Music

David Ball (second from left) and his band.
Courtesy of the artist

Country music has made and broken careers for close to a century now.  David Ball of Spartanburg is one of the survivors, enjoying a long career in the field.  In high school he joined the legendary acoustic trio Uncle Walt's Band, playing a blend of bluegrass, blues, swing and folk, "and then that of course led me into Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family," he recalls of his introduction to country. 

Columbia Native's Country Music Dream Lasts a Lifetime

Sep 12, 2019
Bemo Prince, at the mic, with some of his band members.
Courtesy of the artist

Country music finds fans in a variety of ways, most often by either hearing the music on the radio or seeing country artists play live.  That's the way Bemo Prince of Columbia became a country music fan.  "My daddy took me to hear...Snuffy Jenkins and the Hired Hands, and I was hooked."

Country Music

Sep 2, 2019
Dwight Yoakam plays a Martin D-28 guitar. Yoakam is among the 76 of the 101 country music artists interviewed for the series who signed two Martin D-28 guitars.
Courtesy of Jared Ames

Since its first publication in 1968, Bill C. Malone’s Country Music USA has won universal acclaim as the definitive history of American country music. Starting with the music’s folk roots in the rural South, it traces country music from the early days of radio into the twenty-first century. In the 2019,  fiftieth-anniversary edition, Malone, the featured historian in Ken Burns’s 2019 documentary on country music, has revised every chapter to offer new information and fresh insights.

Tom Strange

During a rare moment of down time at the Carolina Music Museum, located in Downtown Greenville, I had a chance to bring my microphones, some music and another pianist to sit down and try out the historic keyboard instruments from their Facing South exhibit that will soon be wrapped up to make room for a brand new collection of such extent to warrant a name change.  Lisa Kiser is the principal keyboardist of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra. She will perform works by Mozart and Liszt on pianos from 1791 and 1863.

How South Carolina Music Producers Make Songs Music to Our Ears

Jul 9, 2019
File picture of a microphone.
vanleuven0 via Pixabay

Many famous musical artists have been heavily influenced by their audio producers, but Joe Miller, a music producer who owns and operates the Sounds Like Joe recording studio in Rock Hill, South Carolina, describes his job in humble terms. “I like to consider my artistic domain, I move air and people hear it,” he said.

Producing music is defined by taking music written by an artist or composer and transforming it into a high quality, professional studio sound. It involves several tough decisions that producers must make when there are several options available. 

Selecting the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra

Jun 7, 2019
Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra members carry their insturments in downtown Charleston
Victoria Hansen

They are sure signs of Spoleto in downtown Charleston; instrument toting musicians and scorching heat.  Among the jostling violin cases, is Shannon Fitzhenry.  She’s back for her second year with the annual Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra, one of 92 musicians chosen to play.

“The goal is to get up in time to warm up before rehearsal,” she laughs.  The Charleston native grew up with Spoleto, but admits she didn't fully appreciate it until she  moved away to study music at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland.

Pianist David Virelles and percussionist Roman Diaz teach a class at the Charleston Jazz Academy
Victoria Hansen

Scribbling notes on a dry erase board just won't do.  So David Virelles plays them instead, on a piano.  The Cuban composer and pianist is teaching a masters class at the Charleston Jazz Academy in North Charleston, as part of the Spoleto arts festival's community outreach program.

In just a couple of hours, he's performing too.

"I hope the students walk away with what it takes to play music," Virelles says.  "It takes a lot of discipline, perseverance and love.  You have to be passionate about it and really spend time to be any good."

Paul Wiancko
paulwiancko.com

Paul Wiancko started playing cello at age five. By age eight, he had composed his first piece of music.

“If you can call it a piece,” Wiancko says. “I think it was maybe a thirty-two measure little tune, mostly in C major, mostly consisting of a couple of triads. And I believe it was called “Breeze.” I had one of my parents’ friends print out the sheet music for it."

But for a long time following that early effort, Wiancko would shift his musical talents elsewhere.

Spoleto Festival USA, 2019 logo
Spoleto Festival USA

Sonatas and Soundscapes Live from Spoleto, Spoleto Backstage, Chamber Music

The Spoleto Festival USA returns to Charleston beginning on May 24th and running to June 9th. South Carolina Public Radio's Sonata and Soundscapes will be there, broadcasting live each weekday. Host Bradley Fuller will bring you the latest happenings at Spoleto, along with guest interviews, previews of upcoming performances and highlights: Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Friday May 31 and June 7, 10 a.m. to noon on our News and Music Stations.

Bradley Fuller / South Carolina Public Radio

“If you’re afraid of getting into Shakespeare, start with the music.”

For Dr. Sarah Williams, associate professor of music history at the University of South Carolina, the sometimes-challenging task of understanding the works of William Shakespeare can be made easier -- and more enjoyable -- through music. A specialist in the popular music and culture of England in Shakespeare’s time, Sarah suggests that common notions about the playwright and his works often miss the mark.

Bradley Fuller / South Carolina Public Radio

For many composers, getting started on a symphony can be a serious challenge. Johannes Brahms famously spent some twenty years completing his first such work.

But for South Carolina composer Meira Warshauer, inspiration was a bit easier in coming. She found it in the world around her.

“I knew that I wanted to write something about the Earth,” Meira says. “Really, since the first Earth Day in 1970, I’ve been an environmentalist.”

Diana Krall was one of the many guests Marian McPartland welcomed to Piano Jazz over its long run.
SCETV

For many years, jazz great Marian McPartland welcomed some of the biggest names in - and out of - jazz to her NPR program, Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz.  March 20, on the 101st anniversary of her  birth, an evening of McPartland's music inaugurated a new music series, Live in the Lobby, offered by Columbia's Koger Center for the Arts.  

Bradley Fuller / South Carolina Public Radio

Traditionally, a night at the symphony has entailed dressing up. For performers and audience members alike, the sight of a sharply-dressed crowd is nearly as much of a given as the sound of orchestral music.   

But the move toward a more casual concert experience is becoming a tradition in its own right, including in the Palmetto State.

After two decades, the South Carolina Philharmonic’s annual “Beethoven & Blue Jeans” concert continues to offer classical music in a casual-clothes setting.

Folk Songs

Dec 7, 2018
A Minute with Miles
SC Public Radio/Mary Noble Ours

For at least six hundred years, composers have been borrowing the melodies of folk songs and incorporating them into their compositions. And there’s a good reason: they’re good melodies; they’re melodies that have stood the test of time—that have never lost their hold on people. 


Wynton Marsalis Jazzes Up the Holidays

Nov 28, 2018
Wynton Marsalis plays holiday songs with the jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
Frank Stewart for Jazz at Lincoln Center

Ask Wynton Marsalis to name his favorite holiday song and he might tell you, “The Christmas Song” by Mel Torme.  Then he’ll likely explain it’s personal.  When Marsalis first moved to New York, he played in a show with Torme.  He was 18 years-old.

“The contractor thought I was only a classical trumpet player,” Marsalis recalled.  “He said this boy can’t play.  I don’t know why he’s playing this gig, and Mel heard me play and said, this boy can play.  Leave him alone.”

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