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Although she is best known as a country/folk/blues performer, MacArthur “Genius” Rhiannon Giddens was classically trained. She is host of the “Aria Code” podcast, which makes opera relevant to the modern world. Photo from WNYC​

Music and Life, as One, in ‘Aria Code’

I could fill up a book with the reasons why so much of classical music radio sucks. There, I said it.

Or I could say “Sunrise” from Grieg’s “Peer Gynt Suite” and you’d probably get the idea — especially after the 1,300-and-millionth time you hear it on classical radio.

The Joint Chiefs continue a summer-long series of concerts in the Tristate region with a performance in Falls Village, Conn., on Aug. 20. Photo by Chris Little

A Beloved Local Band, The Joint Chiefs Perform on Aug. 20

If the Tristate region can be said to have a “house band,” then that band is probably The Joint Chiefs, a perennially popular quartet featuring Eliot Osborn, Louise Lindenmeyr, George Potts and Diana Herold.

Violinist Doori Na, at right in the photo, leads a trio of performers in this summer’s Sherman Chamber Ensemble performances from Aug. 12 to 14. Sherman Chamber Ensemble Artistic Director Eliot Bailen, at far left, is the cellist,  Susan Rotholz, center, is the flutist. Photo submitted​

Chamber Music, Outdoors, in August

This season’s Summertime Sounds concerts by the Sherman Chamber Ensemble begin Thursday, Aug. 12, at 7 p.m. in Washington, Conn., at the Salem Covenant Church and continues with 6 p.m. outdoor performances on Friday, Aug. 13, at Kent Barns in Kent, Conn., and Saturday, Aug. 14, at the IGA Plaza in Sherman, Conn.

The Balourdet String Quartet from Boston, Mass., will step in for the Juilliard Quartet at Music Mountain on July 11. Photo by Stephen Barton ​

Change of Plan for July 11 Music Mountain Concert

One thing COVID-19 taught us all was the need to be flexible; and one challenge arts venues had was the need to book performances well in advance, not only so they could do publicity but also so the performers could create a logical schedule for themselves. 

Dancing Dream, a tribute band for Swedish super group ABBA, is one of several tribute acts performing in the region this summer. Their show will be July 10 at Sharon Playhouse in Sharon, Conn. Photo courtesy Dancing Dream​

Why We Love Live ‘Tribute’ Shows (And, Of Course, ABBA)

It seems that this summer there are more “tribute” shows than ever in the Tristate region. Maybe it has something to do with the COVID-19 pandemic, and ongoing uncertainty about when/where/how we can all gather in public venues.

Live performances, including concerts by the Shanghai Quartet, return to Music Mountain. Photo by Sophie Zhai

Chamber Music, Jazz and The Thrill of a Shared Music Experience

A year ago, many arts organizations in our region were staring into the abyss of a COVID year without live audiences or performances, and an uncertain future as a result. Many found creative ways to keep their audiences engaged through virtual means.

Our critic recommends“The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies”for film fans.

How To Survive a Pandemic, Part Two: Loving Weird Film

Back in the summer, I suggested some streaming and reading choices to combat the boredom of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The other day I was chatting (by phone) with someone who suggested I use my extensive knowledge of the world’s worst and weirdest films for a similar piece.


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