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TACO Talk

TACO Talk

By American Classical Orchestra
TACO Talk is a weekly podcast series from The American Classical Orchestra, affectionately called TACO by its members. Through in-depth conversation with the orchestra’s musicians and some very special guests, host and artistic director Thomas Crawford shares insights while spinning tunes and tales about music, performance, and beyond.

Produced by Mark Zaki, each episode takes a unique and intriguing glimpse into the world of music, making a rich connection with the past and exploring the ways classical musicians intersect with historic performance and contemporary culture.
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Episode 9: Lisa Selz – Nourishing the Arts, Nourishing the Soul

TACO Talk

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Episode 15: Thomas Crawford - In The Maestro's Words
In the season finale of TACOTalk, producer Mark Zaki interviews ACO Artistic Director Thomas Crawford about his musical journey from ear-splitting rock bands to jazz improv to his decision to build a career in classical music. Talking about his eclectic taste in music, Tom describes the goosebumps he felt at his first listen to Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday,” and his first experience rehearsing with period instrument players, when after just one bar he was so overcome with emotion at the sound, he had to step off the podium.
22:16
May 24, 2021
Episode 14: Classical Music For Kids: Moving to the Music
In this week’s episode, Tom talks with Music Educator Katie Traxler and Mae Miller, ACO Director of Education and the inspiration, twenty-three years ago, for Tom to create ACO’s Classical Music for Kids. The three discuss kids’ enthusiastic reaction to CMK school visits; Katie has welcomed CMK to her school for eleven years. They also discuss children’s visceral reactions, a CMK favorite, Peter and the Wolf, and ACO’s upcoming film of the work, which adds to the cast of musicians and two professional mimes. Note: the film will be featured on the PBS Learning Channel – allowing children around the world to enjoy and be inspired by this great Prokofiev children’s classic.
23:29
May 17, 2021
Episode 13: John Feeney and Krista Bennion Feeney - Sympathetic Vibrations
Tom talks with ACO Principal Bass and champion of classical literature for bass John Feeney, and preeminent period violinist Krista Bennion Feeney, who served as concertmaster and guest soloist in a number of ACO concerts. Long married with two grown sons. the couple was used to the routine of practice, travel, rehearsals, and performance that came to a sudden halt during the lockdown. But over the months, they discovered and reveled in the untapped joys of nature, slowing down, and the fortunate symbiosis between bass and violin.
23:35
May 10, 2021
Episode 12: Malcolm Bilson - Godfather of the Fortepiano
Why are there three pedals on the piano, when we have only two feet? Revered American fortepianist Malcolm Bilson, a pioneer in the historic performance movement, talks with Tom about how the movement took off in the 1970s, when he made his beloved recordings of the John Eliot Gardner series of Mozart piano concertos on fortepiano.  Contrary to a commonly held perception of two kinds of pianos—period and modern—the fortepiano evolved as much from the mid-17th to the mid 18th century as the modern piano did over the century that followed, with each mechanical “improvement” affecting interpretation and the resulting sound.
24:33
May 03, 2021
Episode 11: Mark Zaki - Can I Borrow That?
Rutgers University Professor of Music, TACOtalk producer, and violinist Mark Zaki discusses with Tom the practice of composers “borrowing” from those who came before them. Enjoy excerpts of great music as they trace a trail of musical appropriation of the 11th century Gregorian Easter Chant Victimae Paschali Laudes across the centuries to Martin Luther, then on to Bach’s early 18th century setting in Christ lag in Todesbanden, and finally to Mark’s own setting of the work in his string quartet it comes to tell us it is gone.
23:23
April 26, 2021
Episode 10: Julianne Baird – Singing, an Act of Joy
Julianne Baird, internationally renowned soprano and Distinguished Professor of Music at Rutgers University, joins Tom for a lively conversation around singing as an “act of joy.” Enjoy recorded excerpts revealing “artistry of a high order” (New York Times) between Dr. Baird’s reflections on the vibrato controversy, John Dowland’s beautiful lute-and-voice madrigals, babies in the opera house (hers), naked dancers on stage, and much, much more.
25:14
April 19, 2021
Episode 9: Lisa Selz – Nourishing the Arts, Nourishing the Soul
In this episode Tom and longtime TACO supporter and friend Lisa Selz talk about giving LaGuardia Community College Students their first, sometimes life-changing, experience listening to classical music in a concert hall (an experience one student compared to a “first taste of honey.”)
18:03
April 12, 2021
Episode 8: Marguerite Krull – My Instrument, My Self.
A versatile singer with an enviable range, from mezzo to lyric soprano, longtime ACO collaborator Marguerite Krull joins Tom to reflect on her roles as performer and teacher, wife and mother, during the extended lockdown. Along the way, she shares her opinions on children and voice lessons, the importance of good vocal technique, regardless of the genre, why that "other ear" of a vocal coach is essential at every stage of a singer's career, and how to “take care of your instrument” when that instrument is you.
22:05
April 05, 2021
Episode 7: Maury Baker Talks Craft
Join legendary drummer Maury Baker and Tom Crawford, ACO Founder & Artistic Director, for a unique chat.  Many musicians struggle to find their musical genre or niche.  Not Maury.  He has them all. Maury and Tom take us on a musical journey that leads from Lully and Haydn to jazz and rock royalty—Janis Joplin, Max Roach, Frank Zappa.  He played with Janis at Woodstock.  He wore a kilt and marched with Black Watch Pipes & Drums in Montreal.  Listen as he shares what those and many other moments in his rich, varied career were like—including the current moment, which he calls the “summation of my life”:  his group, Baker’s Brew.
25:25
March 29, 2021
Episode 6: Dynamic Duo – Petra Somlai and Bart van Oort
Performing the music of Beethoven and his contemporaries on a modern piano can certainly be done. But to appreciate the rhetoric and challenges music poses, we turn to the instruments of Beethoven’s time. Join Tom and historical performance power couple Petra Somlai and Bart van Oort for a conversation about the fortepiano, life in the Netherlands during lockdown, and the surprising merits of virtual performance.
23:50
March 22, 2021
Episode 5: Fascinatin' Rhythm
Join Tom on a wild ride through the dotted rhythms of syncopation, a structure that displaces notes from a clockbeat pattern for a more organic and dynamic effect. Using examples from different genres, Tom illustrates the visceral impact of displacing the beat, and talks about why savvy composers do it.
14:59
March 15, 2021
Episode 4: Duo Concertante - Aisslinn Nosky and Mozart
Handel and Haydn Society Concertmaster, and TACO collaborator Aisslinn Nosky drops by to talk with Tom about the ins and outs of playing concertmaster, as well as her brilliant recording of Mozart’s sublime masterpiece Sinfonia Concertante.
24:46
March 08, 2021
Episode 3: The Domestication of the Horn
ACO Principal Horn and consummate storyteller R.J. Kelley talks with Artistic Director Thomas Crawford about the horn’s transition from the hunt to the orchestra pit, along with the musical, mechanical and social ramifications of the move.
24:40
March 01, 2021
Episode 2: Bach Chaconne
In this week's episode, violinist Chloe Fedor talks with Tom about bringing out the nuances of the Bach Chaconne, which she recently performed in concert with the ACO. Listen to their conversation and discover the fascinating story behind her 250-year-old violin and its unlikely relationship to... roller skates!
25:27
February 22, 2021
Episode 1: Introducing TACO
Join Tom and Mark as they walk you through The American Classical Orchestra’s evolution, discuss the period-instrument movement in the United States, and explain why TACO plays those “old” instruments.
21:50
February 15, 2021
TACO Talk
TACO Talk is a weekly podcast series from The American Classical Orchestra, affectionately called TACO by its members. Through in-depth conversation with the orchestra’s musicians and some very special guests, host and artistic director Thomas Crawford shares insights while spinning tunes and tales about music, performance, and beyond. Produced by Mark Zaki, each episode takes a unique and intriguing glimpse into the world of music, making a rich connection with the past and exploring the ways classical musicians intersect with historic performance and contemporary culture.
00:36
February 11, 2021