Live Nation, in partnership with Cisco and TBD Labs, conducted a first-of-its-kind experiment that measured the brain waves of fans attending a St. Vincent concert. The concertgoers were geared up with EEG wearable headbands that measured brain activity, as well as skin sensors to measure galvanic skin response and sweat. Within moments of the show’s start, the listeners experienced an average 53% increase in emotional intensity (measured through galvanic skin response) and 90% of attendees experienced increased attention and engagement. Their moods improved five times over what they felt before the show. Another benefit was a boost in the “bonding hormone” oxytocin released when they took part in synchronized movements (fist pumping, hand waving, etc.).
The New York Philharmonic’s annual Lunar New Year Concert and Gala, led by Long Wu, featured Local 802 (New York City) violin soloist Elizabeth Zeltser, Local 802 percussion soloist David Cossin, and championship ping-pong players Ariel Hsing and Michael Landers. A performance of Andy Akiho’s concerto Ricochet, brought a ping pong table to the stage at David Geffen Hall for the first time. The piece required the ping pong players to hit the ball back and forth with unusual objects, and play in precise rhythm with the orchestra.
A portion of the event’s proceeds will fund Philharmonic Schools activities at P.S. 120, attended by many Asian American and Asian immigrant children. New York Philharmonic musicians are members of Local 802.
Widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians and performers of the past five decades, David Bowie released 27 studio albums from 1967 until January 2016, two days before he died. This retrospective follows his career from the folkie baroque rock of his debut to his soul phase, massive pop success in the 1980s, to electronica in the 1990s. The book features stunning photography—on stage and back stage images, gig posters, concert stubs, and more.
Bowie: The Illustrated Story, by Pat Gilbert, Voyageur Press,
The Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) co-sponsors hundreds of free live events annually that enrich communities across North America with the talents of inspiring professional musicians. Here we shine the light on one of our outstanding partners: Symphonic Jazz Orchestra (SJO).
SJO is a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles and dedicated to symphonic jazz—the blending of the American language of jazz with European orchestral traditions. Its mission is to commission and perform new symphonic jazz works, and inspire and educate through its Music in the Schools residencies.
May 7, the SJO celebrates its 15th anniversary with a concert at Long Beach Carpenter Performing Arts Center as part of their Arts for Life concert series. The event will feature two world premieres—Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) member Alan Chan’s “Denali World” and Local 47 member Gordon Goodwin’s “Fantasia,” featuring saxophone soloist Eric Marienthal, also a member of Local 47.
Founded in 2002 by Music Director Mitch Glickman, the 67-member hybrid jazz/classical ensemble comprises Local 47 musicians and is a fusion of a symphony orchestra and a big band. The SJO has commissioned 10 new works and performed 25 world premieres at Southern California concerts. The orchestra has been joined by some of the world’s leading jazz soloists including George Duke, and Local 47 members Dave Grusin, Lee Ritenour, Ernie Watts, and The Yellowjackets. Composer and keyboardist Duke also served as the orchestra’s co-music director from 2004 to his passing in 2013.
In 2015, the SJO released its debut recording featuring two of its commissioned works, along with the piece that began the symphonic jazz genre, Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” The CD includes Ritenour’s “Symphonic Captain’s Journey” featuring guitarist Ritenour along with pianist Dave Grusin as soloists. Pianist and Local 47 member Bill Cunliffe is featured in “Rhapsody in Blue,” supported by drummer Peter Erskine of Local 47.
To honor George Duke, the SJO, along with support from the ASCAP Foundation created the George Duke Commissioning Competition in 2015. The national competition selects a composer to create a new symphonic jazz work for the orchestra to be performed in concert.
From its first concert in 2002, the SJO has presented free concerts in such venues as the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, Royce Hall in Los Angeles, Walt Disney Theater at CalArts, and the Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood. Throughout the SJO’s history, the MPTF has been a vital supporter of these concerts that serve students, families, and community members. For most of the audiences, these concerts marked their first jazz or orchestral experience.
In 2008, the SJO piloted a Music in the Schools residency in four classrooms. Today, the program is in 172 classrooms across 12 schools and four school districts in Los Angeles County, serving almost 4,000 students every week. The yearlong residencies for kindergarten through 5th grade students includes “Bach to Bebop,” where students compose and perform their own blues songs, “Families of the Orchestra” workshops, “Music of the World,” and “Playing the Bells.”
One lucky Australian teen got to share the stage with the Boss at a Brisbane, Australia, concert. During the concert, Nathan Testa’s sign: “Missed school, in the s—, now can I play ‘Growin’ Up’ with you?” caught the singer’s eye. Bruce Springsteen, a member of Locals 399 (Asbury Park, NJ) and 47 (Los Angeles, CA), asked Testa if he knew the guitar part and invited him up on stage.
Springsteen even took a moment to give the aspiring musician some advice: “When I was your age, I bought my first guitar, and I realized, it wasn’t how well you played it, but how good you looked doing it. So go in front of the mirror trying out different poses.”
The Grateful Dead’s Fare Thee Well retirement tour broke records both in concert attendance at live events and pay per view sales, possibly making it the most successful event in music history. The “full” reunion shows, billed as the last to feature Local 6 (San Francisco, CA) members Mickey Hart, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, and Bill Kreutzmann together, were held June 27-28 at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, California, and July 3-5 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.
The West Coast shows grossed $21.5 million from attendance of 151,650 fans, while Chicago concerts brought in $30.7 million from 210,283 attendees, for a grand total of $52.2 million. The pay per view broadcast of Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead was the biggest such event of all time, with more than 400,000 subscriptions and online streams so far. It is still available for streaming and to cable viewers until August 2.