Category Archives: performances

Announcement: Hosting my very first Groupmuse concert

For those of you who haven’t yet heard of Groupmuse, it is platform designed to pair people who want to perform classical music with people willing to host their performance and people wanting to attend.  It’s basically a classical music house party.  The event is different from your average classical music concert in that it is much more casual; events are often BYOB and offer floor seating.  It’s also different in that it tends to bring together a particular community of all ages (classical music lovers) and encourages them to engage with one another socially.   You can read more about Groupmuse here or learn about them straight from the source at groupmuse.com.

At the first Groupmuse I attended here in New Orleans, I ran into musicians I knew, met some members of the local orchestra I didn’t know, met the President of the New Orleans Opera, and many more interesting classical fans. And, I got to hear some great chamber music.  What could be better?

My event is long in the planning – I first heard of Groupmuse years ago, but it had not yet made it to New Orleans, so I had to wait patiently.  Finally, my patience was rewarded and I am thrilled.  This movement will bring new life to the New Orleans classical scene and encourage more performances of solo and chamber works.

If you are in New Orleans and would like to attend, the event starts at 7:30.  You can get all the details by following this link.

Hope to see some of you there!  If not, please check out and support Groupmuse in your area or plan to attend the next one in New Orleans which is on May 31, 2017.

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Happy Friday! Watch this 6 year old play Boogie Woogie with Count Basie

As a Capitol Records recording artist, circa 1950. (via wikipedia)

Sadly, he is not one of New Orleans’ native sons. But you can’t win ’em all. Quite a talent though!

From Wikipedia:

Frank Isaac Robinson (born December 28, 1938),[1] known in his early career as a musician as Sugar Chile Robinson, is anAmericanblues and boogie-woogie pianist, singer, and later psychologist, whose career began as a child prodigy.

Robinson was born in Detroit, Michigan. At an early age he showed unusual gifts singing the blues and accompanying himself on the piano. According to contemporary newsreels he was self-taught, and he managed to use techniques including slapping the keys with elbows and fists.[2] He won a talent show at the Paradise Theatre in Detroit at the age of three, and in 1945 played guest spots at the theatre with Lionel Hampton, who was prevented by child protection legislation from taking him on tour with him. However, he performed on radio with Hampton and Harry “The Hipster” Gibson, and also appeared as himself in theHollywood film No Leave, No Love, starring Van Johnson and Keenan Wynn.

In 1946, he played for PresidentHarry S. Truman at the White House, shouting out “How’m I Doin’, Mr President?” – which became his catchphrase – during his performance of “Caldonia“. He began touring major theatres, setting box office records in Detroit and California. In 1949 he was given special permission to join the American Federation of Musicians and record, his first releases on Capitol Records, “Numbers Boogie” and “Caldonia”, both reaching the BillboardR&B chart. In 1950, he toured and appeared on television with Count Basie, and appeared in a short film ‘Sugar Chile’ Robinson, Billie Holiday, Count Basie and His Sextet. The following year, he toured the UK, appearing at the London Palladium. He stopped recording in 1952, later explaining:[1]

“I wanted to go to school… I wanted some school background in me and I asked my Dad if I could stop, and I went to school because I honestly wanted my college diploma.”

Until 1956 he continued to make occasional appearances as a jazz musician, billed as Frank Robinson, and performed on one occasion with Gerry Mulligan, but then gave up his musical career entirely. Continuing his academic studies, he earned a degree in history from Olivet College and one in psychology from the Detroit Institute of Technology. In the 1960s, he worked for WGPR-TV, and also helped set up small record labels in Detroit and opened a recording studio.[1]

In recent years he has made a comeback as a musician with the help of the American Music Research Foundation. In 2002, he appeared at a special concert celebrating Detroit music, and in 2007 he traveled to Britain to appear at a rock and roll weekend festival.[1] In the last Dr Boogie show of 2013, Sugar Chile Robinson was the featured artist, with four of his classic hits showcasing amid biographical sketches of his early career.[3]

Here’s a lagniappe video:

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It’s Mardi Gras! Check out this awesome free sheet music for a New Orleans piano classic..

I’ve been obsessed with Allen Toussaint’s version of Tipitina and Me off of the post-Katrina compilation Our New Orleans

It’s a really refreshingly different version of the piece.  For reference, I’m going to link to a few famous versions first:

Professor Longhair:

Dr. John

James Booker

(Randomly, Hugh Laurie)

So, here’s the Allen Toussaint version that just blew me away for being such a refreshingly different take on this New Orleans classic:

Tipitina and MeAnd, here’s what you really came for, the sheet music.  This version has been, thankfully, transcribed (for free!) by Steve Castallano on his website.  As far as I know, it’s not available anywhere else.  A word of warning, this is an advanced piano piece that could probably be turned into a real mess by a less-than-discerning performer.

Allen Toussaint

Allen Toussaint

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Elephant plays piano

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June 20, 2013 · 6:34 pm

Daft Pianists

Watch five people play one piano! Really creative use of their instrument

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June 19, 2013 · 10:22 pm

Masterpiece

Singers singing the names of famous western classical composers in their styles.

The Beethoven is especially funny.  And I love when they start doing the Strauss waltz and count “Ein, Zwei, drei” and then just say German nonsense. . . oh and Wagner, oh nevermind it’s all great.  Watch it!

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Van Cliburn, RIP

van cliburn

Van Cliburn died this morning of bone cancer.  He is most well known for winning the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow at the age of 23 (in 1958) at the height of the Cold War.

Here he is performing the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1:

Here is the media coverage of his 1958 win of the competition:

Here is news coverage of Van Cliburn playing at the Reagan whitehouse for Mikhail Gorbachev:

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