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Book an Appointment Today! Music Projects of The Brothers Grimm: Lessons. Workshops. Music Meditation. Live Performance. Studio Albums. Theater/Dance Scores. Show Booking.

4/15 | “Seasons of Change” Wellness Retreat @ Blue Mounds Dharma Center

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If you need to shake off the last clings of Winter and transition into Spring; join us for a day long wellness retreat this Sunday, 4/15 at the Blue Mounds Dharma Center.  From 10:30am-5:00pm we will practice yoga, contemplate dharma talks, explore movement meditation, learn healing touch and listen to ancient string vibrations.

See the poster above for more details.

$80

Only 5 spots are left!
RSVP by contacting Shannel:
ymassageyoga@gmail.com


4/11 | Thollem’s Hot Pursuit Of Happiness w/ Glassmen, Space Tugboat and Stray Passage @ The Frequency

Wed, 4/11 | @ The Frequency

121 W Main St, Madison, WI 53703

Doors 7pm // Show 7:30pm

18+ ID Required
$8 (+$3 minor surcharge @ door)

Thollem
Glassmen
Space Tugboat
Brennan Connors & Stray Passage

//////////////////////////////thollem-at-luggage-store-cropped_3THOLLEM (On Tour)
With a synthesizer and a microphone, Thollem’s Hot Pursuit Of Happiness forges elements of Punk Rock, Blue and Psychedelia, among many other influences. Including new songs and solo arrangements of Tsigoti songs, with “fluid keys pulverization” (Brad Cohan, Spin Magazine), Thollem’s work is ”political debauchery and a forward vocal delivery … that comes a-swingin’ right out of the gate” (Chocolate Grinder, Tiny Mix Tapes)

Over the last decade, Thollem’s toured non-stop internationally, recording with over a hundred different musicians from a wide variety of genres resulting in more than 60 albums on 22 different vanguard labels. As a vocalist, Thollem’s been releasing albums the last 10 years with his Italian agit-punk band Tsigoti (5th album soon), Hand To Man Band (Mike Watt, John Dieterich, Tim Barnes) and Andy Kaufman plus his initial solo album ‘Machine in The Ghost’. He’s planning on releasing the first HPOH album later this year.

Thollem has performed and recorded with members of Deerhoof, The Minutemen, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Half Japanese, Wilco, Unwound, Old Time Relijun, Cibo Matto, Jealousy Party, Stars Like Fleas, Tenderizor and more. 

www.thollem.com/hot-pursuit-of-happiness

Personal Note: Thollem McDonas is one of my favorite perma-tour Experimental artists.  He has been very influential to my free improvisation explorations in the last decade.  I’m thrilled to share a bill with him once again!  Also, I can’t wait to see Angela, I always learn so much from her.  It’s been a couple of years, they are beautiful people and there’s much to catch up on.  Thollem has collaborated with GrimmusiK Records in the past on both the Colias experimental/ambient compilation, live free-improv collaborations at Dobra Tea, and with a marvelous performance at our Audio For the Arts series (can’t seem to hunt down the live recording for that, unfortunately).  Thollem has an overwhelming discography, check out his extensive releases here.  < So much wonderful music to explore in his collaboration filled catalog.

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Brennan Connors & Stray Passage (Madison, WI) is a jazz trio that embraces free and structured improvisation, original compositions, groove based material, and sound exploration. The breadth of a performance ranges from fiery high energy music to focused minimalism, all while maintaining a sense of narrative organization and compelling ensemble interplay.  “Emergence” CD (setola di miale) available at the show!

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Glassmen (Madison, WI) is experimental indie rock with guitar, organ pedals, drums, and vibrato. The sound, sometimes jarring, is fragile, sharp, and reflective — like glass.

Sarah Jennings Evans started Glassmen in 2012 after being diagnosed with a rare joint condition that left her unable to use her arms.  She created music with voice, organ pedals, and loops of old recordings.  Guitar came back as her arms recovered.  Meanwhile, multi-instrumentalist Vivian Lin (TUO TUO) kept busy playing in other people’s side projects (The Party Drug, The Divine Hammers), but was looking for a musical home.  She joined Glassmen in 2015 to add drums and vocals.

Personal Note:  I’ve been meaning to get on a bill with Glassmen for a couple of years now and it’s finally going down!  ^ Check out this live version of Needle, love the sound.  Excited to hear their live set!

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Space Tugboat (Madison, WI) is dark catchy punk rock, with a twist of demented humor of reality. 

Personal Note:  Big thanks to Dan from Space Tugboat for hooking up the show and taking care of booking.  Dan has supported Stray Passage for years and given us opportunities to play.  Now we finally get to share a bill together!!


 

3/10 | Brian Grimm live at Colectivo (Monroe St.) for Second Saturdays

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Second Saturdays – Live Music @ Colectivo Monroe St.

Live music from 6-8pm. Free!

Featuring members of the Madison Classical Guitar Society & Monroe St. Arts CenterJoin on Facebook

Come enjoy live music, great coffee, and craft beer on the second Saturday of every month at Colectivo’s Monroe St. cafe in Madison!Second Saturdays @ Colectivo Monroe St.

Sat 3/10 | Brian Grimm will perform on guqin (an ancient Chinese zither) and acoustic violoncello, which he teaches next door at Monroe Street Arts Center.  For more about Brian Grimm’s live set, visit Brian Grimm Classical/World EPK.


1/18 | “I Resolve” fundraiser for Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS)

I RESOLVE 2018

The Legal Association for Women is hosting its annual “I Resolve” fundraiser for the Domestic Abuse Intervention Services’ (DAIS) Legal Services Program on Thursday, January 18th, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. The event will be held at the Boardman & Clark Law Firm in their lovely atrium overlooking the State Capitol and will feature live music, hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and a silent auction. To RSVP, please e-mail Lynn Lodahl at llodahl@hq-law.com. We hope you can join us for this fun event!

*Brian Grimm will be providing live solo cello for this event!


 

CALL FOR SCORES LunART Festival celebrating women composers (June 28th-30th Madison, WI)

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June 28-30th, 2018  Madison, WI

Celebrating women composers

Call For Scores (Deadline March 1st, 2018)

Serbian flutist Iva Ugrčić is organizing this year’s LunART Festival for women composers – taking place in Madison, WI from June 28-30th, 2018!  This three-day festival features a remarkable range of women, diverse and varied in their artistic visions, but with the shared passion and desire to make their voices heard!

The vision for LunART festival is to empower women in the arts by fostering originality, honoring diversity, and strengthening equality – and to put Madison on the world map as mecca for women artists.

Festival Events include four classical concerts presenting the work of women composers, a musicological lecture about women in the arts, as well as “Starry Night” after hours performances featuring local women jazz and hip hop artists, and singer-songwriters. Visual art, photography, and spoken word will be woven into all Festival events, and we are thrilled to include the Madison Youth Choir in our Closing Gala Concert.

Our 2018 Composer in Residence is award-winning composer Jenni Brandon, whose instrumental and vocal music will be showcased in our Gala concerts, including two world premieres! She will coach the LunART Festival “From Page to Stage: Emerging Composers Workshop,” offering master classes, lectures, and discussions about collaboration and tools necessary for a successful freelance career in the arts. Additionally, we have created an annual Call for Scores, open to women composers from around the globe.


Call for Scores poster

CALL FOR SCORES

(Submission Deadline Dec 1, 2017- Feb 1, 2018)

Designed for professional composers. Up to three works will be chosen and then presented each night of the Festival. Composer can come and she will have free housing provided.

Performances

Thursday June 28 @ MMoCA Lobby 7pm

Friday June 29 @ Promenade Hall, Overture Center 7pm

Saturday June 30 @ FUS Auditorium 7pm

FROM PAGE TO STAGE – Emerging Composers Workshop

(Submission Deadline Dec 15, 2017-March 15, 2018)

For younger composers and students that still need guidance and tools for professional careers.  The Page to Stage concert will be Saturday June 30 @ Capitol Lakes 2pm. Fee for this is $150 for the professional concert and recording, workshop with musicians, and masterclass with the composer, + all events for free.

 


LunART Festival Mission

The mission of the LunART Festival is to support, inspire, promote, and celebrate women in the arts through public performances, exhibitions, workshops, and interdisciplinary collaboration; thus enriching our community and creating a welcoming space for learning and experimentation.

About Dr. Iva Ugrčić  FOUNDER & ARTISTIC/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

“There is a place for everyone under the Sun.”

Serbian flutist Iva Ugrčić is one of the most exciting and adventurous young flutists in the international pantheon. Described as “a natural star on her instrument,” Iva has been featured as a solo artist and a chamber musician at numerous music festivals, touring and performing around Europe and the United States. She is a musician who has worn many hats throughout her professional career: flutist, teacher, artistic director, entrepreneur, freelance musician and recording artist, among others. Since moving to the United States (2014), Iva has performed with many orchestras and chamber groups.

She currently plays with Black Marigold Wind Quintet, ID flute and percussion duo, and Sound Out Loud contemporary chamber music ensemble.

After completing her Bachelor and Master’s degrees at the University of Belgrade Academy of Music, Iva Ugrčić moved to Paris, where she studied flute performance and chamber music for three years with Pierre-Yves Artraud and George Alirol.

Iva Ugrčić’s solo album, The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi was released in September 2014. The same year, Ms. Ugrčić was awarded the prestigious Paul Collins Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music, where she completed her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree (2017), studying with flutist Stephanie Jutt. Iva won the Shain Irving Duo Competition in 2015 as well as multiple concerto competitions, performing as a soloist with the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra and Miami Summer Music Festival Symphony Orchestra. In 2016, Iva received a James R. Smith Orchestra Award for excellency and leadership. She is finishing up her second solo album Cries and Whispers – Flute Works by Doina Rotaru, and currently serves as Artistic Director for the Rural Musicians Forum in Spring Green.


 

Cello Zone! Pirastro Eudoxa String Review (for 1st time buyers) Part 1

Detail 1: Three different ways to secure your gut string to the ebony tailpiece. C & G strings are looped, like viola da gamba or classical guitar. D-string is laced, with the knot catching underneith the tailpiece. Eudoxa A-stings have a ball end with a thick cushy washer, so I have it saddled in the fine-tuner.

String Gauges for Part 1

the “Isseralis” set up

  • a1 Eudoxa medium gauge 21 PM / 1.05mm (sheep gut core, aluminum wound)
  • d2 Eudoxa medium gauge 24 PM / 1.2mm (sheep gut core, silver/aluminum wound)
  • G3 Eudoxa heavy gauge 27 PM / 1.35mm (sheep gut core, silver wound)
  • C4 Oliv light gauge 36 PM / 1.8mm (sheep gut core, silver wound)

I recently had a month away from my cello while it was being repaired for some damages caused by United Airlines (more on that in another post). During the interim, I was researching both plain and wound gut strings to outfit my cello(s) with. It became clear that a lot of my heroes – Pau Casals, Jacqueline Du Pré, Daniil Shafran, Steven Isserlis – used wound gut strings. It was high time I gave it a try.

Now, I don’t know which gauges British cellist Steven Isserlis uses… but I know that his set up is Pirastro Eudoxa for a1, d2, G3 – and Pirastro Oliv for C4. Isserlis is a benchmark among modern cellists for the tone he draws from the cello. He is famous not only for his wonderful performances of cello repertoire, but also for his decades long use of Eudoxa strings, handmade by Pirastro in Germany. If it’s good enough for him, then it’s certainly good enough for me!

The new strings have been on for a three weeks now. I love the tone they produce, there is a complex, vocal quality to it. They feel nice under the fingers and allow you to sculpt each note. This is exactly the sort of color and depth I felt was lacking from my steel string set ups. It’s a robust round sound, rich in harmonic content and full of resonance. Quite honestly, they are much louder than I anticipated. I know the stereotype is that gut strings are quieter than steel, and maybe this is more to do with projection or is about steel vs plain/open gut … but I must say that on *my cello, these wound gut strings are actually louder than the steel string set ups. *Loudness results may vary from cello to cello… I’m having the opposite problem, I can’t seem to play quietly enough. So much so that I’ve had complaints from my upstairs neighbors about the volume being too loud when I am practicing.

Initially, the G/C strings seemed too stiff and limited in their range of expression via variation in tone. However, they have since opened up a lot. Now it is easier to bow near the fingerboard and activate the string quietly. At first I felt trapped into pushing towards the bridge for every note, just to get it to speak. There is a limit to how aggressively you crank on these strings, especially on the low end. You can’t bend the string to your will with crushing down bows. It won’t respond the same way, it certainly won’t give you the sound you want. There is a lot more subtlety to be explored in the sound and the technique.

Detail 2: Here you can see the “ball end” with cushy “washer” on the a-string. My a-string was and friction peg were fighting the tension a bit when I had it threaded underneath (like the d-string). So after a week, I switched to saddling it in the fine-tuner and it hasn’t given me any trouble since. This may have to do with the added downward tension behind the bridge when threading in the tailpiece vs saddling in the fine-tuner – where it sits higher. I looped the low strings, because they held tension better and were more secure on my cello that way. You can keep it simple though, and thread all of the strings like I have the d-string, just let the knot catch on the underside of the tailpiece.

Pros / Cons

Pros

The tone is incredible (see video above). Many of my adult students (and student parents) being more familiar with what a cello sounds like, immediately remark at the Eudoxa’s beauteous sound. With a nice ebony wood tail piece and the gut string set up, it feels like I turned on a super wet reverb inside the cello!

Gut strings have been the sound of bowed string instruments for centuries! Steel strings only came into prominence in the 20th century during WWII when sheep gut was hard to come by. Playing on gut puts you in touch with centuries of tradition and helps you understand the repertoire of the past (from 1940’s back to the 1600’s) in a deeper tactile way.

Eudoxas are uniquely flexible all the way up the fingerboard! I feel more relaxed when playing in thumb position. Planting the thumb and fingers down to the fingerboard two octaves up the A&D strings is easier to do than on steel.

The staccato and spiccato bow strokes sound is unreal on these strings. I truly feel I’ve never executed a proper sounding staccato or spicatto stroke until using gut. The bite is there, but it’s still a round note unlike steel where it can sound only like the bite and nothing else.

Pizzacato feels/sounds AMAZING. If you are a jazzer or get into chordal playing, definitely give these strings a try. It makes me feel like I’m playing fretless bass guitar, Jaco style. Pizz has never sounded so lush on my cello!

Shifting is very enjoyable and fun to do on this set up (which I can’t say for most strings).

Eudoxa strings are not as expensive as one might think! A full set of Eudoxa is about $250, whereas an equivalent set of Larsen Magnacore (steel) or Thomasitik Versum (steel) runs about $350-$400. These are professional, high end strings used by such greats as Isseralis and Jacqueline du Pré. While Du Pre was transitioning from plain gut to steel strings, she used Eudoxa C4, G3 and Prim (steel) d2, a1 – as you can see and hear in the video below. Again, if Eudoxa is good enough for THE Jacqueline du Pré, they are good enough for little ole me!

Cons

The obvious one (no getting around it) – gut strings have a longer break in period. New steel Larsen Magnacore strings are said to break in within an hour. It has taken two full weeks for my Eudoxa strings to settle up-to pitch and into tension. I spent hours playing in the strings everyday, tuning constantly throughout each session. My (friction) peg tuning skills have much improved as a result! – Update: For this entire 3rd week I haven’t had to peg tune my strings once, they have held steady at A=440Hz! Wohoo!

More subject to temperature and humidity changes.

Animals definitely died in the making of these strings… they are not vegan-cellist friendly.

The Intonation Game

Sometimes it feels like you are chasing intonation around the fingerboard for the first couple of weeks. The strings are all going out of tune at slightly different rates. Because the strings are thicker, rolling your finger from back to front results in a much larger sweep of pitch. There is a bit of retraining for how to place the finger and correct the intonation. Some of these issues are break-in period ones. Now that the strings have settled in and relaxed, it feels mostly back to normal when placing and adjusting the finger to achieve good intonation.

I could foresee a couple of issues for some players/cellos in respects to the low strings: they may feel too chunky; be slow to speak; have overpowering bassy low end; not bright enough lows for your instrument to cut through; vibrate too widely for your string spacing (I can get the C string to vibrate so widely that it hits my G string!); have trouble getting the edgy tone that one can get from a tungsten wound steel string.

My one tonal complaint is with the aluminum winding on the a1 string. It sometimes sounds tooooo much like aluminum. You get a gross sound sometimes when you portamento. The toothy crunching crinkle winding-tone comes out harshly if you don’t get the bow tilt and placement just right, especially without enough rosin on.

The sweet spot on a gut string during the break in period seems to be very specific. If you aren’t listening to the physical feed back loop of the string<>bow interaction, you’ll get a false sounding note, or it may not even speak at all. Certain high register notes are particular to speak; some of the wolf-tone notes of a string can go false or simply disappear on you – if one is not using the proper bow speed, placement, pressure/weight, tightness.

Wound gut strings demand respect from you, the player. With both left hand pitch and point-of-contact for the bow – the feeling is similar to having a feral cat or rescue dog in the house for the first time. You can’t necessarily predict how they will react and behave so you are on your toes, more ready for a slew of possible outcomes. With steel strings, it’s more like having a domesticated dog or cat, you can predict fairly accurately how they will behave in each situation.

On many cellos, the strings may be too wide/thick for your bridge &/or nut – you may need to get those re-cut or altered by a luthier.

Winding Up

The first recording I ever heard of the Bach cello suites was by Pau Casals. These recordings from the late 1930’s were given to me by my Classical teacher Janet Marshall. She was part of the generation of cellists following after Casals in the mid 20th Century. Both Casals and Marshall had an incredibly powerful yet simultaneously beautiful sound. When I play on this Eudoxa gut string set up, I feel that the sound of Casals comes out of my cello. I hear all of those lessons with Janet playing back in my head, how she sang phrases and demonstrated passages with the highest passion and musicality. Playing on these strings feels like being home.

In Part 2 I will review a Full Set of Eudoxa Meduim Gauge strings. Stay tuned and Happy Practicing!

Brian

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