Thanks to all who joined us for the return of Canadian Brass last Saturday at NEC’s Jordan Hall. The award-winning quintet delivered an exciting program that spanned the gamut, from Dowland, Bach, and Gabrieli to arrangements from West Side Story and opened the evening with the five brass masters serenading the audience as they made their way through the hall. Celebrity Series photographer Robert Torres captured many of the night’s most special moments, including the quintet’s sound check, and at the request of the Quintet captured a unique view of the performers doing their final encore of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumblebee.”
Canadian Brass is one of our northern neighbor’s most recognizable musical exports. Heading into their 48th year as an ensemble, they were founded in 1970 during the first Trudeau administration and will celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2020! These cultural ambassadors have touched fans in virtually every country in the world; their commitment goes beyond performances and into classrooms around the globe.
In advance of their performance on November 18, we chatted with two members of Canadian Brass, trumpeters Caleb Hudson and Chris Coletti about performing with the Celebrity Series and spending time in Boston.
Whether this is your first time at Sanders Theatre or your 100th, you should know that Sanders is a beautiful, historic venue. Originally built in 1878 in memory of the Harvard men who fought for the Union in the Civil War, it has since been host to illustrious speakers and musicians like Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., Wynton Marsalis, Leonard Bernstein, and countless others.
“This is all well and good,” you’re probably thinking. “But where do I park, what do I wear, and how can I tell where my seat is?” All excellent questions! We’ll go through some of the top questions we usually hear from our audiences at Sanders Theatre.
You may know Abigail Washburn as one of the best claw hammer banjoists playing today, but did you know the folk music veteran speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese? In fact, the artist has held a longtime fascination with East Asia, and she’s continued to nurture that fascination throughout her career.
After her early upbringing in Washington D.C. and Minnesota, Washburn landed at Colorado College where she became the school’s first East Asian Studies major, an experience that would cement her interest with the land and people of China. She spent time in China perfecting her Mandarin before recording her first record, Song of the Traveling Daughter, in Nashville. Needless to say, her 2005 debut was heavily influenced by her travels, effortlessly blending Chinese instrumentation and lyrics with Appalachian folk music.
Joan Osborne has always had a fascination with Bob Dylan. Her multi-platinum 1995 debut, Relish, as well as 2000’s Righteous Love both give nods to the great American songwriter with covers of “Man in the Long Black Coat” and “Make You Feel My Love,” respectively. She’s even shared a mic with the songwriter: Back in 1998, she was invited to record a duet version of “Chimes of Freedom” for the NBC mini-series The ‘60s.
So it’s no surprise that, when New York City’s Café Carlyle invited her for a residency gig last year, the singer opted to dedicate each evening to celebrating the great Dylan catalog. And, it was that series of shows—followed by a second residency the following year—that spawned the idea of recording her latest work, Songs of Bob Dylan. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Osborne praises the music legend: “I don’t think it’s hyperbole to talk about Dylan as an artist who’s on the same level as Pablo Picasso or William Shakespeare. He’s really an epic poet of America, and any singer can find such an incredible wealth and richness in his material, not just me.”
Released September 1, Songs of Bob Dylan marks Osborne’s ninth studio album, and it’s been received with much acclaim. Reinterpreting a collection of gems like “Tangled Up in Blue” and “Highway 61 Revisited,” the singer brings her own style to Dylan classics, and American Songwriter praises the way “she sheds new light on old material, exposes some seldom heard Dylan gems and proves once again how flexible and powerful his work remains.”
“Kids take really well to our brand of choreography.
It’s a lot of fun. It’s very creative.
A lot of it is just playing and making stuff together
and really being a team.”
– Jacob Warren, Pilobolus dancer
Photos: Robert Torres
Video Production: Kristín Otharsson
Students at several Boston-area schools and organizations were treated to a visit from Pilobolus last week as part of our Artist Connections program. Ahead of their Celebrity Series performances, dancers from the famed company visited Sumner Boys & Girls Club in Roslindale, Boston Renaissance Charter School in Hyde Park, and Rafael Hernández K-8 School in Roxbury to lead creative movement workshops.
The Celebrity Series photography team was on hand to capture all the fun at Rafael Hernández K-8 School, where fourth graders learned to solve movement challenges with one of the most playful & creative dance companies around.
Ever wonder what goes into prepping for a Pilobolus performance? Company member Jacob Warren took control of our Instagram account last Saturday to give us a unique peek backstage. In case you missed the fun in real time, you can scroll below to relive his day and see what takes place before the curtain rises.
Not following us on Instagram? You should be! Check us out at @celebrityseries for more great photos and videos!
Join us and nearly 200 arts and cultural organizations across Massachusetts in celebrating #ArtsMatterDay, an online effort to shine a light on the importance of arts, culture, and creative expression! Celebrity Series has been bringing the world’s greatest performing artists to Boston since 1938, and our vision is a community of Greater Boston where the performing arts are a valued, life-long, shared experience – on stages, in schools, in homes – everywhere. We are committed to bringing the joy of live performing arts not only to our city’s great concert halls but also to neighborhoods and communities across Boston. Arts matter.
Below are just a few ways they matter to the team at Celebrity Series.
You might know avant-garde dance company Pilobolus from their creative and high energy performances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and the Academy Awards. The company, named after a light-loving fungus, returns to the Celebrity Series of Boston for three performances this weekend at the Boch Center Shubert Theatre. They’re bringing several Boston debuts to the stage, including a new work, Echo In The Valley, with music by the extraordinary banjoists Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn.
Pilobolus began at Dartmouth College in 1971 and made their first Celebrity Series appearance a few short years later, in 1976. They have a long history with the Celebrity Series, performing 12 times over the last 20 years! Boston audiences have grown to love the creative and diverse high energy works the company brings year after year.
Named after the Pilobolus crystallinus fungus, whose spores accelerate 0–45 mph in the first millimeter of their flight and adhere to wherever they land, the company has taken a similar approach to physical movement, so the name stuck.
Their Boston debut performance of Echo In The Valley will bring both light and darkness to the stage. Commissioned by the American Dance Festival using the music of banjoists Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, the collaboration is an artistic reflection on the coal mining towns of Kentucky and the strange and dark life of miners. Starting off on a partially illuminated stage, Echo in the Valley uses just one small wooden platform manipulated magically by the dancers to explore resilience and hope as an antidote to the dark fate of the physical world.