The earnestly eclectic and prolific songwriter Ari Hest returns to The Barns at Wolf Trap for the second time. With an intricate and melodic style of pop/rock music and complementarily poignant and smoky vocals, Hest has found his niche in a genre overpopulated with the status quo. He has maintained a constant tour schedule, averaging nearly 150 shows a year for the better part of a decade. Another testament to his dedication was the ambitious 52 Project. After walking away from his record contract with Columbia, Hest released an original song every week of 2008 before releasing the album 12 Mondays composed of the top 12 songs picked by his fans. He is touring in support of his latest studio effort, 2012's The Fire Plays. Examiner.com called the album Hest's strongest work to date, "...in listening to the 11 new tracks, you hear an artist at the height of his powers, playing the music he wants to, yet doing it in a style that's accessible to whoever hears it."
BeauSoleil brings their distinct yet ever-evolving sound back to The Barns at Wolf Trap in continued support of their latest release, 2009's Alligator Purse. On this album, the band's recognizable Cajun and Zydeco blend creates as a musical melting-pot as diverse as the region from which it hails. As The Boston Globe stated, "The remarkable thing about Cajun revivalists BeauSoleil is that...they are still inviting us to ask what's new. BeauSoleil isn't neo-anything. This ensemble finds freshness, not by infusing vintage styles with contemporary sonics, but with vibrant, thoughtful fusions."
Formed by band leader and fiddle-player extraordinaire Michael Doucet in the mid '70s, BeauSoleil has made it their unique mission to share, preserve, and experiment with Cajun music. Over the course of their 30-plus year career, the band has received an impressive 11 GRAMMY nominations, has been named OffBeat Magazine's Best Cajun Artist a staggering 15 times, and has an astounding 29 releases to their name. They have been one of the most frequent guests on the NPR show A Prairie Home Companion and were part of the Super Bowl XXX Halftime Show.
Modern champions of classical music JACK Quartet team up with renowned clarinetist and composer Derek Bermel for a Wolf Trap debut performance, featuring the world premiere of a chamber composition commissioned by Wolf Trap.
JACK Quartet is an electrifying new incarnation of the classical string quartet. As the Washington Post described, "The string quartet may be a 250-year-old contraption, but young, brilliant groups like the JACK Quartet are keeping it thrillingly vital." The group is comprised of violinists Ari Streisfeld and Christopher Otto, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Kevin McFarland, who all met while attending the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. Since then, the group has received wide acclaim for performances at renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall and London's Wigmore Hall. In addition to the performance of Bermel's new composition, the group's repertoire for the evening includes a Ligeti String Quartet and Brahms's Clarinet Quintet.
Derek Bermel is a GRAMMY-nominated composer and clarinetist hailed for his creativity and virtuosity. His works are influenced by his experiences with a wide variety of musical cultures and genres, including classical, jazz, pop, rock, blues, folk, and gospel. His compositions have been commissioned by The Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and the American Composers Orchestra, among many others. Voices is the title of the 2009 album of his orchestral works on BMOP/Sound, which was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2010.
Tomorrow Sound, the current musical expression of Paul Cebar's eclectic mind, makes their comeback to The Barns at Wolf Trap after nearly three years. Formerly known as Paul Cebar and the Milwaukeeans, the Wisconsin quintet has spread their wings with this current venture. Still touring in support of the group's 2007 release, the first under the new moniker, Tomorrow Sound Now For Yes Music People, the band is known for their experimental and inclusive sound. Having evolved from their earlier days and a more contemporary pop-based sound, audiences today are treated to a mixed repertoire of Latin, African, Reggae, and Zydeco influenced jams. According to Cebar, this growth of style and sound was the catalyst for the name change. "I thought we might want to shake the wagon and rustle the bushes to somehow assert that we've got something new, vital, and powerfully funky to bring to you: Tomorrow Sound." The current lineup includes former R&B cadet Bob Jennings (sax, keyboards), Mike Fredrickson (bass), Reggie Bordeaux (drums), McKinley "Mac" Perkins (percussion), and of course, Paul Cebar (acoustic guitar, vocals).