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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Filtering by Tag: YouTube

The Brass Junkies 107: Christoper Bill

Andrew Hitz

TBJ107-promo.jpg

Listen via

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TBJ107: Christopher Bill, trombonist, singer, and multi-instrumentalist and internet sensation!

We did this one right in my office! He is one of the creative forces of the next generation. He can play. He can tell a story. He is one hell of an entrepreneur. He is the real deal.

One lesson I’ve learned from him is to just keep producing no matter what. You have to always be creating and sharing what you’ve created if you want to cut through the noise in today’s music business. And he most certainly has!

You can check out the complete show notes including all links mentioned during TBJ107 over at Pedal Note Media.

Gil Shaham - Barber Violin Concerto: Monday YouTube Fix

Andrew Hitz

I don't know about you, but when I was 11 years old I sure as heck wasn't soling with the Israel Philharmonic.  Gil Shaham has been a staple of the violin world for so long that it seems impossible that he could only be in his early 40's. Samuel Barber has been one of my favorite composers since high school when I had the privilege of playing his First Symphony on a European tour with the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra (now BYSO) in 1992.  He is an amazing composer with a very unique voice.  My father was a fan of Barber's and introduced me to his music.  I remember thinking immediately that he seemed to have something to say as a composer.

My favorite part of this Shaham clip, aside from the phrasing and his amazing tone, is how much fun he is having on stage.  That is not always the case with many professional musicians and is a breath of fresh air.  He really seems to be enjoying the conversation he's having with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and we can all learn from that.

Enjoy!

Monday YouTube Fix: Sam Pilafian and Gabe Hall-Rodrigues

Andrew Hitz

Tuba and accordion. Lots and lots of jokes have been told about each of these instruments but not when these two guys are playing them.  It's an instrument combination that seems to be made in heaven.  The conical, wide sound of the tuba with the punchy sound of an accordion. Probably the coolest thing to me about Sam Pilafian's career is the constantly changing settings of his performances.  I've seen him perform for packed concert halls with the Empire Brass and also seen him play a free jazz gig for about a dozen people at an Inn in the middle of the Berkshires.  He has never surprised me with any project he's been involved with and as a result always keeps me as a listener on my toes.

This is a fantastic version of the jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown performed at Arizona State.  When I grow up, I want to be just like Sam.

Enjoy!

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-X64Z9GacM&feature=colike]

 

Monday YouTube Fix: Lisa Hannigan

Andrew Hitz

Last night, my wife and I saw a performance by the Irish singer Lisa Hannigan here in Washington DC.  It was simply put the greatest vocal performance I've ever witnessed and that includes the likes of Kathleen Battle, Jessye Norman, and many other famous singers.  We were both truly stunned. In fact, when I looked at my wife after the very opening song she exhaled as if she had been holding her breath the entire time.  I then realized that I too had been almost scared to breathe.  The music was so ethereal and the message of the song so piercing that to interrupt it with even a breath seemed inappropriate.  The beauty, resonance, and character of Lisa's voice is impossible for me to put into words.  There is a stunning innocence with a simultaneous grit that takes your breath away.

The worst note ending of her performance was quite possibly better than the best I've ever played in my career.  Every note was hand delivered to the next with an attention to detail left the audience speechless.  I was a better musician by the end of the evening, simply by being present.  It was a master class in every sense of the word.

When people say there is no money in music I can't completely agree.  When you sing or play an instrument to the level of Lisa Hannigan you will make a living performing.  Period.  I do not know of a single exception.  She is a breathtaking talent that you should see perform at all costs.  Below is a clip from the wonderful Tiny Desk Concert series from NPR.  I think you will hear what I mean in the very first tune.

Enjoy!

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-B_fkZfWjk]

 

Monday YouTube Fix: Jascha Heifetz

Andrew Hitz

I'll never forget the first time I heard Heifetz play the violin.  It was the summer of 1998 and I was in Breckenridge playing with the National Repertory Orchestra.   My friend John Grillo was in the bass section and he had a passion for sharing great music with others.  He asked me if I had ever heard Heifetz's recording of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas.  When I told him no his face lit up and he proceeded to put it on at a very loud volume. My mind was blown by the precision and insistence of interpretation that I was hearing.  Heifetz has been a favorite of mine ever since.  I just stumbled upon this clip of Heifetz in his late 60s playing the Chaconne from the Bach Partita No. 2 in D Minor.  Even late in life, his playing is simply impeccable.  He is able to get so much tone out of each sixteenth note.

Enjoy!

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6q-Zqz7mNjQ]

 

Monday YouTube Fix: Wynton Marsalis Septet

Andrew Hitz

The finest jazz performance I've ever seen featured this amazing septet.  I was still a high school student and that night filled me with inspiration and aspirations.  It's a pretty cool story of how I ended up at the gig as well. Back in 1992 I was having a lesson at Boston University with my private teacher, Julian Dixon, and Wynton and his septet happened to be rehearsing there that night.  My teacher knew him from when they were kids and graciously interrupted their rehearsal to introduce me.  Wynton then asked me if I had any interest in seeing them play the next night at the Regatta Bar in Cambridge.  I of course said yes.

Not only did Wynton put me on the guest list +1 but he convinced them to let both of us into this 18 and over show by telling them that we were his friends.  A ve3ry nice gesture but not the impressive part of the story.

They were playing two separately ticketed shows that night.  My buddy and I went to the earlier of the two.  As soon as the early show ended he invited us up and struck up a conversation with us both as the rest of the place was forced to leave.  He then spent an entire hour personally introducing us to five of the other six guys in the band.  I actually had real conversations with Marcus Roberts, Wycliffe Gordon, etc. and that was in large part because Wynton stood there with us the entire time as if we were his relatives or something.

He finally graciously excused himself to get just a few minutes to be "off the clock" before the second gig.  I know how precious the alone time can be when being pulled in 85 directions at once on the road.  He went WAY out of his way to make that evening both inspiring and special for me and my buddy.  In fact, I've used it as a guide for when there's some young kid who just wants to hang around backstage and I'm having one of those days where I just need some time to myself.  I just try to think back to that night, get over myself, and give the kid all the time I have.

Thank you Wynton for taking the time share your gift with me as a high school student.  That night still inspires me to this day.

Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yuz6pejyddg]

New Year's Resolution: More YouTube

Andrew Hitz

It is that time of year that most of us make New Year's resolutions.  Whether it be joining a gym and going only 5 times or dieting for only a couple of weeks, we frequently don't even come close to realizing our goals.  So this year I've decided to make a productive resolution that is also fun: I'm going to spend at least one hour a week watching great music on YouTube.  It's that simple.  The amount of amazing performances which are at the fingertips of anyone with an internet connection today is simply stunning.  The fact that I have not been taking full advantage of this mind-boggling resource is silly.

2011 saw the introduction of the online music streaming service Spotify to the United States.  Spotify inspired me to listen to more music this past year than I had in recent memory.  It is a wonderful service and makes doing my research (for the tuba in my head) incredibly easy.  It even inspired a very cool listening project that I'm doing with the George Mason Tuba/Euphonium studio called the Studio Listening Lab.

Spotify has inspired me to bring my research to the next level.  So I've decided that 2012 will be the Year of YouTube for me.  There is something to be said for watching the best musicians in the world do what they do right before your very eyes.

Below are two clips from a jam session that I never knew even happened.  Two of my favorite bass players are Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) and George Porter Jr. (of The Meters).  These guys are two of my bass clef heroes and without YouTube I wouldn't even know that the two bands shared a stage in 2006 with the two of them trading solos! Not only did I learn of it's existence but I got to watch it! After two short clips I felt inspired and energized.

So here's to my 2012 being the Year of YouTube!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U422nSBi3TE]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naKJ9JYxj7A&feature=related]

Monday YouTube Fix: Mnozil Brass

Andrew Hitz

I've decided to start a regular series of posts of my favorite YouTube clips from around the world.  There is so much great music to be enjoyed for free on YouTube that it really boggles the mind.  It is an incredible teaching and learning tool when used to that end. Every Monday I will post a video clip that speaks loudly to me.  Sometimes it will involve the tuba or brass in general and plenty of times it will not.  I listen to all different styles of music and these clips will reflect that.

The first clip is of the amazing Mnozil Brass.  We had the privilege of seeing them perform just this past week in their native country of Austria and I was blown away all over again.  This is their best known clip for a reason.  Really amazing musicianship and showmanship.  Enjoy Bohemian Rhapsody!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBLm747tyn0]