March is going to be a great month of incredible concerts at Rockport Music

FREE COMMUNITY EVENTS

On Sunday, March 1 at 3 pm, Dr. Elizabeth Seitz, faculty member of Boston Conservatory, will provide a free lecture on The Many Faces of Arnold Schoenberg.  A controversial figure in the history of Western music, Schoenberg is still one of the most influential and intriguing musicians of the last century. In this lecture/recital, Dr. Elizabeth Seitz will explore the three different stylistic periods of Schoenberg. We will follow his growth as a composer from his lush post-Romantic language, through his atonal period, and then discuss how Serialism works. Each period will have a live performance component, as well as open discussion and questions with the audience.  Free, no tickets required.

CONCERTS

On Friday, March 6 at 8 pm, Justin Townes Earle will bring his genre-busting style of folk music to the Shalin Liu Performance Center. In the past five years, Justin Townes Earle has emerged as a genre-busting acclaimed singer-songwriter, infusing country, blues, folk and indie rock into his vintage Americana sound. As the son of beloved country folk rabble-rouser Steve Earle, Justin (his middle name Townes is in honor his father’s mentor and friend, the great Townes Van Zandt) had large musical shoes to fill, but after five critically-adored records and an ever-growing legion of fans, it’s safe to say he’s done that.

On the strength of his stellar album Midnight at the Movies, Earle won an Americana Music Award for Best Emerging Artist in 2009, and then returned two years later to win Song of the Year for the title track of Harlem River Blues. Of late, Earle has veered from the hillbilly shuffles of his earlier records, incorporating a tinge of Memphis soul in 2012’s Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Know.  In 2013, he signed with Vagrant Records and released Single Mothers, and in January this year, released its compendium record Absent Fathers. Gill Landry will open the show.  Tickets: $28-$46

On Saturday, March 7 at 8 pm, the Billy Childs All-Star Quartet will perform at the Shalin Liu Performance Center. A tremendous jazz pianist and 2015 Grammy Award winner, Billy Childs plays and composes in a unique style that borrows heavily from the classical world, but still manages to be wholly his own.  A three time Grammy winner as well as a 2009 Guggenheim fellow and a recent recipient of the esteemed Doris Duke Performance Award, Childs has been playing professionally since the 70’s. His first big break came when asked to tour with trombone legend J.J. Johnson. He became a fixture in Freddie Hubbard’s band in the late 70’s and 80’s, making a name for himself as a remarkable sideman and accompanist. A composition major at USC, Childs eventually began gaining acclaim for his writing and arranging, receiving commissions from Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, The Kronos Quartet, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and the American Brass Quintet, among others. He has also arranged for mainstream pop artists such as Sting, Chris Botti, Gladys Knight, and Michael Bublé.  His own recording career began in the late 80’s under the Windham Hill label. He has now released ten studio records, the most recent being a Laura Nyro tribute called Map to the Treasure, which featured guest appearances from Renee Fleming, Dianne Reeves and Alison Krauss among others.   The All Music Guide hails him “a superb player and underrated writer.”  Tickets: $39-$58

On Sunday, March 8 at 5 pm, the Hot Club of Cowtown, expertly combines the dusty stomp of Western swing with hot gypsy jazz.  This Austin-based trio has crafted a unique and infectious hybrid that playfully blurs musical boundaries.  Fiddler Elana James, guitarist Whit Smith and bassist Jake Erwin have been conjuring the spirit of both Bob Wills and jazz manouche legend Django Reinhardt for close to fifteen years and show no sign of slowing down.  Since their first recording in 1998, Hot Club of Cowtown found an almost immediate and dedicated following, the band’s joyous musical alchemy filling dancefloors at first throughout Texas and eventually across the country and the world. Their repertoire covers an understandably large spectrum with little-heard vintage Western swing tunes mixing in with gypsy jazz and pre-war pop standards, as well as a burgeoning stable of catchy originals. They’ve released ten acclaimed records, including 2013’s Rendezvous in Rhythm.   Tickets: $28-$46

On Tuesday, March 10, at 8 pm, Danú, one of Ireland’s most cherished Irish folk bands and among the leaders of the new traditionalist movement in Celtic music, will thrill the audience with their instrumental virtuosity and powerfully emotive ballads at the Shalin Liu Performance Center.   Based in the city of Waterford (Dungarvan Co.), the talented septet (along with kindred spirits like Lúnasa and Dervish) has successfully brought Celtic music back to its earthy, traditional roots while keeping a modern, youthful sensibility. The band has released seven records since forming in 1994, and has been voted Best Overall Traditional Act by Dublin‘s magazine Irish Music, as well as getting voted Best Traditional Group twice in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Tickets:  $28-$46

Saturday, March 14 at 8 pm, two-time Grammy nominee and legendary acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke will perform at the Shalin Liu Performance Center.  Known for his signature fingerpicking style drawing from blues, jazz and folk music and his syncopated, polyphonic melodies, Kottke is widely recognized as a master of his instrument and has collaborated on records with legends such as John Fahey, Chet Atkins and Lyle Lovett.  After Kottke’s 1971 major-label debut album Mudlark, he became somewhat uneasily categorized in the singer/songwriter vein, despite his own wishes to remain an instrumental performer. Still, Kottke flourished throughout the 1970’s with albums like Greenhouse, My Feet Are Smiling, and Chewing Pine.  In 2002, Kottke’s collaboration with Phish bassist Mike Gordon, on the album Clone, caught audiences’ attention and the collaboration continued with an island music inspired album entitled Sixty Six Steps. Tickets: $39-$58

On Sunday, March 15 at 5 pm, Maceo Parker stands among the legends of funk, forging the first half of his stellar career as a sideman for the genre’s forefathers James Brown and George Clinton.  From being an essential voice in Brown’s horn section to helping steer George Clinton and Parliament’s Mothership Connection to platinum status, his soulful saxophone playing and vocals are firmly rooted in funk music history.  As a soloist and bandleader for the last two decades, he has created his own musical juggernaut, highlighted by the smashing success of the live record Life on Planet Groove.  In recent years Maceo has brought his seminal sound to collaborations with Ray Charles, Ani Difranco, James Taylor, Dave Matthews Band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Prince.  In 2012, he received the Les Victoires du Jazz in Paris: a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to music, as well as an Icon Award at the North Sea Jazz Festival.  Tickets: $80, $70, $50

On Sunday, March 22 at 3 pm, the American Brass Quintet—Kevin Cobb and Louis Hanzlik, trumpet, Eric Reed, horn, Michael Powell, tenor trombone, and John Rojak, bass trombone—performs at the Shalin Liu Performance Center.  A groundbreaking ensemble that has been at the vanguard of brass chamber music since its founding in 1960, the American Brass Quintet has forged a powerful legacy that cannot be overstated. The ABQ has premiered works by Jan Bach, William Bolcom, Elliott Carter, Jacob Druckman, Gunther Schuller, and Virgil Thomson, among many others.

The Quintet has been in residence at The Juilliard School since 1987 and at the Aspen Music Festival since 1970. Last year, the ABQ was given Chamber Music America’s highest honor, the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award for significant and lasting contributions to the field. Newsweek hails the Quintet as “the high priests of brass.”  The program includes Thomas Morley’s Elizabethan Ayres, Stephen Foster’s Suite from “The social Orchestra,Maurer’s Five Pieces, Josquin des Prés’s Chansons, and Joan Tower’s Copperwave.  A Pre-Concert Talk is free and open to all ticketholders at 2 pm. Tickets: $25-$39

On Thursday, March 26 at 8 pm, the pioneering Nitty Gritty Dirt Band performs at the Shalin Liu Performance Center.  This Band has crafted a musical legacy that has spawned an entire genre of music, influencing a generation of country-rock bands in its over 45 year history. Their 1970’s album Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy included their first major hit, a cover of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles.”  In 1972, the band made their official leap into country music, releasing a triple-album Will the Circle Be Unbroken that featured many of Nashville’s living legends, including Maybelle Carter, Roy Acuff, Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson among others. The now-iconic record has since become a landmark country-rock album, setting the stage for bands like The Eagles and Alabama, who gratefully followed in their wake. Later notable releases included Stars and Stripes Forever (1974) and An American Dream (1979).  The band has had some line-up changes, but is now made up of a quartet, including guitarist Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter and John McEuen. They’re most recent record (and 33rd release) Speed of Life hearkens back to their freewheeling, live-in-studio acoustic albums for their 70’s heyday.    Tickets: $55-$85

 

On Sunday, March 29 at 3 pm, the Brattle Street Chamber Players performs in the Community Connections series at the Shalin Liu Performance Center.  The fourteen-member Brattle Street Chamber Players has quickly developed into one of Harvard’s most exciting musical chamber ensembles. A conductorless string chamber orchestra, Brattle has brought an intimate and dynamic approach to a broad-ranging repertoire of standard, seldom performed and newly composed music for strings since its founding in 1998. They have garnered rave reviews and a reputation for premiering works by Harvard undergraduates and collaborated with ensembles including the Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus, the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, the Harvard University Choir and the Harlem Boys Choir. Tickets: $15-$20

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