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Thomas J. West Music

Live webcam private music lessons, music education articles, compositions, clinician services, reviews

Great Performances

Performances that inspire and impress. Enjoy.

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  • Great Performances - Jonathan Conducts B...
    by ★ Owner on October 29, 2010 at 10:13 PM
    3045 Views - 0 Comments

    This video is hot right now - making the rounds on Facebook. And there's a very good reason - this three-year-old's musical instincts as he conducts the fourth movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony are uncanny. There are adults who study for years to anticipate the score and achieve the level of expression that this young man achieves. He does remind us, however, that he is only three when he gets an itchy nose, shouts out "This is my FAVORITE PART!" just after the 3 minute mark, and his grand finale complete with giggles when he loses grip on his baton. Sheer joy in music, and uncanny musicianship at the same time. Enjoy.

  • Great Performances - McChesney Trombone ...
    by ★ Owner on October 27, 2010 at 8:48 PM
    2117 Views - 0 Comments

    Back in high school, during my formative exposure to jazz music via my two best friends from concert band (both saxophonists), I was introduced to two amazing artistic talents: Charlie Parker, and the Parker tribute band known as Supersax. Parker, one of the innovators that ushered in the be bop era of jazz music, was known for his technical pyrotechnics on the alto saxophone. Supersax took Parker's transcribed solos and arranged them for the sax section of a big band (two altos, two tenors, and a bari), turning Parker's genius into a stereophonic voice with 5-part harmony at 200+ beats per minute. This Great Performance reminds me a lot of those early days of my jazz exposure. Vituoso jazz trombonist Bob McChesney arranged the Cole Porter tune "I Love You" for four trombones and then recorded his performance of all four parts. The accuracy and virtuosity of this recording is astounding, and following McChesney's score on the screen as he plays is equally as impressive as listening to old recordings of Bird and following along in the Omnibook.

  • You've Got A Friend In Me; MaxQ
    by ★ Owner on October 17, 2010 at 7:52 AM
    2551 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 - Gershwin Plays I Go...
    by ★ Owner on September 27, 2010 at 7:41 AM
    2225 Views - 0 Comments

    Here is some rare footage of the incomparable George Gershwin performing one of his best known compositions "I Got Rhythm" from the Broadway show Girl Crazy in 1930, which is the same show that spawned another Gershwin hit "Embracable You." With technical ability like this, it is easy to see how Gershwin could produce a composition like the fabled "Rhapsody in Blue." Special thanks to my sister for sending me this rare footage via Facebook.

  • Great Performances - OK, Go White Knuckl...
    by ★ Owner on September 21, 2010 at 9:07 PM
    1683 Views - 0 Comments

    OK, Go is at it again. The quartet is out with a new enrapturing music video. This one is done in one take with a stationary camera and amazing coordination between the performers, the crew, and the trained dogs. As is true with their other music, I find it to have a good bit of quality music making in it, but find the songs to be fairly forgettable. The videos they create totally suck you in, however. I really appreciate the creativity that their videos showcase. Can you imagine what the sketchboarding for this video looked like? "And then we stack some plastic trash cans like those cup stacking competitions, and then a trained dog jumps through it and over the camera, and then...." Let's hear it for creativity!

  • Great Performances - Gustavo Dudamel Dan...
    by ★ Owner on September 20, 2010 at 9:13 PM
    2290 Views - 0 Comments

    If you are not familiar with Gustavo Dudamel, the Sim?n Bol?var Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, and El Sistema, take a look at this amazing performance. The first time I was exposed to Ginastera's Danza Finale was the rendition that the Phantom Regiment drum and bugle corps put on the field in 1993. I loved it then, but this performance of the original orchestral work is not only musically excellent, but it encapsulates the spirit of the composition. Seeing Dudamel conduct in person is definitely on my to-do list.

  • World Champion Baton Twirler Stacy Singe...
    by ★ Owner on August 1, 2010 at 12:31 PM
    3973 Views - 2 Comments

    I am always impressed and admiring of any kind of performer, musical or otherwise, who demonstrates a high level of commitment to developing an expressive, skillful, and breathtaking performance. This video demonstrates all of those qualities in spades.


    Stacy Singer is originally from Canada. This video is a recording of her winning performance as a junior soloist at the World Baton Twirling Federation World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1989. She was 12 years old at the time. She is currently a botanist working for the U.S. Department of Agrigulture [link]


    Not only is her precision and athleticism impressive, but she obviously worked very hard on timing her catches and expressive presentation to match the music. Often, solo baton twirlers' presentations are just a series of impressive tricks that have little integration with the music. Stacy's work here is an exception to that tendency. Enjoy.


  • Great Performances - The Kings Firecrack...
    by ★ Owner on June 25, 2010 at 10:07 PM
    3025 Views - 0 Comments

    The Firecrackers are a performance jump rope team made up of talented 4th-8th graders from the Kings Local School District in Ohio. They practice 2 hours a day 5 to 6 times a week. And you thought your high school marching band was disciplined!

    Check out their website at

  • Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Universa...
    by ★ Owner on June 14, 2010 at 10:24 AM
    2426 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.

  • e.e. cummings "i thank You God for most ...
    by ★ Owner on June 10, 2010 at 10:17 AM
    3299 Views - 0 Comments

    i thank You God for most this amazing
    day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
    and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
    which is natural which is infinite which is yes

    (i who have died am alive again today,
    and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
    day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
    great happening illimitably earth)

    how should tasting touching hearing seeing
    breathing any--lifted from the no
    of allnothing--human merely being
    doubt unimaginable You?

    (now the ears of my ears awake and
    now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

    Read by the author originally on an LP recording from New York on May 28, 1953

    Listen to Eric Whitacre's setting of this poem for mixed chorus.


  • The Genius of Eric Whitacre: YouTube Vir...
    by ★ Owner on March 23, 2010 at 10:20 PM
    2853 Views - 0 Comments

    Eric Whitacre is the Golden Child of modern composition. As this video demonstrates, he is still managing to innovate in an era when we've all "been there, heard that." This piece was performed by hundreds of performers from 12 different countries. Each person uploaded themselves singing a voice part to You Tube, and Whitacre's producer mixed them. You can even subscribe on YouTube or follow them on Facebook to find out when the next piece will be premiered. Guess who's joining the next one? :-)

  • Great Performances: Tribute to John Will...
    by ★ Owner on March 3, 2010 at 9:43 AM
    2415 Views - 3 Comments

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

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