David Finckel and Wu Han are among the most esteemed and influential classical musicians in the world today. They are recipients of Musical America’s Musicians of the Year award, one of the highest honors granted by the music industry. The talent, energy, imagination, and dedication they bring to their multifaceted endeavors as concert performers, recording artists, educators, artistic administrators, and cultural entrepreneurs go unmatched. Their duo performances have garnered superlatives from the press, public, and presenters alike.
Although New Orleans' traditional jazz scene had many top players in the 1950s, there was no principal venue for the city's veteran greats to play. In 1961, local art dealer Larry Borenstein opened a building in the French Quarter called Preservation Hall. The young tuba player Allan Jaffe ran the hall and organized tours for the musicians who often performed there, naming the band the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. In the early days, the key musicians included, at various times, trumpeters Kid Thomas Valentine, Punch Miller, or De De Pierce; trombonists Louis Nelson or Jim Robinson; clarinetists George Lewis, Albert Burbank, or Willie Humphrey; and pianists Joseph Robichaux, Billie Pierce, or Sweet Emma Barrett. By the early '70s, the front line usually comprised trumpeter Percy Humphrey, his brother Willie on clarinet, and trombonist Jim Robinson (who, after his death in 1976, was succeeded by Frank Demond).
Paul Winter and his group, the Paul Winter Consort, have performed around the world, from New York’s Carnegie Hall to the Miho Museum in Japan. One of the earliest exponent’s of world music, the group has also pioneered a new genre of “earth music,” (described as “ecological jazz” by fans in Russia), interweaving classical, jazz and world music elements with voices from what Winter calls “the greatest symphony of the earth.”
The Consort has won four Grammy Awards, for Spanish Angel (1994), a live album recorded in Spain; for Silver Solstice (2005), which celebrates the annual Winter Solstice Celebrations in New York; Crestone (2007); and Miho: Journey to the Mountain (2010).
Since its founding in 1983 by Michael Levine, the Dallas Brass has become one of America’s foremost musical ensembles. The group has established a unique blend of traditional brass instruments with a full complement of drums and percussion, which creates a performing entity of extraordinary range and musical challenges. The Dallas Brass repertoire includes classical masterpieces, Dixieland, swing, Broadway, Hollywood and patriotic music. According to Mr. Levine, "a Dallas Brass concert is intended for the entire family. Our ideal audience has a range in ages from 5 to 95. Our goal is to entertain and enrich by playing great music, while showing our audience how much we enjoy what we do."
Sasha Masakowski was born into a family of musicians in New Orleans, Louisiana and has been a leading voice on the New Orleans music scene since 2009, when she was awarded “Best Emerging Artist” by the Big Easy Association.
"A charismatic performer and one of the brightest young talents in the Big Easy" - Offbeat Magazine