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Thomas J. West Music

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Great Performances

Performances that inspire and impress. Enjoy.

 
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  • Great Performances - Gustavo Dudamel Dan...
    by ★ Owner on February 17, 2011 at 8:13 AM
    2627 Views - 0 Comments

    Once again, Gustav Dudamel shows why he is worthy of attention.


     

     

    The Youth Orchestra of Venezuela is such a success story. El Sistema is such an important program not only for preserving classical music, but for creating social change.


     

     

    Dudamel's unbridled passion and infectious energy, combined with a reverence for the music and a willingness to break from tradition, make for the perfect storm. This video typifies all of those qualities in 90 seconds.

     


  • Great Performances - Chicago Symphony Or...
    by ★ Owner on April 11, 2011 at 2:28 PM
    2590 Views - 0 Comments


    My soul needed this today.

     

     

    Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations are one of the major works for symphony orchestra, and few movements of orchestral music are as moving, poignant, sensitive, and emotional as Nimrod. Music students need to be exposed to music of this level. It is simultaneously simple, yet has tremendous depth. Most students would dismiss it immediately as "slow and boring," but grow to love (or at least respect) it after spending time in ensemble with it.

     


  • Great Performances - Symphony of Science...
    by ★ Owner on September 6, 2011 at 1:14 PM
    2572 Views - 0 Comments

    symphony of science


    I have been a fan of Symphony of Science since discovering it two years ago. While music has always been the central focus of my life, I developed a strong interest in quantum theory, consciousness and the mind, cymatics, and spiritual geometry over the past five years. Symphony of Science is a marriage of the two. Producer John Boswell takes lectures given by some of our most prominent theoretical physicists, auto tunes them, and turns their words into an entire song complete with verses and a refrain.


    This most recent song, entitled "The Quantum World!" is perhaps his best work to date. These are the real mystical explorers of our age - trying to quantify the unquantifiable. The more we learn about quantum physics, the more we understand the interconnectedness of all things.

  • Great Performances #5: Glass Harp
    by anonymous on September 20, 2008 at 6:54 PM
    2555 Views - 0 Comments

    Nearly everyone has been annoyed at some formal occasion by someone at a nearby table running their wet fingertip around the rim of a crystal wine glass, producing that pure tone accompanied by a small squeak. Here is one gentleman who has taken the act of wine glass playing to a level of artistry. Playing the glasses in this fashion is a great example of how the brain can be trained to perform completely different rhythmic actions with the left and right sides of the body. He even rewets his right hand in a bowl while the left hand is playing! If you've ever tried to produced a sound on a wine glass yourself, you know how tricky it can be to get the glass to speak at all, let alone instantly and with short duration. There are several other good glass harp videos on YouTube that are worth watching as well. Enjoy.

  • You've Got A Friend In Me; MaxQ
    by ★ Owner on October 17, 2010 at 7:52 AM
    2552 Views - 0 Comments


    I love a cappella singing of all kinds. I caught the close harmony bug as a kid because my dad was actively involved in SPEBSQSA, the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America. When my dad was active in my youth, barbershop was all about ringing major chords and dominant 7ths in a distinctly identifiable style. Many songs from outside the traditional folk songs and pop tunes of the turn-of-the-century were "made shoppable", but quartets stuck closely to what defined barbershop as an original American art form.


     

     

    In today's highly competitive Barbershop Harmony Society, the top quartets and choruses sing at a professional level and the members of those groups must be high aptitude singers who are able to devote hours of practice a week. They continue to perform music that fits the criteria for "barbershop," but that criteria has loosened a bit because the modern quartets are capable of so much more technical wizardry than their predecessors. As it is with all things, the art form has evolved.


     

     

    This is a video of 2007 quartet champions MaxQ at the Gold Medal hour, an informal sing for past champions, at the 2008 Barbershop Harmony Society Convention.

     

     

     


    This video demonstrates the vocal skill and range of all four men, their ability to seamlessly switch in a blink from a support role to the lead, their ability to ring tight jazz chords with added tensions that would never be heard of a barbershop competition stage, and their ability even in a casual perofrmance such as this to be entertaining and very aware of their presentation. And who doesn't like a good Randy Newman song? Makes ya smile! :-)

  • Great Performances - Dub FX Performs Lov...
    by ★ Owner on February 5, 2011 at 8:30 PM
    2516 Views - 0 Comments

    About two years ago, during my first months on Facebook, one of my friends introduced me to Dub FX. He's a street performer from Melbourne, Australia who specializes in dubstep music performed entirely a cappella with the aid of a loop machine. This video, now nearing 8 million views, shows Dub FX on the street explaining how he uses the machine to record, loop, and layer musical material into an accompaniment that he then sings the lyrics on top of. Throughout the performance, you will see him use foot switches to turn on and off musical elements and a foot pedal to add and remove reverb.


    Not only does it take some skill to operate the equipment live while performing, but it takes a strong sense of composition to be able to add and remove layers of musical content, not to mention being able to produce all the sounds with the voice and write original melodies and lyrics. This is musical creative equivalent of a double-shot espresso.


  • Great Performances - University of Minne...
    by ★ Owner on December 15, 2011 at 10:32 AM
    2496 Views - 0 Comments

    'Tis the season for holiday flash mobs!

     

    This is a particularly good one. It begins with a solo alto saxophonist playing in the University of Minnesota's Calson School of Management foyer. Singers begin to join in, and then security shows up. And THAT'S when it starts getting interesting!

     

    Well played, Golden Gopher School of Music, well played.

     

  • Great Performances - Kevin Olusola Beatb...
    by ★ Owner on April 18, 2011 at 9:28 PM
    2471 Views - 0 Comments


    I always admire instrumentalists who clearly demonstrate mastery of the technique of their instrument. Thousands of hours of repetition and skill building are necessary for even the most naturally gifted musician to be able to perform at this level of proficiency. Add to that Kevin Olusola's killer beatboxing to the mix, and suddenly an expressive piece of cello music takes on a whole new creative dimension. Classical purists would turn their noses up at this performance, but I find it to be innovative, expressive, and just downright cool.

  • Great Performances - Mnozil Brass Spoof ...
    by ★ Owner on April 24, 2011 at 8:52 PM
    2449 Views - 0 Comments

    This is just a lot of fun. The Mnozil Brass, an Austrian brass band, give us some virtuosic playing all the while having some fun. Impressive rapid-fire key changes and double-tonguing work, and clever arranging, combined with some good showmanship. Be sure to search for more of their work on YouTube.

  • Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Universa...
    by ★ Owner on June 14, 2010 at 10:24 AM
    2431 Views - 0 Comments

    I saw this video shortly after it came out a year ago, but neglected to add it to my video page until now. Bobby McFerrin is one of my musical heroes, and here he demonstrates how every person has innate musical intelligence that our society stamps out of them. The pentatonic scale is indigenous to every culture on the planet, and I believe has connections to Sacred Geometry, cymatics, and many other fields of study that combine mathematics and energy.

  • Great Performances: Tribute to John Will...
    by ★ Owner on March 3, 2010 at 9:43 AM
    2419 Views - 3 Comments

    Marc Papaghin arranged, performed, and mixed all 12 parts of this himself. Fantastic arranging, performing, and musicianship!

  • Great Performances - OK Go and Pilobolus...
    by ★ Owner on July 30, 2011 at 10:36 AM
    2296 Views - 0 Comments

    I have used OK Go as a Great Performances entry before because their one-take videos are so visually enrapturing. I find their music to be mostly forgettable, but that doesn't take away from the innovative things they do on film.


    Their newest venture is no exception. Teaming up with the dance troupe Pilobolus and the folks at Google, the video has its own dedicated website at http://allisnotlo.st which allows browsers using Google Chrome to interact with the video in HTML5. That's almost enough to make me want to download Chrome. ;-)


    Here is the less-cool-still-really-awesome YouTube version.


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