In honor of the 50th anniversary of Nonesuch Records, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) presents a wide-ranging series of concerts, September 9–28. Part of the 2014 Next Wave Festival, these diverse engagements—featuring 23 evenings of music—underscore the longstanding relationship between Nonesuch artists and BAM. Performs include Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Timo Andres, Brad Mehldau, Chris Thile, Dawn Upshaw, Alarm Will Sound performing works by John Adams, Youssou N'Dour, Rhiannon Giddens, Devendra Banhart, Stephin Merritt, Iron and Wine, Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Sam Amidon, Olivia Chaney, Laurie Anderson, Rokia Traoré, Toumani & Sidiki Diabaté, Caetano Veloso, and Robert Plant.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Nonesuch Records, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) presents Nonesuch Records at BAM: Celebrating a Label Without Labels, a wide-ranging series of concerts, September 9–28, 2014. Part of the 2014 Next Wave Festival, these diverse engagements—featuring 23 evenings of music—speak to Nonesuch's ongoing commitment to outstanding, unique artists in classical music, contemporary music, jazz, traditional American and world music, popular and alternative music, and music theater. The upcoming engagements also underscore the longstanding relationship between Nonesuch artists and BAM—one that has featured legendary productions including Steve Reich's The Desert Music, John Adams's Nixon in China, Philip Glass's Satyagraha, Glass and Robert Wilson's Einstein on the Beach, Laurie Anderson's United States: Parts I-IV, and performances by Kronos Quartet, Stephin Merritt, Youssou N'Dour, and Emmylou Harris, among others.
Tickets for all performances are on sale Wednesday, May 28 (or May 21, for Friends of BAM), and can be purchased at BAM.org.
"I am proud to honor Nonesuch's anniversary with a series of engagements that celebrates the label's roster of singular musical talent," said BAM Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo. "Nonesuch and BAM have been likeminded partners for many years; our upcoming shows reflect the adventurous artistic spirit at the core of our relationship."
"Joe Melillo and Karen Brooks Hopkins, as well as Harvey Lichtenstein, have been close friends and colleagues of ours for decades," said Nonesuch President Bob Hurwitz. "They have been presenting the highest quality performing arts at BAM for nearly 50 years themselves, and I can't think of a more appropriate place to celebrate these musicians. We are very grateful for their commitment and collaboration."
Complete schedule of events:
Sep 9–11: The Philip Glass Ensemble & Steve Reich and Musicians (Howard Gilman Opera House)
Sep 9: Brad Mehldau (Harvey Theater)
Sep 10: Brad Mehldau & Chris Thile (Harvey Theater)
Sep 11: Dawn Upshaw and Gilbert Kalish (Harvey Theater)
Sep 12 & 13: Alarm Will Sound (Harvey Theater)
Sep 12 & 13: Youssou N'Dour (Howard Gilman Opera House)
Sep 18: Rhiannon Giddens (Howard Gilman Opera House)
Sep 19: Devendra Banhart, Stephin Merritt, and Iron and Wine (Howard Gilman Opera House)
Sep 20: Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Amidon, and Olivia Chaney (Howard Gilman Opera House)
Sep 23–27: Landfall, Laurie Anderson, Kronos Quartet (Harvey Theater)
Sep 24: Rokia Traoré, Toumani Diabaté, and Sidiki Diabaté (Howard Gilman Opera House)
Sep 25 & 26: Caetano Veloso (Howard Gilman Opera House)
Sep 27 & 28: Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters
BAMcinématek will present film screenings hosted by Nonesuch artists. Details to be announced.
Additionally, The Black Keys will bring their Turn Blue World Tour to Brooklyn to join the celebration, performing down the street at Barclays Center on Wednesday, September 24. For more information on that, please visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.
The Philip Glass Ensemble & Steve Reich and Musicians
Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave)
Sep 9-11 at 7:30 PM
Tickets: $30, 45, 65, 95
Legendary composers Philip Glass and Steve Reich—both instrumental to the origination of American minimalism—have rich histories at BAM and on Nonesuch Records. For the first time in more than 30 years, Glass and Reich reunite on stage, joining their respective ensembles along with composer-pianists Nico Muhly and Timo Andres, Synergy Vocals, and others for a three-program retrospective of their works.
September 9: Four Organs (Reich); the CIVIL warS—Cologne, excerpt (Glass); Music in Twelve Parts, parts 1 & 2 (Glass); Akhnaten, Act 1, Scene 1: Funeral of Amenhotep III (Glass); Music for 18 Musicians (Reich).
September 10: Drumming (Reich); Four Organs (Reich); Music in Similar Motion (Glass); In the Upper Room, Dance IX (Glass); Einstein on the Beach, Act 4, Scene 1: Building (Glass); Powaqqatsi, Mosque and Temple (Glass); Koyaanisqatsi, The Grid (Glass); The Photographer, Act III (Glass).
September 11: Clapping Music (Reich); WTC 9/11 (Reich); Sextet (Reich); Music in Similar Motion (Glass); Glassworks; Floe, Façades, and Rubric (Glass); Symphony No. 1 "Low," II. Some Are (Glass); Einstein on the Beach, Act 4, Scene 3: Spaceship (Glass).
Philip Glass, one of America's most celebrated composers, applies his musical encounters in India, North Africa, and the Himalayas to his own compositions, creating a large body of work in a distinct idiom which can be heard in his operas, film scores, dance music, symphonic work, and string quartets. More than 20 of his pieces have been performed at BAM since 1981, including several benchmark works such as Einstein on the Beach, first presented at BAM's 1984 Next Wave Festival (revived for Next Wave 1992 and 2012). Other BAM performances include The Photographer/Far From the Truth (BAM, 1983); The CIVIL warS, Act V—The Rome Section (Next Wave 1986); the world premieres of Low Symphony (Next Wave 1992) and Symphony No. 2 (Next Wave 1994); the New York premieres of Orphée (Next Wave 1993) and La Belle et la Bête (Next Wave 1994), and a presentation of Les Enfants Terrible: Children of the Game (Spring 1996)—all parts of his operatic trilogy based on the work of Jean Cocteau; Next Wave 1998's Monsters of Grace; a live musical performance accompanying a screening of Koyaanisqatsi (Spring 1999); and Dracula: The Music and Film ( Next Wave 1999) featuring the Kronos Quartet. Glass collaborated with director Mary Zimmerman for the opera Galileo Galilei, presented as part of the 20th anniversary season of the Next Wave Festival (2002). Glass's more recent works at BAM include the collaborative concert work Orion and Symphony No. 6 and No. 8 (2005 Next Wave); and his opera Kepler (Next Wave 2009). Nonesuch has released 22 albums of Glass's compositions, beginning with his 1985 soundtrack to Mishima and, most recently, the reissue of his seminal 1993 Einstein on the Beach recording and a 40-year retrospective called Glass Box.
Steve Reich was recently called "our greatest living composer" (New York Times), "America's greatest living composer" (Village Voice), and "the most original musical thinker of our time" (The New Yorker). Mr. Reich's path has embraced not only Western Classical music, but the structures, harmonies, and rhythms of non-Western and American vernacular music, particularly jazz. "There's just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history and Steve Reich is one of them," states the Guardian (London). In April 2009 Steve Reich was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his composition Double Sextet.
Reich's world premiere performances of Drumming took place at BAM, MoMA, and Town Hall in 1971. In 1982, Steve Reich and Musicians performed Vermont Counterpoint, Tehillim, and other works as part of the Next Wave Series (a precursor to the Festival). A rich legacy followed with works such as the US premieres of The Desert Music conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas (Next Wave 1984) and The Cave (Next Wave 1993); the Grammy Award-winning Music for 18 Musicians and Hindenburg were performed by the Steve Reich Ensemble at the Next Wave Festival in 1998. In 2002, BAM presented the New York premiere of Reich/Korot's Three Tales—a three-part digital documentary video opera. Reich's compositions have also been performed at BAM as part of diverse instrumental and dance programming—the Brooklyn Philharmonic performed "The Music of Steve Reich," conducted by Kent Nagano, at the 1987 Next Wave Festival; the Kronos Quartet played selections from The Cave as part of a 1995 program; and choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker set numerous pieces to Reich's music, including Rain (set to Music for 18 Musicians), Drumming, and fase, four movements to the music of Steve Reich. In 2006, BAM partnered with Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall for the month-long celebration, Steve Reich@70. Nonesuch has released 22 Steve Reich albums, beginning in 1985 with The Desert Music and including two box sets (one as part of Steve Reich@70); his most recent album featured Kronos Quartet performing WTC 9/11.
BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St)
Sep 9 at 8 PM
Tickets: $25, 35, 50
Brad Mehldau & Chris Thile
BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St)
Sep 10 at 8 PM
Tickets: $25, 35, 50
One of the most lyrical and intimate voices of contemporary jazz piano, Brad Mehldau has forged a unique path, which embodies the essence of jazz exploration, classical romanticism, and pop allure. From critical acclaim as a bandleader and solo artist to major international exposure in collaborations with Pat Metheny, Anne Sofie von Otter, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Renée Fleming, Britten Sinfonia, and Joshua Redman, Mehldau continues to garner numerous awards and admiration from both jazz purists and music enthusiasts alike. His forays into melding musical idioms, in his trio (with Larry Grenadier on bass and Jeff Ballard on drums) and solo settings, has seen brilliant re-workings of songs by contemporary songwriters like The Beatles, Cole Porter, Radiohead, George and Ira Gershwin, and Nick Drake, alongside the ever evolving breadth of his own significant catalogue of original compositions. With his affection for popular music and classical training, Mehldau has become "universally admired as one of the most adventurous pianists to arrive on the jazz scene in years (Los Angeles Times)." In the last few years alone, Mehldau's Nonesuch releases have showcased the facets of his fruitful, ever-evolving career as it enters its second decade: his ambitious orchestral record with producer Jon Brion (Highway Rider); his live solo performances (Live in Marciac); his collaborations with genre-crossing musicians (Modern Music, with composer/pianist Kevin Hays and composer/arranger Patrick Zimmerli); his trio work with his longstanding acclaimed trio (the Grammy-nominated Ode and the acclaimed Where Do You Start—both released in the same year), and most recently a turn into electric territories in a duo with the prodigious drummer Mark Guiliana (Mehliana: Taming the Dragon).
On September 10, Nonesuch Records labelmates mandolinist/singer Chris Thile and Mehldau play as a duet, with repertoire including classical transcriptions, pop covers, and original songs. The musicians, who are longtime admirers of each other's work, first performed together in September 2011 as part of Mehldau's residency at London's Wigmore Hall before going on a brief tour in 2013. Thile, a recent MacArthur Fellow, is the founding member and lead vocalist of Punch Brothers, which has four records on Nonesuch, as well as the enormously popular Nickel Creek, which recently reunited to celebrate its 25th anniversary with a tour and a well-received Nonesuch album, A Dotted Line. With broad influences including progressive bluegrass, classical, rock, and jazz, Thile transcends the borders of conventionally circumscribed genres, creating a distinctly American canon and a new musical aesthetic. Another consummate collaborator, Thile has collaborated with a pantheon of musical innovators from multiple genres including Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Béla Fleck, Brad Mehldau, and Hilary Hahn. He has made two duets albums for Nonesuch with bassist Edgar Meyer as well as an album of bluegrass classics with guitarist Michael Daves. As a soloist, Thile has released six albums, including last year's highly acclaimed Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1.
Dawn Upshaw and Gilbert Kalish
Music by George Crumb and Charles Ives
BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton Street)
Sep 11 at 7:30 PM
Tickets: $20, 30, 40
With a repertoire ranging from Gluck to Kaija Saariaho, soprano Dawn Upshaw is a musically omnivorous contemporary artist. For this BAM recital debut, she performs music by two iconoclastic American composers—George Crumb and Charles Ives—with Gilbert Kalish on the piano and other musicians to be announced. The evening's program features Crumb's Ancient Voices of Children, a cycle of songs on texts by García Lorca composed for soprano, boy soprano, oboe, mandolin, harp, amplified piano, and percussion. Upshaw first performed these songs in 1997 in a staging by Bill T. Jones that was praised as "riveting" and "gripping" by the New York Times. The program, which also features songs by Charles Ives and opens with Elliott Carter's Sonata for Flute, Oboe, Cello and Harpsichord (performed by Tara Helen O'Connor, Stephen Taylor, Jeffrey Grossman, and longtime Nonesuch artist Fred Sherry), reaffirms her unwavering commitment to expanding the boundaries of vocal recitals.
With a commitment to the transformative power of music, Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging form the sacred works of Bach to contemporary pieces. She created the role of Daisy Buchanan in John Harbison's The Great Gatsby in its world premiere at The Metropolitan Opera, and the title role in Kaija Saariaho's Clemence at the Salzburg Festival. In her work as a recitalist, and particularly in her work with living composers, Dawn Upshaw has become a generative force in concert music, having premiered more than 25 works throughout her career. In 2007, she was named a fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, the first vocal artist to receive the award. A four-time Grammy Award winner, Upshaw is featured on more than 50 recordings, including Nonesuch's million-selling Symphony No. 3 by Henryk Górecki. She previously performed at BAM as a soloist in Osvaldo Golijov's La Pasión Según San Marcos (2002 Next Wave Festival).
Gilbert Kalish leads a musical life of unusual variety and breadth. His profound influence on the musical community as an educator and pianist in myriad performances and recordings has established him as a major figure in American music making. He was the pianist of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players for 30 years and was a founding member of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, a group devoted to new music that flourished during the 1960s and '70s.
Gilbert Kalish's discography encompasses classical repertory, 20th-century masterworks, and new compositions. Of special note are his solo recordings, many on the Nonesuch label, of Charles Ives's Concord Sonata and the sonatas of Joseph Haydn, as well as an immense discography of vocal music with Jan DeGaetani and landmarks of the 20th century by such composers as Carter, Crumb, Shapey, and Schoenberg.
Alarm Will Sound
Conducted by Alan Pierson
Sep 12: Music by John Adams
Sep 13: Music by Tyondai Braxton, Steve Reich, and Donnacha Dennehy
BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton Street)
Sep 12 & 13 at 7:30 PM
Tickets: $20, 30, 40 (weekday); $25, 35, 45 (weekend)
Hailed by the New York Times as "the very model of a modern music chamber band," Alarm Will Sound gives two distinctive concerts, performing music by living composers associated with Nonesuch. The first evening features the music of John Adams, including Son of Chamber Symphony, Chamber Symphony, Scratchband, and an arrangement of Hoodoo Zephyr. The second evening includes Steve Reich's Radio Rewrite, Donnacha Dennehy's Grá agus Bás, and Tyondai Braxton's Fly By Wire.
Alarm Will Sound is a 20-member band committed to innovative performances and recordings of today's music with an established reputation for performing demanding music with energetic skill. ASCAP recognized its contributions to new music with a 2006 Concert Music Award for "the virtuosity, passion and commitment with which they perform and champion the repertory for the 21st century." Members of the ensemble began playing together while studying at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. With diverse experience in composition, improvisation, jazz and popular styles, early music, and world music, they bring intelligence and a sense of adventure to all their performances. The group fosters close relationships with contemporary composers and has commissioned and premiered pieces by Steve Reich, David Lang, Michael Gordon, Augusta Read Thomas, Stefan Freund, Wolfgang Rihm, Payton MacDonald, John Orfe, Caleb Burhans, Kate Moore, Yotam Haber, Charlie Piper, David T. Little, and Derek Bermel. Alarm Will Sound is the resident ensemble at the Mizzou International Composers Festival.
BAM Howard Gillman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave)
Sep 12 & 13 at 8 PM
Tickets: $35, 45, 60
Senegalese singer-songwriter-activist-and legendary live performer Youssou N'Dour has released five albums on Nonesuch Records. In 2012 he was named Senegal's Minister of Culture and Tourism; he ran for president of the country shortly thereafter and largely stopped performing. This fall, in celebration of Nonesuch's 50th anniversary, N'Dour returns to the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House for two nights, and for the first time since headlining the historic Muslim Voices: Arts & Ideas festival during BAM's 2009 Spring Season. It's an increasingly rare stateside concert visit by a global icon that rock critic Robert Christgau called "the world's greatest pop vocalist."
Born in Dakar in 1959, N'Dour is a singer, composer, bandleader, and producer endowed with remarkable range and prodigious musical intelligence. The New York Times has described his voice as "an arresting tenor, deployed with prophetic authority" that "soars heavenward with passion and then wafts tenderly toward earth." N'Dour is widely credited with creating and popularizing Senegal's music style of mbalax, a blend of the country's traditional griot percussion and praise-singing with Afro-Cuban arrangements and flavors. He and his band The Super Etoile have recorded and toured the world for nearly 30 years. N'Dour was named "African Artist of the Century" by the English publication fRoots and to the TIME 100, Time magazine's annual list of "the hundred men and women whose power, talent, or moral example is transforming the world." N'Dour was the subject of the documentary I Bring What I Love, about Senegal's divided reaction to his Grammy Award-winning album Egypt, a deeply spiritual album dedicated to a more tolerant view of Islam (both the album and the documentary soundtrack were released by Nonesuch). In 2013 N'Dour was awarded Sweden's prestigious Polar Music Prize (previous laureates include fellow Nonesuch artists Björk, Kronos Quartet, and Steve Reich).
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave)
Sep 18 at 8 PM
Tickets: $25, 30, 40
Rhiannon Giddens returns to BAM with songs from her soon to be released Nonesuch solo album produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett. Giddens started singing when she was a child but dreamed of becoming a quantum physicist. Enrolling in a choral camp the summer of her senior year, however, confirmed that music was ultimately her passion. In 2005, Giddens co-founded the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops with Dom Flemons and fiddle player Justin Robinson. Their concerts, the New York Times states, are "an end-to-end display of excellence ... they dip into styles of southern black music from the 1920s and '30s-string-band music, jug-band music, fife and drum, early jazz-and beam their curiosity outward." While Giddens stays busy making music and performing with the Chocolate Drops, who were most recently at BAM during the Spring 2014 season, she still finds time to make solo appearances; including last fall's Another Day, Another Time: Celebrating the Music of 'Inside Llewyn Davis' at Town Hall, where Variety called her a "breakout star ... hold[ing] the capacity crowd spellbound."
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave)
Sep 19 at 8 PM
Tickets: $35, 45, 55, 65
Nonesuch artists Devendra Banhart, Stephin Merritt, and Iron and Wine perform solo sets on this triple bill. The Houston born, Venezuela raised, and now New York City-based Devendra Banhart has embraced an astonishingly wide range of musical ideas, from folk to blues to the avant garde. Pitchfork calls Banhart "one of the more talented and charismatic forces in modern music." He has collaborated with fellow musicians including Antony and the Johnsons, Beck, Vashti Bunyan, Os Mutantes, Swans, and Vetiver. He also performed with both Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, and was part of a David Byrne-curated concert at Carnegie Hall. His eighth studio album and Nonesuch debut was Mala (2013), Serbian for "small" in a literal sense and colloquially as a term of endearment, proves an apt title for an album so intimate in scale and open of heart. The albums Stephin Merritt has released with his bands—The Magnetic Fields, The 6ths, The Gothic Archies, and Future Bible Heroes—have gained Merritt recognition as one of the country's best songwriters; the "Cole Porter of his generation" (Time Out). Spin and Rolling Stone, along with dozens of national magazines and newspapers, hailed the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs (1999) as one of the top albums of the year. He previously performed at BAM with The Magnetic Fields in 2010 and as part of Next Wave of Song in 2002. Singer-songwriter Sam Beam, under the pen name Iron and Wine, released his fifth record Ghost on Ghost in 2013 as his debut with Nonesuch Records. Iron and Wine's previous album, Kiss Each Other Clean (2001), debuted at #2 on the Billboard chart to critical acclaim. Rolling Stone said of the album, "pop music hadn't seen anything like it since the heyday of Cat Stevens."
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave)
Sep 20 at 8 PM
Tickets: $25, 35, 50, 65
Delving into the American and international folk songbook, Kronos Quartet teams up for the first time with four of the most celebrated roots artists within the Nonesuch family—Natalie Merchant, Rhiannon Giddens, Sam Amidon, and Olivia Chaney—to create entirely new arrangements of classic folk songs. This latest collaboration receives its world premiere at the Barbican Centre on May 18.
For four decades, San Francisco's Kronos Quartet has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 50 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, collaborating with many of the world's most eclectic composers and performances, and commissioning more than 800 works and arrangements for string quartet. Multi-platinum artist Natalie Merchant has long been appreciated for the depth and substance of her writing. The Wall Street Journal called her 2010 double album Leave Your Sleep "an ideal fit between poetic and musical forms." The former lead vocalist, lyricist, and sometimes pianist of the seminal alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs, Merchant released her sixth solo collection with Nonesuch Records in May 2014, the self-titled album her first of entirely original songs in 13 years. Founding member of the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rhiannon Giddens continues to garner acclaim as a virtuosic singer, fiddler, and banjo player. Her electrifying performance celebrating the music from Inside Llewyn Davis prompted the Los Angeles Times to call her "a star in waiting." Her debut solo album, produced by T Bone Burnett, will be release by Nonesuch in late 2014. Vermont native Sam Amidon's distinct gift is to rework and repurpose traditional melodies into a striking new form that makes them feel very much his own. Pitchfork has said "his interpretations are so singular that it stops mattering how (or if) they existed before." His Nonesuch debut album, Bright Sunny South (2013), expresses a broad view of what constitutes a folk tradition featuring re-arrangements of Mariah Carey's "Shake It Off" and a take on Tim McGraw's "My Old Friend." Self-taught multi-instrumentalist and accomplished lyricist and vocalist, the London-based singer-songwriter Olivia Chaney has built a loyal and growing audience, both in the UK and internationally, following her self-released eponymous debut EP in 2013. Nominated for two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards—the Horizon Award for best emerging artist and Best Original Song for "Swimming in the Longest River"—her Nonesuch debut album is set for release in the coming year.
Music and text by Laurie Anderson
Erst programming by Liubo Borrisov
Dramaturg Bob Currie
Arrangements by Laurie Anderson, Kronos Quartet, and Jacob Garchik
Lighting design by Brian H Scott
BAM Harvey Theater (651 Fulton St)
Sep 23–27 at 7:30 PM
Tickets: $20, 30, 60 (weekday); $25, 40, 70 (weekend)
Two legendary forces in new music come together on stage for their first-ever collaboration with Landfall, a collection of works composed by Laurie Anderson for Kronos Quartet. Like a series of short stories, the pieces are linked by passages inspired by the fury of Hurricane Sandy, which hit New York as Anderson was completing the song cycle. For Landfall she has designed Erst, a language based software, that reinvents the relationship between music and text both spoken and written. Extending the range of the violin has always been Anderson's goal as a musician and composer. In Landfall harmonics and overtones both acoustic and electronic breathe in a completely new way. The Kronos Quartet has adapted and built on this musical language, and extended it through their masterful improvisation so that electronics and traditional strings sing together, creating a work that is roaring, enveloping, and atmospheric.
Laurie Anderson is one of America's most renowned-and daring-creative pioneers. Her work, which encompasses music, visual art, poetry, film, and photography, has challenged and delighted audiences around the world for more than 30 years. Anderson is best known for her multimedia presentations and musical recordings. Anderson's first album, O Superman, launched her recording career in 1980, rising to number two on the British pop charts and subsequently appearing on her landmark release Big Science. She went on to record six more albums with Warner Brothers. Anderson's Nonesuch recordings include Life on a String, Live in New York, a reissue of Big Science, and 2010's Homeland.
For over 40 years, San Francisco's Kronos Quartet—David Harrington, John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola), and Sunny Yang (cello)—has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to continually re-imagining the string quartet experience. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our time, performing thousands of concerts worldwide and collaborating with many of the world's most intriguing and accomplished composers and performers. In 2011, Kronos became the only recipients of both the Polar Music Prize and the Avery Fisher Prize, two of the most prestigious awards given to musicians. The group's numerous awards also include a Grammy for Best Chamber Music Performance (2004) and "Musicians of the Year" (2003) from Musical America. Kronos Quartet debuted at BAM during the 1986 Next Wave Festival. Other BAM appearances include Awakening: A Musical Meditation on the Anniversary of 9/11 (2011 Next Wave), Kronos Quartet: More Than Four (2007 Next Wave), Sun Rings (2004 Next Wave), Dracula: the Music and Film (1999 Next Wave), Kronos Quartet 25th Anniversary (1998 Next Wave), and Kronos Quartet 95 (Spring 1995). Nonesuch, the quartet's longtime label, celebrated the ensemble's remarkable curiosity in the group's 40th anniversary year with two releases: the Kronos Explorer Series five-CD box set and a new album, A Thousand Thoughts; they were the 46th and 47th records Kronos has released on Nonesuch since 1985.
Toumani Diabaté and Sidiki Diabaté
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
Sep 24 at 8 PM
Tickets: $25, 40, 55
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Rokia Traoré has been named "one of Mali's most revered voices" by NPR. Traoré recently released her second, critically acclaimed Nonesuch recording, Beautiful Africa, produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey, Eels, Sparklehorse), a follow-up to 2009's Tchamantché. Traoré's music draws on her homeland's traditions as well as the European and American rock and pop she has listened to throughout her life. She collaborated with Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison and acclaimed director Peter Sellars on the theater piece Desdemona, which was staged at Lincoln Center in 2011 and at the Barbican in 2012. In 2012, Traoré joined Damon Albarn's UK tour "Africa Express," featuring John Paul Jones, Amadou Bagayoko, Baaba Maal, and Paul McCartney.
One of Africa's leading musicians, Mali's Toumani Diabaté is responsible for introducing audiences worldwide to the kora-a 21-string harp unique to West Africa; an instrument he plays with exceptional virtuosity. Born into a family of griots—custodians of the ancient oral traditions of West Africa's Mandé people—Diabaté counts 71 generations in his family line.
Toumani Diabaté's musical development in the '60s and '70s was influenced by American soul music and British rock bands. While recording his first album in the UK in the mid-80s—Kaira, a groundbreaking solo kora album—he also was introduced to Indian classical music, from which he incorporated the "jugalbandi" method of musical dialogue between two instruments. Diabaté formed the Symmetric Orchestra to explore a balance between tradition and modernity among musicians from numerous African countries; he views musical experimentation as part of the griot's role to enable communication between peoples. Diabaté has released four albums for Nonesuch as part of the label's longstanding relationship with UK-based World Circuit Records, including Ali & Toumani, a Grammy Award-winning recording with guitar virtuoso Ali Farka Touré.
Toumani Diabaté's 23-year-old son Sidiki Diabaté is also deeply versed in Mandé culture and kora technique. He runs his own recording and programming studio and, with rapper Iba One, comprises the country's premier hip-hop duo, which sells-out the 20,000-seat Modibo Keita stadium. Father and son have recorded Toumani & Sidiki, an album of kora duets set for release on World Circuit on May 19. The album features a combination of almost-forgotten kora pieces and a new look at some Mandé classics from Mali.
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House
Sep 25 & 26 at 8 PM
Tickets: $30, 40, 50, 65
Grammy Award-winning singer/composer/guitarist/writer/political activist Caetano Veloso is among the most influential and beloved artists to emerge from Brazil, where he began his musical career in the 1960s. He has over 50 recordings to his credit, including 14 on Nonesuch. Absorbing musical and aesthetic ideas from sources as diverse as The Beatles, concrete poetry, the French Dadaists, and the Brazilian modernist poets of the 1920s, Veloso—together with Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Tom Zé, his sister Maria Bethânia, and a number of other poets and intellectuals—founded the Tropicália movement and permanently altered the course of his country's popular music.
On September 25 & 26, Veloso and trio will perform original songs from his most recent album, the Latin Grammy Award-winning Abraçaço, which Nonesuch released in the US earlier this year. Abraçaço is the final installment of a musical trilogy (including 2007's Cê and 2009's zii e zie) with Banda Cê, a trio of young Brazilian indie rock musicians.
Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave)
Sep 27 & 28 at 8 PM
Tickets: $35, 75, 100
Legendary British singer/songwriter Robert Plant, newly-signed to Nonesuch Records, is joined by the Sensational Space Shifters for a two-night engagement on September 27 & 28. Featuring Justin Adams (guitar), John Baggott (keyboards), Juldeh Camara (Gologo and Ritti-one-string African violin), Billy Fuller (bass), Liam "Skin" Tyson (guitar), and Dave Smith (percussion), the Sensational Space Shifters developed out of Plant's work with Strange Sensation, with whom he recorded the critically acclaimed, multi-Grammy-nominated albums Dreamland and Mighty Rearranger.
Robert Plant made his first commercial recordings in 1966. In 1967, he formed a group called the Band of Joy with drummer John Bonham. Soon Bonham, Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, and bassist John Paul Jones formed The New Yardbirds, which eventually became Led Zeppelin. The Led Zeppelin era ended in 1980, when Bonham died. Since that time, Plant has turned his wide-ranging musical talents toward solo albums as well as recordings with Jimmy Page and with bands like the Honeydrippers, Priory of Brion, Strange Sensation, and Band of Joy.
Plant's writing and performing reflects his infinite artistic and intellectual curiosity, fed by his global travels, with influences from West Coast psychedelic rock, roots blues, African music, and traditional American and European folk. His recent collaboration with Alison Krauss, Raising Sand, further expanded his horizons. Produced by T Bone Burnett, the album won six Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year. His most recent release, Band of Joy, was co-produced by Buddy Miller and revived his 1967 band's name. It featured several stellar country/Americana musicians performing music from Low, Townes Van Zant, Richard Thomspon, and others.
His latest Space Shifter project finds Plant and his companions careering wildly into a new unknown landscape, a hybrid and collision of sound, rhythm, and attitude-hypnotic and compulsive, a truly new sensation.
Robert Plant will release his Nonesuch label debut later this year.