Dag Weiser and Leslie Murray

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DAG WEISER and LESLIE MURRAY, Santa Cruz artists, have collaborated on art installations for over 20 years. They have created installations at the MAH: a three-storey hanging mobile, “Bait Ball,” for the Surf Art show in 2010, and for its annual Stars event 2007-2009. Worked on many productions with Moving and Storage Performance Company/Crash, Burn and Die Dance Company creating sets and props. This will be the first in 25 years without the beloved annual Halloween art display in their Eastside front yard.

Dag works almost exclusively in cardboard. He is the creator of several pieces currently on display in front of the Rio Theatre: the large cardboard mural above the ticket booth, and the anamorphic faces in the poster-display windows. He also works in a variety of media including oil painting on canvas, pastel, ink, bronze, and found-object assemblage. His creative work also includes music and sound collage, and he is a graphic designer. Dag received a Gail Rich award in 2009.

Leslie is a designer and graphic artist, oil painter, and photographer. She does commercial photo-retouch work, and teaches in the Digital Media program at Cabrillo College. She has exhibited her oil paintings locally, including at the MAH as part of a modern dance production. Her artwork will be seen this November-December as part of the Cabrillo Arts faculty’s “Without Art” exhibit at the Cabrillo Gallery. Photo Caption: It is a 21 foot long by 8 foot tall cardboard cityscape mural for the lobby of the theatre, as well as a façade for the entrance. (Photo Copyright © 2011 by Dag Weiser and Leslie Murray)

Mike Marshall

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MIKE MARSHALL, mandolin, is one of the world’s most accomplished and versatile acoustic musicians, a master of mandolin, guitar and violin whose playing is as imaginative and adventurous as it is technically thrilling. Able to swing gracefully from jazz to classical to bluegrass to Latin styles, he puts his stamp on everything he plays with an unusually potent blend intellect and emotion ¨ a combination of musical skill and instinct rare in the world of American vernacular instrumentalists.

Now living in Oakland, California, Mike grew up in Central Florida, where throughout his teens he played and taught bluegrass mandolin, fiddle and guitar. In 1979, at the age of 19, he was invited to join the original David Grisman Quintet. Mike has since been at the forefront of the acoustic music scene, playing on hundreds of acoustic-music recordings both as lead artist and ensemble performer. His 1982 Cd, Gator Strut, is a classic example of a new generation of bluegrass virtuoso instrumentalists forging new directions in this vital musical style.

Throughout his career, Mike has performed and recorded with some of the top acoustic string instrumentalists in the world, including jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli, fiddle virtuoso Mark O’Connor, five-string banjo phenom Bela Fleck, bassist and MacArthur Fellowship winner Edgar Meyer, and classical violinist Joshua Bell.

Mike and violinist Darol Anger formed a partnership in 1983, together they formed the band Montreux with pianist Barbara Higbie, bassist Michael Manring, and steel-drum virtuoso Andy Narell. The group released five recordings on the Windham Hill label and toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan from 1984 to 1990.

While continuing to be an active member of Montreux, in 1986 Mike founded a classical string quartet of mandolin family instruments — two mandolins, mandola and mandocello. The Modern Mandolin Quartet released four recordings for Windham Hill Records that redefined the mandolin in a classical-music setting. In 1995, the Quartet made its Carnegie Hall debut and, in 1996, received a “Meet The Composer” grant from the Lila Wallace Foundation.

Meanwhile, Mike had traveled to Brazil and begun his love affair with choro, an indigenous music that is to Brazil what bluegrass is to the U.S. He embarked on an in-depth study of the style that resulted in the CD “Brasil (Duets).” This recording showcases Mike at the top of his form as a mandolinist in duet settings, and features top instrumentalists such as Andy Narell, Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, bassist Michael Manring, and keyboardist and flutist Jovino Santos Neto.

Mike has continued to push the boundaries of acoustic instrumental music. After tapping Fleck and Meyer for the “Brasil (Duets)î roject, he collaborated with the two masters on a 1997 Sony Classical release titled “Uncommon Ritual.” The album charted on the Billboard Top Ten Classical Chart, where it remained for more than three months. The follwing year, the ensemble opened the Chamber Music Series 1998 season at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Mike worked with Meyer yet again on the 1999 “Short Trip Home,” another Sony Classical recording with Joshua Bell and fiddle-and-mandolin player Sam Bush.

Mike has two holiday recordings to his credit: In 1998, he released “Midnight Clear,” a solo guitar recording, and in 2000 he recorded “A Christmas Heritage” with banjo player Alison Brown, Darol Anger, mandolinist Tim O’Brien, Todd Phillips and pianist-composer Phil Aaberg. That band, called New Grange, also released an eponymous CD on Compass Records.

Today Mike can be heard on the Car Talk soundtrack recording every week on NPR along with Earl Scruggs, David Grisman and Tony Rice. In addition Mike composed and recorded the theme music for the San Francisco based radio program Forum heard daily on KQED radio.

Darol Anger remains an important collaborator for Mike. To date, they have released 6 albums as a duo on Compass and Windham Hill Records. Together they have also recorded under the moniker Psychograss with guitarist David Grier, banjo player Tony Trischka and bassist Todd Phillips.

Over the past several years, Mike has also been collaborating Chris Thile, of Nickel Creek. The two mandolinists began playing together at festivals, and their performing together eventually evolved into a duo, recording their first album in 2003. The cd, entitled Into the Cauldron, is a mandolin duet project performed entirely on mandolin and mandocello. Into the Cauldron was released on Sugar Hill records, and was listed in the top ten of Amazon.com’s favorite recordings for 2003.

As he does so engagingly in music, Mike also applies his adventurous aesthetic to his two principal hobbies: wine making and food. Already known as one of the best cooks in the music business, he has been trading guitar lessons for cooking lessons from Michael Peternell a chef at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse. “Cooking is quite a passion for me,î he told Bluegrass Now in a 2003 interview. “When I moved from Florida to join David Grisman’s band here in California, it became very evident that I was too broke to afford the food I’d grown up on! So I’d call Mom: Hey, how do you make those roasted peppers? What’s the deal with the sauce?’ Now I make all my own pastas by hand-ravioli, gnocchi, all that stuff.î

Back in the realm of music, Mike is currently working on further collaborations with Darol Anger, performs intermittently with Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile and has just released a CD project with pianist Jovino Santos Neto entitled Serenata featuring the music of Hermeto Pascoal Brazil’s most important musician/composers living today. The Cd has been released on MikeÏ€s own label called, appropriately, Adventure Music.

For more info, please visit: mikemarshall.net

Ludi Hinrichs

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LUDI HINRICHS, trombone and didgeridoo, has been assimilating sounds since he was two. A diverse musician, he works as a recording artist, educator, choir director, arranger, as well as leading his own jazz groups.

Recent collaborations include the performance duo, “Night Messengers” with Terry Riley, and a music/poetry venture with Beat poet Gary Snyder performed at the prestigious Tokyo Summer Festival, in a read of his classic, “Mountains and Rivers without End.” His quintet has played for numerous Music in the Mountains concerts in the past, premiering new works.

In 2007 Ludi was commissioned to write and perform the music for a one-hour NPR documentary, “Saving the Sierra” which is currently being aired over 158 radio stations.

Hinrichs’ most recent CD, “Kairos Kronos,” features meditations on piano, large gong, didjeridu, trombone and voice, and includes the tabla skills of Joe Fajen.

He works with his wife, Karen, on many projects, and celebrates the beauty and intelligence of nature as the ultimate teacher.

For more info, please visit: ludihinrichs.com

David Grisman

David Grisman, mandolin

DAVID GRISMAN, mandolinist, has been a guiding force in the evolving world of acoustic music for nearly half a century. His musical range is wide and deep – embracing many styles, genres and traditions.

An acoustic pioneer and innovator, David forged a unique personal artistic path, skillfully combining elements of the great American music/art forms – jazz and bluegrass with many international flavors and sensibilities to create his own distinctive idiom – “Dawg” music (the nickname given him by Jerry Garcia.)  In doing so, he’s inspired new generations of acoustic string musicians, while creating his own niche in contemporary music.

Grisman discovered the mandolin as a teenager growing up in New Jersey, where he met and became a disciple of mandolinist/folklorist Ralph Rinzler. Despite warnings from his piano teacher that it wasn’t a “real” instrument, David learned to play the mandolin in the style of Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass music. He took it to Greenwich Village where he studied English at NYU, while immersed in the proliferating folk music scene of the early 1960s.

In 1963 Grisman made his first recordings both as an artist (Even Dozen Jug Band – Elektra) and producer (Red Allen, Frank Wakefield and the Kentuckians – Folkways.) In 1966 Red Allen offered David his first job with an authentic bluegrass band, the Kentuckians. Grisman began composing original tunes and playing with other urban bluegrass contemporaries like Peter Rowan and Jerry Garcia, with whom he would later form Old & in the Way.

David’s interests spread to jazz in 1967, while playing in a folk-rock group, Earth Opera. A failed attempt at learning to play alto sax turned him into a student of jazz musicianship and theory. His burgeoning career as a session musician gave him experience playing many types of music and opportunities to stretch the boundaries of the mandolin. His discography is filled with notables including Jerry Garcia, Stephane Grappelli, the Grateful Dead, John Hartford, Del McCoury, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Earl Scruggs, James Taylor and Doc Watson.

Dawg’s instrumental style found a home in 1974 when he formed the Great American Music Band with fiddler Richard Greene. “Nothing against singers,” said David, “but it became apparent to me that I could play 90 minutes without one. Besides, Elvis never called.” Within a year, David met guitar wizard Tony Rice, who moved to California where they started rehearsing a new group, the David Grisman Quintet (DGQ,) which also included violinist Darol Anger and bassist/mandolinist Todd Phillips. Since then the DGQ has featured such stellar notables as Svend Asmussen, Hal Blaine, Vassar Clements, Stephane Grappelli, Mike Marshall, Andy Statman and Frank Vignola. The current lineup includes bassist Jim Kerwin, flutist Matt Eakle, percussionist George Marsh, guitarist Grant Gordy and fiddler Mike Barnett (DGQ+).

After recording for major and independent labels, David founded Acoustic Disc in 1990 and entered the most prolific period of his career, producing 67 critically acclaimed CDs (five of which were Grammy-nominated.) In 2010 he launched AcousticOasis.com, the first download website devoted to acoustic music.

Recently Grisman has revisited his roots with the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience (DGBX). This very traditional group includes Keith Little on 5-string banjo, guitar and vocals, Jim Nunally on guitar and vocals, Chad Manning on fiddle, Samson Grisman on bass, with David on mandolin and vocals. Dawg also plays blues and old-time music with his old jugband-mate John Sebastian.

David Grisman has always been a revolutionary. He has deeply influenced contemporary acoustic practicioners through his own musical explorations and with the continuing success of Acoustic Disc and Acoustic Oasis, has helped make artist-owned independent labels a viable force in today’s music business.

Denise Gallant

DENISE GALLANT, video, is a national award- winning video artist with 35+ years experience in video creation and editing, live video production, and graphic design for video. Graduated UCLA Film School, Cum Laude, and UCSC in Communication, Denise has worked as a video artist in both the commercial and fine art worlds: editing with NBC and CBS, graphic design with ABC. Awards include an American Film Institute Grant and Billboard Music Award for Best Independent Video.

Luciano Chessa

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LUCIANO CHESSA, as a composer, pianist, and musical saw / Vietnamese dan bau soloists, has been active in Europe, the U.S., and Australia. Luciano Chessa received his Ph.D. in musicology from the University of California at Davis. Previously, at the Conservatory of Bologna, he earned a D.M.A. in piano and a M.A. in composition. His areas of research interest include 20th-century music, experimental music and late 14th-century music, and he has been interviewed at the CBS (KPIX/KBHK) television channel as an expert on Italian hip-hop and by the British BBC as Luigi Russolo’s foremost scholar. His scholarly writings can be found in MIT Press’ Leonardo and Musica e Storia, the Journal of the Levi Foundation, Venice. He is currently working on the first English monograph dedicated to Luigi Russolo, to be published by the University of California Press. Dr. Chessa is also active as a composer and performer. His scores (including a large work for orchestra and double children choir, and a piano and three turntables duo) are published by RAI TRADE, and many are produced with visual artist Terry Berlier. Since 1999 he has been musical program coordinator for the Italian Cultural Institute in San Francisco, where he produces concerts of Italian contemporary music.

Furthermore, Chessa has been performing Futurist sound poetry for well over 10 years. His reading of Italian poetry to accompany a performance of the Grammy Award Nominated New Century Chamber Orchestra in San Francisco’s Herbst Theatre in 2000 was granted with excellent reviews in the San Francisco press.

His research on Italian Futurism, which he has presented and published internationally, has shown for the first time the occult relationship between Luigi Russolo’s intonarumori and Leonardo da Vinci’s musical machines. He is currently working on Luigi Russolo Futurista. Noise, Visual Arts, and the Occult the first monograph dedicated to Russolo and his Art of Noises, to be published by the University of California Press in Spring 2010.

Chessa has taught and lectured at St. John’s College of Oxford, Columbia University, Sydney’s and Melbourne’s Conservatories and Universities, the Conservatory of Music in Bologna, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, Stanford University, EMPAC (RPI), among others. He currently teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and collaborates with SF’s Italian Cultural Institute. His music is published by RAI TRADE, the Italian National Broadcast Channels’ music publishing company.

Neel Kant Agrawal

Neel Kant Agrawal
NEEL KANT AGRAWAL, percussion, is from East Lansing, Michigan and lives in Los Angeles. Neel’s innovative style draws upon folkloric rhythms of the global diaspora in poetically expressing his postmodern identity. Neel channels his spiritual energy through the art and practice of music. An assortment of Neel’s music is located at: http://junkyardgamelan.com/Neel.html