Edel Muñoz Amazes With Latin American Artistry And Flair

Every second spent hearing Edel Muñoz perform is so mesmerizing, it feels like a moment suspended in time. A captivating, world-class performer, Muñoz played the season-ending concert of the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society’s International Series on April 17th. Premiered on YouTube and available on-demand for 30 days, the enchanting program featured music from across the Americas, including Mexico, Venezuela, and Muñoz’s native Cuba. 

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One Found Sound’s SPRING Blossoms With Partnership and Poetry

Photo Credit: Natalie N Photography

The San Francisco-based chamber orchestra One Found Sound is no stranger to unconventional concert experiences, whether they be in-person or online. “We’ve never had a show where someone new hasn’t shown up and said ‘I didn’t even know something like this existed,’” oboist Jesse Barrett commented during a recent interview. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the group’s eighth season has continued their characteristic creativity and innovation. Their April 22nd concert, SPRING, is all about collaboration — the online watch party will combine pre-recorded and live elements, celebrating the debut of their education program as well as artistic partnerships with Bay Area poets.

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Exploring the Bassoon’s Endless Potential with Dana Jessen

One thing that bassoonist Dana Jessen prides herself on is not feeling satisfied with the limitations of the instrument. A classically trained musician who forged her own path in contemporary music and improvisation, Jessen has enjoyed a wide-ranging career as a performer, teacher, and collaborator throughout North America and Europe. But the road to get there wasn’t always easy.

As a graduate student eager to expand beyond the boundaries of her classical training, she was frustrated to realize there were virtually no bassoonists pursuing a similar approach. At that point, “I truly felt that I had made the biggest mistake by not choosing another instrument, because there was nobody doing all the stuff that I wanted to do on the bassoon,” she said during a recent interview. So, how did Jessen eventually fulfill her artistic vision? She improvised.

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88bit Proves Video Game Music Belongs on the Concert Hall Stage

Image courtesy of 88bitmusic.com

Pianist Rob Kovacs is a musical chameleon. Both a composer and performer, his past projects have included everything from scoring short films and virtual reality games to playing in an indie rock trio. But arguably the most interesting facet of Kovacs’ career is his alter ego, 88bit, a moniker he uses to create arrangements of his favorite video game music. A Cleveland native, Kovacs stayed close to home for his March 7 concert at Case Western Reserve University, which was presented as part of the Silver Hall Concert Series. Live-streamed from the Maltz Performing Arts Center, the performance was a fascinating exploration of all that both Kovacs’ playing and his arrangements have to offer.

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Chung Ha Affirms Her Authentic Self on Querencia

Image courtesy of MNH Entertainment

On stage, K-pop soloist Chung Ha radiates confidence and charisma, but off stage, she’s not afraid to be emotionally vulnerable — both with her fans and with herself. That duality is at the core of her album Querencia, named for a Spanish concept meaning “the source of one’s strength.” Ambitious and genre-defying, Chung Ha’s first full-length project gives her the freedom to explore and experiment in a way that few artists in her industry have.

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The Verona Quartet at Oberlin: A Conversation With Abigail Rojansky

The Verona Quartet (Image credit: Dario Acosta)

As artists, the Verona String Quartet are devoted to the concept of storytelling — hence the name Verona, which pays tribute to playwright William Shakespeare. “Doesn’t matter if you’re a painter, visual artist, dancer, or musician — if you’re conveying a powerful story, that’s what the artist does,” violist Abigail Rojansky said during a recent Zoom interview. Currently, the Quartet are busy preparing for their March 10, 7:30 PM recital at Oberlin College and Conservatory, which will explore that emotional connection between the musicians and the audience.

The 2020 recipients of Chamber Music America’s Cleveland Quartet Award, the Verona are serving as Oberlin’s Quartet-in-Residence for this academic year. Formed at Indiana University in 2013 by violinists Jonathan Ong and Dorothy Ro, cellist Jonathan Dormand, and Rojansky, the group enjoys a robust career of both teaching and performing. Their goal when approaching every concert is “to make a powerful connection with the listener by unlocking these stories in a way only we can as musicians,” Rojansky said.

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Epik High Is Right Here

Image courtesy of OURS Co.

It seems only fitting for an album released during the coronavirus pandemic to include a track called “End of the World.” And yet, the South Korean hip-hop trio Epik High actually started working on it before the pandemic, only for it to become much more relevant than expected. Good thing the group is no stranger to social commentary.

Tablo, fellow rapper Mithra Jin, and DJ Tukutz have quite the talent for making music that is simultaneously timeless and poignantly relevant — and they’ve been doing it for almost twenty years. In their latest full-length project, Epik High Is Here (Part 1), the group channeled the difficult and complicated emotions of the past year into an album that speaks directly from the heart.

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