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Goat Rodeo Sessions, at Green Music Center this Friday, September 23, 2013 —the concert everyone’s buzzing about….plenty of ticket options still remain

The Goat Rodeo Sessions with special guest vocalist Aoife O'Donovan perform at Green Music Center this Friday. (L to R) bassist Edgar Meyer, mandolin master Chris Thile, cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma, and bluegrass fiddler Stuart Duncan join together create a unique, genre-breaking sound that’s part composed, part improvised and uniquely American. The music is so difficult to pull off, the group likens it to a Goat Rodeo – an aviation term for a situation in which 100 things need to go right to avoid disaster.  Photo: Jeremy Cowart

The Goat Rodeo Sessions with special guest vocalist Aoife O’Donovan perform at Green Music Center this Friday. (L to R) bassist Edgar Meyer, mandolin master Chris Thile, cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma, and bluegrass fiddler Stuart Duncan join together create a unique, genre-breaking sound that’s part composed, part improvised and uniquely American. The music is so difficult to pull off, the group likens it to a Goat Rodeo – an aviation term for a situation in which 100 things need to go right to avoid disaster. Photo: Jeremy Cowart

The Goat Rodeo Sessions, joined by singer Aoife O’Donovan, wraps its first tour with just three West Coast performances including Friday night at Green Music Center’s Weill Hall and Lawn.  It wasn’t too long ago that we had to trek down in traffic to Berkeley’s Greek Theatre for big name concerts.  All that’s behind us now—nestled right here we’ve got the acoustically stellar Weill Hall with its back doors that open out to expansive terraced patios and lawn seating, giving audiences a wonderful way to connect with performers on stage while enjoying the magic of late summer in the wine country.

If you were lucky enough to get tickets to Yo-Yo Ma’s January 26 concert at Weill Hall with Kathryn Stott on piano—a program of cello masterpieces that brought us to tears and introduced us Ma’s extraordinary humbling humanity—chances are you were first to snap up tickets coveted inside-the-hall seats for Friday’s performance.  In a 2005 article for Smithsonian magazine, Bay Area music critic Josh Kosman summed it up “If Yo-Yo Ma didn’t exist, no novelist in the world would have dared invent him. The combination of virtues—musical, intellectual, personal—is simply too implausible.”   At the press conference for the summer season we learned that our new hall and enthusiasm had impressed Ma too and that he was excited to come back with the innovative ensemble The Goat Rodeo Sessions and show us another side of his musical expression.  He’ll be sharing the stage with bluegrass fiddler Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer, and mandolin master Chris Thile—each Grammy winners and virtuosos in their own right and with Aoife O’Donovan, lead singer for Crooked Still string band and the folk-noir trio Sometymes Why.

Call it what you will—bluegrass, chambergrass or just plain good grass for string quartet, The Goat Rodeo Sessions combines a variety musical styles and traditions while leaving plenty of room for improvisation.  Immensely popularized by their Grammy Award-winning 2011 album for Sony Masterworks, the ensemble has reunited outside the studio just once for a January 2012 concert at Boston’s House of Blues that was simulcast to theaters around the country and later released as a DVD.

What’s a “goat rodeo,” you might wonder?   The term is from the world of aviation where so many things go wrong that a right move needs to made for it all not to end in disaster.  The group feels kinship with that concept and the name has suits highly their improvisational approach to music and life.

I’ve been to several of GMC’s summer performances, with seats inside and outside the hall, and they’ve all been spectacular in their own right.   Truth be told, it can get chilly when the fog rolls in, but there’s an exciting crowd vibe that emerges when you’re outdoors. I’m trying a table seat for this concert.   There’s something about Ma’s personality and his profound ability to from a connection with his audience that came through in his January performance that touched me—I can’t wait to see him as part of this group and to experience the give and take vibe that this type of intense collaboration requires.   With over 15 songs on the program, with plenty of opportunity for improvisation from all four of the players, it’s bound to be a goat rodeo to beat all.

Members of the Goat Rodeo Sessions—cellist Yo-Yo Ma, bassist Edgar Meyer, mandolinist Chris Thile, and fiddler Stuart Duncan— performing “Attaboy,” from the Goat Rodeo Sessions Live.  

The Goat Rodeo Sessions performs at Google New York in 2011 (Presented by Google on YouTube)

Details:  Goat Rodeo Sessions is Friday, August 23, 2013, at 7:30 PM at Green Music Center’s Weill Hall and Lawn.

Ticket Availability:  As of Tuesday (August 20, 2013) there were approximately 100 Table Seats available at $45 and 2,000 lawn places available at $25.  Tickets inside Weill Hall sold out almost immediately when they were listed.  There may inside seating available ($55 to $100) due to ticket returns: check with the Box Office in person 30 minutes prior to Friday’s concert.  Ticket purchases can be made online at www.gmc.edu, or over the phone with the Sonoma State University Box Office at 866.955.6040. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The Box Office is located in the interior of the Sonoma State University campus – ticket windows adjacent to the Green Music Center are only open prior to performances.

Dining:  It is too late to order from the selection of special Whole Foods dinners.  Concessions at the Green Music Center are offered all year in the Person Lobby and during the summer on the south end of Weill Lawn. Offering everything from small bites to full meals, the concession offerings can help complete your Green Music Center experience. Guests are also welcome to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages (unopened, must be sealed) into the venue but no alcohol.  All alcohol must be purchased on-site.

Directions: Green Music Center is located on the campus of Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, at the intersection of Rohnert Park Expressway and Petaluma Hill Road.

From the south, take U.S. Highway 101 north to the Rohnert Park Expressway exit. At the end of the exit ramp, turn right onto Rohnert Park Expressway. Drive 2.2 miles to the Sonoma State University entrance on your right.

From the north, take U.S. Highway 101 south to the Rohnert Park Expressway exit. At the end of the exit ramp, turn left onto Rohnert Park Expressway. Drive 2.2 miles to the Sonoma State University entrance on your right.

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August 20, 2013 Posted by | Green Music Center | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Music Center’s Summer Season is around the corner—tickets are now on sale to the general public today

El Gusto Orchestra, a group of Jewish and Muslim artists separated by war in Algeria more than 50 years ago, will perform at Weill Hall on Sunday, August 11, 2103. Dubbed the “Buena Vista Social Club of Algiers,” their chaâbi music, the jazz of the orient, was once considered fairly scandalous as it was played mainly in the cannabis dens of the Casbah in Algiers.  Safinez Bousbia’s acclaimed documentary “El Gusto” (2012), which tells the musicians’ fascinating individual stories, will also screen.

El Gusto Orchestra, a group of Jewish and Muslim artists separated by war in Algeria more than 50 years ago, will perform at Weill Hall on Sunday, August 11, 2103. Dubbed the “Buena Vista Social Club of Algiers,” their chaâbi music, the jazz of the orient, was once considered fairly scandalous as it was played mainly in the cannabis dens of the Casbah in Algiers. Safinez Bousbia’s acclaimed documentary “El Gusto” (2012), which tells the musicians’ fascinating individual stories, will also screen.

Josh Groban, YoYo Ma and Goat Rodeo Sessions, Chris Botti, the Russian National Orchestra, El Gusto,  and a traditional 4th of July celebration are among the highlights of the Green Music Center’s inaugural summer season which was announced on April 23, 2013.   After offering first dibs on summer tickets to its high-level donors, followed by Mastercard holders, tickets are now on sale to the general public.  The stellar season features a nine-concert array of classical, orchestral, bluegrass and world music artists and represents an expansive and creative approach to musical entertainment offering some coveted big name draws and a sampling of some rare offerings of world music incuding El Gusto (the Good Mood), a reunited group of musicians from the Casbah of old Algiers that has been hailed as the Buena Vista Social Club of Algeria.  And like the Buena Vista Social Club, there’s a new documentary film by Safinez Bousbia that will screen in advance of their GMC performance that has largely been responsible for their re-launch.

The al fresco season takes full advantage of the wonderful Wine Country weather and lush accommodations of Weill Lawn, utilizing the expanded seating of the Green Music Center’s outdoor spaces for up to 6,000 patrons.  Many of those seats and outdoor tables allow for outdoor gourmet dining from Prelude, GMC’s culinary jewel.

INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION: It all begins on July 4 with the revival of a community tradition – a family-friendly Independence Day orchestral concert amidst an afternoon of festivities, culminating in a dazzling fireworks display across the Sonoma County skies.

 THE MASTERCARD PERFORMANCE SERIES: HEADLINE CONCERTS

Josh Groban’s success as a singer and songwriter has extended beyond the classical genre and into the mainstream, following his rise to fame in the early 2000s with such Grammy-nominated singles as “You Raise Me Up.”   Dubbed the “love me tenor” by adoring female fans, he performs with the Santa Rosa Symphony led by conductor Sean O’Loughlin, on July 24 for the most intimate concert of his summer tour – and his only date in Northern California – produced by Rick Bartalini Presents.

Yo-Yo Ma liked Weill Hall so much in January that he’s coming back, with the renowned The Goat Rodeo Sessions, sharing the stage with bluegrass fiddler Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer, and mandolin master Chris Thile.  Special guest vocalist Aoife O’Donovan joins this innovative ensemble that blends bluegrass influences with classical traditions on August 23.   What’s a “goat rodeo,” you might wonder?   The term is from the world of aviation where so many things go wrong that a right move needs to made for it all not to end in disaster.  The group feels kinship with that concept and the name has suits highly their improvisational spproach to music and life.

Members of the Goat Rodeo Sessions performing “Attaboy,” from the Goat Rodeo Sessions Live.

Retro-pop orchestra Pink Martini delivers its genre-crossing blend of jazz, classical, cabaret and world music on July 14, for a performance the New York Times calls “a polyrhythmic, one-world cocktail,” and lead singer China Forbes describes as “uplifting, romantic, multi-lingual and melodic – and of course it makes you want to dance.”

American jazz-trumpeter Chris Botti has had widespread success in the pop-instrumental genre, releasing twelve solo albums and collaborating with Andrea Bocelli, Paul Simon, Sting, and many of the world’s leading orchestras. His August 25 concert concludes the MasterCard Performance Series Summer 2013 programming.

ORCHESTRAL OFFERINGS

The Green Music Center partners with Napa Valley Festival del Sole for a July 16 concert by the Grammy award-winning Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Montanaro and featuring Sarah Chang in Barber’s Violin Concerto and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet in the rarely-performed Saint-Saëns “Egyptian” Piano Concerto No. 5.

Jean-Yves Thibaudet on Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 5 – The Egyptian 

The suspense, the drama, the horror, the sorrow, and the excitement— the movies we love feature memorable scores.  The San Francisco Symphony performs an evening of “Music from the Movies” on August 4 with guest conductor Sarah Hicks and a very special narrator, as tunes from the silver screen come to life in a program that parents will appreciate, and kids of all ages are sure to enjoy.

ACCLAIMED FILM PROJECT WITH ALGERIAN ORCHESTRA EL GUSTO

 In 2003, film director Safinez Bousbia stumbled upon the inspirational story of El Gusto, a group of Jewish and Muslim artists separated by war in Algeria more than 50 years ago but brought together by a shared passion for Chaâbi – a musical blend of Berber, Andalusian, and Flamenco-influenced sounds meaning “of the people.”

This moving ensemble has been called “The Buena Vista Social Club of Algiers” by Le Journal du Dimanche, and performs exclusively on the West Coast in Weill Hall, following performances at Lincoln Center and The Kennedy Center.

Bousbia’s documentary, “El Gusto,” chronicles these musicians enduring friendships and the transcendent power of music.  A special screening of the film precedes their August 11 concert.  (Stay tuned to ARThound for special coverage.)

Josh Groban has sold more than 25 million records…his music famously puts women in the mood.  He performs at Green Music Center on July 24 with the Santa Rosa Symphony, his only performance in Northern CA this summer.

Josh Groban has sold more than 25 million records…his music famously puts women in the mood. Claim to fame: 2003 single “You Raise Me Up.” He performs at Green Music Center on July 24 with the Santa Rosa Symphony, his only performance in Northern CA this summer.

MUSIC FESTIVAL TIES WEILL HALL TO THE JUILLIARD SCHOOL

Following a week of workshops with faculty from The Juilliard School, participants of the innovative pianoSonoma workshop and music festival will culminate their experiences with a concert in Weill Hall on August 10. This educational program pairs pianists throughout the region with Juilliard faculty for private lessons, guided rehearsals, daily master-classes, and a final public performance.

This capstone concert concludes a robust lineup of music education classes, workshops, master classes, and amateur performances taking place throughout the Green Music Center from mid-June to August.

GMC SUMMER 2013 At A Glance

A Fourth of July Celebration: Thursday, July 4 at 730 pm
Fireworks to follow

Pink Martini: Sunday, July 14 at 4 pm

Russian National Orchestra
with Carlo Montanaro, conductor
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano, and
Sarah Chang, violin :Tuesday, July 16 at 7:30 pm

Josh Groban
and the Santa Rosa Symphony
with Sean O’Loughlin, conductor: 
Wednesday, July 24 at 7:30 pm

San Francisco Symphony “Music from the Movies”
with guest conductor Sarah Hicks:
Sunday, August 4 at 4 pm

pianoSonoma: Saturday, August 10 at 7 pm

El Gusto
Documentary film screening and concert: Sunday, August 11 at 4 pm

Goat Rodeo
Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile with guest vocalist Aoife O’Donovan
Friday, August 23 at 7 pm

Chris Botti: Sunday, August 25 at 4 pm

TICKETS AND BOX OFFICE INFORMATION: General public sales begin Tuesday, May 14 at 10 a.m. There are no subscription sales for the summer season.

Single-ticket prices range from $5 to $225. Discounts are available for youth (ages 12 and under receive 50% off lawn seating only), SSU students (50% discount, limit one per student per event), SSU faculty and staff (20% discount, limit two per employee per event), and for SSU alumni (10% discount, valid Alumni Association card required). Discounts do not apply to reduced-price events including pianoSonoma and El Gusto.

Ticket purchases can be made online at www.gmc.edu, or over the phone with the Sonoma State University Box Office at 866.955.6040. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Box Office is located in the interior of the Sonoma State University campus – ticket windows adjacent to the Green Music Center are only open prior to performances.

May 14, 2013 Posted by | Chamber Music, Classical Music, Film, Jazz Music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment