Before I even knew what a cello was, music played a powerful role in my life. My parents may not have known L'Eliser D'Amore, but they definitely knew Les Miserables. The first time I heard the majesty of a symphony orchestra was not through Schubert, but Schonberg and Andrew Lloyd Webber. I would even go far as to attribute my quick love of opera to my early exposure of musicals (thanks Mom and Dad!). The release of the new Les Mis 'Extended First Look' Trailer got my attention for many reasons. Along with Anne Hathaway's raw portrayal of one of the most heartbreaking characters in the history of literature, I am extremely excited about the film's focus on the importance of the music and its artistic expression. When was the last time you heard A-list Hollywood actors talk about that?
To me, Fall is the most exciting season for music. Besides the return of apple cider and pumpkin pie, I relish the rush and vigor of season openings that bring us back to ensembles we respect and performances of music we love. In addition to our old favorites, we can look forward to new artists presenting music in intriguing and exhilarating ways. One ensemble that has caught my attention (not just because of the killer palindrome), is the piano / cello duo iAN&ANi. The duo's innovative and passionate performances of classical music with dancers and multimedia struck me as particularly fascinating. Their new album "Tango Plus" comes out October 10 and I took a moment to ask cellist Ian Maksin a few questions about this rising duo:
After an impressive debut at Carnegie Hall this year,pianist Jenny Q Chai is making a stop in the Windy City. As a part of the stop, Chai will beperforming at the Chicago Cultural Center on August 8 at 12:15 p.m. in thePreston Bradley Hall as a part of the Dame Myra Hess Memorial ConcertSeries. I had the chance to talk toJenny Chai about her very busy year so far, and what she’s most looking forwardto in Chicago. For details visit www.chicagoculturalcenter.org.
Is this your first trip to Chicago? Are there any spots you’re looking forward to visit when you’re here?
It absolutely is my first visit in Chicago! With the limited time, I think I’d definitely want to visit Millennium Park and the Ravinia Festival.
Though I've never been one to read comic books, I enjoy a good superhero film as much as the next girl. This summer has been a big one for heroes: Spiderman, The Avengers and another Batman movie all hit theaters this summer. Probably most anticipated and definitely most appealing to me is the Batman story. In The Dark Knight Rises, we see a broken hero who has assumed the role of villain in order to preserve the image of the hero "Harvey Dent" that Gotham so desperately needed. Maybe my arts advocacy wheels have been turning a bit too hard lately, but when I thought about the blurred line of hero and villain... something came to mind: corporate sponsorship in the arts.