Unquestionably the world’s preeminent viola da gamba player, for more than fifty years Jordi Savall has imbued music-making with humanity and unrivaled artistry. His essential contribution as performer, composer, and musical director on Alain Corneau’s 1991 film Tous les Matins du Monde made him a star in the early music firmament, garnered France’s prestigious César Award for Best Soundtrack, and launched the revival of Sainte-Colombe, Marin Marais, and the Baroque masters. With his ensemble Le Concert des Nations, Savall recreates the world of emotion and beauty conjured by this award-winning score.
Gwilym Simcock is simply one of the most imaginative pianists and composers on the European scene. Moving effortlessly between the free-wheeling abandon of jazz and an earnest devotion to classical elegance, this young Welshman holds his own when touring with such jazz legends as Dave Holland, Bobby McFerrin, and Pat Metheny, as he does with virtuosos like Nigel Kennedy. Yet his sound and music are exclusively his; iridescent and richly harmonic, Simcock’s rhythmic assurance can suddenly burst into a dazzling display of contrapuntal skill. “Gwilym’s an original, a creative genius,” attests Chick Corea.
Since its 1981 debut at the Berlin Festival, no taiko ensemble has captured the world’s imagination as thoroughly as Kodo. Each uniquely conceived production harnesses the percussive power and thunderous energy of a fleet of taiko drums—including the massive 660-pound o-daiko—in kinetic, heart-pounding displays of athletic artistry. In Evolution, these expert musicians from Japan’s Sado Island embrace the limitless possibilities of this vibrant art form. “Indeed, if there is such a thing as perfection in music, Kodo comes as near to it as any group in the world” (Boston Globe).
“A risk-taker,” “a tiger,” “a blazing comet,” “a bird.” Audiences marvel at the nuance, drama, and texture inherent in every performance Patricia Kopatchinskaja delivers. Like the virtuosos of centuries past, Kopatchinskaja invests each piece with her own expansive personality and daring choices, decisive moves that pay off big; her string-orchestra version of Death and the Maiden, intercut with other music to surprising effect, won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music performance. “This is a violinist with something more important to offer than dazzling technique. It’s called character” (London Times).
Dreamers’ Circus is not bound by tradition but invigorated by it, mining the time-honored customs of Nordic folk to create something daring and progressive. With outstanding musicianship from the Danish String Quartet’s Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen (violin), Nikolaj Busk (piano and accordion), and Ale Carr (cittern), the group’s adventurous approach to music from Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, and even the Faroe Islands and Greenland, has brought the band to the forefront of a new world music scene. Dreamer’s Circus “bristles with confidence, with nods to music as diverse as Danish folk and Erik Satie” (fRoots, Bristol).
The formidable French duo who front the Moutin Factory Quintet—acoustic bassist François, twin brother Louis on drums—unite around a common idea: to create music pulsating with the energy of life, full of emotion, spontaneity, and a spirit that swings and grooves. With guitarist Manu Codjia, pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, and Christophe Monnoit on saxophones, they ignite a dynamic post-bop atmosphere where “sparks fly and instruments alternately sting and sigh” (All About Jazz). The luminous young vocalist Kavita Shah joins François to demonstrate the unique and beautiful union of voice and bass.