Oklahoma's Premier Music Festival began thirty years ago, and today draws audiences from all over the world. It's a really cool concept featuring ten days of classical music, in the state which leans heavily toward country and bluegrass, and has it's own home-grown musical style called Red-dirt.
Last night we saw Sarah Jarosz at the "Crossover Concert," an innovation designed to "focus on new ways to bring the orchestra to diverse audiences." (Although last night's audience did not appear to be too diverse. My husband and I were trying to come up with the average age for the attendees and agreed it must be in the vicinity of 75 -- 96% appeared to have passed their sixth decade. But never mind, they were an appreciative audience, even if we did lose a good portion of them after the break.)
I've heard Sarah's work before but never live, and last night's concert was immersive. I just wanted to stay there forever reveling in the sounds.
Sarah is a contemporary music artist with roots in bluegrass and country, adept on guitar, banjo and mandolin. She is "supported on the road by stellar musicians Alex Hargreaves (fiddle)* and Nathaniel Smith (cello). The sheer joy they express together is contagious. . . (They) create sonic atmospheres that shimmer with equal parts acoustic majesty and electrifying mystery." Isn't that beautiful? It's from the program. And the music was beautiful too.
The plunking of the cello and the electric wail of the fiddle coupled with Sarah's own instruments including her voice of velvet . . .
Well, just let me say that the first half of the concert was superb, but the second half of the concert, because this was the Mozart Festival after all, Sarah was joined by members of the Amici New York Orchestra, and that's when it turned glorious.
With arrangements written by OK Mozart Director, Constantine Kitsopoulos, Sarah and the Amici orchestra performed the second side of her new album, Build Me Up From Bones. All I can say is, I really hope there are plans to re-record it, combining both sets of artists.
For your listening pleasure, the first video is of Sarah performing a song she wrote herself, Mile on the Moon. The second clip features the vocal. Love her voice.