Music

Joanie Madden

Posted January 16, 2015

Yonkers, NY


Joanie Madden is a whistle, flute player, and composer of traditional Irish music. After studying with Irish flute player Jack Coe, Madden became the first American to win the Senior All-Ireland Championship on the whistle and is the top-selling whistle player, having sold over 500,000 solo albums. Madden has also performed on over 160 albums with luminaries including Pete Seeger and the Boston Pops. She is the leader of the award-winning Cherish The Ladies, an all-female Irish music and dance ensemble that began in 1985 and has released 14 albums. The group has performed with Joan Baez, Vince Gill, and The Chieftains, among others, and has performed over 250 nights as a guest soloist for symphone around the world.

 Pride of New York, 2010; photo credit Robert Hakalski

Pride of New York, 2010; photo credit Robert Hakalski

Tony Trischka

Posted January 16, 2015

Fair Lawn, NJ


Celebrated and innovative banjo player Tony Trischka has inspired many other progressive players. Trischka started playing the banjo in 1963 and played with numerous bands until the 1980s, when he began recording with his band, Skyline, and worked on the soundtrack for Driving Miss Daisy. His 2007 album, Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular, featured appearances by Steve Martin, Earl Scruggs, and many other banjo luminaries, and received two International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards as well as a Grammy nomination. Trischka also received an IBMA award for Banjo Player of the Year.

 Tony Trischka Territory, 2008; photo credit Michael Stewart

Tony Trischka Territory, 2008; photo credit Michael Stewart

Manuel Barrueco

Posted January 16, 2015

Lutherville Timonium, MD


Considered one of the greatest guitarists working today, Manuel Barrueco began playing at the age of eight, studying at the Esteban Salas Conservatory in Santiago de Cuba. Barrueco immigrated to the U.S. with his family in 1967, completing his studies at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, where he now teaches. Barrueco has played in some of the most important musical centers of the world and has worked with a diverse range of musicians, from Plácido Domingo and Seiji Ozawa to Al Di Miola and Andy Summers. He performs the work of both classical and more contemporary composers.

  Manuel Barrueco with the Galicia Symphony Orchestra; photo credit Asgerdur Sigurdardottir

Manuel Barrueco with the Galicia Symphony Orchestra; photo credit Asgerdur Sigurdardottir

Mary Ellen Childs

Posted January 16, 2015

Minneapolis, MN


Mary Ellen Childs composes concert work, often with a strong visual element, for a variety of instrumental ensembles, including solo accordion, string quartets, and chamber groups. The creator of many multi-media works, Childs is best known for her “visual percussion” pieces for her percussion group CRASH, in which she incorporates the movements of the bodies of the performers. Childs has received commissions from the Kronos Quartet, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Kitchen, and the Walker Art Center, among others.

 DrumRoll, performed by CRASH; photo credit V. Paul Virtucio

DrumRoll, performed by CRASH; photo credit V. Paul Virtucio

Lila Downs

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


Mexican-American singer-songwriter Lila Downs was raised between three cultures—the Mixtec Oaxacan world of her mother, as a Mexican national, and in the Minnesota home of her father. Downs studied at the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Oaxaca, Mexico, as well as the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. She grew up singing ranchero music and studied opera in college, combining these traditions with jazz, Native American, and Afro-Caribbean music in her compositions, which address contemporary social themes around migration, gender, and race. She has recorded eight CDs.

 Shake Away, 2008; photo credit the artist

Shake Away, 2008; photo credit the artist

George Lewis

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


George Lewis is a composer, trombonist, improviser, educator, and a pioneer of computer music. Lewis has been a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, and studied at its school under USA Prudential Fellow Muhal Richards Abrams. Lewis’s work with musicians from Count Basie to John Zorn is documented in over 140 recordings. He has also created and performed with interactive computer systems since the late 1970s and has collaborated with visual artists, roboticists, and turntablists in sound installations. He is the Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music at Columbia University and won a MacArthur Fellowship in 2002.

 George Lewis

George Lewis

Sean Shepherd

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


Classical music composer Sean Shepherd has received commissions from the New York Philharmonic, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Reno Philharmonic, and the Cleveland Orchestra, where he is the Daniel R. Lewis Composer Fellow. Currently a doctoral candidate in music composition at Cornell University, Shepherd’s music has been performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, among others.   

 Sketches and engravings; photo credit the artist

Sketches and engravings; photo credit the artist

Sxip Shirey

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


Composer and performer Sxip Shirey is particularly known for creating musical instruments out of found objects. His variety show, Sxip’s Hour of Charm, hosted at Joe’s Pub in New York City, can include performances by circus artists, puppeteers, comedians, and dancers. Since 2003, he has also been a member of the Luminescent Orchestrii, which plays Balkan and Gypsy-inspired music. Since 2001, he has played with The Daredevil Opera Company, a physical comedy and circus arts troupe that have performed at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Adelaide Festival, and the Sydney Opera House.  

 Photo credit James Shirey

Photo credit James Shirey

Holcombe Waller

Posted January 16, 2015

Portland, OR


Holcombe Waller is a composer, singer, and performance artist. Waller’s compositions are folk-inflected and often mournful. In his performances he, in his words, “approaches music as total theater,” singing while accompanied by his video work and staging. He has performed at On the Boards in Seattle, Out North in Anchorage, and Joe’s Pub in New York, among other venues, and he has released four CDs. Waller has collaborated with USA Glover Fellow and choreographer Joe Goode as well as other choreographers and visual artists. 

  Holcombe Waller and the Healers performing Into the Dark Unknown: The Hope Chest, 2008; photo credit Lucas Balzer

Holcombe Waller and the Healers performing Into the Dark Unknown: The Hope Chest, 2008; photo credit Lucas Balzer

Uri Caine

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


Jazz and classical pianist and composer Uri Caine is known for his inventive interpretations of the classical repertoire and strives, in his words, “to use improvisation to transform classical music.” He attended the University of Pennsylvania. Caine has recorded as a leader on 21 CDs and has worked with USA Prudential Fellow Don Byron, Arto Lindsay, and Dave Douglas, among others. He has performed with numerous orchestras, including the Cleveland and Moscow Chamber Orchestras, and the CBC Orchestra in Canada. Caine was composer-in-residence with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (2005–08) and also served as the director of the Venice Biennale for Music (2003).

 Uri Caine Ensemble; photo credit Jan Caine

Uri Caine Ensemble; photo credit Jan Caine