LIVE: Ethel with Robert Mirabal @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, 2/25/12

April 27th, 2012, 2:30 pm by Greg
Ethel with Robert Mirabal

Ethel with Robert Mirabal

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Ethel is a contemporary string quartet playing in a similar experimental style of their better known contemporaries and peers, the Kronos Quartet.

Native American musician, bandleader, flutist and percussionist Robert Mirabal is better known to the public, largely because of his electrified and triumphant PBS-TV special, “Music from a Painted Cave,” which aired over a decade ago. That live concert of Native American rock and pop presented a younger Mirabal aggressively fronting an outfit full of drumbeats and screaming guitars.

But at his recent concert at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, the multi-talented Grammy-winning Mirabal was going back to his tribal (Pueblo) roots, both compositionally and as a performer. It was definitely going to be an acoustic evening this time out.

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Real Good for Free: Neil Rolnick @ EMPAC, 2/16/10

February 15th, 2010, 11:36 am by Greg

The New York Times named Neil Rolnick‘s latest album, “The Economic Engine,” as one of the best classical CDs of 2009.

Now the composer and director of RPI’s iEAR Studios is gearing up for his next album, and you can find out what it’s all about at 7:30pm on Tuesday at EMPAC @ RPI in Troy, when Rolnick performs “Extended Family.” Admission is free.

In this case, Rolnick’s extended family includes the avant garde string quartet Ethel – featuring Cornelius Dufallo (violin), Ralph Farris (viola), Dorothy Lawson (cello) and Mary Rowell (violin) – and pianist/UAlbany faculty member Bob Gluck, who will also be performing with Rolnick.

And the title “Extended Family” takes on a lot of different meanings. Not only is it the title of Rolnick’s concert at EMPAC, it is also the name of the new string quartet that he has written for Ethel. And it’s the title of his upcoming CD, which is scheduled to be recorded in the EMPAC Concert hall in the days following Tuesday’s concert.

In addition to the title track, both the concert and CD will also feature Bob Gluck performing a revised version of “Faith” (a piece for piano and computer, which Gluck commissioned from Rolnick in ’08) and Rolnick’s performance of a new work for solo laptop “Mono” (which explores the impact of his loss of hearing in one ear).

Following the performance there will be a reception with the composer and musicians.

For more about the performance, read Joseph Dalton’s interview from The Times Union.

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