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MusicNOW Festival 2017 Breaking New Boundaries

MusicNOW was founded in 2006 by Cincinnati born Bryce Dessner with the mission to present the best in contemporary music, offer artists an opportunity to take risks and commission new work. Now in its twelfth year, it has become a staple festival in Cincinnati. It only happens here and each year is amazing and unique. 

On Friday, January 13 (8 p.m.) at the Taft Theatre, the CSO will present a rare performance of Andrew Norman’s 21 century masterwork for orchestra, Play, followed by Matthias Pintscher’s idyll for orchestra, a work originally commissioned for the Cleveland Orchestra in 2014. After intermission, acclaimed Irish singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan, accompanied by Aaron Dessner, will perform works from her new recording, which Dessner produced.

The Festival continues at the Taft Theatre on Saturday, January 14 (8 p.m.) as the CSO performs an ambitious program of contemporary music. The evening opens with Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir’s Aeriality, a work for full-scale orchestral forces that “can be said to be on the border of symphonic music and sound art.” Ligeti’s Violin Concerto follows with soloist Pekka Kuusisto, making his CSO debut. Composer Timo Andres will perform his work for piano and orchestra The Blind Banister, which was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize.

The evening concludes as Bryce Dessner performs the U.S. premiere of his chamber concerto for electric guitar, Wires. Guest conductor Matthias Pintscher, known for his work as a conductor and composer for contemporary music ensembles around the world, will lead both performances.

Through the years, MusicNOW has invited contemporary musicians and risk-taking artists who do not fit neatly into genre defined categories, and played host to sold out audiences experiencing contemporary chamber music, world premiere commissions, indie rock performances and visual art installations.  Festival alumni include Chris Thile, Luluc, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Glen Hansard and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Tinariwen, Robin Pecknold, St. Vincent, So Percussion, Nico Muhly, Sufjan Stevens, Toumani Diabate, Perfume Genius, and more.

The 2017 festival schedule:
Thursday, January 12th at The Aronoff
Bob Weir and The Campfire Band

Friday, January 13th at The Taft Theatre
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Lisa Hannigan and Aaron Dessner
Andrew Norman: Play
Mathias Pintscher: Idyl

Saturday, January 14th at The Taft Theatre
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Anna Thorvaldsdottir: Aeriality
Ligeti: Violin Concerto (performed by violinist Pekka Kuusisto and the CSO
Timo Andres: The Blind Banister (performed by Timo Andres and the CSO)
Bryce Dessner: Wires (performed by Bryce Dessner and the CSO)



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Bob Weir & The Campfire Band at MusicNOW 

Bob Weir is a living legend. Having been one of the founding members of the Grateful Dead, he is also known as one of the best rhythm guitar players of all time. Earlier this year, Weir released his first solo album in over ten years. The album, Blue Mountain is a deeply personal collection of...