KRAKAUER & TAGG: CONNECTIONS, Sunday, February 9, 2020 at 4pm, Mount Holyoke College, in McCulloch Auditorium in Pratt Music Hall.
The eclectic range of projects that Grammy-nominated, genre-bending, classical, klezmer and world music clarinetist David Krakauer and innovative composer, arranger, pianist and producer Kathleen Tagg have created is unified by a single mission: to foster human connection through music that transcends stylistic and cultural boundaries. Krakauer and Tagg’s Connections represents a highly personal confluence of many streams: the strong foundations of both performers as classical concert musicians, Krakauer’s years as a klezmer innovator, composer, band leader and avant-garde experimentalist, and Tagg’s multi-faceted career creating and performing for the stage and theater, as well as her skills as a producer. In live performance, Krakauer & Tagg’s passionate and highly personal musical language and use of extended techniques create a unique sonic palette. The Connections program is a unique opportunity to see the pair’s unorthodox playing styles unplugged and totally acoustic at close quarters. In addition to their own original material, the music by a global cast of composers – saxophonist John Zorn, Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, accordionist and klezmer specialist Emil Kroitor, as well as jazz
standards and traditional tunes– was contributed in the form of lead sheets, giving the duo full license to bring each piece into their distinctive sound world. Thus the entire undertaking reflects the larger context toward which all of their projects strive: the alchemical transformation of many genres and cultural expressions into one composite, respectful, non-appropriative, musical identity that speaks to an ever-growing cultural community.
In the words of Krakauer & Tagg: “Our sound palette for Connections is a very particular one that has grown out of our lengthy collaboration. We have each brought everything of who we are and what we have worked on over many years into the mix. The music in this program can be seen as very global in its scope, but at the same time it is completely personal to us, given that each composer is a close friend or associate of ours. We used the pieces themselves as points of departure and our arrangements and treatment of each one of them ended up being markedly different from the original. In recasting each composition, we found a way to transform the material in a way that reflected our own personal sound world without literally copying the devices of any particular genre. The sound of each of these pieces therefore represents our own version, transformed from the original in a way that makes sense in our language. We are so grateful to the composers who entrusted us with their pieces and gave us their blessing to do so.”