case for Catherine Russell, whose father Luis Russell was Louis Armstrong’s long-time musical director. Her mother was Carline Ray, a singer with degrees from…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 933 – Kayhan Kalhor & Brooklyn Rider

The Persian Empire was any of a series of imperial dynasties centered in Persia, an area that is now modern-day Iran. One of the most famous instruments in traditional Persian music is the kamancheh, a four-stringed, upright fiddle. Kayhan Kalhor is a master of the kamancheh, and in this episode, we listen to his SMF…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 931 – The Time Jumpers – Part Two

In this episode, we listen to part two of a two-part show from SMF 2016 with the Time Jumpers featuring Vince Gill.

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 930 – The Time Jumpers – Part One

While American country music originated in the late 1920s in the southern United States, an important subgenre of the style was called western swing. As dance music, often with an uptempo beat, western swing attracted huge crowds to dance halls and clubs in Texas, Oklahoma and California during the 1930s and 40s, until a federal…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 928 – Arnaldo Cohen

The Brazilian born pianist Arnaldo Cohen, now living in the U.S., has long had a reputation for astonishing his audiences with the musical authority and blistering virtuosity of his performances. His grateful and unaffected platform manner belies playing of white-hot intensity, intellectual probity and glittering bravura technique bordering on sheer wizardry. In this episode, we…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 926 – Murray Perahia

Every once in a while, a performer seems to transcend the experience of giving a recital for an audience into something vastly fulfilling for themselves. When it happens, the result is powerful and revelatory, and it usually leaves the audience hungry for more. In the 40+ years that Murray Perahia has been performing on the…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 924 – Great Concertos 2016

The word “concerto” is derived from the Italian concertare, which means “to reach an agreement.” Concertos have been written for all the instruments of the orchestra, but the vast majority are written for violin cello or piano, as these three instruments feature a wide dynamic and expressive range. In this episode, we feature several masterpieces…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 923 – Haas Kowert Tice

In this episode, we listen to the SMF debut of the trio Haas Kowert Tice, made up of Brittany Haas (Dave Rawlings Machine, Crooked Still) on fiddle, Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers) on bass and Jordan Tice (Tony Trischka Band) on guitar. These three young acoustic musicians have already covered a lot of territory in their…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 922 – Joey Alexander Trio

Stories of child prodigies in the world of music have a long history, going back to such luminaries as Mozart, Chopin, Liszt and Mendelssohn. Jazz pianist Joey Alexander was discovered in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2012 around the age of eight. Joey might be the most talked-about young musician that jazz has seen in decades. He…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 918 – Balsam Range

Balsam Range is an award-winning bluegrass band named after the majestic mountain range in their home of Haywood County, where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge. They perform finely crafted songs with tightly woven harmonies, and have established themselves as one of the most in-demand ensembles in bluegrass. This episode features their 2015 performance at…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 916 – Schubert Piano, Early and Late

Composer Franz Schubert is perhaps the single instance of a great artist whose outer life had no affinity or connection with art. His career was simple and uneventful, so out of all proportion with the works which he created like a heaven-sent genius, that we must at last turn to them mainly if we would…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 915 – Beethoven Piano Trios, Part Two

As with the symphony and the string quartet, the piano trio was inherited by Beethoven and transformed into a vehicle for the most deeply felt musical expression. In this episode, we listen to the second half of the complete cycle of Beethoven Piano Trios, performed by David Finckel, Wu Han and Philip Setzer at the…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 914 – Musical Friendships

In the mid-1870s when Johannes Brahms served on the jury of the Austrian state stipendium, he encountered a submission from an obscure Czech composer whose mastery and talent overwhelmed him. Brahms immediately became a huge supporter of Antonin Dvorák, and also arranged for some of Dvorák’s work to be given to his own publisher. The…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 913 – Vicente Amigo, Part Two

Flamenco guitarist Vicente Amigo made his southeastern U.S. debut at the 2016 Savannah Music Festival. This episode is part two of two.

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 912 – Beethoven Piano Trios, Part Two

As with the symphony and the string quartet, the piano trio was inherited by Beethoven and transformed into a vehicle for the most deeply felt musical expression. In this episode, we listen to the first half of the complete cycle of Beethoven Piano Trios, performed by David Finckel, Wu Han and Philip Setzer at the…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 911 – Vicente Amigo, Part One

The flamenco guitarist Vicente Amigo, from Seville, Spain, has called his engagement with his instrument “beloved torture.” You can imagine why when you hear him play: he reachers for depth of expression within ultimate precision, and sometimes at breathtaking speed. In this episode, we listen to Vicente Amigo’s Savannah debut. Part one of two.

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 910 – Cecile McLorin Salvant 2016, Part Two

She’s been called the finest jazz singer to emerge in this century, with a voice often compared to Sarah Vaughan. She draws from a range of sources, and she collects songs like some people collect coins. In March of 2016, we brought Cecile McLorin Salvant for a return appearance at our festival along with the…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 909 – Mozart & Mendelssohn with the Danish String Quartet

At our 2016 festival, the Danish String Quartet made their debut appearance with three separate concert performances and a master class for young string players. They played with the Swedish trio Väsen, as part of the Daniel Hope & Friends chamber music series, and on their own independent chamber music program. In this episode, we…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 908 – Monty Alexander Trio

The very finest musicians always seem to effortlessly deliver jazz standards and originals to audiences, making it clear that a great artist can also be an entertainer. Such is the case with the 70-year old Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander, who grew up in Kingston, where performances by Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole left a…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 907 – Cecile McLorin Salvant 2016 – Part One

Since her breakout win at the Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition at the age of 21 in 2010, Cecile McLorin Salvant has emerged as one of the great jazz singers of the past 40 years. In style and voice, she has been compared with Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, all of whom…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 905 – Late Night Jazz Jam 2016

Nearly every year during the Savannah Music Festival, a highlight of our Swing Central Jazz high school jazz band workshop and competition is a jam session featuring the faculty and clinicians in attendance. The event typically serves as a wrap party, and a house band occupies the bandstand while inviting guest musicians on stage throughout…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 904 – Eric Alexander Quartet

When tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander made his debut recording as a leader in 1992 at the age of 25, many jazz writers dubbed him a “young lion” and a musician on his way up. That was nearly 25 years and more than 20 years ago. In the spring of 2016, Alexander brought his longtime quartet…

Savannah Music Festival Live 903 – Rhiannon Giddens

As an anthropologist of traditional songwriting, Rhiannon Giddens aims to take listeners on a journey of American roots music. She earned her college degree at Oberlin and trained to be an opera singer, but the North Carolina native sings blues, folk, field hollers and other styles of Americana music with deeply felt authenticity. In this…

Savannah Music Festival Live 902 – Randy Napoleon Trio

In the Spring of 2016, jazz guitarist Randy Napoleon was at our festival premiering “He Said, She Said” featuring jazz singers Freddy Cole and Rene Marie. As the guitarist and musical director of Freddy Cole’s group, Randy was an essential component for the project, along with rhythm section mates Quentin Baxter and Elias Bailey. Having…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 901 – Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill

Irish traditional music has been around for centuries and has always included an array of drinking songs, ballads and laments, as well as traditional dance tunes including reels, hornpipes and jigs. The past century has seen a great blend of musicians drawn to the sounds of Irish music from both sides of the Atlantic. In…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 852 – Del & Dawg

With one hundred and forty-five collective years between them, Del McCoury and David Grisman have both become masters of Americana music. While each of these men have performed at SMF on numerous occasions, this was the first time they ever took the stage as the duo “Del & Dawg.” In this episode, we listen to…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 851 – Aaron Diehl Solo, 2016

Aaron Diehl is a 30-year-old jazz pianist whose broad aesthetic palette ranges from ragtime to stride piano to the works of George Gershwin and Phillip Glass. In responding to an interviewer about styles in jazz, Aaron Diehl once stated, “a lot of times we look at jazz in eras, but how can we not keep…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 850 – Ballake Sissoko 2016

A griot is a West African historian, storyteller, praise singer, poet or musician. The griot, referred to as a djeli in some countries, is a repository of oral tradition. The griot is also a living archive of the people’s traditions, and the virtuoso talents of the griots command universal admiration. In this episode, we listen…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 833 – DakhaBrakha

The name DakhaBrakha means “give/take” in the old Ukranian language. Reflecting the fundamental elements of sound and soul, the Ukranian “ethnic chaos” band DakhaBrakha creates a world of unexpected new music, like nothing you’ve ever heard before. In this episode, we listen to their SMF debut, a closing night concert from the 2015 Savannah Music…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 848 – Viennese Masterpieces

While Franz Schubert is the only major composer of the 18th and 19th centuries who was actually born in Vienna, the First Viennese School is the name that commonly refers to the main composers of the Classical Period in western art music that resided there. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert, represent as the name says…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 847 – The Boxcars

While many fans of bluegrass music date the genre to 1939, when Bill Monroe first formed his blue grass boys band, most believe that the classic bluegrass sound came together in late 1945, shortly after North Carolina banjo player Earl Scruggs joined the band at age 21. Seven decades later, there are many excellent bluegrass…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 843 – Warren Wolf & Wolfpack

The vibraphone, also known as the vibraharp, or simply the vibes, is a musical instrument in the struck idiophone subfamily of the percussion family. Jazz is the only genre of music that uses the vibraphone as a lead or improvisational instrument, which has helped make it one of the most beautiful and versatile choices in…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 839 – Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet

Ellis and Delores Marsalis began to cultivate their youngest son’s interest in music at age three, after buying him a toy drum set. They played a game with him and introduced him to an imaginary crowd by saying “ladies and gentlemen, introducing the fabulous Jason!” The young boy would come out and start banging away…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 838 – Rene Marie Quartet with Houston Person

Most singers begin their careers in childhood, developing their voice and style through training, practice and performance. It’s unusual to hear a singer who didn’t begin performing professionally until the age of 42, and even more rare when they are talented, unpretentious and original. In the Spring of 2013, jazz singer René Marie brought her…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 837 – Warren Vache Plays Benny Carter

The great musician, bandleader, composer and arranger Benny Carter was a major figure in jazz from the 1930s to the 1990s, and was recognized as such by other jazz musicians who simply called him “king.” In the Spring of 2015, jazz cornetist Warren Vache brought an all-star quintet to Savannah to perform the music of…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 823 – The Band Courtbouillon

The Band Courtbouillon is a Cajun band featuring Wayne Toups, Steve Riley and Wilson Savoy. What began as a project by three of Southwest Louisiana’s preeminent accordion players became a widely-praised traditional Cajun music album that won them a Grammy Award. At the 2015 Savannah Music Festival, The Band Courtbouillon played two spirited sets at…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 821 – Asleep at the Wheel

It all started when Ray Benson and some of his buddies joined forces in the early 1970s and created a band with one simple goal: to play and help revive American roots music. The band that Benson founded over 40 years ago is called Asleep at the Wheel, and they are still going strong today….

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 820 – Rosanne Cash

Within the space of two years, singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash lost her mother, her father Johnny Cash, and her stepmother June Carter – deaths that she wrestled with through recordings made in 2008 and 2010. In 2014, she took a longer view of life with a recording called The River & the Thread. Through these deeply…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 817 – Hot Rize

It didn’t take long after Tim O’Brien, Pete Wernick, Nick Forster and Charles Sawtelle first appeared on stage together in 1978 for the bluegrass music world to realize that Hot Rize was something special. Steeped in bluegrass tradition, Hot Rize’s music was equally informed by a taste for the music of Leadbelly and Freddie King,…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 813 – St. Saëns & Bruch

Though they only met on one occasion, French composer Camille Saint-Saëns and German composer Max Bruch were born two years apart in the 1830s and died only one year apart in the early 1920s. Each man had a prominent musical career and composed prolifically in a wide range of instrumental and vocal genres, including some…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 812 – Brahms & Mahler Piano Quartets

Gustav Mahler was a student in Vienna when he wrote his first piano quartet at age 16, showing remarkable technical ingenuity and emotional passion. Mahler assimilated the influences of Schumann, Mendelssohn and Brahms to create a work of distinctive profile, only 15 years after Brahms created two of the greatest piano quartets in the literature….

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 810 – Vive la France – Part Two

In the late 19th century, Paris was an incredibly vibrant musical city. Alongside its nearly unrivaled musical scene, composers such as Saint-Saëns, Franck, Massenet, Faure, Debussy and Ravel had developed a veritable renaissance of French music. In this second part of a two-hour program featuring chamber music performances from the 2015 Savannah Music Festival, we…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 809 – Vive la France – Part One

Although Paris remained one of the paramount musical centers of Europe, French music during the 19th century was eclipsed by German and Austrian music, and by Italian opera. However, by the mid to late 19th century, the foundations for a renaissance of French music started taking place with such composers as Franck, Saint-Saëns, Massenet and…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 808 – Paul Lewis

By the close of the 18th century, Ludwig van Beethoven had established himself as one of Vienna’s most important pianists and composers. But in the early 1800s, Beethoven was forced to confront the onset of deafness. Though he responded by producing some of his greatest works over the next ten years, as the second decade…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 806 – Bela Fleck & Brooklyn Rider

As a banjoist, Bela Fleck is hard to define, so far-reaching are his influences and his musical excursions. After writing his first orchestral work, entitled “Impostor Concerto,” and getting a record deal for it, the immediate question was what else would he go on to record? He decided to write a piece for banjo quartet,…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 805 – Stephen Hough

For a composer who wrote every piece with a prominent piano part, Chopin’s genius is still completely remarkable. He was able, by the sheer quality and originality of his work, to be identified with his instrument in a consuming way. It is a marriage, and the two truly become one. When anyone plays Chopin, it…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 804 – Early Masters

While it’s common knowledge that Mozart was a young genius of music, he certainly wasn’t born that way. Mozart was a brilliant musician and composer, but he became that way because of how much training he received in his youth and because he worked hard at it for years. Like Mozart, Felix Mendelssohn was a…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 803 – Asif Ali Khan

There are few types of music that can lift you to a higher plane, that can get you close to an out-of-body moment, than Qawwali. Qawwali music is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in south Asia, primarily in the Punjab and Sindh regions of Pakistan, as well as parts of north India and…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 802 – Dirk Powell & Riley Baugus

Two of the foremost exponents of old-time music today are multi-instrumentalists Dirk Powell and Riley Baugus, who formed bonds with their grandparents to discover their musical roots stretching back to Scots-Irish ancestors that came to the mountains in the middle of the 18th century. These two men display a vibrant creative energy that crosses a…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 801 – Hot Club of Cowtown

It takes considerable bravery to name your band after one of the greatest jazz ensembles of the 20th century, but the Hot Club of Cowtown get away with it because they have spirit, originality and skill that would surely have impressed Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt back in the 1930s and 40s. The Texas trio…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 752 – Mike Marshall & Choro Famoso

Throughout the Americas during the 19th century, the rich harmonic and melodic forms from Europe melded with the complex and intoxicating rhythms from Africa. In Brazil, the most important musical style to emerge was called choro, which dates back to the 1870s when European dance forms combined with the local African rhythms of Rio de…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 750 – Marcus Roberts Trio 2015

While most jazz piano trios have the piano front and center, there is one trio in which all members share equally in shaping the direction of the music. The Marcus Roberts Trio, made up of Roberts on piano, Rodney Jordan on bass and Jason Marsalis on drums, does so with lighting quick musical reflexes and…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 749 – Earls of Leicester – Part Two

The great dobro player Jerry Douglas grew up listening to the music of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, and he always wanted to play it, except that he was a couple of generations behind. In 2012, Jerry created a band that could not only pay homage to the legacy of the Foggy Mountain Boys, but…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 748 – Earls of Leicester – Part One

When you talk about the history of bluegrass music, the names “Earl” and “Lester” are always prevalent, since they led one of the greatest groups, the Foggy Mountain Boys. The band was founded in 1948 by guitarist Lester Flatt, who had been a member of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys. Flatt brought banjo player Earl Scruggs…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 747 – The World of Edgar Meyer

In demand as both a performer and a composer, Edgar Meyer has formed a role in the music world unlike any other. One of the most remarkable virtuosos in the relatively unchronicled history of his instrument, Meyer’s technique and musicianship in combination with his gift for composition have brought him to the fore. In this…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 746 – Noam Pikelny & Friends

It’s always interesting when an outstanding artist decides to recreate an existing work. It opens up our understanding of both the original and the new version. So when banjoist Noam Pikelny reimagined one of the standard-bearers for instrumental bluegrass, the 1976 recording entitled Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe, he wanted to be true to its…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 744 – Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder

That high lonesome sound known as bluegrass is a music steeped in tradition. Inspired by the music of Appalachia with roots in Irish, Scottish, Welsh and English traditional music, it first emerged in the 1930s when Kentucky native Bill Monroe formed his famous bluegrass boys. One of bluegrass music’s modern day masters is tenor and…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 742 – Charlie Hunter & Scott Amendola

Beginning in the Renaissance period, the European guitar generally had four courses, each strung with two gut strings, and the pair of strings within each course tuned in unison. By the early 18th century, six double-strung courses had become common, and the changing number of courses in these early guitars reflected the ongoing desire on…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 741 – Tara Erraught

A mezzo-soprano is a type of classical female singing voice whose range lies between the soprano and contralto voice types. With a a vocal range extending from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above, mezzo-sopranos generally have a heavier, darker tone than sopranos, and a voice that resonates in a higher…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 736 – Julian Lage & Jorge Roeder

Long before the advent of concert halls, theaters and outdoor festivals, people gathered in their homes to play music and share the intimacy of musical expression in small rooms. While concert halls inside of homes have always been a part of music making, they hold a place of esteem in jazz history. Jazz house concerts…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 734 – Charles McPherson, Part Two

When one thinks of bebop, the first musician that comes to mind is usually Charlie Parker, the pioneering alto-saxophone player and composer. In this episode, we listen to an early disciple of Parker’s, alto sax player Charles McPherson, who was born in 1939 and raised in Detroit. Mr. McPherson grew up surrounded by a wealth…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 731 – Tomatito

Emerging in the 18th century from the region of Andalusia in southern Spain, flamenco is a form of Spanish folk music and dance that is thought to have grown out of Andalusian and Romani music and dance styles. Born into a musical family in Andalusia, Jose Fernandez Torres acquired the moniker “Tomatito” after becoming a…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 730 – Kind of Blue: Miles, Trane & Cannonball 2014

The many victorious performances made by Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderly added timeless examples of small group jazz to a tradition that developed in the wake of the bebop movement of the 1940s. Working together, the three artists achieved a poetic level of expression that was as playful and tender as it was…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 727 – New & Reconstructed String Quintets

The art of musical composition generally consists of the manipulation of harmony, melody, form, rhythm and timbre. In the case of Johannes Brahms, creating such order was often an arduous task, and it was completely common of him to destroy the original version of a work if he thought it was in any way inadequate….

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 729 – Mark Shane

The great tradition of jazz piano in the early 20th century was probably best summarized by the father of stride piano, James P. Johnson, when he was asked which pianists he had learned things from in New York City. He responded by saying, “I loved Eubie Blake, Luckey Roberts, Willie the Lion Smith, and even…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 728 – Ladies Sing the Blues

The blues as such are synonymous with low spirits, blues music is not. With all its so-called blue notes and overtones of sadness, blues music is nothing if not a form of diversion. On this episode, we listen to a 2014 performance at the Charles H. Morris Center entitled “Ladies Sing the Blues,” featuring Catherine…

2015 Director’s Choice

Curating and assembling a 17-day musical arts festival is a gratifying, challenging and lengthy endeavor that results in bringing together more than 500 artists in our hospitable city. While some of the events slated for SMF ’15 were scheduled more than two years ago, others were confirmed only days before our season announcement. Collectively, they…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 726 – Pokey Lafarge

Ardently exploring the origins of American music in jazz, blues, country and western swing, singer and guitarist Pokey Lafarge seems like a throwback, yet the music he plays never sounds old-fashioned. In this episode, we listen to Pokey Lafarge’s final performance of four given at the 2014 Savannah Music Festival.

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 725 – Christian McBride Trio

When your personal goal as a musician is to pull the audience in so that they feel like they’re a part of the ride, then you’re making what Christian McBride calls “people music.” That’s the mantra that McBride has lived by throughout his career, which combined with his abundant virtuosity, has made him the most…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 723 – Late Night Jazz Jam 2014

Legend has it that when Coleman Hawkins squared off against Lester Young in a late night jam in the late 1930s at a Kansas City nightclub, a new saxophone king was crowned who would forever be known as “Prez.” Each year, SMF presents a late night jam to wrap up a week of Swing Central…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 722 – Estrella Morente

The history of flamenco dates back to 1774 when it first began to appear in literature. With roots from Andalusia and the Romani people from Spain, its format usually involves singers, guitarists, dancers and the iconic sound of hand clapping. Most of the artists performing flamenco come from family traditions, including 33-year old cantora Estrella…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 720 – Philip Dukes Salutes Michael Tree

Tuned a perfect fifth above the violin and an octave below the cello, the viola makes a unique and beautiful sound. In the spring of 2014, the esteemed British violist Philip Dukes created the idea for a concert celebrating the 80th birthday of the renowned Michael Tree. The performance featured a selection of works spanning…

Savannah Music Festival 718 – Dvorak Bass Quintet

The string instrument that turns a quartet into a quintet varies with each composer or work. Mozart added a viola, Schubert, a cello, but Antonin Dvorak chose the double bass for his G Major String Quintet, matching the full palette of the symphony orchestra. In this episode of Savannah Music Festival LIVE, we listen to…

Audition Notice

Audition for comprimario roles for the Savannah Voice Festival/Savannah Music Festival joint productions of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. Applicants may also be considered for future productions by the Savannah Voice Festival and VOICExperience. Auditions will take place at Christ Church, 28 Bull Street, Savannah, Georgia. Wednesday, October 29, 4:00 – 7:00pm Thursday, October 30,…

Daniel Hope Extends Contract as Associate Artistic Director of Savannah Music Festival Through 2018 Season

  British violinist Daniel Hope has just extended his contract as Associate Artistic Director of the Savannah Music Festival through the 2018 season. He has served in this post since 2004, and, thanks in no small part to the creative vision he brings to its classical programming, “the festival seems to broaden its musical reach…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 715 – Stringband Spectacular 2014

Every spring, sixteen talented young string players, all under the age of 22, travel to Savannah for a groundbreaking mentorship program called the Acoustic Music Seminar. Led by acclaimed mandolinist Mike Marshall, the participants receive six days of hands-on instruction in playing, songwriting and ensemble work. Past instructors have included Julian Lage, Casey Driessen, Avi…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 714 – Grieg & Vaughan Williams

The use and development of folk music by classical composers in the 19th century often echoed the traditional music of their homelands. The rise of nationalistic elements into works by such notable figures as Chopin, Sibelius and Rimsky Korsakov occasionally relied on folk music from their native lands as inspiration, as did Edvard Grieg with…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 713 – Mozart & Schubert

Every spring for the past eleven years, violinist Daniel Hope has assembled an array of his friends from Europe and the United States to perform in a series of chamber music concerts at the Savannah Music Festival. Playing some of the great masterpieces of the idiom, these musicians rehearse each program across several days in…

Musical Explorers Comes to the Lowcountry

This fall, Savannah Music Festival is proud to launch Musical Explorers, a new, year-round K-2 curriculum in partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. As part of Music for Our Schools (sponsored by Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.), Musical Explorers builds basic music skills in the classroom and connects to curriculum in reading, social studies and other…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 711 – Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott

In the year 2000, roots music mavens Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott joined forces to create a recording of old-time country covers and originals, which turned quite a few heads. But it took another twelve years for them to record together again, a span when their respective careers grew and blossomed into a myriad of…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 710 – Piano Showdown 2014 – Part Two

One of the annual highlights of the Savannah Music Festival is a concert we produce called “Piano Showdown”. It brings together four jazz pianists and allows them to display their original interpretation of songs in both solo and duo settings, with the only requirement being that every pianist has to play at least two songs…

Q&A with SMF Supporter Wet Willie’s Management Corp.

Emily Dickinson, VP for Wet Willie’s Management Corp. (pictured above right with Joe Ann Brandt and Bill Dickinson) reflects on the organization’s involvement with SMF. When did Wet Willie’s develop an interest in getting involved with SMF? Wet Willie’s decided to get involved with SMF during the 2012 season. As a music buff, our CEO…

SAVANNAH VOICE FESTIVAL AND SAVANNAH MUSIC FESTIVAL ANNOUNCE MARCH 2015 PUCCINI OPERA

  On opening weekend of the 2015 Savannah Music Festival, the Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) and Savannah Music Festival (SMF) will co-produce a full-scale opera – a first in the SMF’s 26-year history. Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica will be presented on Friday March 20th and Sunday March 22nd 2015 at the Lucas Theatre…

Looking Back with the Outgoing Board Chairman

On June 30, Harold Yellin wrapped up a very successful two-year term as Chairman of the SMF Board of Directors. We checked with Harold on July 1 to seek some reflection on his tenure at the helm of the SMF Board, and here are some of his comments: When and why did you develop an…

25th Anniversary in Review

by Rob Gibson, Executive & Artistic Director As reviews and press clips come in after each festival, we always take pleasure in seeing what new food metaphors are used to describe SMF’s programming. Phrases such as “feast,” “smorgasbord” and “omnivore’s delight” are among the culinary comparisons that critics have employed to describe our event. I’ve…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 709 – Chris Thile & Mike Marshall

For lovers of the mandolin, an instrument that first came about nearly 400 years ago, it’s hard not to appreciate the many virtuosos that have emerged in the past half century and blended extensive musical styles. Two of the most unique and extraordinary mandolinists in our time are Mike Marshall and Chris Thile, who have…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 708 – Piano Showdown 2014 – Part One

Nearly every year since 2004, the Savannah Music Festival has lined up four different jazz pianists in a concert that showcases not only their individual talent, but also their ability to perform duets with each of the other pianists on the bill. This episode features highlights from Piano Showdown 2014 with Christian Sands, Aaron Diehl,…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 707 – Quartets by Beethoven & Brahms

Johannes Brahms spent many years attempting to write string quartets. Working under the shadow of Beethoven was too challenging for the young composer and it believed that he discarded as many as twenty quartets before finally publishing his first two in 1873. In this episode, we listen to the acclaimed Jerusalem Quartet perform Brahms String…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 706 – Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn

Though they’ve played as a duo since they first met, trying impromptu duets at picking parties, doing a few tunes at benefits and playing occasional radio shows together, that was long before they got married and took the show on the road. With the birth of their little boy in the summer of summer of…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 705 – Aaron Diehl Quartet plays music of Modern Jazz Quartet

When pianist and composer John Lewis formed the Modern Jazz Quartet in the early 1950s, he established an almost classical sounding chamber music ensemble by devising an approach that evenly distributed improvisation inside of compositions distinctly arranged for piano, vibraphone, bass and drums. In this episode, we listen to pianist Aaron Diehl playing the music…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 704 – A Day in the Life of Chris Thile

Finish the gig around midnight, meet and greet folks after the show, give a quick lesson to some young fans, then hop on the bus and drive to the next city, in search of a few hours of shuteye on the road. Check into the hotel at 4 a.m., grab a bit more sleep before…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 703 – Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge

When guitarists Julian Lage and Chris Eldridge formed a collaborative effort using early 20th century Martin Guitars to explore the worlds of improvisation and composition, no one should have been surprised. With Lage’s background in jazz and improvised musical styles, and Eldridge’s relationship with bluegrass and his membership in the acclaimed band Punch Brothers, the…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 702 – Walter Blanding’s Tick Tock

Many of the most notable achievements in jazz have come through its great composers. Giants such as Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus and many others always kept the music moving forward through the creation and performance of new compositions. In this episode, we listen to the premiere of new…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 701 – Cécile McLorin Salvant

People who love jazz singing seem to always be hoping to discover the next Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan or Ella Fitzgerald. Until very recently, the only contemporary jazz singer who came close to matching these three giants is the extraordinary Dianne Reeves, that is, until the emergence of Cécile McLorin Salvant. At age 24, this…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 652 – Daniel Hope & Friends 2014 – Part One

Since 2004, violinist Daniel Hope has served as the Associate Artistic Director for the Savannah Music Festival, where he programs an assortment of chamber music across 17 days. Part of his vision for the festival was to bring together his European colleagues with some of his favorite American musicians, something he believes doesn’t happen nearly…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 651 – Brahms Masterpieces 2014

Though he is often grouped with Bach and Beethoven as one of the three “B’s” of German musical composers, Johannes Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene. During his lifetime, Brahms’ popularity and influence were considerable, and he created some of the great…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 650 – The Given Note

In 2014, SMF hosted the US premiere of a piece that we co-commissioned by composer David Bruce. Entitled “The Given Note” (after a poem by Irish poet Seamus Haney), this Savannah performance of the piece featured Daniel Hope on violin, Julian Lage on guitar, Rodney Jordan on bass, Mike Block on cello and Jose Franch…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE – 2014 WQXR Special feat. Daniel Hope

In anticipation of SMF’s 25th Anniversary Season, we produced a special radio program featuring Associate Artistic Director Daniel Hope as host. The episode includes highlights from past years of SMF chamber music, with artists such as Daniel Hope, Sebastian Knauer, Anne Sofie von Otter, Mark Padmore & Kristian Bezuidenhout, the Ebene Quartet, the Emerson String…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 649 – Sebastian Knauer 2014

In the ten festivals since 2005, one of our favorite and regularly featured artists has been pianist Sebastian Knauer, who plays in our chamber music series curated by his friend and colleague Daniel Hope. In this episode we listen to Mr. Knauer’s opening day recital at Savannah Music Festival 2014, recorded live at the Trinity…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 648 – KLR Trio and Miami String Quartet

If you ever wondered when the last time a work was written for a piano trio and a string quartet together, well, it’s only happened once. In 2009, composer Ellen Taffe Zwilich wrote a work entitled “Septet” especially for the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio and the Miami String Quartet, two groups with strong personalities. Tune in to…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 647 – Robert Sadin: Messina

Composer, arranger and conductor Robert Sadin has produced some of the most interesting recordings of the past decade. Working with a diverse array of musicians including Sting, Herbie Hancock, Kathleen Battle, Stevie Wonder, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, his musical palette often sounds ancient but is always modern. In this episode, we listen to a…

Director’s Choice 2014

For many people, the term “music festival” implies a large, outdoor gathering held over the course of a few days featuring numerous bands on multiple stages. Though there are several such festivals that I regularly visit (WOMAD and Festival International are two favorites), attending outdoor concerts is a very different experience, demanding important decisions related to…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 627 – Steep Canyon Rangers

Original air date: week of November 24, 2013 For many people, college is a place to study subjects that will prepare you for the next step in life, as well as a time to create new friendships. Such was the case for Woody Platt, Mike Guggino, Graham Sharp and Charles Humphrey, who began playing music…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 626 – Della Mae

Original air date: November 17, 2014 In the musical movement known as roots revivalism, there are musicians indebted to and enamored of their form and its forebears, who occasionally succumb to simple imitation. Other times, there are artists fearful of being mere imitators, who sometimes produce forced and gimmicky musical hybrids. And then there are…

Savannah Music Festival Announces 2014 Lineup

SAVANNAH, GA – The 25th Anniversary Season of the Savannah Music Festival (SMF) features an international roster of artists, replete with one-time only productions, new collaborations and commissioned works that celebrate the organization’s commitment to artistic excellence across the entire spectrum of the musical arts. “Whether it’s a 400-year old masterpiece or the premiere of…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 620 – Julian Lage

The general definition of a prodigy is “a child with a skill set or an ability that is incredibly accomplished, far beyond their years.” Often times, such individuals are found in more quantitative fields, such as chess, music and math. One such prodigy is Julian Lage, who was born in 1987 and acclaimed as a…

Jeremy Denk receives 2013 MacArthur Genius Award

This year’s 24 recipients of MacArthur Foundation “genius grants” include Jeremy Denk, who played the Lucas Theatre stage during the 2013 Savannah Music Festival (pictured above). > Click here to listen to the recording of Jeremy Denk’s performance on SMF LIVE Denk has steadily built a reputation as an unusual and compelling artist, with a…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 617 – Jeb Patton Solo

When you study jazz under Sir Roland Hanna and Jimmy Heath, earn your Master of Arts degree Summa Cum Laude from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, and receive the Louis Armstrong Award for Composition from the ASCAP Foundation all while in your young twenties, the serious of your intent is not…

Project 440 starts today!

SAVANNAH MUSIC FESTIVAL PRESENTS CLASSICAL MUSIC RESIDENCY WITH PROJECT 440 IN LOCAL SCHOOLS AND AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS BEGINNING SEPTEMBER 16TH SAVANNAH, GA – From September 16th through 20th, Savannah Music Festival (SMF) presents Project 440’s original musical interpretation of The Fish Who Could Wish for students grades K-4. Musicians from Project 440 present a 50-minute performance to ten different groups of local…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 616 – Mike Marshall & Darol Anger

More than 25 years ago, two of the most original string players in the community of American vernacular instrumental music joined forces, setting in motion a partnership that continues today. Beginning as members of the David Grisman Quintet while in their young twenties, they have continued to stretch their musical boundaries through recordings, performances and…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 615 – David Grisman Folk-Jazz Trio

Though his artistic pursuits are difficult to categorize stylistically, there is no doubt that mandolinist, composer, producer, educator and historian David Grisman has an insatiable appetite for music. Hist idiosyncratic artistic journey has been one of elaboration and refinement, so when he formed a trio in 2011 to explore the common musical roots of folk,…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 613 – Marcus Roberts Solo 2013

When you survey the history of the piano in 20th century American music, there are several individuals, composers and standards, particularly within jazz and popular songs. Performing a recital that traverses these figures and movements, while ensuring that your renditions remain original, is quite a challenge. In the spring of 2013, pianist Marcus Roberts played…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 612 – Jerry Douglas Solo

Jerry Douglas has received thirteen Grammy Awards, won the Country Music Association’s “Musician of the Year” award three times, been awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts, and was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 by the Americana Music Association. He is the most famous and arguably the…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 611 – Richard Goode Early & Late – Part Two

Though pianist Richard Goode’s repertoire ranges from the 18th to the 20th centuries, it is the Classical period, and specifically Beethoven, with whom he is inescapably identified. It was Mr. Goode’s recordings of the Beethoven sonatas in the early 1990s that created his international reputation. In this episode, we listen to the second half of…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 609 – Late Night Jazz Jam 2013

In its most simple definition, a jam session is a musical event where musicians play by improvising without extensive preparation. Jazz jam sessions are an old tradition that allow players to test their skills in front of an audience, usually playing well known standards yet ones that require a common vocabulary. In this episode, we…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 608 – Bach Meets Mozart 2013

Mozart’s lifelong admiration for Johann Christian Bach, the son of Johann Sebastian Bach, began during the family’s first trip to London when Mozart was only eight years old. The young prodigy was then in the midst of a concert tour of Europe, and when he met Johann Christian, he sat in his lap and they…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 607 – Mozart 1787

The year 1787 was a bountiful one for Mozart. While his major project during that year was his opera, Don Giovanni, Mozart completed several more works. These included a rondo for piano, two string quintets, an orchestral work, his serenade for strings known as “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik,” a sonata for violin and keyboard, a sonata…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 606 – Martin Taylor

The late Chet Atkins called Martin Taylor “one of the greatest and most impressive guitar players in the world.” Pat Metheny stated that Mr. Taylor “is one of the most awesome solo guitar players in the history of the instrument.” Although completely self-taught, guitarist and composer Martin Taylor continues to enjoy a remarkable musical career…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 605 – Jeremy Denk

At this point in his career, 42-year-old pianist Jeremy Denk is nearly as well-known in music circles for his writings about music as he is for his piano playing. His blog, entitled “Think Denk: the Glamorous Life of a Concert Pianist,” chronicles the hilarious and frustrating minutia of the tedious, not-so-glamorous concert life. It has…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 604 – Richard Goode, Early & Late

Pianist Richard Goode has been described as a non-specialist, in the sense that he’s a virtuoso soloist, a compelling recitalist, a committed chamber music performer and a sensitive accompanist, all in one. In this episode we listen to a 2013 Savannah Music Festival appearance by Mr. Goode entitled “Early and Late,” and featuring works Haydn,…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 603 – Miami String Quartet

Some historians believe that the origins of the string quartet can be traced back to the Baroque trio sonata, in which two solo instruments performed with a continuo section consisting of a bass instrument and a keyboard. Others suggest that the widespread practice of playing works written for string orchestra with just four players, covering…

Acoustic Music Seminar

“I’m a better and more inspired musician after the Acoustic Music Seminar.” -Matt Witler, 22, (pictured above with David Grisman), La Crescenta, CA “A life-changing experience!” -Tatiana Hargreaves, 17, Corvallis, OR The 2013 festival saw the return of the Acoustic Music Seminar (AMS), our groundbreaking mentorship program for young string players. Sixteen students from around…

the world is much closer

by Rob Gibson, Executive & Artistic Director As we prepare to celebrate our organization’s 25th anniversary this coming season, our staff has been gathering photos, recordings, videos and publications from the years since the 1990 debut of our festival in an effort to showcase some of the highlights and history. The growth of our organization…

Project 440 returns to savannah

We are kicking off our 25th anniversary season with a very special residency in local schools – Project 440, an organization dedicated to inspiring and educating young people through classical music, is returning to Savannah as part of SMF’s Music for Our Schools 2013-14 season. Musicians from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Harlem String Quartet, the Curtis…

Ben Tucker (December 13, 1930 – June 4, 2013)

It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of one of Savannah’s greatest jazz musicians and advocates, Ben Tucker. The Savannah Music Festival shared many momentous occasions and memories with Ben, having celebrated both his 80th and 75th birthdays with special productions during previous festivals. Regular SMF artists such as Marcus Printup, Kevin…

Looking back at the 2013 Festival

The 2013 Savannah Music Festival was a tremendous success, thanks to enthusiastic participation by our patrons, artists, volunteers, community partners and educators, an increase in out-of-town visitors and unprecedented national/international critical acclaim. Heralded by the Chicago Tribune as an event that is “breaking the sound barriers,” SMF continues to be recognized by music lovers throughout…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 601 – David Finckel & Wu Han 2013

As Musical America‘s 2012 “Musicians of the Year,” cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han rank among the most respected and influential classical musicians in the world today. Their repertoire as a duo spans virtually the entire literature for cello and piano. However is is the combination of talent, energy, imagination and dedication that they…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 555 – Ruthie Foster 2012

As a singer whose live performances are a musical patchwork of contemporary Americana styles, Texas born Ruthie Foster is a unique artist in our time. She has created a repertoire that is seamlessly evocative of the life she lives, which comes out of the Baptist Church and the soul of southern Texas. Tune in to…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 554 – As Beethoven Went Deaf

By 1801 at the age of 30, Beethoven had been experiencing ringing in his ears for three years, and was well on his way to deafness. By 1815, Beethoven’s condition had become “intolerable” and with the addition of other problems, he could no longer perform in public (though he continued to compose). The final eleven…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 547 – Schumann & Brahms

The Romantic Period contains numerous chamber music masterworks by both Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms. Though he was born 23 years after Schumann, Brahms began to compose early in his life, and it was through the violinist Joseph Joachim that he was introduced to Schumann. In this episode, we listen to Daniel Hope & Friends…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 543 – Russian Masterworks, Part Two

The strongest unified movement toward Russian nationalistic expression in 19th century concert music occurred during the 1860s with the formation of a group of composers dubbed “the five” or “the mighty handful.” They included Mily Balakirev, Alexander Borodin, Cesar Cui, Modest Mussorgsky and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. It was the beginning of a nationalistic sound that would…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 542 – Daniel Hope’s AIR

The Baroque is a period of artistic style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance and grandeur in sculpting, painting, architecture, literature, dance and music. The Baroque style began around 1600 in Rome and spread to most of Europe over approximately the next 150 years. Tune in to…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 541 – Two Russian Sonatas

Though Russia got a late start in developing its native tradition of classical music, by the late 19th and early 20th century, the country was well into its third generation of classical composers. Two of the giants from this period were pianists/composers whose first name was Sergei, however their musical conceptions were completely different from…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 539 – Russian String Masterworks

The history of Russian music over the past 125 years has been every bit as tempestuous as its political leadership. As nationalist music began to envelope Europe toward the end of the 1800s, Russian composers were creating some of the most beautiful and powerful music of this period. Tune in to hear performances of Tchaikovksy’s…

Roger Day’s “Marsh Mud Madness” available on DVD

Roger Day, one of the nation’s top touring family music artists, released a new music and educational DVD, Marsh Mud Madness, on May 21, 2013. Produced by the Savannah Music Festival and Roger Day, with support from the Georgia Sea Grant and the Courtney Knight Gaines Foundation, the video features engaging information about the plants…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 537 – Paco de Lucia – Part Two

When flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia brought his group for their Savannah debut in 2012, he showed why he is the most renowned flamenco guitarist playing today. With great singers, dancers and virtuoso instrumentalists, the ensemble lit up the stage for nearly two hours, bringing the sold-out crowd to their feet numerous times throughout the…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 536 – Paco de Lucia – Part One

His real name is Francisco Gustavo Sanchez Gomez and he was born in 1947 in Algeciras, a city in the province of Cadiz in Spain. He likes to eat soup and drink wine, but is also internationally renowned as a flamenco guitarist, for which he uses the stage name Paco de Lucia. Tune in for…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 534 – Tony Trischka & Bruce Molsky

Using fearless musical curiosity as a guiding force for more than 35 years, Tony Trischka has become one of the world’s foremost banjo players, inspiring an entire generation of bluegrass and acoustic musicians. Besides being one of the instrument’s top pickers, he has also long been one of it’s best teachers, working with young musicians…

The 2013 SMF Artists Holiday Playlist

In the spirit of the holidays, we at SMF wanted to share a holiday playlist made up of songs performed by 2013 Savannah Music Festival artists. Load the pop-up player below to stream a range of holiday recordings, including classical organ, jazz vocals, fretless banjo, dobro, jazz piano and guitar and much more!  Artists on…

2013 SMF Posters are here

For our 2013 season, we commissioned illustrator Brian Stauffer to come up with an image that represents our cross-genre programming while also evoking springtime in Savannah. His Savannah Music Festival 2013 poster illustration was recently selected to appear in the New York based Society of llustrators’ annual publication! As a contributing artist to publications including…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 533 – Freddy Cole

While there are certain unmistakeable similarities in the musicianship of the two siblings, the younger brother of Nat King Cole long ago emerged from the awesome shadow cast by his elder brother. In truth, his phrasing is far closer to that of Frank Sinatra or Billie Holiday than that of his brother, and his timing…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 531 – Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

When immigrants from Great Britain and Ireland arrived in the Appalachian region of the United States in the 18th century, they brought with them the musical traditions of their homelands. These traditions were extended, refined and combined into a variety of American roots music styles, including a distinct musical form called bluegrass. In this episode,…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 530 – Bruce Molsky

Bruce Molsky was born in the Bronx and fell in love with old-time music as a teenager. He moved to Virginia in the ’70s, learning directly from old masters like Tommy Jarrell, and seeing how music fit into people’s lives there. He has since become one of the world’s most revered fiddle players, and a…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 526 – French Masterpieces

The use of music in a painterly fashion by the French pioneered a direction in the creation of instrumental sound, and this attachment to visual culture has served as one of the inspirations for the unique modern tradition of the French musical language. In this episode, we listen to Daniel Hope & Friends performing the…

New Staff Members

The Savannah Music Festival is pleased to announce the hire of two new staff members.

SAVANNAH MUSIC FESTIVAL HONORED WITH 2012 GOVERNOR’S AWARD FOR THE ARTS & HUMANITIES

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal presented the first annual Governor’s Awards for the Arts & Humanities. The Savannah Music Festival (SMF) was among two organizations and ten individuals that received the 2012 award out of nearly 100 nominations statewide.

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 525 – Piano Showdown 2012 – Part Two

Original air date: week of October 7, 2012 When writing music, most composers see a piano as the best means of trying out ideas as they commit them to paper. In fact, there is more extensive solo repertoire for the piano than for any other instrument. During the 20th century, composers like Messiaen, Debussy and…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 524 – Piano Showdown 2012 – Part One

Original air date: week of September 22, 2012 Even though you can’t pack it in your hand luggage as you might a guitar, fiddle or flute, the piano opens up the entire world of music because it can translate the full range of harmony of orchestral and choral scores. There is no substitute for the…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 522 – Cedar Walton

Original air date: week of September 17, 2012 When you’re raised by a mother who is an aspiring concert pianist as well as your piano teacher, and she takes you to hear performances by Nat King Cole, Erroll Garner, Mary Lou Williams, Earl Hines, Hank Jones and Lester Young, you’re not only a lucky guy,…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 521 – Takacs Quartet with Menahem Pressler

Original air date: September 9, 2012 Since 1975, the Takacs Quartet has been regarded as one of the great ensembles in chamber music, playing with a unique blend of drama, warmth and humor while bringing fresh insights to the chamber music repertoire. In 2012, the Takacs Quartet made their Savannah debut at our festival and…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 519 – Chopin Special feat. Leif Ove Andsnes and Nikolai Luganksy

Though he lacked the sheer power of many other keyboard artists in his day, Polish-born pianist Frederic Chopin more than compensated with his impeccable virtuoso technique and inspired musicianship. He incorporated the beauties of Italian opera into his piano compositions and performances, making them notable for their clarity of articulation, singing tone and flowing legato….

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 517 – Milos Karadaglic

Coming from a homeland with no real classical guitar tradition and a population of only 600,000, the challenges faced by Milos Karadaglic in climbing the international guitar-playing ladder were daunting. War was happening all around his homeland in Montenegro, but because he came from a musical family and his parents loved music, they encouraged his…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 516 – Bela Fleck & the Flecktones – Part Two

In 1998, when Bela Fleck formed his renowned ensemble the Flecktones, he never dreamed the group would still be performing almost 25 years later. The original creations of these four virtuosic players, fusing a wealth of musical styles using both acoustic and electric instruments, is like no other band. In this episode, we listen to…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 513 – Preservation Hall Jazz Band with the Del McCoury Band

On paper, it wouldn’t appear that the mixture of a traditional New Orleans jazz group and a classic bluegrass band on the same stage would make for a musical extravaganza. But when the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Del McCoury Band decided to make a recording and follow it up with a national tour,…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 515 – Bela Fleck & the Flecktones – Part One

Original air date: week of July 29, 2012 Nearly a quarter of a century ago, banjo master Bela Fleck formed a band that drew on bluegrass, jazz, blues and rock, combining the talents of four unique musicians that play acoustic and electric instruments. They call themselves the Flecktones, and the dexterity they use to make…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 512 – Beethoven Op. 132/Strauss Sextet

Original air date: week of July 8, 2012 Struggling with illness and deafness in the final years of his life, Beethoven rose above them to create some of his most profound works. The emotional weight of his A minor Quartet, Op. 132 is manifest evidence of what French musicologist Joseph de Marliave called “the habitual…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 510 – Edgar Meyer & Mike Marshall

Original air date: week of June 24, 2012 Throughout a lifetime of performing and composing, Edgar Meyer has turned the double bass into a modern virtuoso instrument that is equally at home in classical music and in the American vernacular. Mandolin master Mike Marshall has been blending genres in acoustic music for more than 30…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 509 – Dvorak & Menahem Pressler – Part Two

Original air date: week of June 17, 2012 In this episode, we listen to Antonin Dvorak’s great Piano Quintet, Op. 81, performed at the Telfair Academy of Arts & Sciences by Menahem Pressler with Daniel Hope and Benny Kim on violin, Josephine Knight on cello, and Carla Maria Rodrigues on viola. This 2012 Savannah Music…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 507 – Dvorak & Menahem Pressler

Original air date: week of June 3, 2012 This edition of SMF Live features selections from an all-Dvorak program that was part of the Daniel Hope & Friends series at the 2012 Savannah Music Festival. Joining Daniel and his colleagues on this occasion was the great pianist Menahem Pressler of the now retired Beaux Arts…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 506 – The Campbell Brothers

Original air date: week of May 27, 2012 Back in the 1930s, a group of related Pentecostal churches developed an African-American gospel music tradition known as sacred steel. The steel guitar was embraced in worship services in place of the traditional organ. This new instrument was met with great enthusiasm by musicians, many of whom…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 505 – Finckel, Han & Setzer Play Mendelssohn

Original air date: week of May 20, 2012 As arguably the greatest child prodigy the history of western music has ever known, Felix Mendelssohn produced works of extraordinary mastery throughout his entire life. His chamber music works, including the piano trios and cello sonata, continue to be favorites o musicians and audiences everywhere. In this…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 504 – Chris Thile Solo

Original air date: week of May 13, 2012 Every now and then a musician comes along with an artistic conception that is so original, he/she is incapable of sounding like anyone else. Such is the case with all great artists, but at age 30, Chris Thile has become one of the most unique American musicians…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 503 – Schubert Quintet

The only documentation from Franz Schubert’s life concerning his great string string quintet – one of the masterpieces of the chamber music literature – is a letter from 1828 written by the composer just a month before his untimely death at the age of 31. In it, he asked his publisher when he might be…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 502 – Kenny Barron

Philadelphia has been the birthplace of many great jazz musicians, including many masters of jazz. By the late 1920s, players such as Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti had put Phillip on the jazz map, followed later by Stan Getz and a jazz scene in the 1950s that would include the Heath Brothers, Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 501 – Simon Crawford-Phillips

Musical recitals offer listeners the opportunity to hear a collection of pieces selected by the performer. Such an occasion might feature the works of either a single composer, or a group of compositions that, when combined, illuminate a central theme or moment in time. During our 2012 festival, pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips gave a recital that…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 455 – Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, 2012

As the concept of a jazz orchestra approaches nearly 90 years of existence, the big bands still around and touring with their own style and identity are few and far between. One group that has persisted in sustaining an international presence, while extending and refining the tradition, continues to be lead by a man that…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 449 – Marcus Roberts Trio with Bela Fleck

The history of the banjo in jazz dates back to the earliest ensembles of the 20th century in New Orleans, when banjo players were occasionally the star of the band. Over the next 100 years, however, the banjo changed within American musical culture, gradually falling out of favor as a primary instrument within a jazz…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 448 – Leif Ove Andsnes

To describe a classical pianist as thoughtful, modest and dedicated to his craft would almost make him/her seem unexciting. Yet those traits aptly describe one of the most commanding and consummate pianists of our time, Norwegian Leif Ove Ansdnes. In February of 2012, Mr. Andsnes played with exhilaration, creativity and elegance during a recital produced…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 444 – Tim O’Brien Band

Old-time American music has always resided comfortably next to classic country, folk and bluegrass. Fans of these styles have always known they can count on a superb blend of them when listening to Tim O’Brien, who has spent the last three decades expanding the possibilities of acoustic music. In 2011, Tim O’Brien brought an all-star…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 440 – The Infamous Stringdusters 2011 – Part One

Original air date: week of January 15, 2012 As the tradition of bluegrass music continues to evolve, the genre’s most creative musicians wield an expansive repertoire of original compositions and arrangements built on virtuosity, showmanship and a deep understanding of other American musical styles. In this episode we listen to part one of a two-day…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 425 – Ike Stubblefield Trio with Wycliffe Gordon & Marcus Printup

The sound of the Hammond B-3 organ with a Leslie speaker evolved in mid-20th century America through a range of musical genres that included blues, rock, gospel, and most notably, jazz. Many of the finest players on the instrument were jazz musicians, and the trail they blazed on the instrument is still being traveled today….

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 432 – Lionel Loueke Ensemble

Original air date: week of November 27, 2011 Tucked between Togo to the west and Nigeria on the east, the West African nation of Benin is one of the smallest on the continent, yet it has produced one of Africa’s finest contemporary musicians. During the Spring of 2011, we premiered a special production featuring guitarist…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 430 – Beethoven Violin Sonatas – Part Two

Original air date: week of November 6, 2011 Though nine of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s ten violin sonatas date between 1797 and 1803, the early years of his maturity, he still managed to leave the genre irrevocably changed. These enduring works have influenced generations of performers and composers, and they remain as profound today as when…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 429 – Downtown Uproar

Original air date: week of October 31, 2011 Duke Ellington is widely regarded as one of the most important composers in the history of music and his orchestra in the mid-1930s was at the beginning of his creative peak, featuring some of the finest soloists in the history of jazz. During the years 1936-1940, a…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 427 – Chico Pinheiro Quintet

Brazilian music has produced many creative composers and a wealth of great guitarists, but rarely do these talents reside within the same individual. One such exception is the brilliant young musician Chico Pinheiro, who was born in Sao Paolo in 1974, and has distinguished himself as a remarkable presence both in and outside the Brazilian…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 424 – Louis Lortie Plays Liszt

The Hungarian-born Franz Liszt was one of the greatest and most charismatic virtuosos in music history. Liszt exerted an almost otherworldly control over his audience due to his technical and interpretive mastery, and it was not uncommon for members of the audience to faint during a Liszt recital. Tune in as we listen to pianist…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 423 – Bill Charlap Trio w/ Houston Person – Part Two

There have been many outstanding piano trios throughout the history of jazz, each with its own signature sound. There is the majestic swing of the Oscar Peterson Trio, the classy bop of the Hank Jones Trio, the great independence of the Bill Evans Trio, and the powerful virtuosity of Bud Powell’s trios. Each great jazz…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 421 – Benny Kim & Keith Robinson

Original air date: week of August 28, 2011 Though the repertoire of composition for violin and cello is not especially large, there are many colorful and dramatic duos that span the period from the late nineteenth through the first quarter of the 20th century, some of which have become staples of the literature. In this…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 420 – Bill Charlap Trio with Houston Person – Part One

Original air date: week of August 26, 2011 When people talk about jazz piano music, more often than not they are referring to a jazz piano trio, which has generally been jazz pianists’ favorite format. There’s good reasoning behind this notion, too, because the jazz piano trio can represent the essence of jazz in the…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 419 – Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer & Zakir Hussain – Part Two

Original air date: week of August 19, 2011 Bassist Edgar Meyer and banjoist Bela Fleck had collaborated for nearly thirty years, but in 2008 when they formed a trio with tabla master Zakir Hussain, they created a small group in which each member offered up original compositions based upon their virtuosity and shared musical ideas….

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 418 – Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer & Zakir Hussain – Part One

Original air date: week of August 14, 2011 When banjoist Bela Fleck, bassist Edgar Meyer and tabla player Zakir Hussain decided to form a trio, they committed to creating a group with rich and varied compositions, virtuosic playing and a plan to grow the ensemble’s sound and repertoire over time. In this episode, we tune…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 417 – James Hunter

Original air date: week of August 7, 2011 Taking vocal cues from Sam Cooke and James Brown and wrapping them in the cozy warmth of rhythm and blues, singer/guitarist James Hunter hails from England but has American soul running through his blood. In this episode, we listen to Hunter’s 2011 SMF performance from the Trustees…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 415 – Daniel Hope & Friends I

Original air date: week of July 24, 2011 In the world of chamber music, there are many masterworks of the idiom – pieces that are continually performed year in and year out at festivals and chamber music series around the world. The piano quintet by Schumann and the D minor trio by Mendelssohn are two…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 414 – Ike Stubblefield Trio

Original air date: week of July 17, 2011 When American engineer Laurens Hammond invented the electric Hammond organ in 1934, he knew he had created an organ that could be sold to churches as a lower-cost alternative to the wind-driven pipe organ. However, by the 1950s and 60s, it had become a standard keyboard instrument…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 413 – Nikolai Lugansky

Original air date: week of July 10, 2011 Players who win piano competitions don’t always become great pianists, but now in his late 30s, Nikolai Lugansky has all the makings of a modern virtuoso. Born in Moscow in April of 1972 to a couple of research scientists, Mr. Lugansky was just five years old when…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 412 – Junior Brown

Original air date: week of July 3, 2011 In this episode, we listen to the complete 2011 performance by Junior Brown at the Lucas Theatre for the Arts, where he played an hour-long, non-stop set on his original instrument made up of a 6-string electric and a lap steel guitar. He calls it the “guit-steel”,…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 411 – Beethoven Cello Sonatas – Part Two

Original air date: week of June 26, 2011 The five sonatas for cello and piano that Beethoven composed are milestones of the literature. They redefined the possibilities for these two instruments by creating music in which each part had an equally important role, setting a standard for every composer who followed. Tune in for part…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 410 – Beethoven Cello Sonatas

Original air date: week of June 19, 2011 During the 18th century, the cello had gradually become regarded as a solo as well as an accompanying instrument. While neither Mozart nor Haydn composed a cello sonata, Beethoven more than made up for them. Not only did he write five sonatas for the instrument, but he…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 409 – Punch Brothers – Part Two

Original air date: week of June 12, 2011 The forward movement of contemporary American stringband music has always been fueled by a tradition that existed outside the classroom setting. When a young person attempts to pursue an American style such as bluegrass, Cajun, country or blues, the earliest method of learning often begins with imitating…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 408 – Eric Kim

Original air date: week of June 5, 2011 While Beethoven is generally acknowledged as the first great composer of cello sonatas, there have been numerous outstanding works written for the cello as a solo instrument over the last three centuries. Composers such as Boccherini, Grieg, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Shostakovich and Britten all wrote compositions that…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 407 – Ebene Quartet

Original air date: week of May 29, 2011 The string quartets written in the late 19th and early 20th century by Debussy and Ravel both dazzled and disturbed people in their first performances. Debussy’s fantastic, spiraling variations were shocking, but the exotic beauty of his writing excited many (including the young Ravel). Over time, passionate…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 406 – Punch Brothers – Part One

Original air date: week beginning May 23, 2011 The tradition of stringband playing in the United States dates back at least 200 years. In the early 19th century, the fiddle-banjo duo that was essential to the dance music of the day eventually incorporated other instruments such as the guitar, mandolin and double bass. Such an…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 405 – Ballake Sissoko & Vincent Segal

Original air date: week of May 15, 2011 When people hear the term “chamber music”, more often than not they think of a form of Classical music from the European tradition written for a small number of instruments. In the past 100 years, however, chamber music has grown to include any art music that is…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 404 – Patrick Messina

Original air date: week of May 8, 2011 At an audition to become the principal player on your instrument in a symphony orchestra, technical proficiency is only part of the test. Members of the orchestra weigh whether a candidate plays with strong character, yet can blend and match the ensemble’s style while also being a…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 403 – Bill Charlap & Renee Rosnes Piano Duo

Original air date: week of May 1, 2011 The art of playing jazz piano is something that Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes pursued for more than 20 years before they met one another. After these two premiere pianists fell in love and became a couple, they realized that one of the biggest challenges of being…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 402 – Kristian Bezuidenhout on Fortepiano

Original air date: April 24, 2011 In the decade between 1781 and 1791 in Vienna, the preeminent keyboard virtuoso of the day was a young man named Mozart. During the final ten years of his life, Mozart was undeniably the absolute piano star in this music capital, but the keyboard he played was not the…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 343 – Cherryholmes

Original air date: week of February 20, 2011 When the family band Cherryholmes burst onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere during the first few years of the new millennium, they quickly developed a loyal audience, followed by a wealth of honors and awards. On January 12, 2011, after more than a decade together, Cherryholmes…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 342 – Shannon Whitworth

Original air date: week of February 13, 2011 Growing up in the South Carolina low country, Shannon Whitworth was always surrounded by water, before she decided to make her home in the North Carolina mountains. It’s the reason that the themes of water and mountains surface regularly in her songs, alongside the women about whom…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 341 – Del McCoury Band

Original air date: week of February 6, 2011 When you think of American roots music, one of the most distinct styles is bluegrass. Bill Monroe once characterized the genre of music he helped create as: “Scottish bagpipes and old-time fiddlin’. It’s Methodist and Holiness and Baptist. It’s blues and jazz, and it has a high…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 340 – Gerald Clayton Trio

Original air date: week of January 30, 2011 The most common piano trio format in jazz has usually included a pianist, a bassist and a drummer. Communication between these three players is built around the talents they have amassed through extensive training, so that their reflexes are to the point where the music takes over…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 339 – Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba

Original air date: week of January 23, 2011 The musical heritage of French West Africa includes a wealth of traditional and popular music styles from a variety of countries including Senegal, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin and Mali. The arid, landlocked nation of Mali is a cultural colossus. Its contemporary music serves as a rich and…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 338 – All-Star Swing Summit

Original air date: week of January 16, 2011 Each Spring, twelve of the top high school jazz bands from across the nation travel to Savannah to spend three days studying with a handpicked set of instructors who, individually, are some of the greatest jazz musicians of our time. This episode of the Savannah Music Festival…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 337 – Renaud Garcia-Fons

Original air date: week of January 2, 2011 When double bass player and composer Renaud Garcia-Fons arrived backstage in the van with his custom five-stringed bass, we expected to see yet another huge bass case. Instead, he unloaded a much smaller box from which emerged a wooden body, out of which came the neck, followed…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 336 – Gerald Clayton

Original air date: week of December 26, 2010 At the quarter century mark in age, jazz pianist Gerald Clayton has staked a claim in the music by sticking to his mantra that tradition and innovation can peacefully coexist. But with Gerald at the keyboard, this coexistence is often anything but peaceful. Dodging early pressures to…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 335 – Dick Hyman Trio – Part Two

Original air date: week of December 19, 2010 The development of jazz music during the first half of the twentieth century occurred at an astonishingly rapid pace. The wide array of styles that emerged included the polyphonic improvisation of New Orleans jazz, stride piano, big band swing and bebop. By 1943 Duke Ellington had stopped…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 334 – Dick Hyman Trio – Part One

Original air date: week of December 12, 2010 The term “piano trio” usually refers to to a group comprising a pianist, a double bass player and a drummer. The pianist is generally the leader of these trios, which are usually named after the pianist, such as the Bill Evans Trio or Oscar Peterson Trio. In…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 333 – Bill Frisell Trio

Original air date: week of December 5, 2010 In this episode we listen to a 2010 performance by an American guitarist who has been closely identified to jazz, although he has always taken elements of folk, blues, rock and other styles, and spun them into a wholly original sound. Guitarist Bill Frisell is joined in…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 332 – Wycliffe Gordon & Marcus Printup

Original air date: week of November 21, 2010 The lineage of great jazz musicians in Georgia goes back to the early 20th century when such renowned musicians as Fletcher Henderson came out of Atlanta University, moved to New York city and formed one of the finest big bands of all time. In this episode we…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 331 – 2011 Chamber Music Preview

For chamber music lovers, springtime in Savannah is a veritable feast of music for 17 days. Some of the world’s finest classical musicians gather to rehearse and perform masterworks of the idiom in historic and intimate spaces. Tune in to hear performances by artists returning to the 2011 festival.

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 330 – Preview of SMF 2011 Programs – Part One

Original air date: November 7, 2010 This episode is a sneak preview for GPB listeners of artists returning to Savannah in 2011. Stay tuned for our complete season announcement on November 10th!

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 329 – Fragments & Masterpieces

Original air date: week of October 31, 2010 Whether one is a young student just beginning to write music, or a master at the height of their powers, the art and craft of composing chamber music is always a challenge. In this episode, we listen to three very different, but unique chamber music works: Mahler’s…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 328 – Brahms String Sextet

Original air date: week of October 24, 2010 Of all the major composers of the late Romantic era, Brahms was the one most attached to the classical ideal as manifested in the music of Haydn, Mozart, and especially Beethoven. As a mature composer, Brahms became for conservative music journalists the most potent symbol of musical…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 327 – Schubert’s B-flat Piano Trio

Original air date: week of October 19, 2010 The year 1827 was the last full year of life for Franz Schubert. He had just turned 30 and was terribly ill, yet it was arguably his most prolific year, in which he wrote a wealth of heralded masterpieces. in this episode, we listen to two of…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 326 – German Masterworks

Original air date: week of October 12, 2010 If the musical world of the 19th century can be said to end with Beethoven, it is the opinion of some that it should end with Wagner. Such a description expresses neatly the power that each of the remarkable figures had over the musicians and composers of…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 325 – The One and Only Garrick Ohlsson

Original air date: week of October 3, 2010 Pianist Garrick Ohlsson is an interpreter of great originality, whose playing combines supreme elegance with extraordinary tonal projection. These qualities have placed him among the ranks of the world’s foremost pianists. On this edition of the Savannah Music Festival LIVE, we listen to Mr. Ohlsson playing a…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 324 – Shostakovich

Original air date: week of September 26, 2010 As one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century, Dmitri Shostakovich was a child prodigy as both a pianist and composer. Born in 1906 in St. Petersburg, Russia, he first achieved national fame in the early 20s, but he would eventually have a complex and…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 323 – Ruthie Foster

Original air date: week of September 19, 2010 If you were born in the 1960s, you could grow up just about anywhere in America and be exposed to gospel, jazz, blues, soul, folk and rock music on the radio and television. Such was the case of Ruthie Foster, who was raised in South Texas and…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 322 – Piano Showdown 2010 – Part Two

Original air date: week of September 12, 2010 When new styles of American music began to emerge at the end of the 19th century, the primary instrument at the center of these creations was the piano. Virtuosos such as ragtime stylist Scott Joplin created works like the “Maple Leaf Rag” that would sell over a…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 321 – 20th Century Beauties

Original air date: week of September 5, 2010 The term “20th Century Classical Music” often conjures up the notion of sounds that are not very appealing to classical music purists. However, many 20th century composers never strayed from writing beautiful music that attracted a broad array of people, no matter how sentimental or sappy it…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 320 – Mark O’Connor’s Hot Swing! Trio

Original air date: week of August 29, 2010 Violinist Mark O’Connor spent ten days at the 2010 Savannah Music Festival playing in a variety of projects. His Hot Swing! Trio at SMF featured guitarist Julian Lage and bassist Gary Mazzaroppi. Inspired by the music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli (O’Connor’s mentor), the group played…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 319 – Vienna in the Late 18th Century

Original air date: week of August 22, 2010 In the late 18th century, Vienna was the major musical center in Europe and a city where the great triumvirate of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven made their homes. Beethoven’s first appearance in Vienna as a youthful musician of promise came in the spring of 1787, where he…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 318 – Two 19th Century Sonatas

Original air date: week of August 15, 2010 A sonata in music literally means a piece that is played, as opposed to a cantata, which is a piece that is sung. The sonata has naturally evolved through the history of music, and it took on increasing importance by the early 19th century when it came…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 317 – Dick Hyman Plays Fats Waller

Original air date: week of August 8, 2010 Born in New York City in 1904, Fats Waller played the organ and sang in the choir of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, where his father was the minister. By the time he was a teenager, the lure of playing in the theatre and accompanying silent…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 316 – Schubert’s E-flat Piano Trio

Original air date: week of August 2, 2010 While it’s hard to give a satisfactory definition of “genius,” it nearly always happens that artistic genius expresses itself in youth. With the greatest of geniuses there follows an extended period of prodigious activity at the highest level, which seldom sustains its fire throughout a long life….

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 315 – Mark O’Connor’s American Journey

Original air date: week beginning July 25, 2010 In 2010, Mark O’Connor came to the Savannah Music Festival and spent ten days pursuing his American music journey. He taught master classes, played solos and duos, and performed with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. He played original compositions with the US Army…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 314 – Sarah Jarosz

Original air date: week of July 18, 2010 Few musical communities have proven more nurturing of emerging talent than bluegrass and its acoustic tributaries. In part this is because precocious youth has proved a wise investment, as evidenced by former teenage virtuosos such as Marty Stuart, Alison Krauss and Chris Thile. But mostly this is…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE – 313 – Daniel Hope & Friends

Original air date: week of July 12, 2010 Each year during March and April, violinist Daniel Hope invites some of his favorite colleagues to spend 17 days performing chamber music with him at the Savannah Music Festival, where he serves as Associate Artistic Director. Utilizing a blend of the finest players from around the world,…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 312 – Bill Charlap Trio – Part Three

Original air date: week of July 4, 2010 When pianist Bill Charlap arrived in Savannah with his trio to play three sets of music over the course of one evening, he made it emphatically clear that he had no intention of repeating himself. possessing a profound knowledge of music and the American songbook, he delivered…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 311 – Kathy Mattea

Original air date: week of June 28, 2010 Though her childhood was steeped in the culture of mining and Appalachia, Kathy Mattea wasn’t really exposed to much traditional mountain music. But after the 2006 Sago mining disaster in her home state of West Virginia, she took her collection of mining and mountain songs and embarked…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 310 – Henry Butler Solo

Original air date: week of June 21, 2010 Pianist Henry Butler was born in New Orleans and has developed a sound that Dr. John refers to as the “pride of the Crescent City.” As an extension of the great piano lineage that includes Jelly Roll Morton, Professor Longhair, James Booker and Tuts Washington, Mr. Butler…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 309 – Emerson String Quartet Plays Dvorak – Part Two

Original air date: week of June 14, 2010 During his career, Czech composer Antonin Dvorak wrote 14 string quartets, all between 1862 and 1895. His final two quartets, with their mastery of form, color and expression, are a fitting summation of Dvorak’s exceptional achievement in this genre. During March of 2010, the Emerson Quartet performed…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 308 – Piano Showdown 2010 – Part One

Original air date: week of June 7, 2010 The piano has been an integral part of the jazz idiom since its inception. Due to its combined melodic, harmonic and rhythmic possibilities, it has been the one instrument that allowed the greatest jazz players to use their creativity to address all of these elements of musical…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 307 – Emerson String Quartet Plays Dvorak

Original air date: week of May 31, 2010 In December of 1891, Czech composer Antonin Dvorak accepted the offer of Jeanette Thurber to become the director of the National Academy of Music in New York City. Mrs. Thurber hoped that the conservatory, which she founded in 1885, would foster the development of American concert music….

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 306 – Yefim Bronfman

Original air date: week of May 22, 2010 As one of the most revered pianists in our time, Yefim Bronfman bucks the stereotype of the Russian soloist as merely a technical wizard of large sound and emphatic personality. Though he has technique to burn, he also has a chameleon-like ability to subsume himself in the…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 305 – The Assad Brothers

Original air date: week of May 17, 2010 Ever since their childhood concerts in Brazil and their New York appearances as teenagers in 1969, Sergio and Odair Assad have been touring the world and recording as The Assad Brothers. They have followed a fascinating path of musical development utilizing the traditional repertoire of the guitar…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 304 – Chris Thile, Mike Marshall & Caterina Lichtenberg – Part Two

Original air date: Week of May 10, 2010 At the turn of the 20th century when the mandolin became popular in America, a man named Orville Gibson changed its shape and marketability. What had primarily been a fad instrument would soon fall into the hands of players that would forever alter its musical direction. This…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 303 – Chris Thile, Mike Marshall & Caterina Lichtenberg

Original Air Date: Week Beginning May 3, 2010 When mandolins began evolving from the lute family in Italy during the 17th and 18th centuries, they were designed with a round back or bowl back in what was known as the Neopolitan style. By the end of the 19th century, a new style with a carved…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 302 – Roby Lakatos Ensemble

Original Air Date: Week of April 26, 2010 Hungarian fiddle playing is known the world over for its passion, romance and virtuosity. To most non-Hungarians, the music is synonymous with the campfire, the open road and the Gypsies. But is Hungarian fiddle music actually Gypsy music? Within the country you will find considerable resentment towards…

Savannah Music Festival LIVE 301 – Kahane/Knauer

As the Industrial Revolution progressed in the 19th Century, an educated middle class arose with the means and cultural aspirations to invest in a new form of domestic art: the family piano. Since there were no means to reproduce music automatically, people played. Along with this new instrument came new methods and styles of music,…