Stunning Virtual Collaboration: ‘Bolero Juilliard’

This is really quite special.

Proposed by Juilliard President Damian Woetzel and under the artistic leadership of choreographer (and New Dances veteran) Larry Keigwin, Bolero Juilliard is a virtual collaboration with Juilliard’s community of artists, bringing together dancers, instrumentalists, singers, actors, and alumni during the ongoing pandemic.

In addition to the incredibly talented students taking part in the creative endeavor, don’t miss famous alumni of the school popping up throughout the video including Christine Baranski (drama), Jon Batiste (jazz studies), Renée Fleming (voice), Laura Linney (drama), Patti LuPone (drama), Yo-Yo Ma (music), Bebe Neuwirth (dance), Itzhak Perlman (music), Bradley Whitford (drama) and more.

‘Disney On Broadway’ Charity Streaming Event Cancelled Over Musicians’ Fees

Back in November, Disney celebrated 25 years on Broadway with a charity concert features songs and artists from the many shows produced by the Mouse House on the Great White Way.

The concert event, produced by Disney, served as a charity fundraiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS bringing in over $570,000 to help folks.

Broadway Cares, which has been raising money for a COVID-19 assistance fund, sought to stream performances from the concert this coming Monday with actor Ryan McCartan weaving in interviews between performances.

And then a snag occurred.

From the NY Times:

Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, the unions which represent actors and stage managers, agreed to allow the streaming of the concert without fees, but the American Federation of Musicians, which has been focused on winning greater compensation for streamed content, did not.

“Members of the American Federation of Musicians are suffering from the sudden cancellation of all work as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak,” the union’s international president, Ray Hair, said by email. “During the height of this crisis, Disney Theatrical has come to us asking to stream media content without payment to the musicians involved in the production. Especially now, with zero employment in the entertainment sector, the content producers should care enough about the welfare of those who originally performed the show to see to it that they are fairly compensated when their work is recorded and streamed throughout the world.”

“I understand being told no,” Tom Viola, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement. “When that happens — and it does — I can usually see why or understand the extenuating circumstances. It never feels simply meanspirited. This was different and the result, particularly now, is heartbreaking.”

Broadway Cares shares that, if forced to pay the musicians for an already recorded concert, the organization would have to pay the other unions.

Additionally, Broadway Cares has already given $50,000 this year to musicians’ assistance programs and offered to give another $25,000 to a musicians’ emergency fund, which Viola said would be more than the value of the payment Hair was seeking.

But Hair refused that offer, saying he wanted the 15 musicians, who were paid in November for their efforts then, paid their streaming rights.

You can check out a short montage of performances from the November concert event below.

Josh Weathers Kills With Stripped-Down “I Will Always Love You”

Josh Weathers

Fort Worth musician Josh Weathers’ vocals on this stripped-down version of  “I Will Always Love You” are not to be believed.

According to Weathers, his mother saw Whitney Houston’s hit movie The Bodyguard in the early 90s and immediately bought the soundtrack which lived in her car’s cassette player “until the car didn’t run no more.”

Consequently, Weathers says he knows every note of the soundtrack.

I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, and Weathers is apparently killing it as local musician done good.

Watch the performance below. The comments on the YouTube page are pretty funny, too.

Infectious Venezuelam Youth Orchestra Kills It With “Mambo” From West Side Story

A Facebook friend just reminded me of this clip featuring Maestro Gustavo Dudamel conducting West Side Story’s “Mambo” with the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra Simón Bolívar, the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble, plus Alexis Cárdenas & Ensemble.

There is no way anyone who really knows me could watch this just once. The talent and energy is beyond infectious.

By the way, did I point out these are high school musicians? Over 700,000 kids across the country in Venezuela are in music programs, and almost every village has a youth orchestra.

Las Vegas: Legendary Guitarist & Singer BB King Passes Away At 89

Fifteen times Grammy Award winner BB King has died at age 89 in his home in Las Vegas.

Known as the “King of the Blues,” King’s hits included “Sweet Little Angel,” “Rock Me Baby,” and “My Lucille.” His latest Grammy Award ca,e om 2009 for his album One Kind Favor.

Although suffering ill health in recent years due to diabetes-related illness, King still performed at least 100 concerts a year.

He was an inductee to both the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

With a career stretching back to the 1940s, King’s body of work influenced generations of musicians including U2 and Eric Clapton.


Music Video: 2CELLOS Covers Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us”

Those sexy 2CELLOS guys – Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser – drop their new music video today of They Don’t Care About Us by Michael Jackson.

Echoing sci-fi films as The Hunger Games and Divergent, Luka and Stjepan have created a cinematic video filled with destruction, fire, and striking imagery to convey a powerful message: pointless war leads to devastation.

The video opens with Luka and Stjepan dressed as opposing soldiers who not only represent pawns in a chess game, but pawns in war as well. The pieces symbolize individuals who are helpless against government rule and the influential elite.

Explore their music on iTunes here.

(via press release)