Articles

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  • September, 2019
    • Sep 1, 2019
      Born on December 8, 1956 in Newark, New Jersey, Jed Distler studied piano at first with Vera Tisheff, who introduced him to his future mentor Dick Hyman. Distler studied composition at the Juilliard School of Music Pre-College with Andrew Thomas.
    • Sep 1, 2019
      Janis McKay received her D.M.A. from The Ohio State University, the Master of Music degree from the University of Louisville, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Georgia. Her major teachers were Christopher Weait, Matthew Karr, and William Davis. Dr. McKay previously ta
  • April, 2019
    • Apr 27, 2019
      Violinist Laura Martin-Prokopyk is the former Concert- master of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony (CCS). As soloist with the CCS she has recorded Augusta Read Thomas’ Spirit Musings, Robert Erickson’s Garden, Erica Muhl’s Consolation and with pianist Mark George, Ed London’s Gypsy Heirs. She has given premieres of several additional works as soloist with the CCS. Ms. Martin is an avid chamber musician; she is a chamber music coach at the ENCORE School for Strings, a member of the Trinity Chamber Players, was a frequent performer in the New Music Associates series at Cleveland State University and enjoys playing viola in quartets. A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Ms. Martin earned a B.M. and M.M. as a student of Linda Cerone. Donald Rosenberg of the Cleveland Plain Dealer wrote of her playing, “Laura Martin-Prokopyk…dashed a virtuosic marathon… soloistic flamboyance, from dizzying passage work and Gypsy-like outbursts to contemplative statements of luscious lyricism.” In another review he wrote, “Laura Martin- Prokopyk, the Chamber Symphony’s concertmaster, seized the solo part by the heart and muscles, applying shimmering, intimate and bold strokes.” Laura Martin- Prokopyk currently resides in Bismarck, North Dakota.
    • Apr 27, 2019
      Kristin Wolfe Jensen, world-renowned performer and teacher, has been the bassoon professor at the University of Texas at Austin since 1995, and is on the faculty of the International Festival Institute at Round Top and Principal Bassoonist with the River Oaks Chamber Orchestra. She has made a number of acclaimed solo and chamber music recordings. The American Record Guide reviewer said of Ms. Jensen’s solo CD Shadings, "...She has simply turned in the finest-played Bassoon recital I have ever heard... She obviously sees tone quality as the foundation for her fluent technique... It is a ravishing sound, siren-like in its attractive flair... Ms. Jensen could teach a lot about musicality to a number of famous violinists..., " Ms. Jensen has toured Europe with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, served as Acting Principal Bassoonist of the Houston Grand Opera, and has been a member of The Dallas Opera Orchestra, the Richardson Symphony, the Las Vegas Symphony, Jupiter Symphony of New York and CONTINUUM. She has performed solo recitals at several International Double Reed Society conferences, and was co-host of the 2005 conference in Austin. An esteemed pedagogue, she has given guest recitals and master classes at many major American music schools and her former UT students hold major orchestral positions and university teaching positions around the country. Her online bassoon method, Music and the Bassoon, provides an innovative, multimedia approach to learning the bassoon. Formerly, Ms. Jensen served on the faculties of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the University of North Texas. As a student, she won the concerto competitions at the Juilliard School of Music in 1990 where she received her MM, and the Oberlin Conservatory in 1989 as an undergraduate, which led to performances of the Mozart Bassoon Concerto, K. 191. She is co-director of the biennial Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition for young women bassoonists from the Americas, providing the largest prizes of any bassoon competition in the world.
    • Apr 27, 2019
      <p>A native Canadian, Dr. Michelle Schumann is a highly sought after solo pianist and collaborative artist both in her hometown of Austin, Texas and throughout the US, Canada and Europe. Her performances have been described as "smart, irresistible, and utterly captivating" and have been included among the years' top ten art events by the Austin American Statesman. In 2009, Schumann won the award for best instrumentalist by the Austin Critics' Table and in 2006, 2007, and 2008 won the award for Best Chamber Music Performance. In 2006, she was the top prize winner in the 2006 Janice K. Hodges Competition for Contemporary Piano Music and most recently, her performance of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue was named the #1 Classical Arts Event of 2008 by the Austin Chronicle.</p><p>Michelle is the Artistic Director of the Austin Chamber Music Center where she leads the season programs, Austin Summer Chamber Music Festival, and all educational programs. Following her ground- breaking first season with the Austin Chamber Music Center, she won multiple awards from the Austin Critics' Table for Best Chamber Music Performance and Best Body of Work/Season. She has performed at international festivals including the Edinburg Fringe Festival, Fayetteville Chamber Music Festival, Tanglewood, Round Top, Long Beach Opera Festival, Fou de Basson Festival in Angoulême, France, Bang on a Can Summer Festival at the Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art, Banff Festival of Music and Sound, International Institute of Music in Munich, Germany, Victoria Bach Festival, and the Snake River Chamber Music Festival. Michelle has collaborated with leading ensembles throughout the US including the Carpe Diem Quartet, Chiara Quartet, Meridian Arts Ensemble, Austin Lyric Opera, American Ballet Theater, New York City Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Austin, and Long Beach Opera. Her solo and chamber music performances have been heard on CBC Radio, KMFA and Austin's NPR affiliate, KUT. A committed teacher, Dr. Schumann serves as Associate Professor of Music and Artist in Residence at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor where she is the founder and Artistic Director of the Hillman Visiting Artists Series. She received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The University of Texas at Austin where she studied with Anton Nel and Gregory Allen. Additionally she holds a Young Artist Diploma from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Performance Diploma from the Vienna Conservatory.</p>
    • Apr 27, 2019
      <p>A prize winner in the 1995 New York International Competition for Solo Oboists and in the 1988 Lucarelli International Solo Oboe Competition, Rebecca Henderson has performed as Acting Principal Oboist with the National Symphony and Colorado Symphony orchestras, as Guest Principal Oboist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, and the Rochester Philharmonic, and has been a member of the Colorado Symphony and the Santa Fe Opera Orchestras. She has performed as concerto soloist with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony of Ecuador, and the Philharmonia Northwest Chamber Orchestra in Seattle.</p><p>Festival performances include the Aspen, Cabrillo, Bellingham, and Boulder Bach Festivals, and she is currently on the faculty of the International Festival Institute at Round Top in Texas. She has been featured on numerous film scores, including Imax films such as "Everest" and "Olympic Glory," as well as feature films and network television mini-series. As a soloist and chamber musician she has recorded for the Boston Records, Centaur, RCA Masterworks, and RC Winds labels. Her solo CD, "...is but a dream," has been hailed by critics as "exquisite... a CD that you will play over and over" (Gramophone), and "superb… a wonderfully vibrant, almost luscious sound" (American Record Guide). Ms. Henderson holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory and the Eastman School of Music, where she was also awarded the distinguished "Performer's Certificate." Her teachers include Richard Henderson, James Caldwell, Richard Killmer, John Mack, John de Lancie, and Grover Schiltz. Ms. Henderson serves on the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin, where she has been an Associate Professor since the fall of 2001.</p>
    • Apr 27, 2019
      <p><strong><em>"Musician of the first rank."</em> — The New York Times</strong></p><p>The Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa is long esteemed in the former USSR as a distinguished soloist, chamber musician and teacher. A prominent student of David Oistrakh, Oleh Krysa won major prizes in such international competitions as the Wieniawski, Tchaikovsky and Montreal, and was the outright winner of the Paganini Competition.</p><p>Oleh Krysa began his teaching career as chairman of the Violin Department at the Kiev Conservatory. In 1973 he took the same position at the Gnesin Musical and Pedagogical Institute in Moscow and, two years later, returned to the Moscow Conservatory as Professor of Violin, where he remained until 1988. Currently he is Professor of Violin at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.</p><p>Oleh Krysa has performed in major music centers throughout the world (including the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Concertgebouw, Royal Festival Hall, Wigmore Hall, Teatro alla Scala, Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Kennedy Center, etc.) with leading orchestras and conductors and ensembles. He has also appeared at major festivals in Europe, North America, the Far East and Australia. In addition to his thriving solo career, Mr. Krysa was the leader of the celebrated Beethoven String Quartet 1977-87.</p><p>Oleh Krysa is also a champion of contemporary music and has worked closely with Alfred Schnittke, Edison Denisov, Sofia Gubaidulina, Krzsyzstof Penderecki, Sydney Hodkinson, Virko Baley, Valentin Silvestrov and Myroslav Skoryk. He has premiered a number of their works and many have been written specifically for him. Mr. Krysa has recorded on the Melodiya, BIS, Triton, Olympia, Amadis, Polskie Nagranie, TNC and Russian Disc labels.</p><p>Oleh Krysa has served on the jury panel of the International Tchaikovsky, Wieniawski, Paganini, Kreisler, Joachim, Oistrakh, Lipizer, Quingdao, Sarasate and Montreal Violin Competitions.</p><p>Mr. Krysa is married to pianist Tatiana Tchekina who has been his partner in most of his recitals and recordings over the years.</p><p><strong><em>"...distinguished musician herself and a pianist of a notable talents..."</em> — Canberra Times</strong></p>
    • Apr 27, 2019
      <p>The pianist Tatiana Tchekina was born in Moscow into a family of singers. She studied at the Kiev and Moscow Conservatories with Vsevolod Topilin and Boris Zemlyansky. Since 1967, Ms. Tchekina has been performing with her husband, the violinist Oleh Krysa, in solo and chamber music recitals in major concert halls throughout the former Soviet Union (including the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory), Europe (including Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw and Semper Oper), the United States (including Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC), Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, Korea and Japan and has received world wide critical acclaim.</p><p>Tatiana Tchekina also appeared at major music festivals in Russia (“Moscow Stars”), Czechoslovakia (“Prague Spring”), Austria (Wiener Fest), Finland (Kuhmo, Korsholm), USA (Oregon Bach Festival, The Lake Winnipesaukee Music Festival, Park City International Chamber Music Festival) and Australia (Townsville).</p><p>She has recorded on the Melodiya, BIS, Triton, Olympia, Amadis, Polskie Nagranie, TNC and Russian Disc labels with violinist Oleh Krysa.</p><p>Ms. Tatiana Tchekina taught Chamber Music at Kiev Conservatory and Accompanying at Gnesin Musical and Pedagogical Institute in Moscow. Currently she is Assistant Professor of Accompanying at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.</p>
    • Apr 27, 2019
      Edwin London, founder of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, has won Columbia's 2001 Ditson Conductor's Award for his commitment to the performance of American works. Composer/conductor London received the award at a performance of the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, which he conducted, at Cleveland State University on November 5. The Ditson Conductor's Award, the oldest honoring conductors for their commitment to American music, was established in 1945 by the Alice M. Ditson Fund at Columbia. Past recipients include Leonard Bernstein, Eugene Ormandy, Michael Tilson Thomas and James DePriest. Described as a "champion of new American music," London has been a major figure in the contemporary music field for more than 40 years, forming two highly acclaimed ensembles: Ineluctable Modality, a new music choral ensemble, in 1968 and the award-winning Cleveland Chamber Symphony in 1980. Born in Philadelphia in 1929, London began his career as a horn player in both symphony orchestra and the Oscar Pettiford jazz band, demonstrating early on his ease in moving between the worlds of "concert hall" and "popular" music. After graduating from Oberlin Conservatory (BM, 1952), London received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa (1961). At Iowa he studied composition with Philip Greeley Clapp. Subsequent teachers have included Luigi Dallapiccola, Darius Milhaud and Gunther Schuller. London was composer-conductor for the Toledo/Antioch Shakespeare and Lyric Theater Festivals (1956-57) and later toured with the Armando Trovajoli Orchestra in Rome as a French horn player and composer. He taught at Smith College (1960-68), the University of Illinois (1973-83) and the University of San Diego (1972-73), before being named chairman of the music department at Cleveland State University in 1978. The Cleveland Chamber Symphony is dedicated to supporting the creative work of "emerging" composers by the presentation of semi-annual concerts and recordings of competitively selected new works chosen from leading colleges, conservatories and universities. Under the leadership and artistic direction of London, the CCS has received recognition over the years for its excellence. ASCAP has awarded the Cleveland Chamber Symphony five John S. Edwards awards, the country's most prestigious honor recognizing an orchestra's commitment to showcasing American music. Other honors include the American Music Center Letter of Distinction and the Laurel Leaf Award from the American Composers Alliance. As a composer, London has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Fromm Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, ASCAP and Meet the Composer. He has received the Cleveland Arts Prize and was named Individual Artist of the Year by the Ohio Arts Council.
    • Apr 27, 2019
      <p>Virko Baley was born in Ukraine in 1938, but has spent his creative life in the United States and considers himself a citizen of the world. Multi-lingual and multi-disciplinary, he infuses his music with themes of contemporary and traditional motifs. Shirley Fleming, reviewing a concert of his music, given by CONTINUUM, in the New York Post called his music "vibrant, dramatic, communicative, much of it framed by extra-musical allusions that place it in a solid context." The New York premiere of Concerto No. 1, quasi una fantasia for violin and orchestra had "sonic images memorable enough to take home" according to Village Voice critic Kyle Gann. The release of his Symphony No. 1: "Sacred Monuments" was commented on in ClassicsToday by David Hurwitz as "Powerfully imagined, clearly articulated, and quite moving… It's a very serious ambitious statement by a gifted artist, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if it turns out to have more staying power than many other contemporary works by today's trendier composers."</p><p>Virko Baley is the recipient of the 1996 Shevchenko Prize for Music, awarded by the Ukrainian government and he was also awarded the State of Nevada Regents' Creative Award for 1996. He was also awarded the Petro Jacyk Distinguished Research Fellowship at the Harvard University Ukrainian Research Institute for the academic year of 2006/2007 to continue work on his opera "Red Earth. Hunger". In 2007, he was awarded a GRAMMY as recording producer for TNC Recordings for Best Instrumental Performance with Orchestra. Most recently, he received in 2008 a Music Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The citation read: "A highly cultured, polyglot intellectual, brilliant pianist and a dynamic and accomplished conductor, the Ukrainian-born Virko Baley composes music which is dramatically expansive of gesture, elegant and refined of detail and profoundly lyrical. It is music which "sings" with passionate urgency whether it embraces (as in his more recent work) folkloric elements from his origins or finds expression in a more universal style of modernism typical of his earlier music. It is always a singular voice and a deeply felt and acutely heard music."</p><p>Virko Baley is currently Distinguished Professor of Music and Composer-in-Residence at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. For additional information on the music of Virko Baley, please go to <a href="http://www.virkobaley.com" target="_blank">www.virkobaley.com</a> and <a href="http://www.tncmusic.net" target="_blank">www.tncmusic.net</a>.</p>
    • Apr 27, 2019
      Igor Ivanovich Blazhkov was born Sept. 23, 1936 in Kiev, Ukraine. He received his diploma summa cum laude from Kiev Conservatory, graduating from the conducting class of Professor Alexander Klimov (1959). He completed his post-graduate studies under the guidance of Evgeny Mravinsky at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, Leningrad (1967). In 1959, Blazhkov won the Conducting Competition of the Republic of Ukraine (Kiev). From 1958 to 1961, Blazhkov was conductor of the State Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine; thereafter he held the position of conductor for the Leningrad Philharmonic (1963-1968). Excerpt from the interview of Gennady Rozhdestvensky to the weekly "Nedelia" ("The Week"), March 23, 1968: “Nedelia“: Who do you consider to be the most promising among the new breed of young conductors? Rozhdestvensky: I see among those recently emerging some quite interesting ones-- Zubin Mehta, Igor Blazhkov, Yuri Temirkanov, Seiji Ozawa, Claudio Abbado. Beginning in 1958, Igor Blazhkov vigorously promoted the music of Igor Stravinsky on many a concert podium of the former Soviet Union while maintaining extensive correspondence with the composer. From 1969 to 1976, Igor Blazhkov served as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Kiev Chamber Orchestra, molding it into one of the most prominent chamber music groups in the USSR. “Igor Blazhkov and the Kiev Chamber Orchestra are a phenomenon of genuine importance for our concert music scene”, Dmitri Shostakovich observed. The composer maintained a close friendship with Blazhkov, who championed many of his works over the years. It was during these years that Blazhkov premiered many works by Valentin Silvestrov and other Ukrainian composers who have now achieved prominence, such as Yevhen Stankovych and Oleh Kyva (see Upcoming TNC Classical Releases and News from Ukraine). In 1977-1988, Blazhkov was affiliated with the concert agency Ukrconcert, and from 1988 to 1994 he was the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the State Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine. At the same time he was leading and mentoring the Perpetuum Mobile Orchestra (1983-2002). Igor Blazhkov conducted the premiere of the ballet, The Twelve, by renowned Leningrad composer Boris Tishchenko, choreographed by Leonid Yakobson, at the Leningrad Kirov Theatre in 1964. In 1970, he revived from obscurity and brought back into the spotlight Boris Lyatoshynsky’s opera, Schchors [The Commander], conducting it at the Taras Shevchenko Opera and Ballet Theatre in Kiev, Ukraine. In 1990, Maestro Blazhkov was honored with the title of People’s Artist of the Ukraine “for outstanding achievements in launching and promoting the works of musical art and for the high professional level of his concert performances”. In 1986, the patriarch of Soviet conductors, Evgheny Mravinsky, wrote about Blazhkov: “Being a musician of rare expertise and exceptional knowledge, Blazhkov truly deserves his reputation as a talented and profiled conductor. His innovative, sensationally original programming is realized with both the immaculate technical precision and artistic inspiration listeners cannot resist. A genuinely hard-working musician, his highly educated tastes and preferences manifest in both the selection of compositions performed and their original interpretations. These qualities are intensified by Blazhkov’s quest for new frontiers and goals that never vanish, and by his extensive practical experience in the realms of concert music, opera and ballet. All said, these are the reasons why he became known as one of the most interesting and conspicuous conductors of his generation.” The list of Blazhkov’s recordings adds up to more than 70 titles. He collaborated with such renowned CD producing companies as Denon, EMI, Olympia, Claudio Records, Wergo, Melodiya, Russian Disk, SoLyd Records, TNC, ESS.A.Y Recordings, Analekta, Angel SR, Eurodisc, HMV ASD, Shinsekai, JVC VIC, Chant du Monde, and Toshiba. A December 1990 “Montreal Gazette“ review of his CD Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique (recorded for Canadian company Analekta with the State Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine) states: “The performance is rock-solid and impressive… the orchestra sounds much more vivid than the Moscow Philharmonic”. The Canadian Association of Sound Recording, Performing Arts and Video Industry awarded the title “Best Classical Album of 1990” to another Analekta disk with Blazhkov and Canadian violinist Angele Dubeau featuring music by Prokofiev. Tchaikovsky, and Kabalevsky. The touring itineraries of Blazhkov include performances in Poland, Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, the United States, and Japan. The Polish newspaper “Sztandar Ludu reported: “Featured at our September Music Festival in the city of Lublin was one of the leading Soviet orchestras – the State Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine…under the artistic direction of Igor Blazhkov…. The Kievans played brilliantly, showing not only carefully polished technical mastery but also genuine emotional involvement. The Russian music fans which filled the concert hall to capacity were completely satisfied, for the concert stood out as a remarkable event of the month”. The Leipzig, Germany newspaper “Union“ observed: “…the State Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine from Kiev under the baton of its Chief Conductor Igor Blazhkov affirmed its reputation as a perfect musical ensemble.… In compositions by Stravinsky and Prokofiev, it demonstrated all at once wonderful precision, togetherness, finesse of sound, robust energy and timbre sophistication. In sum, this evening’s concert shall be remembered as a memorable one”. Since 2002, Igor Blazhkov has made his home in Potsdam, Germany.
    • Apr 27, 2019
      <i>Born in Chicago Heights, Illinois December 5, 1923, Johnny Pate is a self-taught bassist and arranger.</i> He learned these skills while serving in the 218th AGF Army Band during World War II. After his discharge in 1946, Pate played with Coleridge Davis’s big band and from 1947 to 1949 he worked with Red Allen and J. C. Higginbotham. Following those gigs, Johnny worked, in succession, with jazz violinists Stuff Smith and Eddie South. While performing with South, Pate furthered his musical training by studying at Chicago’s Midwestern Conservatory from 1951 to 1953. In ’53-’54 he was with Dorothy Donegan’s Trio and moved from there to the Ahmad Jamal Trio in 1956. During this same time period, Johnny worked for the Club De Lisa as the arranger of its shows’ production numbers which were modeled after the famous Cotton Club reviews in Harlem. The featured male singer in the show was a young man by the name of Joe Williams. Pate often says that he met Joe long before Basie even knew who he was, although he is reasonably certain that it was at the Club De Lisa that Basie first heard Williams sing. Toward the end of the ‘50s, Pate led his own trio that served as the house band at Chicago’s Blue Note. There, he worked with such jazz stalwarts as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Duke Ellington. Pate’s stint as Ellington’s bass player at the Blue Note was the result of Jimmy Woode, the band’s bassist, having taken ill. Johnny ended up subbing for Woode throughout the entire Ellington Blue Note appearance. Unbeknownst to Pate and the Ellington Orchestra, a "bootleg" recording was made and eventually released in 1994 much to Johnny’s surprise. On that recording you can hear Ellington recognize Pate following his solo on Satin Doll. Having recorded as a bassist with his own trio on the Federal, King, Gig, Salem and MGM labels, Johnny wrote the arrangements, played bass and conducted on James Moody’s 1958 Argo album, Last Train from Overbrook. That album was one of his last as a bassist as the demand for his services as an arranger, conductor and producer of jazz albums forced him to make these his main musical pursuits. Among the albums that Pate produced or arranged in the 1960s were Wes Montgomery’s Movin’ Wes on the Verve label and Shirley Horn’s Travelin’ Light on the ABC-Paramount label, the latter of which also featured two of Pate’s songs: Have You Tried to Forget? and Yes, I Know When I’ve Had It. Other Verve albums followed: Stan Getz’s Didn’t We?, Kenny Burrell’s Asphalt Canyon Suite, Phil Woods’ Round Trip, Monty Alexander’s This Is Monty Alexander and Jimmy Smith’s The Other Side of Jimmy Smith. In 1993 Johnny produced a second album for Smith, Sum Serious Blues, on the Milestone label that features the vocal work of Marlena Shaw. Pate also successfully ventured into the rhythm and blues field at the request of record producer Carl Davis who wanted to add a new musical twist to his recordings of "doo-wop" groups. Johnny’s suggestion was to add some brass to the backup arrangements. The first recording was of a tune titled Monkey Time by Major Lance that became a big R&B hit. The composer of the song, Curtis Mayfield, was the leader of the R&B group the Impressions. Mayfield was so taken by Johnny’s arrangements that he asked him to do the arrangements for the next Impressions’ ABC-Paramount recording session. Pate accepted the offer and soon found himself working for ABC-Paramount full-time as a producer. In his own words: "…all of a sudden now, I’m doing rhythm and blues things that I’m picking checks up (for) that look like telephone numbers and I wasn’t getting these kind of checks doing jazz!" Johnny worked with Mayfield on a string of singles hits that included: It’s All Right, Amen, Keep on Pushin’ and People Get Ready. Pate would later arrange, orchestrate and conduct all of Mayfield’s original music for the highly successful movie Superfly. B. B. King signed with ABC-Paramount right around the same time that Pate joined the company, and Johnny soon found himself regularly producing albums for B.B. One of those albums, B. B. King Live at the Regal, is considered one of the greatest live rhythm and blues albums of all time. Johnny’s success in the R&B field was followed by film and television scoring projects in the ‘70s, the best known of which is the music for Shaft in Africa (1975). Pate also did the scores for the Shaft television series (1976) that, unfortunately, was rather short-lived. Other Pate movie scores include: Brother on the Run (1973), Bucktown USA (1976), Dr. Black and Mr. Hyde (1977), Satan’s Triangle (1978) and the original score for Bustin’ Loose (1980). When Johnny finally decided to seek "retirement" in Las Vegas, he quickly found his good friend, Joe Williams, on his doorstep insisting that not only was he not retiring yet, but that he had several projects for which he needed Johnny’s services as both an arranger and conductor. Williams was getting more and more requests to perform with symphony orchestras and Joe was adamant about having Pate as his conductor. From Johnny’s arrival in Las Vegas until Joe’s passing in 1999, Johnny wrote arrangements and conducted for Williams on many occasions. He and his wife Carolyn also accompanied Joe and Jillean Williams to England for the recording of the CD Here’s to Life with Robert Farnon. Included in that album was the ballad that Shirley Horn had recorded in 1965, Have You Tried to Forget? under its new title Someone You’ve Loved. Today, Johnny continues to produce music, but at his own tempo, and shares his great musical expertise with music students at UNLV where he now teaches. He is learning to like the game of golf that he plays faithfully every Wednesday and of greatest importance, he maintains close friendships with the artists with whom he worked through an illustrious career. The reciprocation of the love he has for these artists is evident in the presence of those artists on today’s program. They are here for one reason: they truly love Johnny Pate.
    • Apr 27, 2019
      Hoft is an Associate Professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he teaches solo and collaborative piano. Hoft is currently exploring and performing solo piano repertoire of 20th and 21st century Ukrainian composers, including the Nocturnals of Virko Baley, the piano sonatas of Valentin