Take 5: Civitas Ensemble

by Dan Hickey

This edition of Take 5 features Yuan-Qing Yu and Lawrie Bloom from Civitas Ensemble! Their upcoming album Alla Zingarese  with Gipsy Way Ensemble is a groundbreaking collaboration at the crossroads of Western classical and Romani musical traditions. The album marks the Civitas Ensemble’s recording debut and the Cedille label debut for Gipsy Way. Years in the planning, the project is the outgrowth of the enduring friendship between Gipsy Way violinist Pavel Šporcl and Civitas violinist Yuan-Qing Yu dating back to their student days. You can pre-order your copy today — all CDs and downloads ship August 17!  Read More »


Q&A with Derrick Wang

by Dan Hickey

Derrick Wang — composer, librettist and lyricist, speaker, and attorney — is among America's most talented and multi-faceted artists. He is the creator of Scalia/Ginsburg, a one-act comic opera based on the infamous and unlikely friendship between two ideologically opposed U.S. Supreme Court justices, Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Described as "funny, exceedingly clever" (Above the Law) and "brilliant . . . gorgeous" (DC Theatre Scene), Scalia/Ginsburg has taken the country by storm. With a new production set to take the stage at OperaDelaware in 2019, we asked Derrick to tell us more about the creation and success of the opera as well as his background as both a musician and an attorney.

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Tom Bachtell's distinctive drawings and caricatures appear each week in "The Talk of the Town" and other sections of The New Yorker where he has been a regular contributor for some 20 years. Tom’s work is seen in many other national and international publications, from Entertainment Weekly to Newsweek, Forbes to Bon Appetit, Town and Country to Mother Jones, as well as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and more. Trained as a pianist at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Tom is self-taught as an artist. Working primarily in brush and ink, Tom's drawing style pays homage to many of the classic American illustrators and cartoonists of the 1920s and 1930s. He frequently portrays musicians, doing regular work with the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival and Awards (Kalamazoo, Michigan), the Risør International Chamber Music Festival in Norway, and Cal Performances at the University of California, Berkeley.  Read More »


Take 5: Patrice Michaels

by Dan Hickey

This edition of Take 5 features acclaimed soprano and composer Patrice Michaels! Her upcoming album with pianist Kuang-Hao Huang, Notorious RBG in Song, is a salute to the life and work of legal pioneer and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Showcasing both her vocal and composition talents, the album contains the world-premiere recording of Michaels's THE LONG VIEW: A Portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Nine Songs along with songs by composers Stacy Garrop, Vivian Fung, Lori Laitman, and an aria from the comic opera Scalia/Ginsburg by Derrick Wang. Notorious RBG in Song is currently available for pre-order; all CDs and downloads ship June 8!  Read More »


In this edition of Take 5, we're shining a spotlight on world-renowned violin soloist and longtime Cedille recording artist Rachel Barton Pine. Celebrated as a leading interpreter of classical works, her performances and studio recordings combine her innate gift for emotional communication and her scholarly fascination with historical research. Rachel's next Cedille release, J.S. Bach: The Sonatas for Violin & Harpsichord, explores Bach's accompanied violin sonatas as trio sonatas with equally important roles for the violin and the harpsichord’s treble and bass lines. Along with harpsichordist Jory Vinikourthe album sets a new standard for a body of work that Bach’s son, C.P.E., considered among his father’s finest compositions (available now for pre-order; all CDs and downloads ship May 11). 

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?

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This edition of Take 5 features an interview with Chicago composer James M. Stephenson! Stephenson came late to his full-time composing career, having first earned a degree from the New England Conservatory in trumpet performance, and then going on to perform for 17 seasons in the Naples Philharmonic in Florida. As such, the composer is largely self-taught, making his voice truly individual and his life’s work all the more remarkable. The Boston Herald raved about his “straightforward, unabashedly beautiful sounds,” suggesting “Stephenson deserves to be heard again and again!” Cedille is thrilled to record his works for the first time on Liquid Melancholy — Clarinet Music of James M. Stephenson (available April 13, 2018!). The album features virtuoso clarinetist John Bruce Yeh of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a program of Stephenson's works for clarinet along with the Lake Forest Symphony with maestro Vladimir Kulenovic, Grammy-winning ensemble Chicago Pro Musica, oboist Alex Klein, and pianist Patrick Godon.  Read More »


Best of 2017!

by Dan Hickey

Cedille recordings made a big impact in 2017! The artistry of Chicago's finest classical musicians reaches music fans and critics nationwide and around the world thanks to the support of listeners like you. Overwhelming critical acclaim landed our most recent recordings on "Best of 2017" lists across the country! We can't make to make a splash in 2018 with our first release of the year, Paddle to the Sea by Third Coast Percussion (available February 9).  Read More »

Our first release of 2018 comes from "one of the country's finest new music ensembles" (Chicago Reader), Grammy-winning Third Coast Percussion! Paddle to the Sea, the group's second album on Cedille Records, is out February 9 and transports listeners into a realm of imaginative sounds and world-premiere recordings evoking the aquatic world. It's an eclectic collection of works including a new group composition from TCP titled Paddle to the Sea (conceived as a live soundtrack to the charming, Oscar-nominated 1966 film of the same name), Jacob Druckman’s Reflections on the Nature of Water, new arrangements of selections from 12 Pieces for Ballet by Philip Glass, and Chigwaya, a traditional Shona call to water spirits arranged by Zimbabwean composer Musekiwa Chingdoza. We interviewed ensemble member Sean Connors for our first Take 5! of the year. Enjoy!  Read More »

Cedille's Grammy-nominated recording engineer Bill Maylone gave us an up-close look at one of his oldest, finest microphones: an RCA model dating from 1932! He used it to record superstar baritone Thomas Hampson at the Merit School of Music's Gottlieb Hall for his upcoming album Songs from Chicago (available August 2018). Watch the exclusive interview below:  Read More »

We're excited about Eighth Blackbird's newest album! Olagón: a Cantata in Doublespeak is an innovative collaboration with Irish vocalist Iarla Ó Lionáird, composer/fiddler Dan Trueman, and Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon that puts a modern twist on the ancient Irish epic Táin Bó Cúailnge. The music is a unique combination of contemporary chamber music, fiddling, and traditional Irish singing that is truly genre-defying — not quite song, not quite modern classical, not quite folk. Eighth Blackbird, called  “one of the smartest, most dynamic contemporary classical ensembles on the planet” by the Chicago Tribune, is hardly a stranger to the term "genre-defying." For our November Spotify playlist, 8BB flutist Nathalie Joachim contributed some of the non-classical tunes that inspire and influence her and Eighth Blackbird's cutting-edge performances, recordings, and commissions. Take a listen below and read about why she chose each track! Olagón is available HERE on November 10.  Read More »

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