Garaud MacTaggart, The Buffalo News
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Garaud MacTaggart

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People go to concerts for inspiration, for fun, for intellectual release. Sometimes those reasons show up at the same time in the same venue and then the lucky folks in attendance have reason to celebrate. It was that way at the Buffalo Chamber Music Society’s program Tuesday in Kleinhans’ Mary Seaton Room where the Escher Quartet and Jason Vieaux (the Buffalo raise…

Two deservedly prominent Western New York arts organizations - the BPO and Lehrer Dance – combined for an impressive concert at the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts with a program that combined old and new into a nearly seamless whole. While the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra is used to being a heavyweight on the scene, this event was built around Jon Lehre…

Abridging a global literary classic is a tricky business, especially one so imbued with national pride as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s “Faust,” a tome holding the same exalted cultural position in Germany that “Don Quixote” holds in Spain. That’s part of the reason why Neil Wechsler’s restructuring and adaptation of the legendary (and lengthy, two-part) te…

You can trace the musical “bloodlines” of guitarist Mary Halvorson’s group through an impressive chart of more than a decade’s worth of important, cutting edge jazz outfits. She’s worked with Mark Ribot and Tim Berne but her time spent playing in a couple of Anthony Braxton’s bands may have made the biggest impact on her approach to music. Halvorson’s c…

Think of a sandwich where something that may or may not be in your tasting wheelhouse is surrounded by the “staff of life.” You’ll either appreciate the experience or yearn for something more familiar. Musical “sandwich” programming is an art where favorite pieces provide the entrance to and the exit from works, historically important or not, that invite explo…

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra’s inaugural Pops concert of the season was a pretty solid success. There was nary an unfilled seat in the house and the parking lots – and many of the side streets – were filled with cars. Program music drawn from popular soundtrack scores by John Williams was a safe hit with the audience, and the orchestra – led by BPO Pops cond…

Multi-stage concert programs have the virtue of showcasing a number of acts across a variety of platforms at the same time. This virtue also has a drawback, especially when intriguing performances overlap, causing audiences to make a decision to see one in its entirety or split the time and perhaps miss a specifically good moment; it’s a bit like going for a one-dish mea…

Members of the Hasselback family have made noteworthy contributions to the Western New York jazz scene, a fact that made their appearance at the final concert in this year’s Albright-Knox Summer Jazz Series an intriguing one.Pianist John Hasselback Sr. worked with a number of major league performers (Maynard Ferguson, Cab Calloway, and others) and taught in East Aurora s…

 Sunday, at the Masten Jazz Festival, was a day to honor a couple of folks who played big parts in the local music community: James “Pappy” Martin, the late bassist and a key person in the development of the Masten Jazz Festival, and Elvin Shepherd, the former trumpeter-turned-saxophonist who mentored Grover Washington Jr. and others.Between every set performed there …

Sunday’s concert outside the Albright-Knox Art Gallery took place under a hazy sky and in steamy temps, the kind of weather that made shade a premium. Hundreds of listeners jammed together beneath canopies of well-leafed trees (and/or umbrellas) as intermittent breezes provided varying degrees of relief. The crowd spread to either side of the gallery steps and across the…

Throughout its 31-year period of shepherding by Artistic Director David Felder, June In Buffalo is and always has been, a place and time for like-minded musicians to get together and work on their craft, creating new ways of making music by writing it, playing it and listening to it.It’s a week-long venue for teaching with workshops and lectures offering student performe…

Saturday evening’s BPO performance began with a rousing performance of Emmanuel Chabrier’s “Espana” and closed out with some well-chosen orchestral highlights from Georges Bizet’s “Carmen.”But the bulk of the concert was devoted to the guitar – the finals of the seventh biennial JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition, featuring Anton Baran…

Last year marked the release of a remarkable album by the Minnesota based trio The Bad Plus in combination with saxophonist Joshua Redman. Friday night found them onstage in Rockwell Hall’s Performing Arts Center playing for a nearly full house of enthusiastic folks. On their own, the players had fairly full resumes in a number of different settings but there’s somethi…

Alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa has performed in Western New York before – first with pianist Vijay Iyer and secondly with his own quartet (both in the Art of Jazz series at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery) – but his new quintet showcased their skills in the Drama Theatre at the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts, building on solos created by bebop icon Charl…

The Buffalo Chamber Players are settling into their first season as the ensemble-in-residence at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, offering up their usual mix of interesting programing and varying lineups. On the whole, this is a very good thing, with musicians drawn from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and a pool of other talented local performers. That said, there are t…