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Tuning Up: new HCWP writer-in-residence + weekend plans

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


Andrew Dally wants you to be his friend. He joins Hub City Writer's Project as writer-in-residence this fall September to December. Andrew Dally is a poet and programmer from Bethlehem, Penn. He received his MFA from the University of Mississippi, where he served as editor of the Yalobusha Review and a curator for the Trobar Ric reading series. He's done programming and graphic design work for The Washington Post and The Gates Foundation, and his poems can be found in The Boiler, LEVELER, and Blunderbuss Magazine. As a writer-in-residence at Hub City, he'll be working on a book of poems about McDonald's, Bashō, and artificial intelligence titled (get this!) Medium Extra Value – when he's not "going bonkers with gratitude and anticipation." And he wants you to be his friend. Here's to hoping he gets plenty of Sparkle City charm. Welcome, Andrew. Weekend plans?
  • Maybe they should involve Spartanburg Art Museum. Newsweek picked "SAM" as one of the nation's most interesting museums to visit recently. Yes, it was in conjunction with National Museum Day last week, but we're guessing the South's oldest contemporary art museum won't turn you away this weekend. Go here for hours. Free.
  • The Living Earth Show gets Southern Exposure. Bay Area-based guitar and percussion duo The Living Earth Show first came to the attention of the Columbia’s music community when they won the June 2017 SAVVY Chamber Competition, a chamber music competition that evaluates ensembles on both artistic excellence and innovative event design. They return to help Southern Exposure New Music Series opens its season of free concerts this Friday (tomorrow!). Arrive early for this popular series as seats fill to capacity. Sponsored in part by Spark: Carolina’s Music Leadership Laboratory, the outlandishly creative duo is working with music students and faculty in a UofSC residency this week, which culminates with the concert. Friday, 7:30 p.m. at USC School of Music Recital Hall (813 Assembly St. Columbia). Free.

University of South Carolina School of Music mounts its largest musical event in 2018

Leonard Bernstein’s MASS brings profound messages of peace and unity The University of South Carolina School of Music marks the centenary of American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein’s birth in 2018 with his monumental MASS, a theatre piece for singers, players and dancers. The production was composed at the request of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for the opening of the John F. Kennedy Center in 1971. Bernstein’s MASS is one of the most profound stage works ever created in English and an iconic piece of Americana. The epic stage production includes two orchestras, a rock band, a blues band, several choirs, singers, dancers and actors, and features as the Celebrant acclaimed Seattle tenor Kevin Vortmann, who recently performed the role to critical praise with the Philadelphia Orchestra. MASS, sung in English, Latin and Hebrew, was Bernstein's most ambitious theater work. Themes of faith, doubt and tolerance, and the work’s powerful message of hope, renewal and unity through peace and understanding, is explored through journeys both spiritual and secular. After the premiere’s final note in 1971, the audience sat in silence for three minutes, then stood and applauded for thirty. The USC School of Music mounts this spectacular work for three performances on March 2, 3 and 4, 2018, at the Koger Center for the Arts. Tickets go on sale this summer and will be included in the 2017-2018 season subscriptions of Opera at USC and the USC Symphony Orchestra. Single tickets and group tickets will also be available. The son of Russian-Jewish parents, a social liberal, and lifelong activist, Bernstein made a surprising choice of text when approached by Mrs. Kennedy to write the work: the Roman Catholic Mass. But instead of a straightforward, purely musical setting of the Latin liturgy, he created a broadly eclectic theatrical event by placing the ancient religious rite into a tense, dramatic dialog with music and lyrics of the 20th-century vernacular to explore the crisis in faith and the cultural breakdown of the post-Kennedy era. While employing some of the elements of a traditional Catholic Mass, the piece also draws upon the composer’s Broadway experience as well as other religious and popular genres. “I’ve always had a deep interest in Catholicism in all its aspects; its similarities and dissimilarities to Judaism,” wrote Bernstein. He used the mass as the structure to express his beliefs and questions about society and our world and is considered the composer’s life statement. Bernstein enlisted the 23-year-old composer-lyricist Stephen Schwartz to work with him on the text. Schwartz had recently proven his ability to transform religious stories into contemporary theater with Godspell, his hit musical based on the Gospel of St. Matthew. Once again, Bernstein reached beyond his own world of classical music for a collaborator to help him create a large-scale musical theater piece, as he had with West Side Story. Bernstein and Schwartz mixed sacred and secular texts using the traditional Latin liturgical sequence as the fundamental structure and inserted recurring themes in vernacular English that question and challenge, and meditations that demand time for reflection. They took the Tridentine Mass, a highly-ritualized Catholic rite meant to be recited verbatim, and applied to it a very Jewish practice of debating and arguing with God. The result was a piece that powerfully communicated the confusion and cultural malaise of the early 1970s, questioning authority and advocating for peace. The eclecticism of MASS's music reflects the multifaceted nature of Bernstein's career, with blues, rock, gospel, folk, Broadway and jazz idioms appearing side by side with 12-tone serialism, symphonic marches, solemn hymns, Middle Eastern dances, orchestral meditations, and lush chorales, all united in a single dramatic event with recurring musical motifs. During his work on MASS, Bernstein consulted with Father Dan Berrigan, a Catholic priest and anti-war activist who had been on the FBI's "10 Most-Wanted" list before being apprehended and imprisoned. In the summer of 1971, as MASS approached its premiere, the FBI warned the White House that the piece's Latin text might contain coded anti-war messages and that Bernstein was mounting a plot "to embarrass the United States government." President Nixon was strongly advised not to attend and was conspicuously absent at the premiere. Responses to the premiere of MASS covered the spectrum. The Roman Catholic Church did not approve—some cities cancelled performances under pressure from their local Catholic churches—while other prominent clergy declared their support for the piece. Certain music critics disapproved of the mixing of genres, while others found the work to be inspired. For the most part, the audiences were deeply moved, experiencing firsthand the shared, communal journey of the composition. Over the years, the ideas and dissent embodied in MASS that were so threatening to the political and religious establishments in the volatile early-1970s, have become a more accepted part of spiritual and political discourse. MASS came full circle when, in 2000, Pope John Paul II requested a performance at the Vatican. Its radical mixing of musical styles, too, has also become less shocking and more accepted in the musical sphere. Time has revealed MASS to be a visionary piece that continues to be relevant and move audiences as it enjoys performances around the world. Key University of South Carolina faculty members are Ellen Douglas Schlaefer, stage director; Scott Weiss, conductor; Alicia Walker is chorus director/master; and Neil Casey, assistant conductor. By arrangement with Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., Sole Agent for Leonard Bernstein Music Publishing Company LLC, publisher and copyright owner.

Conductors Institute of South Carolina targeted to aspiring and experienced conductors

Application deadline extended to May 20 The Conductors Institute of South Carolina, in its 31st year, is on the must-do list for both aspiring and experienced conductors. Students of the summer institute come to the University of South Carolina from around the U.S. and abroad to receive instruction from eminent conductors and composers with vast experience in the commercial, academic and professional worlds of music. The annual institute, directed by Dr. Donald Portnoy, takes place from June 5 through 18, 2016, at the Koger Center for the Arts on the University of South Carolina campus. Participants can opt for the 10-day Discovery Program, designed for conductors with limited conducting experience who want to improve their conducting skills, or the 15-day Institute for Fellows and Associates, designed for conductors with moderate to advanced conducting skills. Participants have an exceptional opportunity to work directly with composers whose works have been commissioned and performed by many of the major American and European orchestras and international ensembles. Among this summer’s distinguished guest faculty are Maurice Peress, former assistant conductor to the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein; and Paul Vermel, the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Koussevitsky Memorial Award for the outstanding conductor at Tanglewood. Also on the faculty are esteemed conductors and composers including Victoria Bond (composer/conductor), Samuel Jones (composer), Avner Dorman (composer), Peter Jaffe (conductor) Diane Wittry (conductor) and Neil Casey (conductor). Students of the institute have individual daily podium time conducting professional musicians and focus on enhancing skills to achieve a greater command of their orchestral forces. Veteran conductors share their knowledge of the competitive field of conducting and offer constructive feedback. An evening lecture series delivers sessions in score study and other topics necessary in today’s job market. Find complete details and registration information online. Observe conductor training The community can get a first-hand view of the skills and complexities of effective conducting. Monday through Saturday during the Institute, the public is invited to observe conductor training from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 – 4:30 p.m. in the Koger Center for the Arts. Via: University of South Carolina School of Music

The SAVVY Musician in Action announces tuition scholarships

Fifty full tuition scholarships will be awarded for 2016 workshop; priority round deadline is Jan. 26.

The SAVVY Musician in Action, hosted by the University of South Carolina, is the world’s leading experiential entrepreneurship workshop empowering artists to maximize income and impact. Since 2013, SAVVY has attracted 180 participants from 30 states and five countries, representing music/arts students, faculty, working professionals, educators and administrators. Understanding that short-term financial concerns are sometimes a barrier to individuals who could benefit most from SAVVY, workshop organizers have introduced a new initiative to offer 50 full tuition scholarships in 2016, awarded on a competitive basis.

SAVVY attendees pitch arts-based business ideas, vote on favorites, form teams, develop business, financial, and marketing skills, and design a venture from the ground up, competing for awards. Throughout the process, participants develop invaluable, transferable success skills applicable to a wide range of arts careers and environments. Coached by world-class faculty, participants work collaboratively in an environment that fosters community, big ideas and getting things done. SAVVY can prove pivotal for participants hoping to boost a career, earn more money, expand reach, or transform an organization.

The scholarship application requires participants to answer two questions, prepare a one-minute video, and pay a one-time $25 application fee.

The top 50 applicants will be awarded a full tuition scholarship ($725 value) to attend the 2016 SAVVY Musician in Action workshop, June 7-12. Applicants have two opportunities to submit: Priority round deadline is Jan. 26 and second-round deadline is March 1. Applicants are asked to submit only once; double submissions will be eliminated from the competition.

Scholarship application details can be found online. All accepted participants are responsible for a $250 meal/supply fee, housing and transportation.

For more information visit sc.edu/music/savvy or email mastermind@mozart.sc.edu.

Via: USC School of Music

Savvy Musician in ACTION announces finalists of national Chamber Music Competition

Some of the country’s most innovative chamber music ensembles will be in Columbia competing for major prizes during USC’s innovative arts entrepreneurship workshop, The Savvy Musician in ACTION (SMIA). The Chamber Music Competition, sponsored by the University of South Carolina in collaboration with Chamber Music America, is the country’s only major chamber music competition in which the judging criteria includes both artistic excellence and innovative event design. The Chamber Music Showcase concert takes place June 4 during Columbia’s First Thursdays on Main event at Tapp’s Art Center from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. The four finalists will compete for prizes including professional management, a NYC showcase concert, and a paid residency at the University of South Carolina. The showcase concert is free to attend. The competition’s four finalists, selected from a large field of applicants, will each play a 25-minute set during the showcase concert. In addition to reimagining the concert experience, the program highlights each group’s stellar musicianship and creative programming. The finalists: Cre.Art Project - Cre.Art Project is a chamber ensemble that works through multidisciplinary interaction gathering musicians, visual artists, dancers, actors, writers, designers and acrobats from all over the world to create unique performances. Founded in 2006 by Guillermo Laporta and Tagore González , Cre.Art Project has produced shows at leading venues and festivals across Europe and America with a wide range of productions like the musical London the Show, the multimedia music series Visuality and the opera Noctum. Peter Ferry and Xuan - Peter Ferry, percussion soloist, and Xuan, video artist, redefine the modern duo by transcending the limits of traditional performance and collaboration. Through original interdisciplinary projects involving live video and musical performance, they explore new artistic territory through percussion’s lush sonorities and rhythmic vitality, and film’s intricately constructed animations and beautifully layered imagery, all of which left critics at the Rochester Fringe Festival calling the show “Breathtaking... all that such festivals are supposed to be: funny, boundary-pushing, thought-provoking.” (Democrat and Chronicle) Chicago Q - Named as one of the “leaders of the new school” by Symphony Magazine, Chicago Q Ensemble is a trio of equal creative partners who develop intimate, seamless performance works grounded in contemporary and classical chamber music. Their aesthetic approach is deliberately raw and stripped-down, leaving space for audiences to connect with the performance in a deeply personal way. The ensemble rejects the traditional image of the performer as mere interpreter, striving instead to emphasize individuality, vulnerability and risk-taking. District5 - Specializing in contemporary works and original transcriptions, District5 creates immersive and dramatic shows that depart from the standard concert format. By combining innovation with musical integrity, their imaginative interpretations seek to heighten the audience’s emotional connection to the music. With the U.S. premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s ROTARY Woodwind Quintet already to their credit, this emerging wind quintet continues to produce one-of-a-kind performances.

Southeastern Conference honors USC pianist with Faculty Achievement Award

MarinaLomazovThe Southeastern Conference has named University of South Carolina pianist and professor of music Marina Lomazov a winner of a 2015 Faculty Achievement Award. The annual awards honor one faculty member from each SEC university who has excelled in teaching, research and scholarship. “I am very humbled to be recognized along with wonderful colleagues throughout the SEC,” said Lomazov, an internationally acclaimed concert pianist and the Ira McKissick Koger Professor of Fine Arts in the School of Music. “USC has been an ideal place to grow as a teacher and scholar, and it is a privilege to be able to develop my career in an environment with such outstanding students, faculty and staff.” Each award winner will represent their university for the 2015 SEC Professor of the Year Award and will receive a $5,000 honorarium from the athletic conference. The SEC Professor of the Year, to be named later this month, receives an additional $15,000 honorarium and will be recognized at the SEC Awards Dinner in May and the SEC Symposium in September. “Professor Lomazov has long been recognized as a shining star at Carolina. Her performances draw large, adoring audiences everywhere she goes, said university president Harris Pastides. “It’s very satisfying to know that our world class athletic conference has recognized a world class pianist from USC.” Critics have said Lomazov is “a diva of the piano” (The Salt Lake City Tribune), and “a mesmerizing risk-taker” (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland). She has been recognized as one of the most passionate and charismatic performers on the concert scene today, earning prizes in the Cleveland International Piano Competition, William Kapell International Piano Competition and Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition. Lomazov has performed throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Most recently she’s performed extensively in China. She has been featured on National Public Radio’s “Performance Today,” Bravo television network and WNYC’s “Young Artist Showcase. Lomazov is the founder and artistic director of the Southeastern Piano Festival, which each summer transforms the University of South Carolina into a major cultural destination that draws audiences and young pianists from across the United States.

University of South Carolina’s Spark program seeks assistant

Spark Laboratory, at the University of South Carolina School of Music, is accepting applications for an assistant to the director. The assistant will be involved in all aspects of the Music Leadership Laboratory, and job duties may include event design and management, marketing, grant writing, donor cultivation, website and social media content creation, and guest artist coordination. The assistant will serve on the core creative team, report to the director of Spark and work closely with the director of Music Entrepreneurship. This position requires a high level of relationship building, organizational planning, flexibility, and the ability to solve problems. The candidate should have technological aptitudes, a talent for managing multiple time-sensitive projects, the ability to maintain a professional demeanor and a sense of humor within a fast-paced, innovative environment. Spark oversees a number of vibrant initiatives that contribute to an entrepreneurial culture throughout the University of South Carolina School of Music and region. These include the nation's first music entrepreneurship minor, an array of extracurricular programs, an experiential arts entrepreneurship workshop, a chamber competition centered on artistic excellence and innovative event design, a developing summer program that impacts underserved high school students through innovative arts education, and an engagement wing that organizes performances in community venues. Beyond transforming the USC community, Spark is regularly featured at national profile events (such as the 2016 Chamber Music America pre-conference day) and aims to serve as a model for 21st Century music schools. A Bachelor's degree and outstanding written and oral communication skills are required. Desirable qualifications include a Bachelor's or Master's degree with a concentration in music, arts administration, marketing, communications, or a related field; at least two years of fundraising/arts organization experience; and a passion for positively impacting society through the arts. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Start date is July 1, 2015. Applicants must apply at https://uscjobs.sc.edu, attaching a letter of application specifying qualifications for this position; a CV/resume; and contact information for three references. For more information, call (803) 777-4336 or email lgibson@mozart.sc.edu.

Conductors Institute offers lessons from renowned maestros and composers

The public is invited to observe podium sessions. The esteemed Conductors Institute of South Carolina, in its 30th year, is on the must-do list for both aspiring and experienced conductors. Students of the summer institute come to the University of South Carolina from around the U.S. and several countries to receive instruction from eminent conductors and composers with vast experience in the commercial, academic and professional worlds of music. The public is invited to view first-hand the skills and complexities of conducting by observing podium sessions taking place June 9 – 21, 2014, at the Koger Center for the Arts in Columbia, S.C. Students of the institute have individual daily podium time conducting professional musicians and focus on enhancing skills to achieve a greater command of their orchestral forces. Veteran conductors share their knowledge of the competitive field of conducting and offer constructive feedback. An evening lecture series delivers sessions in score study and other topics necessary in today’s job market. According to the institute’s director Donald Portnoy, the University of South Carolina welcomes the largest class yet in 2014, and participants will benefit from the faculty’s more than 300 years of combined experience this summer. Among this summer’s distinguished guest faculty are Maurice Peress, former assistant conductor to the New York Philharmonic under Leonard Bernstein; Jorge Mester, former music director of the Aspen Music Festival and the Louisville Orchestra; and Paul Vermel, the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Koussevitsky Memorial Award for the outstanding conductor at Tanglewood. Participants also have an exceptional opportunity to work directly with composers. Among the institute’s composers this year is Roberto Sierra, whose works have been commissioned and performed by many of the major American and European orchestras and international ensembles. Observe conductor training Monday through Saturday during the Institute, the public is invited to observe conductor training from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and 2 – 4:30 p.m. Schedule June 9–12, string orchestra June 13–17, chamber orchestra June 18–21, symphony orchestra Learn more about the Conductors Institute of South Carolina. Via: USC School of Music

Southeastern Piano Festival brings Leon Fleisher to South Carolina’s capital city

Legendary pianist, a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, is the special guest for 2014. Leon FleisherThe 2014 Southeastern Piano Festival kicks off June 15 for a week of concerts, master classes and lectures at the University of South Carolina. This year the festival is honored to present the legendary pianist Leon Fleisher who will present the Marian Stanley Tucker Guest Lecture and give several master classes during the annual weeklong festival. A recipient of numerous honors and awards, Fleisher received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors in 2007 for his contribution to the culture of the United States and the world. Fleisher represents the highest standard of musicianship, and at age 85 he continues to impart his life-affirming artistry throughout the world, thriving in a sustained career as conductor and soloist, recitalist, chamber music artist, and master class mentor. He began playing piano at the age of 4 and gave his first public recital at age 8. At age 9 he became the youngest-ever student of Artur Schnabel, continuing a pedagogical lineage that traces back to Beethoven. Fleisher made his formal public debut at age 16 with the New York Philharmonic under the baton of Pierre Monteux, who famously recognized him as “the pianistic find of the century.” He became the first American to win the prestigious Queen Elisabeth competition in Brussels in 1952, placing him among the world's premier classical pianists. At the height of his success in 1965, Fleisher was struck with a neurological condition rendering two fingers on his right hand immobile. Rather than end his career, he focused on repertoire for the left hand only and established a new path as soloist, conductor and teacher. Not until 40 years later was he able to return to playing with both hands after undergoing experimental treatments. The extraordinary renaissance of Fleisher’s career has been documented extensively, particularly around the 2004 release of his critically acclaimed album “Two Hands,” which went on to hold a top 5 Billboard Chart position. Fleisher was the subject of the 2006 Oscar- and Emmy-nominated documentary film “Two Hands,” and his recent memoir, “My Nine Lives: A Memoir of Many Careers in Music,” which he co-wrote with Washington Post music critic Anne Midgette, is published by Doubleday. In July 2013, Sony Classical released a 23-CD box set spanning the pianist's recording for Columbia/Epic and Sony Classical from 1954-2009. Leon Fleisher events are free and open to the public and take place at the USC School of Music Recital Hall (813 Assembly St.):

  • Tuesday, June 17, 4:30 p.m. Distinguished Artist Master Class Features participants of the Southeastern Piano Festival
  • Wednesday, June 18, 4:30 p.m. Distinguished Artist Master Class Featuring participants of the Southeastern Piano Festival
  • Thursday, June 19, 10 a.m. Distinguished Artist Master Class Featuring students studying with members of the SC Music Teachers Association.
  • Thursday, June 19, 4:30 p.m. Marian Stanley Tucker Guest Lecture “Piano Conversations” with Leon Fleisher
The only piano-focused festival in the region, the Southeastern Piano Festival (June 15–22, 2014) offers nightly concerts by outstanding faculty and guest artists along with lectures and a piano competition. The festival offers a rare opportunity to view the music-making process with all classes and the competition free and open to the public. View the complete schedule of events and concerts. Marina Lomazov, festival founder and artistic director, and festival program director Joseph Rackers, have performed around the world and each have won prizes in international piano competitions. They are International Steinway Artists. The Symphony League of the South Carolina Philharmonic sponsors the Arthur Fraser International Piano Competition. Sponsors of the 2014 Southeastern Piano Festival are Steinway & Sons, Rice Music House, Symphony League, South Carolina Philharmonic, University of South Carolina School of Music and Free Times. Via: Southeastern Piano Festival

Musicians: learn to generate more income and impact at Spark’s workshop

Winners of the Chamber Ensemble Competition will kick off the workshop with performances at Tapp’s Art Center on June 5. (Pictured above, first-place winners The Fourth Wall Ensemble.) The Savvy MusicianSpark: Carolina’s Music Leadership Laboratory holds its second annual summer workshop June 5 – 8 on the University of South Carolina campus. The Savvy Musician in ACTION is an intensive, experiential four-day event designed to help musicians generate more income and impact. Participants pitch arts-based business ideas, vote on favorites, form teams, design a business from the ground up, and compete for awards. The workshop is designed for:

  • Professional musicians in search of solutions that further advance their professional and financial level of success while expanding impact.
  • College music students from all disciplines, both undergraduate and graduate, who want to develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills that lead to greater professional success.
  • College music faculty and administrators interested in experiential education and/or the pedagogy of music entrepreneurship and leadership. Please note this is not just geared to teachers of career classes or music business. Lessons explored are relevant and applicable to all faculty and administrators interested in creating a greater culture of entrepreneurship throughout their institution.
  • Full chamber ensembles
The workshop kicks off with a concert featuring winners from Spark's Chamber Ensemble Competition.  In addition to music excellence, the winners expand beyond the musical-only concert format with the use of unexpected innovations like multi-media, choreography, audience engagement, theatrical elements, or unusual performance practices. The competition, hosted by the University of South Carolina School of Music, was open nationwide. Winners were chosen through a competitive juried process and evaluated on artistic excellence and innovative event design. Learn more about Spark’s Summer Workshop and register to attend online. The Chamber Ensemble Competition winners: First place winner: The Fourth Wall Ensemble Based in Indiana and founded in 2010, The Fourth Wall explores a new hybrid of the performing arts in which musicians are also dancers and actors. Stretching the boundaries of instrumental performance, the ensemble commissions new interdisciplinary works and reinterprets established repertoire to make music that literally leaps from the stage. A flutist dancer, a trombonist choreographer, and a percussionist narrator took the first-place prize and were awarded the opening night performance, full tuition scholarships to the workshop, a cash stipend and professional development coaching with Dr. David Cutler. Runner-Up: Warp Trio On piano, cello and violin, Warp Trio push the boundaries of music through inter-disciplinary collaborations and eclectic programming that includes electrifying original material, dynamic interpretations of popular music, improvisation and unique takes on classical repertoire. For this performance, they are joined by a drummer and dancer. Runner-Up: Ensemble39 Ensemble39’s unique mix of strings and winds embraces many musical styles from the classical oboe to the jazz bass, the klezmer clarinet to the old time fiddle. The group, featuring graduates of Curtis, changes the conventional concert paradigm, exploring new venues, seeking diverse collaborators, loosening the presentation protocol and pursuing mixtape-style programming. Honorable Mention: Duo Anova Based in New York City, the cello and guitar duo opens up listeners’ minds to a new dimension of textures and sounds unique to cello and guitar. Honorable Mention: invoke Believing that the string quartet remains one of the most maneuverable ensembles, Maryland-based invoke, aims to reinvent the string quartet as a relevant 21st-century medium. Via: Spark