Theremin 100, Dorit Chrysler and the Ambient Church: Podcast 311

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In this episode we chat with Dorit Chrysler director of of the  NY Theramin Society, who have a major event coming up at the Ambient Church.   

Dorit Chrysler has been dubbed a superior wizard of the theremin. An Austrian-born, New York based composer and performer, Chrysler is the co-founder of the NY Theremin Society and has started the first international school for Theremin, KidCoolThereminSchool and L’Ecole Theremine with branches in NY and Paris. As much as the Theremin is a tool in Chrysler’s electronic instrument arsenal, she is also one of the most visible Thereminists spreading the gospel of this mysterious sounding instrument. Most recently she finished her analog soundtrack for a remake of “M” by Fritz Lang and was featured on the soundtrack of the HBO documentary “Going Clear”. Chrysler received her master’s degree of musicology in Vienna and has notably collaborated with Anders Trentemøller, Cluster, Adult., CERN, Carsten Nicolai, Elliot Sharp and Laurie Spiegel. She has performed with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, had her work commissioned by MoMA and the Venice Biennale, and is the founder of “Dame Electric,” a festival dedicated to female pioneers in Analog Music. As the director of the NY Theremin Society, Chrysler is promoting the application of theremin in different art disciplines and is produced the THEREMIN100 compilation release, commemorating the 100th birthday of the Theremin in 2020. 

For Ambient Church, Chrysler will perform original work along with the US premiere of “A Paraphrase.” Composed by electronic music pioneer Laurie Spiegel, for Dorit Chrysler, “A Paraphrase” was inspired by a young Clara Rockmore and her professional relationship with Léon Theremin.  Lana Anikin Suran will accompany on piano. 

Eric Thompson #310

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Eric Thompson took up the guitar as a teenager in Palo Alto, California in the early 1960’s, at a time when very few folk guitarists were playing more than basic rhythm guitar. Among his earliest bands were the Black Mountain Boys (with Jerry Garcia and David Nelson) and Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions. He quickly became nationally known as an exceptional lead flatpicker, winning the World Championship Cup at Union Grove, North Carolina with the New York Ramblers (which also included David Grisman and Winnie Winston) and flying to Nashville, Tennessee to record “Beatle Country” with the Charles River Valley Boys (reissued on Rounder).

During the 1970’s, Eric continued to play old-time music. He also took up the tenor banjo, organized the Graineog Celidh Band around two master musicians from County Clare, Joe Cooley and Kevin Keegan, and spent six months in the west of Ireland, visiting and learning from older traditional musicians there.

Eric will be playing a private concert with Andy Statman on Sunday December 15th at 2pm in Brooklyn (Near Prospect Park)  Email for info and reservations.

Micheal Leonhardt #309

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Michael Leonhart Orchestra (MLO) is a genre-crossing 15-piece ensemble that has been putting on electrifying shows for the last 2 years. The Orchestra performs both Leonhart’s original compositions as well as his arrangements of Wutang, Fela, Ellington, Zappa and Bernard Herrmann. MLO features players from bands such as Sharon Jones & the Dap-kings, the Mingus Big Band, Maria Schneider’s Orchestra, the Tonight Show Band (Roots) and other soloists from the NY/Brooklyn jazz/soul/studio scene.

The MLO residence at at the Jazz Standard has a very special show coming up this Tuesday, December 10th… a live recording which will be broadcast on New Years Eve on NPR/WBGO.   Tickets and Info are here 

Grammy winning Michael Leonhart is sought throughout the music and entertainment world as a trumpeter, composer, producer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He has collaborated with artists as diverse as James Brown & Wutang Clan to Meryl Streep & Isaac Mizrahi.

As a trumpeter, Michael performed on Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’  record breaking smash hit “Uptown Funk,” which won the 2016 Record of the year Grammy. He has performed with rock legends Steely Dan since 1996, recording two albums with them, including 2000’s 4x Grammy winning Album of the Year “Two Against Nature.”

Michael has composed music for stage and screen, including writing a song for and directing Meryl Streep on the Decca soundtrack album “Songs of Lahore.” Leonhart recently composed music for the score to Rockstar Games upcoming “Red Dead Redemption 2.”

Michael’s eighth solo album, the genre-crossing “Painted Lady Suite,” by the Michael Leonhart Orchestra (MLO), will be released June 15th on Sunnyside Records. The orchestra performs both Leonhart’s original compositions as well as his arrangements of Wu Tang, Ellington and more, featuring players from bands such as Sharon Jones & the Dap-kings, the Mingus Big Band and The Roots.