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The Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts Blog Schimmel Center seeks to enrich and engage our audiences by bringing world-class talent to Lower Manhattan. Our programming features internationally-acclaimed talent in the areas of music, dance, film, cabaret and lecture.

01 February 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Making Music with the Bacon Brothers: An interview with Paul Guzzone

This Saturday, February 6th, The Bacon Brothers (Kevin and Michael) will take to the Schimmel Center to play their unique fusion of blues, rock and soul. Today, we talk to Paul Guzzone who is the bass player for the band as well as a professor here at Pace University.

 

MT: Can you describe your musical upbringing to me? What led to your love of music?
PG: Well believe it or not I can trace my fascination with music all the way back to when I was a child. I suppose I was 5 or 6 and watching Casper The Friendly Ghost. There was an episode about Shubert’s “Unfinished Symphony.” Casper runs into the ghost Franz Shubert at a museum of musical instruments. He’s trying to finish his symphony and Casper somehow helps him. I remember that his music just gave me chills. What was that?! Later when I was a little bit older my parents got a stereo and bought a copy of the score to Gone With The Wind and I had a similar experience I didn’t understand it at the time but the harmony, melody and orchestrations were affecting my nervous system even though I did not have an understanding of the music. Amazing, right? The first chance I got to play an instrument I jumped on it. I took violin lessons for three years starting when I was 8. Then I heard the Beatles and switched to guitar.

MT:You are an instrumentalist, songwriter, music producer, music educator and recording artist? Which hat do you enjoy wearing the most?
PG: People always ask me that and it’s a tough one, because they all have their delights and their headaches. But if I had to pick one it would be performing my songs live to an audience.

MT: You’ve played everything from folk music to “hook-laden pop-rock” to “bluesy jazz-inflected funk.” How does one become such a well-rounded musician?
PG: Part of that has to do with when I came of age as a musician in the late 60’s and early 70’s when the music I heard in NYC on the radio and live was just so diverse. In the mid-sixties before the development of FM radio the top 40 charts had everything from Broadway show tunes to James Brown, Louis Armstrong to Peter, Paul and Mary and the entire British Invasion! Then came FM and the classic rock era when eclecticism was celebrated. My first record deal was when I was in a NYC band called Revival. Our sound was a mix of folk-rock and country. Then, when I landed a job at a music production “house” (as they were called) in the late 1980’s we were expected to dig into all kinds of music.

MT: What would be your advice to a young musician who wants to work in the music industry one day?
PG: First off the music business has become a media business. More about that in a second… If you want to actually play music then of course you must train to do so. You don’t necessarily need to go to a conservatory but that would really give you a serious boost out of the gate. But at the very least learn music theory and be able to get around on the piano even if that is not your main instrument. Once you’ve attained a certain amount of performance skill then start playing with other musicians. That’s when the real learning starts. Be a diverse musician. Specialize in one instrument but know how to play other instruments in the same category. If you play guitar make sure you have an acoustic and an electric, learn the mandolin, the ukulele and the banjo. If you play sax then learn the other reeds. That makes you valuable. By all means know how to use music software on your computer: Ableton, ProTools, Steinberg for composition and recording and Sibelius or Finale for notation. There are many but these are all industry standards.

Back to the music business as media business thing… nearly all recorded music is experienced in the context of the greater media business. Record Companies see themselves as media companies so every musician must be savvy that way. Producing music is very cool but to market yourself you need to understand how to maximize the use of media like YouTube, iTunes, Spotify and the rest. There’s really so much more to answering this question. Way more than we have time for here. But there is one thing I can’t emphasize enough. By all means love what you do but be prepared to work. Nobody will make you a success except you. Period.

MT:How were you introduced to the Bacon Brothers? How did the band come about?
PG:Michael Bacon was the opening act for the legendary folk-rock Tom Rush and I was in his band singing and playing bass. Unbeknownst to me at the time he took notice. He liked my style and how I played. Years later we connected when he moved to NYC from Nashville. When he and Kevin decided to play out I got a call from him saying they were forming a band and I was the bass player.

MT: What word best describes a concert with the Bacon Brothers? What can our audience expect walking in?

PG: One word? Joy. I would have said “fun” but that seems too trite. People always come up to us after a show and tell us how much fun it was but there’s this delight in their eyes that tells me we hit them a little deeper.

What should people expect? I used the word eclectic earlier and that’s a good word to describe what we do. Our first CD/Album was called FoRoSoCo, which stands for “folk-rock-soul-country.” Kevin holds down the rock and soul part and Michael is a folk singer at heart who spent many years writing and recording in Nashville. Everyone in the band contributes to the mix with an array of instruments: cello, accordion, piano, percussion, Hammond organ, sax, bass ukulele and lots of singing. Soundmen HATE us! In our last tour we performed live to one of our music videos! And just to totally blow your mind… Michael who is an accomplished “legit” composer with many film scores to his credit will be debuting a bit of his Suite for Cello and Orchestra. The entire suite will be performed on March 18 with the Kickerbocker Chamber Orchestra at Schimmel but Michael will have a string quartet and computer on stage the night of our show and will perform a 5-6 minute version.

MT:Do you have a favorite song that you play with the Bacon Brothers?
PG:For most of us the newest song is always the most fun. But having said that, it changes from tour to tour. Only A Good Woman, 36 Cents, Paris, Baby Steps, Grace have all been on my list at times but at the moment it’s Live With A Lie which is a song from our first CD that we brought back last summer and rearranged as an encore.

 

 

THE BACON BROTHERS; Saturday, February 6 at 7:30p; Ticket Prices $65 | $49 | $39 ; Schimmel Center at Pace University; 3 Spruce St, New York, NY 10038; (212) 346-1715; Tickets at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/949266

20 January 2016 ~ 0 Comments

A weekend of Song and Dance

The Schimmel Center swings back into full gear this weekend with the arrival of two fresh performances sure to satisfy audiences of both modern dance and classic voice. On Friday and Saturday, January 22-23, we welcome back the critically acclaimed Taylor 2 Dance company. The group comprised of six dancers, all well versed in choreographer Paul Taylor’s distinctive style, will bring to life three of Taylor’s classic pieces of repertoire. Be ready to be dazzled by performances of “Cascade,” “Ruin,” and “Company B.”

Taylor 2 performs "Company B"

Taylor 2 performs “Company B”

On Sunday, January 24, the Schimmel continues its work of showcasing rising opera stars in an intimate recital setting. Come and hear the glorious soprano, Leah Crocetto. Crocetto recently made her Metropolitan Opera debut as the slave girl, Liù in Franco Ziffirelli’s acclaimed production of Rossini’s Turandot. The impressive soprano represented the US at the the 2011 Cardiff BBC singer of the World Competition where she was a finalist in the Song Competition. She is a 2010 Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and was the First Place Winner, People’s Choice and the Spanish Prize Winner of the 2009 José Iturbi International Music Competition, and winner of the Bel Canto Foundation competition. A former Adler fellow at San Francisco Opera, Ms. Crocetto has appeared frequently with the company, most recently in the role of Mimì in La bohème. She will perform the title role in Aida in the company’s production next year. Ms. Crocetto will be accompanied by renowned pianist, Martin Katz.

The afternoon’s repertoire will include:

RICHARD STRAUSS

“Zuieignung”

“Die Nacht”

“Morgen”

“Cacelie”

 

HENRI DUPARC

“L’intvitation aus voyage”

“Chanson Triste”

“Extase”

“Soupir”

 

LIZST- PETRARCHS

  1. “Pace non Trovo”
  2. “Benedetto sia’l giornio”
  3. “I vidi in terra”

 

MAOMETTO ROSSINI

“Si Ferite…madre a te”

 

SAMUEL BARBER

“Sleep Now”

“Sure on This Shining Night”

“Nocturne”

 

CARLISLE FLOYD

“Ain’t it a Pretty Night”

 

COLE PORTER

“So in Love”

“In the Still of the Night”

“Every Time we Say Goodbye”

Enjoy the video of Leah Crocetto’s performance at the Cardiff BBC Singer of the World competition after the jump.

 

TAYLOR 2 ” Cascade,” “Ruins,” and “Company B.”; Friday and Saturday, January 22-23 at 7:30p; All Tickets $29 ; Schimmel Center at Pace University; 3 Spruce St, New York, NY 10038; (212) 346-1715; Tickets at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/949238

VOCE: Rising Opera Stars in Recital featuring Leah Crocetto (Soprano) and Martin Katz (Pianist.); Sunday, January 24 at 3:00p; All Tickets $39 ; Schimmel Center at Pace University; 3 Spruce St, New York, NY 10038;(212) 346-1715; Tickets at https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/949239

29 October 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Juggling is reinvented by Greg Kennedy in “THEOREM!”

Greg Kennedy is a renowned, gold medal winning juggler who is reinventing the medium through his love of geometry and physics. Please don’t run away at the mention of math and science, Greg’s unique circus wizardry is anything but dry and boring. After touring with the renowned Cirque du Soleil, Mr. Kennedy is wowing audiences with his new show Theorem. Luckily for Schimmel audiences, Theorem catapults onto our stage this weekend.  Be sure to watch the trailer below which is filled with striking, powerful spectacle created from everyday objects. Featuring live music, aerial acrobatics and large, dynamic, geometric structures, this show is not to be missed by the thrill seekers in your family. Catch the entire show on Friday evening or catch the one hour children’s show on Saturday afternoon. Halloween costumes are encouraged on Saturday so bring the entire family.

 

Greg Kennedy’s THEOREM; Friday, October 30th at 7:30p; Tickets $55 | $39 | $29 ; Schimmel Center at Pace University; 3 Spruce St, New York, NY 10038;(212) 346-1715

Greg Kennedy’s THEOREM – Family Fun Edition; Saturday, October 31st at 3pm; Adults $20, Students and Children $10 ; Schimmel Center at Pace University; 3 Spruce St, New York, NY 10038;(212) 346-1715; Costumes Encouraged!

16 October 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Making Serendipitous Music with the “Sons of Serendip”

The Sons of Serendip (SOS) is a musical group of four friends, who through a series of serendipitous events, came together in graduate school at Boston University. Micah Christian, a teacher from Randolph, MA, is the lead vocalist of the group; Cordaro Rodriguez, an attorney from Charlotte, NC, is the pianist and guitarist; Kendall Ramseur, a performer and cello instructor from Charlotte, NC, is the cellist and vocalist; and Mason Morton, who is a teacher from Atlanta, GA, is the harpist for the quartet. They have each been playing their instruments since childhood, but recently, they came together to begin what they hope will be a long beautiful journey of creating music that touches people’s hearts. The Group were featured finalists on the 9th season of the NBC reality competition show, America’s Got Talent.

Take a look at the videos below to see this group’s musical journey then be sure to book seats for their concert on the Schimmel stage this Sunday, October 18th.

 

Sons of Serendip; Sunday, October 18th at 7:30pm; All Seats $39; Schimmel Center at Pace University; 3 Spruce St, New York, NY 10038;(212) 346-1715; http://schimmelcenter.org/events/sons-of-serendip

15 October 2015 ~ 0 Comments

West Coast Swing Meets Tango in SWANGO!

Ten years ago choreographers Mariella Franganillo and Robert Royston gave birth to a new form of dance: “Swango”. Franganillo,from the world of Argentine tango and Royston, from the arena of west coast swing joined with fabled Tony Award winning book writer Rupert Holmes (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) to produce a new “Romeo and Juliet ” story that would fuze the two dance forms together in a way that had never been seen before. Now the Schimmel Center is very proud to be producing the revival of the off-Broadway hit that first enchanted audiences a decade ago. Whether you are coming for the timeless romantic story, the sensuality of the Argentine tango or the lively thrill of west coast swing, there is something for everyone in this refreshing theatrical production that continues to push boundaries in the world of ball room dance. Watch the stunning trailer below and be sure to book your tickets!

 

SWANGO ;  Thursday- Saturday, October 15th – 17th at 7:30pm; Tickets $65 | $49 | $39; Schimmel Center at Pace University; 3 Spruce St, New York, NY 10038;(212) 346-1715; https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/949235