Brian Culbertson Funk Tour -special guest: Elan Trotman
Oct 28 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Brian Culbertson Funk Tour -special guest: Elan Trotman @ The Park Theatre RI

Brian Culbertson is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, writer and producer who crosses genres between contemporary jazz, R&B, and funk. Heralding from the musically rich city of Chicago, he began his musical studies at the early age of 8 on piano and quickly picked up several other instruments by age 12 including drums, trombone, bass, & euphonium. Inspired by the great R&B/Jazz/Pop artists of the 70’s like EWF, Tower of Power, Chicago, David Sanborn, and others, Brian Culbertson started composing original music for his 7th grade piano recital and hasn’t stopped having self-produced 16 solo albums, most of which have topped the Billboard Contemporary Jazz charts.

Having worked and performed with countless industry all-stars like Michael McDonald, Chris Botti, Ledisi, Barry Manilow, Herb Alpert, Natalie Cole, Chuck Brown, and Bootsy Collins just to name a few, Brian has received numerous awards including being nominated for a 2012 NAACP Image Award and a 2012 Soul Train Award. Also in 2012, he founded the Napa Valley Jazz Getaway now in it’s 5th year.
Brian is always striving to push the boundaries of the jazz scene, which is evident by his forthcoming album, Funk! due out this September. This new set is a throwback to the stanky P-Funk records from back in the day combining infectious bass lines, greasy horn licks, sing-a-long hooks and of course, landing hard on the ‘One.’ This record is also a follow-up to his widely successful Bringing Back The Funk album from 2008, which was co-produced by the late Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire.
Regardless of his success, fans can be rest assured that with the 16 albums and counting, Brian Culbertson always brings his very best – and brings the very best out of others – in all his broad-ranging musical endeavors.

New England Philharmonic presents Vores, Bartok, Ruggles
Oct 29 @ 8:00 pm – 10:15 pm
New England Philharmonic presents Vores, Bartok, Ruggles @ Tsai Performance Center

In keeping with the NEP’s commitment to “Innovation and Tradition in Concert,” the 40th anniversary season will feature world premieres of works from Andy Vores, Peter Child and Richard Cornell, all past NEP composers-in-residence who have gifted these works in honor of the orchestra’s milestone, the world premiere of a new composition by Bernard Hoffer on the annual Family Concert, and masterpieces from the orchestral tradition of the twentieth century.

OCTOBER 29, 2016

Andy Vores Fanfare (2016) WORLD PREMIERE
Andrew Norman Sacred Geometry (2003)
Yehudi Wyner Piano Concerto “Chiavi in mano” (2004) ….Geoffrey Burleson, piano
Carl Ruggles Evocations (1934–43)
Béla Bartók Concerto for Orchestra (1943)

Emmanuel Music presents Mendelssohn/Wolf Chamber Series, Year III
Oct 30 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Emmanuel Music presents Mendelssohn/Wolf Chamber Series, Year III @ Parish Hall Emmanuel Church

Emmanuel Music continues the exploration of the chamber works of Felix Mendelssohn and Hugo Wolf. Highlights will include the complete “Goethelieder” by Wolf, Mendelssohn’s gorgeous “Lieder ohne Worte” (“Songs without words”) and the solitary Wolf String Quartet in d minor.

Chorus pro Musica presents Missa Solemnis
Nov 4 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Chorus pro Musica presents Missa Solemnis @ Jordan Hall

Chorus pro Musica, under the direction of Jamie Kirsch, will perform Beethoven’s monumental “Missa Solemnis” on November 4, 2016, at Jordan Hall as part of their 2016-17 season. The chorus will be accompanied by a full orchestra and prominent soloists. The concert will be in honor of the late Vera Godkin, long-time patron of the arts and mother of 25-year CpM chorister, David S. Godkin.

Raised in New York City, David Godkin shared his parents’ love of theater and opera, and started singing in choirs in his high school years. “My parents were avid supporters of the arts and would come to Boston regularly to hear me perform with CpM,” said Godkin, a trial lawyer in Boston and co-founder of Birnbaum & Godkin, LLP.

Upon her death in 2014, Vera Godkin left a bequest to CpM, and since that time, David Godkin and Kirsch have explored works the chorus could present that would honor her memory.

“‘Missa Solemnis’ is one of the monumental works of the choral repertoire. It is a larger-than-life piece … powerful and exhilarating to hear and perform,” said Kirsch. “CpM hasn’t performed it in almost 30 years, and (it) wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Godkin family, which makes this performance an extremely special event for us.”
About “Missa Solemnis”: Along with Bach’s Mass in B minor, Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis” is widely regarded as one of the most significant mass settings. Although nearly eclipsed by the composer’s “Ninth Symphony,” completed directly after “Missa Solemnis,” it is generally considered one of the composer’s supreme achievements.
Beethoven began the work in 1819. It was to be performed at the ceremony where the composer’s long-time patron and friend, Rudolph, Archduke of Austria, was to be invested as archbishop in March 1820. Due to a myriad of circumstances, the piece was not finished in time, and without a deadline to manage, Beethoven completed the mass in 1823. The work is scored for a full orchestra, four soloists, and a mixed choir.

29th Annual Steppin’ Out for Dimock
Nov 5 @ 6:00 pm – Nov 6 @ 1:00 am
29th Annual Steppin' Out for Dimock @ Sheraton Boston

The 29th annual Steppin’ Out for the Dimock Center gala will take place on Saturday November 6th, the black tie evening is always at the top of every HOT BOSTON EVENT OF THE YEAR list. This year the event will feature headliners, MEN OF SOUL – PEABO BRYSON, JEFFREY OSBORNE & FREDDIE JACKSON as well as a VIP party with Saxophonist ANDRE WARD and a late night party with the one and only DOUG E. FRESH.

An Evening of Blues with Robert Cray
Nov 12 @ 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm
An Evening of Blues with Robert Cray @ Park Theatre RI

Open ears and an open mind are the essence of singer, guitarist and songwriter Robert Cray’s approach to writing, recording and playing music. He has created a sound that rises from American roots and arrives today both fresh and familiar. In just over 40 years Cray and his band have recorded 20 studio releases, 15 of which have been on the Billboard charts, and played bars, concert halls, festivals and arenas around the world. There are five Grammys with Cray’s name on them, and he has a suitcase full of W.C. Handy blues awards. Four years ago Cray was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

On August 28 the Mascot Label Group will celebrate the vibrancy of the Cray Band’s rocking rootsy blues, soul-filled ballads and timeless R&B with the release of 4 Nights of 40 Years Live. Through clips of concerts from the 80s and four recent shows, the evolution from the Cray Band unfolds. Comments by Cray and band members add depth. And interviews with Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Bonnie Raitt, Jimmie Vaughan and Buddy Guy put the band in perspective. The 3- piece set will be available in a variety of formats – 2 LPs + Mp3, 2 CDs + DVD, Blu-Ray + 2 CDs and digitally.

Growing up in the Northwest, Robert Cray listened to the gospel of the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, Bobby Bland’s soul, Jimi Hendrix’s rock guitar and the Beatles pop sounds. He would bring all of the influences into play throughout his career, but his teenage band was captivated by Southern Soul and the blues. “In the early days of the band we were getting back into O.V. Wright and paying attention to my favorite blues players; Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Albert King and especially Albert Collins,” Cray says.

The Texas-born blues guitarist known as Master of the Telecaster, Albert Collins, sealed the deal on the Cray Band’s early direction. The musical highlight of Cray’s senior year was his class voting to bring Collins in to play a graduation party.

The glow of a career in music began when Cray was a teen, and in 1974 it burst into flames as the Robert Cray Band came together in Eugene, Oregon. How strong was the fire? “Richard and I didn’t own a vehicle, and we were staying with his girlfriend in Eugene. We hitched a ride to Salem, where our drummer Tom Murphy was going to school, to rehearse,”
Cray recalls.

With the group’s 1980 debut release, Who’s Been Talkin’, word about the Cray Band began to spread across the Northwest and down in to California. Playing packed bars and roadhouses the Cray Band was thrilling. Yes, fans could hear an Albert Collins guitar riff and a Howlin’ Wolf song but the sound was present. Blues and soul fans showed up religiously, but those steamy raucous sets also drew crowds whose tastes in music ranged from rock to funk and jazz.

Also among the Cray Band admirers were other musicians. John Lee Hooker put his appreciation into action. “The first time we played with Hooker was in Montana. We were opening the set and he was playing solo,” Cray recalls. “We’d never met him before but he just walked on stage and started playing with us. We dug the hell out of the guy, and after that we were friends.”

The Cray Band’s next two releases – Bad Influence and False Accusations – charted, taking the four-piece’s sound across the airways and abroad. The group was on a roll, but the players slept on couches. “We were just road rats,” Cray says with a chuckle. “We’d take a break for two weeks to record, then go back out. We didn’t have a house, a home, any of those responsibilities.” On one of those breaks Cray went into the studio with Collins and another great Texas guitarist and singer, Johnny Clyde Copeland, to record Showdown!, a CD that has become essential to any 80s electric blues collection.

It was the sounds of the blues and soul that first drew attention from artists in the rock arena. In an interview on the DVD included in 4 Nights of 40 Years Live, Eric Clapton gives his initial response to Robert Cray saying, “As a blues fan, we’re saved.” The Cray Band’s beginnings did bring the sounds of its mentors into the mainstream, even taking the music of John Lee Hooker, Etta James and Albert Collins to a larger, younger audience. But no one knew how broad the band’s audience would be until the Cray Band opened the ears of rock radio programmers. With the 1986 release of Strong Persuader the Cray Band’s tunes were put in heavy rotation on mega rock stations across the nation. The first hit, “Smoking Gun,” was followed by “I Guess I Showed Her” and “Right Next Door (Because of Me).” The Cray Band’s next two releases, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and Midnight Stroll, brought more radio listeners to record stores, increasing sales of the group’s CDs.

Following the path of fame taken by blues-based rockers like Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Cray became a sensation, leading his band in concerts at large arena and rock festival. He was the first African American artist since Jimi Hendrix to rise to such fame in rock music. Was there a change in the band’s direction or had the blues arrived again into the mainstream after more than three decades of being forgotten by radio? “We were doing blues and Rand B from the first,” Crays says. “That’s just part of what we do. If you’re writing a tune it’s only natural to grab something from someplace else. You’re gonna put in some soul changes and some jazz, something you’ve been listening to. With what we do there’s a whole lot of room to move.”
Clapton’s admiration for Cray led to a writing collaboration on the hit “Old Love,” which featured Cray on guitar. A call came from Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richard who asked him to be in the film he and Steve Jordan were producing about the rock guitarist Chuck Berry, “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll.” Concert footage in the film features Richards, Jordan, Clapton, Julian Lennon, Linda Ronstadt and Etta James. Cray performs “Brown Eyed Handsome Man” with Berry. Dressed in a baby blue tuxedo jacket, the young guitarist is the epitome of the tune’s title. Cray also performed on the Tina Turner TV special “Break Every Rule.”

During the 90s the Cray Band was featured in concert with artists like Clapton, the Stones, John Lee Hooker, BB King and Bonnie Raitt, who on the DVD declares the band leader is “an original; he’s passionate, he’s a bad ass and puts on one of the best shows you’ll ever see.”

Amidst these accolades, soaring record sales and a packed touring schedule the Cray Band recorded six CDs in the 90s. Cray produced Shame + A Sin, which referenced his blues roots, in 1993. It was followed by two more self-produced recordings, Some Rainy Morning and Sweet Potato Pie. Recorded in Memphis and featuring the famed Memphis Horns Sweet Potato Pie was the Cray Band’s most soulful album to date. The next recording Take Off Your Shoes delved even deeper into Memphis sounds of the 60s. “That was definitely a soul record,” Cray says. “I’d already been writing songs, Jim (Pugh, who was keyboards with the Cray Band from 1989 to 2014) was writing songs, leaning toward soul. Steve (Jordan, producer) heard them and put the icing on the cake.” Jordan, who subsequently produced the Cray Band’s In My Soul, Shoulda Been Home and the first CD in 4 Nights of 40 Years Live, also brought the personification of Memphis soul to the recording session, Willie Mitchell, to help with arrangements for the Memphis Horns. Mitchell discovered and first recorded Al Green along with other Southern Soul singers like Ann Peebles, O.V. Wright and Syl Johnson for the famed Memphis label Hi Records. When he arrived at the Cray recording session, he brought not only the Memphis presence but also a present. “Willie came over – he was wearing a gold jacket – and gave me this song, ‘Love Gone to Waste,’” Cray says. “Then we put some final touches on the CD at his studio in Memphis. It was a great opportunity to see Willie in the studio.”

Both on Take Your Shoes Off and 4 Nights of 40 Years Live, “Love Gone to Waste” showcases Robert Cray’s natural ease with soul ballads. He is intense but smooth in telling the story of love gone bad. Then in a falsetto voice he soars through the sadness into the inevitable pain. It is a song that Cray owns because no other singer has dared try to do it justice. Take Your Shoes Off won a Grammy in 2000.

In the next decade the Cray Band recorded seven CDs, three of them live, and two – Twenty and This Time – were nominated for Grammys. The group’s most recent recordings, Nothing But Love and In My Soul put the band back on the Billboard Charts.

The multimedia 4 Nights of 40 Years Live is a testament to the band’s longevity and vitality. The 80s concert footage is exuberant and shows the charisma of Young Bob (a reference in song that Cray makes to himself in homage to Muddy Waters calling himself Young Muddy) as a guitarist, vocalist and band leader. The live performances at recent concerts capture seasoned musicians bringing a vivid, illustrative past into the moment. Cray’s Stratocaster solos sing, cry and take on the funk. His voice has grown richer and wiser yet remains sweet.

It is extraordinary for musicians to thrive over four decades, and the Robert Cray Band is just that, an extraordinary story of success. On the DVD Texas blues and R&B artist Jimmie Vaughan sums up Robert Cray’s singularity and success simply when he says, “He’s got one foot in the future and one foot in the old stuff.”

New England Philharmonic presents Annual Family Concert
Dec 11 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
New England Philharmonic presents Annual Family Concert @ Tsai Performance Center

DECEMBER 11, 2016
In keeping with the NEP’s commitment to “Innovation and Tradition in Concert,” the 40th anniversary season will feature world premieres of works from Andy Vores, Peter Child and Richard Cornell, all past NEP composers-in-residence who have gifted these works in honor of the orchestra’s milestone, the world premiere of a new composition by Bernard Hoffer on the annual Family Concert, and masterpieces from the orchestral tradition of the twentieth century.

William Schuman Newsreel in 5 Shots (1942)
1. “Horse Race”
2. “Fashion Show”
3. “Tribal Dance”
4. “Monkeys in the Zoo”
5. “Parade”

Bernard Hoffer Nocturne (The Timber Wolf) (2016) WORLD PREMIERE
Andy Vores Big Bad Wolf (1996)
Paul Patterson Little Red Riding Hood Song Book (1994)
Narrator TBA,
Boston City Singers, Joshua DeWitte, Director
Concerto to be performed by the NEP Young Artist Competition Winner

4th Annual Sistema Side by Side Gala
Mar 13 @ 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm
4th Annual Sistema Side by Side Gala @ Sanders Theatre

On March 13 the Longy School of Music of Bard College will celebrate another year as a leader in progressive music education in grand style at the fourth annual Sistema Side by Side Celebration, under the baton of Jorge Soto. A very special guest will be announced shortly.

The celebration will showcase Longy’s social mission to prepare students to make a difference in the world, featuring the Sistema Side by Side Orchestra. The orchestra pairs students from aged 7 to 15 from El Sistema-inspired programs throughout Massachusetts with Longy’s Conservatory Orchestra musicians in rehearsals and performances with nationally renowned conductors and guest artists.

The program launched publicly in grand style in March of 2014 with an open rehearsal of the orchestra under the direction of Gustavo Dudamel, Grammy Award-winning music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in MIT’s Kresge Auditorium. Since then, the orchestra has worked with members of the Simón Bolívar String Quartet, Opera Legend Frederica von Stade and given an enthusiastically received performance for Maestro José Antonio Abreu, founder of El Sistema.

The evening will include the presentation of the Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society. The award was authorized by the Bernstein family and established by Longy in 2000 and has celebrated great artists such as Gustavo Dudamel, Eileen Farrell, Marilyn Horne, Leonard Slatkin, Mark Morris, Leon Botstein, Frederica von Stade and Gunther Schuller.

A celebratory dinner will follow the concert. Tickets to the event are available at Proceeds from the gala will support Longy’s ongoing work as a leader in the El Sistema-inspired movement in the U.S. and scholarships and teaching assistantships for Longy Conservatory students

Emmanuel Music Presents Bach St. Matthew Passion
Mar 31 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Emmanuel Music Presents Bach St. Matthew Passion @ Emmanuel Church

Emmanuel Music presents the first performance of Bach’s great Passion under the baton of Ryan Turner featuring two orchestras, two choruses, and one great work by a composer at the pinnacle of his creative power. Evangelist, Charles Blandy; Jesus, Paul Max Tipton.

Emmanuel Music Presents Bach St. Matthew Passion
Apr 2 @ 3:00 pm – 5:15 pm
Emmanuel Music Presents Bach St. Matthew Passion @ Emmanuel Church

Emmanuel Music presents the first performance of Bach’s great Passion under the baton of Ryan Turner featuring two orchestras, two choruses, and one great work by a composer at the pinnacle of his creative power. Evangelist, Charles Blandy; Jesus, Paul Max Tipton.