Monthly Archive: December 2008


Posted on Saturday, December 6, 2008

My good friends Michael and Cory from the Groanbox Boys are proof that letting your hair down and great musicianship are not mutually exclusive. (Michael's schedule, for example, flits insanely between a tour of the English pub scene, and taking the stage with Yo-Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony; he's just off to Argentina to record for Francis Ford Coppola's latest film.) Safe to say, a Groanbox gig is usually both one of the most musically inspiring, as well as one of the more riotous events in my social calender... so imagine my delight when the Metropolis Ensemble's Andrew Cyr agreed it might be a great idea to create a heady cocktail by mixing the GBBs' talents with those of the fabulous classical players in his group. That's what's on the program for the Metropolis concert this Jan 28th, at Le Poisson Rouge in downtown New York.

For those of you who haven't yet come across the Metropolis Ensemble, this is a group that is clearly doing something right. Esa-Pekka Salonen surprised everyone by turning up for their last performance, and gave them one of the best press quotes you could hope for. John Corigliano called them the "future of classical music"; to continue that prestigious tradition, we're all hoping John Adams - whose Gnarly Buttons is on the program - may show up, as he's known to be in town for a Julliard performance of Klinghoffer, and has already been in touch with Andrew about the concert.

The new piece I'm writing for this concert, named simply 'Groanbox' will mix the GBBs' folk trio of accordion, banjo and 'home-made percussion' with the classically trained players from the Metropolis Ensemble, and although I still have a terrifyingly large amount of work to do on the piece, it's already emerging as one of the most ...i don't know what, just the MOST... suffice to say it looks like it may continue where Piosenki left off, the 'jamboree' approach to classical music.

The rest of the concert will include a new piece by Michael, celebrating the instrument we both love (video of him talking more about that below), John Adams's Gnarly Buttons (with Cory playing the banjo part), and rapping up with the Groanbox Boys themselves performing selections from their brilliant new album Gran Bwa. I guarantee you one thing, it will be a night to remember.

>> Complete details of the concert here
>> Buy tickets here

Related video, mainly about the lagerphone, below:

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