“Since its invention, the piano has been a driving force in much if not most of the great cultural music of humanity,” says Producer James Luce. “To launch this exciting new series, we wanted to honor the instrument and its players, so we invited several of the world’s most accomplished virtuosi to make the Piano the theme of the inaugural year of Classical Palm Springs.”

Producer James Luce and Temple Isaiah President Soo Borson today announced that the inaugural concert of the 2018-2019 Season of Classical Palm Springs will take place on Saturday, September 22nd at 7:30pm at Temple Isaiah, 332 West Alejo Road, Palm Springs California.

Tickets, available online at www.classicalpalmsprings.com, range from $40 for Seniors & Students to $95 (for Premium Seats and admission to the after concert Meet The Artist Reception). Premium Festival Passes are also available online or by calling 760-699-8151.

Fei-Fei, pianist

The inaugural concert features the pianist Fei-Fei. She went directly from Juilliard to be a Finalist at the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and winner the 2014 Concert Artists Guild Competition in New York.

* Mozart: Sonata K 576
* Schumann: Kinderszenen
* Rachmaninoff: Moments Musicaux–No.2/3/4
* Chopin: Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise

The series continues with concerts on November 10, 2018 with pianist Dan Tepfer; on January 27, 2019 with Brazilian composer and pianist Clarice Assad; on February 10, 2019 with guitar virtuoso Mak Grgik; and on March 10, 2019 with pianist Inna Faliks performing selected works by Robert Schumann and Richard Danielpour, preceded by a special Children’s concert at 1pm.

Nicholas Kontaxis, artist

Producer James Luce is also pleased to announce that the first concert will feature visual art by Rancho Mirage modern artist Nicholas Kontaxis, www.nicholaskontaxis.com, who creates large-scale abstract paintings, characterized by a riot of primary colors, despite overwhelming obstacles. 

The 22-year Kontaxis was diagnosed with an extensive brain tumor at 15 months old which resulted in intractable seizures, autism, and developmental delay. Intensive medical treatment and behavioral therapy allows him to lead a full life despite significant communication issues and suffering over 40,000 seizures to date. His repetitive inclinations and love of texture and shape helped Kontaxis discover his life calling as an artist. In the last three years, he has become a prolific painter, creating more than 100 complex pieces. The work of Kontaxis will be featured on stage during performances and also on the poster for the inaugural season.

“Art and music both feed the human spirit,” says Classical Palm Springs Co-producer Soo Borson, referring to the pairing of Kontaxis’s work with the concerts. “In fact, the concept of Classical Palm Springs at Temple Isaiah is to combine the best of both musical performance and the visual arts.“

* FEI-FEI – SEPTEMBER 22, 7:30pm – www.feifeipiano.com
* DAN TEPFER – NOVEMBER 10 – www.dantepfer.com
* CLARICE ASSAD – JANUARY 17 – www.clariceassad.com
* MAK GRGIC – FEBRUARY 10 – www.makgrgic.com
* INNA FALIKS – MARCH 10 – www.innafaliks.com

Peabody award winning producer Jim Luce comes to Palm Springs after 40 years in the heart of the vibrant New York City’s music scene. In the 80s, Luce was an announcer and program host for America’s jazz station, WBGO-FM in Newark, New Jersey. In 1994, Luce launched the Caramoor Jazz Festival in Katonah, New York, and for 21 years brought the masters and rising stars of jazz to the concert stage to develop Caramoor as one of America’s premiere jazz festivals.

Temple Isaiah & Jewish Community Center Palm Springs is a non-denominational Jewish spiritual community in which we constantly endeavor to keep ourselves attuned to the three pillars of Jewish Life: Torah (intellectual growth), Avodah (spiritual practice), and Gemilut Hasadim (fixing the world). Founded in 1940’s, located in the heart of the city, Temple Isaiah and Jewish Community Center has always played a major role in the cultural and social aspects of Palm Springs. Whether it’s civic needs, social needs, or cultural needs, we aim to be a center in which the energy pulsates positivity. The synagogue invites Jews of all ideologies and non-Jews into becoming closer to Jewish tradition by offering weekly services, educational classes, and social gatherings. We aim to empower our members, and those who come through our doors, to create for themselves intellectual growth when it comes to Jewish heritage, practice, and theology. We empower those to taking a creative approach to spiritual practice; whether that means praying rituals, at home meditation, yoga, art, and/or spending time in nature. Ultimately encouraging all to develop an ongoing culture around caring about Others.

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Los Angeles-based French hornist Robert Lee “Bob” Watt has released his solo recording debut I Play French Horn. Credited to Bob Watt and Friends, I Play French Horn is now available on CD and digitally through the MSR Classics label through all major online music retailers.

Produced, and largely accompanied and arranged by pianist and composer Todd Cochran, the album features multiple of Cochran’s original works, as well as arrangements of Maurice Ravel (“Forlane”), J.S. Bach (“Lord, I Cry to Thee”), Dave Brubeck (“Blue Rondo à la Turk”), and striking takes on the evergreen “Amazing Grace”, and the African-American spiritual, “Steal Away”. Also included are two takes of the title work from Cochran and Watt’s collaborative short film, Missing Miles, in honor of Watt’s late friend Miles Davis.

In advanced praise, Atlanta Audio Club’s Phil Music glows about Watt’s “music world”; that in the album, one gets “a clear impression of [the French horn’s] idiomatic sounds.” He also notes that “Watt and Cochran do some of their best work together”, calling it a “distinguished collaboration” and an “experience”.

Finnish conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen also glowed about the album: “I recently had the pleasure of hearing Bob Watt’s newly recorded CD master. What a delightful collection of works, old and new, for horn in various contexts! This record covers a good chunk of the history of music (from Bach to present day), and everything is performed with gusto, great skill and beautiful tone. This is a different horn record, a very entertaining one, and deserves attention.

Many musical guests appear on the projects in the form strings, guitars, percussion, and vocals, with Cochran’s “Laughter” and “Humor/Satire” both featuring cellist Fang Fang Xu. With a fusion of influences including classical, new music, and jazz, this project has a high art sensibility that holds it together. The late author and historian Paul Robeson, Jr. wrote the album’s liner notes.

The sprawling musical influences come off naturally and authentically as the result of the kaleidoscopic nature of Watt’s past. He notes: “As a symphony orchestra French horn player, I have performed in a wide range of large orchestral works, encompassing the entire spectrum of musical periods, as well as in television, motion picture scores, pop, R&B recordings and contemporary jazz. This varied exposure to the multitudes of musical styles and flavors has enriched both my life and my musical path.


Todd Cochran: Eternity and Love 4:21
Maurice Ravel Forlane (arr. Barry Finnerty) 5:18
Todd Cochran: Missing Miles [Abridged Film Version] 4:48
Johann Sebastian Bach: Lord, I Cry to Thee (arr. Todd Cochran) 4:16
John Newton: Amazing Grace (arr. Bob Watt and Todd Cochran) 2:41
Todd Cochran: Laughter 1:21
Todd Cochran: Humor/Satire 6:51
Traditional: Gullah Novella (arr. Bob Watt and Todd Cochran) 4:20
Dave Brubeck: Blue Rondo à la Turk (arr. Todd Cochran) 5:48
Traditional: Steal Away/How Great Thou Art (arr. Todd Cochran) 5:30
Todd Cochran: Missing Miles I. II. III. 14:53

For more information about Bob Watt and Todd Cochran, please visit both robertleewatt.com and toddcochran.com.

Wendy Clinard, Founder and Artistic Director of Clinard Dance, has been performing and teaching the art of Flamenco for more than 20 years. She has spent years researching the roots of Flamenco and her classes offer a comprehensive Flamenco foundation with a contemporary sensibility.

Dancers of all levels, beginner or professional, are welcomed into her intimate studio environment. Beginning the week of July 16th through August 26th, Clinard is hosting six weeks of intensive sessions in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. The intensives are designed to challenge and expand on current studies at Clinard Dance as well as welcome and encourage new students.

The session “kicks off” with guest flamenco master África Fernández Montoya, de la Faraona, daughter of the dynasty maker, el Farruco. África will guest teach to set the tone for a summer of heartfelt and challenging studies on July 16th and July 17th.

* CLASSES OFFERED: Palmas (All Levels), Yoga-Based Floor Barre (All Levels), Multi-Level Technique (All Levels), Sevillanas (Beginner), Soleá Por Bulerías (Intermediate), Soleá (Intermediate), Bulerías/Tangos Por Fiesta (Intermediate/Advanced), Farruca (Advanced)

* PUNCH CARDS may be purchased on the first day of class and are priced in half hour increments at $8 per punch. Students may purchase as many punches as they like. (Please note: punch cards for the summer session expire on August 26th, 2018.)

* DROP-IN RATES are as follows: $20/1 hr | $25/1.25 hr | $30/1.5 hr

To reserve a spot, please send an email to [email protected].
For more information, including specific class descriptions and dates, visit clinardance.org.

Versatile and passionate internationally touring pianist Inna Faliks, who currently makes her home in Los Angeles and is professor and head of the piano department at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music, brings her one woman concert-theater experience, Polonaise-Fantaisie: Story of a Pianist, home for one free performance on June 8, 2018 at 7:30pm at Schoenberg Hall, 445 Charles E Young Drive East, University of California, Los Angeles, CA. Admission is free; further information is available by clicking here.

Ms. Faliks, known for her moving and committed interpretations in performances at venues throughout the United States, Europe and Asia, such as Carnegie Weill Hall in New York City and The National Performing Arts Center in Beijing, offers this live performance to complement her double CD on Delos Records – Polonaise-Fantaisie: The Story of a Pianist.

The thirteen works on this recording span 289 years in their dates of composition and run the gamut from Bach and Mozart to Gershwin and Elliott Carter. The musical tracks appearing on the CD are interspersed with writings by the pianist chronicling her upbringing in Odessa, Ukraine; her musical and romantic awakenings; and her subsequent immigration to the US as a Jewish refugee. Each selection illustrates or relates to the text, either autobiographically or contextually. The album, which was recorded at UCLA, has been released in physical and digital format and is available at delosmusic.com as well as on AmazoniTunesSpotify, and more.

The musical selections featured are unified by their brevity. Representing a huge variety of styles, they are carefully curated to be emotionally and texturally illustrative of events unfolding in the life experience of the protagonist.

Works in the live performance are:

*Rodion Shchedrin: Basso Ostinato
*J.S. Bach: Prelude and Fugue in G-sharp Minor, The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1
*Jan Freidlin: Ballade in Black and White* – *composed for Inna Faliks in 2011
*W.A. Mozart: Fantasia in D Minor, K 397
*Chopin-Liszt: The Maiden’s Wish
*Paganini-Liszt: La Campanella
*Frédéric Chopin: Polonaise-fantaisie, Op. 61
*Ludwig van Beethoven: 6 Bagatelles, opus 126

For more information about Inna Faliks, please visit innafaliks.com.

TORCHTORCH comprises Brian Chin, trumpet; Eric Likkel, clarinets; Ben Thomas: vibes, bandoneón, and percussion; and Steve Schermer, bass. Conservatory trained, and yet jazz informed, all members of this Seattle based quartet are improvisers and also write for the group. The group’s name is inspired by the Thomas Mann quote, “Art is the sacred torch that must shed its merciful light into all life’s terrible depths.

TORCH’s self-titled first full-length album features the varied and vibrant sounds of their composer collective. As an advocate for collaboration, TORCH works with visual artists, dancers, and creatives of all types to inspire socially conscious art.  A voyage of thirteen selections spanning forty minutes represents a wide representation of the diverse styles and influences of this ensemble from 20th century classical to contemporary jazz, European post-rock, and Argentine tango. From the modern tango inspired opening track “Tangent 7”, to the Bartok-inspiredAir” and Satie/Stravinsky adaptations, TORCH has landed solidly as a contemporary chamber ensemble worthy of note.

Member Brian Chin adds: “With enough repertoire for five records, we decided to create an album that could speak to some of the best of what we do while holding together as a stand alone recording.

Physical and digital distribution for TORCH is through their own Common Tone Records imprint, and is now available through CDBaby, Bandcamp, Amazon, Spotify, and through their website TorchTheMusic.com. It will also soon be available on iTunes.

The album was engineered by Floyd Reitsma (Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam) on August 30-31, 2017, at Nickerson Studios, Seattle, WA. It was self-produced by TORCH, and mastered by Ed Brooks.

Tracks included:

Tangent 7 (Ben Thomas) 3:08
Air (Brian Chin) 4:01
The Surface of an Emerald (Ben Thomas) 1:45
Tennis (Erik Satie | Eric Likkel) 0:49
Yachtie (Erik Satie | Eric Likkel) 3:55
Fire (Ben Thomas) 3:01
Nana (Manuel de Falla | Brian Chin) 3:29
Valse d’Alchimie (Eric Likkel) 1:44
Larghetto-Land (Igor Stravinsky | Brian Chin) 2:13
Lento Bash (Igor Stravinsky | Brian Chin) 3:39
Picardy (Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence) (Trad. French | Eric Likkel) 3:57
April 21 (Rabbit) (Ben Thomas) 5:16

For more about TORCH, please visit TorchTheMusic.com.