Guest Artist Shodekeh to Perform Beatboxing Concerto with Hartford Symphony Orchestra
HARTFORD, December 16, 2011 – To celebrate the New Year, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra will take a look back and a step forward at Brahms & Beatboxing on Thursday, January 5 – Sunday, January 8, 2012 at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. Led by Music Director Carolyn Kuan, the HSO will couple Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 – a masterpiece from the Romantic Era – with composer Jan Mikael Vainio’s Fujiko’s Fairy Tale, a modern concerto for beatboxer and orchestra featuring the virtuosic talents of Shodekeh. The program also will include Johann Strauss’s New Year’s Day tradition, Overture to Die Fledermaus.
Music Director Carolyn Kuan says, “Orchestral music has such a rich history, yet is evolving constantly as musical tastes grow and develop. On this New Year’s program it seemed like the perfect opportunity for us to look back at one of the great masterworks- Brahms’ First Symphony- and to explore some of the newer music and art forms that exist today. We are thrilled to have Shodekeh share his virtuosic beatboxing talents with us for a unique concerto, Fujiko’s Fairy Tale for Beatboxer and Orchestra.”
In 1853, a young Johannes Brahms was pressured by his contemporaries to continue the German musical legacy that had been laid down by Bach and Beethoven. Overwhelmed by Beethoven’s recent success with his Ninth Symphony, it took Brahms more than 15 years to complete his first symphony, but it was worth the wait. Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 is a work of supreme compositional technique, profound emotion, and breath-taking melodies and harmony. Although Brahms references Beethoven’s style, it is clear that he evolved music to the next stage, making it a fitting work to pair with Jan Mikael Vainio’s integration of beatboxing and orchestral music, Fujiko’s Fairy Tale. Vainio says, “Fujiko’s Fairy Tale is a voyage through [Japanese] mythology…in which magical super beings rule the reality. In the music, one can hear oriental influences combined with hip-hop, dance beats, traditional contemporary concert music and a hint of soundscapes from videogames of the 1980’s and 1990’s.” The concerto was premiered in February 2010 in Finland; the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra played the American premiere in July 2010.
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Shodekeh will be the featured soloist for Fujiko’s Fairy Tale. He is a professional beatboxer and vocal percussionist in a number of artistic fields for dance, music and the visual arts. Using his voice as his primary instrument, he vocalizes everything from drum sets, turntables, ocean waves, to sleigh bells. He currently serves as faculty and musical accompanist for Towson University’s dance department and The American Dance Festival at Duke University. Past awards and recognition include a residency with The Johns Hopkins Modern Dance Company, an Artist Studio Residency at the Creative Alliance at The Patterson, grants and commissions for the U.S. Embassy of Lithuania’s Month of American Culture Program, and placement on the Maryland State Arts Council Touring Artist Roster Program.
HSO MASTERWORKS SERIES: BRAHMS & BEATBOXING
with Carolyn Kuan, Music Director & conductor; Shodekeh, beatboxer
Thursday, January 5, 2012 │ 7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 6, 2012 │ 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, January 7, 2012 │ 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 8, 2012 │ 3:00 p.m.
Belding Theater │ The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts
Program: Johannes Brahms: Symphony No. 1 in C minor; Jan Mikael Vainio: Fujiko’s Fairy Tale for Beatboxer and String Orchestra; Johann Strauss, Jr.: Overture to Die Fledermaus
Ticket Information: Tickets range in price from $35.50-$70.50. Student tickets are $10. On Saturday, January 7, $25 tickets are available for patrons age 40 and under. To purchase tickets or for more information, please contact HSO ticket services at (860) 244-2999 or visit www.hartfordsymphony.org.
The Brahms & Beatboxing concerts are sponsored by Artio Global Investors. The 2011-12 Masterworks Series is presented by MetLife Foundation and The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, with additional concert support from Hartford Hospital. The Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s 2011-2012 season is sponsored by Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. The Hartford Symphony Orchestra receives major support from the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism.