Shelea: Pretty World

Jazz Weekly

Quincy Jones’ latest discovery is sweet toned vocalist Shelea (Frazier), who brings modern soul sounds to the fore on this sensuous album. She gives a tribute to the songbook of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, twisting it with a romantic R&B feel, with a rich supply of guests. Her delicate and intimate delivery teams with Stevie Wonder’s harmonica on the title track, with Kirk Whalum’s soprano slither on the lovely “Moonlight.” Synthesized strings make for rich luminous atmospheres for material like “What Are You Doing the Rest Of Your Life” and wide -eyed “Will Someone Ever Look At Me That Way.”  ... »

China launches major piano competition — with $150K prize

China International Music Competition
Chicago Tribune

On May 4, the First China International Music Competition will begin in Beijing, presented by the China Conservatory of Music and featuring what is believed to be an unprecedented first prize of $150,000 plus professional career management for three years (second and third prizes are $75,000 and $30,000).

No less than the Philadelphia Orchestra – one of the world’s most revered ensembles – will play the competition’s last round, when the finalists perform concertos, with music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin conducting.

What’s more, two of the most admired figures in classical music competitions are in charge: Yoheved Kaplinsky, chair of the piano department at the Juilliard School in New York, is the competition’s artistic director and jury chair; Richard Rodzinski, who has run the Van Cliburn and Tchaikovsky competitions, is general director.

Not that either one was particularly excited about the prospect – at first.

A year and a half ago, when the China Conservatory’s president asked Kaplinsky if she would like to come onboard, “I replied that there are enough piano competitions … I really wasn’t interested,” recalls Kaplinsky, who’s based in New York but also teaches at the China Conservatory. ... »

Art of Élan Presents Brooklyn Rider at The Conrad’s JAI Hall in La Jolla

Brooklyn Rider
San Diego Story

Although the loyal audience of Art of Élan knows it can typically find this trendsetting musical performance organization at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park, it is also true that Art of Élan does get around.

Exactly one year ago, Art of Élan presented the Chicago-based Kontras Quartet with guest soloist Branford Marsalis at the Music Box in San Diego’s Little Italy. Tuesday, April 16, Art of Élan presented the New York City-based Brooklyn Rider with guest soloist Kinan Azmeh at The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center’s JAI in downtown La Jolla. ... »