2015 Fall Arts Preview: Music

You can catch a solid mix of classical, country, jazz, folk, rock and more around the county this fall. Not sure what you’re into? We’ve got a flow chart to help you find out.

September 24 – 27 

ArtsWestchester’s Jazz Fest 

ArtsWestchester, White Plains

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(914) 428-4220; 

www.artswestchester.org

Summer is the season for music festivals, but jazz lovers can squeeze in one more fest this September as ArtsWestchester’s Jazz Fest comes to White Plains with four days of concerts throughout the city. Kick off the festival on Thursday night at The South American Jazz Project with Grammy-winning composer and pianist Daniel Freiberg. The next day, take in a free lunch-hour concert at Downtown Music at Grace Church or an evening performance by the Women of the Piedmont Blues. Learn about jazz concepts and instruments at Saturday’s workshop, and don’t miss Sunday’s Jazz and Food Fest. It’s a full day of performance
and food on Mamaroneck Avenue, featuring several artists including 16-year-old prodigy Julius Rodriguez. 

September 27

Yo-Yo Ma

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Caramoor, Katonah

(914) 232-5035; www.caramoor.org

Even if you can’t tell your Beethoven from your Bach, chances are you’ve heard of Yo-Yo Ma. The cellist, who turns 60 next month, has been playing since age 4 and has amassed a staggering number of awards and accolades over the past 56 years (even a Grammy for Best Folk Album in 2012). When he takes the stage on September 27 with one of his 18th-century cellos (he has a Venetian Montagnana affectionately called “Petunia”), you’ll immediately know why he’s so famous—he’s just so passionate about the music. 

October 3

The 5 Browns

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Performing Arts Center, Purchase  

(914) 251-6200; www.artscenter.org

You’ve probably heard that two is better than one, but what about five? The 5 Browns, made up of siblings Ryan, Melody, Gregory, Deondra, and Desirae—and their five Steinway pianos—will take the stage at the Performing Arts Center on October 3. Juilliard-educated (the first time five siblings were admitted in the school’s history), each Brown sibling is a concert pianist in his or her own right. Together, though, they give audiences a unique experience, by pushing the boundaries of what a piano (or, in this case, five) can do with classical music. Of course, it’s not all Rachmaninoff; they also dabble in some more contemporary music, like Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” 

November 5

Jake Shimabukuro

Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown

(914) 631-3390; www.tarrytownmusichall.org

In 2006, someone posted a video of Hawaiian ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro playing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” in Central Park’s Strawberry Fields. Despite the video being low resolution and without any gimmicks, it became one of YouTube’s first viral sensations, garnering 14 million views. Fast-forward nine years and Shimabukuro’s career has taken off; he h as several albums including 2012’s Grand Ukelele, produced by Alan Parsons (who also did Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon), and a collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma on the Grammy-winning album Songs of Joy & Peace. It doesn’t hurt that the ukulele is also becoming popular with mainstream artists like Taylor Swift and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, who sang Shimabukuro’s praises in Rolling Stone: “Jake is taking the instrument to a place that I can’t see anybody else catching up with him.” 

November 8
Buddy Guy
Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield, CT
(203) 438-5795;
www.ridgefieldplayhouse.org

In a lineup of great guitarists, everyone knows about Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, but you should also know Buddy Guy. The son of a sharecropper, Guy became a major force in Chicago blues, and his soulful playing on a polka-dot guitar has made him a legend (and earned him a top 25 spot on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list). Speaking of Hendrix and Clapton, both guitarists considered Guy a major influence. “He was for me what Elvis was probably like for other people,” said Clapton at Guy’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. While you can buy one of Guy’s albums (he’s won six Grammys for his blues albums), nothing beats seeing him on stage, so catch him in concert  at Ridgefield Playhouse this fall. 

November 13

Ani DiFranco

Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown

(914) 631-3390; www.tarrytownmusichall.org 

There are plenty of folksy female singers stopping by our local theaters this fall
(Suzanne Vega at Tarrytown Music Hall on November 22 and Shawn Colvin at purpl, formerly the Purple Crayon, in Hastings, on September 12), but none are quite like Ani DiFranco. Her independence and willingness to bend the rules have made her one of music’s most fascinating indie artists with a progressive folk-rock style that reaches across genres to include punk, funk, and jazz. In 1990, she rebelled against mainstream record companies and founded Righteous Babe Records to produce her own music and support local businesses and performers. The brand has also spawned the Righteous Babe Foundation, which supports causes from women’s rights and equality to the Burmese resistance to conservation for the Gulf Coast.  

November 22

Duncan Sheik

Tarrytown Music Hall, Tarrytown

(914) 631-3390; 

www.tarrytownmusichall.org

You’ve probably heard him on the radio. In the ’90s, Duncan Sheik’s song “Barely Breathing” became a major hit, spending over a year on the Billboard “Hot 100” chart. But he’s not a one trick pony. In 2006, Sheik and friend Steven Sater’s smash alt-rock musical Spring Awakening premiered on Broadway and won eight Tony Awards including Best
Musical and Best Original Score. Spring Awakening will return to Broadway this fall (there’s also rumor of a film), and Sheik is currently working on a musical adaptation of American Psycho that’s slated to hit Broadway in 2016. In the meantime, he’ll be co-headlining a month-long tour with singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega (“Luka,” “Tom’s Diner”) this fall, which makes its final stop at the Tarrytown Music Hall on November 22.


Having a hard time making a choice? Follow this flow chart to find the perfect fall concert for you (and to find more options):

(Click image to view larger)

 

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