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Classical artists take time out for Britney and Johnny.

Byline: Paul Denison The Register-Guard

Classical musicians work hard, wear black and play serious music for a living. But what kind of music do they like to hear to when they're alone? Do they just sit there studying scores and listening to recordings of music they need to learn for their next concert? Sure, some of the time.

But not all the time. Classical music may be their meat and potatoes, or tofu and polenta, but their tastes are a lot broader than you might expect.

When we asked some Oregon Bach Festival performers to share their musical secrets with us, we found, among others, a violinist who likes Portuguese fado, a pianist who confessed to liking some tracks by Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, a baritone who loves the piano, an oboist who studies Bach's cantatas, a soprano who's got Johnny Cash's "Live at Folsom Prison" album in her CD changer and a flutist whose musical hero is a viol player.

Of those who responded to our quick e-mail survey, only one listens primarily to classical music. Here's what they told us:

Sanford Sylvan

An Emmy and Grammy award-winning baritone, Sylvan will sing Schubert's "Winterreise" song cycle on Wednesday.

Musical tastes: "I love the piano, so it's always Glenn Gould, Maurizio Pollini and Wilhelm Kempff. I also love traditional Celtic music: Altan, Alu Bain and June Tabor."

Last month's top five playlist: Sviatislau Richter, Rachminoff preludes; Wilhem Kempff, Bach transcriptions; Keith Jarrett, Koln concert; Miles Davis, "Sketches of Spain"; Dougie Maclean, "Tribute to Robert Burns."

Currently in the CD changer: Dougie Maclean, "Craigie Dhu" and Eva Cassidy, "Songbird."

Kathleen Lenski

Violinist Lenski is the leader of the festival chamber orchestra.

Musical tastes: `In addition to classical, I enjoy blues, '50s rock, jazz, bluegrass and folk songs.'

Last month's top five: Bach, Aretha Franklin, Rachmaninoff, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan.

Currently in the CD changer: Bach, Joni Mitchell, Lyle Lovett, Greg Brown, Vivaldi, Bonnie Raitt.

Guy Few

Few was featured as a trumpet soloist in an all-baroque program June 27.

Musical tastes: "I have very eclectic tastes. My CD collection ranges from baroque to contemporary to avant-garde."

Last month's top five: Strauss: Four last songs to "Death and Transfiguration" (Vienna Philharmonic); Bach, oboe concerti; "Kill Bill" soundtrack (great trumpet number: "Flight of the Bumblebee'); "Rosenkavalier," Elizabeth Schwarzkopf; "Vaughn-Williams: Music for Strings" (Academy of St. Martin in the Fields).

Currently in the CD changer: "Rosemary Clooney: I Miss New York."

Elizabeth Baker

Principal violin and soloist, Baker was featured in the June 27 all-baroque concert.

Musical tastes: "I enjoy a wide range of music. Given the choice, I would probably listen to reggae, rock, jazz and world music before listening to a Beethoven symphony, as I play classical music as a concert musician."

Last month's top five: Norah Jones, "Come Away With Me"; Mariza, "Fado"; Don Ellis Orchestra, "Electric Bath"; Amadeus Quartet, Britten String Quartet; Anonymous 4, "American Angels."

Currently in the CD changer: "Actually, nothing. I store away the discs after I've finished listening to them."

Allan Vogel

Oboist Vogel was featured in a "Bach to the Romantics" program June 26 with pianist Robert Levin.

Musical tastes: "I am very much into J.S. Bach and try to study his cantatas. I love all classical music and jazz as well."

Last month's top five: Bach cantatas, Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, Mozart and Beethoven piano and wind quintets, Handel concerti grossi, Mozart serenades.

Currently in the CD changer: "What is in my CD player right now, as well as most of the time, is Bach cantatas."

Chungliang Al Huang

Tai ji master Chungliang Al Huang was featured June 28 in a "The Tao of Windflow," a chamber music program with flutist Lorna McGhee, harpist Heidi Krutzen and violist David Harding.

Musical tastes: "My cross-cultural experiences help me to love all music, but mostly classical. Bach is the ultimate. Jazz, yes! And all authentic ethnic music from the heart and soul of the real people around the world."

Last month's top five: Bach always; Satchmo, Miles Davis, John Coltrane; Toro Takemitsu; Chinese Pipa, Qin and Erhu classics; musical theater music, especially Stephen Sondheim's Broadway revival, "Assassins."

Currently in the CD changer; "Bach and Toru Takemitsu, rehearsal CD played by McGhee, Krutzen and Harding, great East/West synthesis."

Gabriel Kahane

Pianist Kahane and his father, Jeffrey, were featured in a June 20 pop and jazz program.

Musical tastes: "Duke Ellington put it best when he said, `There are two kinds of music: Good music, and the other kind.'

"In the spirit of those words, I don't think much about genre. In any of the music that I love, be it an orchestral work by Ades or Mahler, a country song by Ryan Adams or Neko Case, or improvised music from the downtown New York scene, the things that inspire and move me are the same: emotional impact, whether evocative of laughter or tears; harmonic, melodic and architectural idiosyncrasies; narrative techniques, both abstract or literal; and so forth. To sum up, I like honest, interesting music."

Last month's top five: Thomas Ades, "Asyla" (Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra); Wilco, "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"; "Charlie Parker: The Best of the Dial Years"; "Radu Lupu: Brahms Klavierstucke"; Justin Timberlake's "Justified" and Britney Spears' "In the Zone" (`Admittedly, I only like a couple of songs on each of these records, but man, when they're good, they're great. Check out `Senorita' on Justin's record and `Toxic' on Britney's.')

Currently on the CD changer: "Since the only CD player I own is in my laptop, I listen to most of my music on my iPod, and thus have a bad habit of mixing and matching."

Elizabeth Keusch

A soprano, Keusch was a soloist in the Mozart Requiem and Mendelssohn's Psalm 42 last Friday and will be a soloist in Mendelssohn's "Elijah" on July 11.

Musical tastes: "I get endless amounts of fulfillment through my work, which is predominantly by performing `classical,' say, Western art music. However, I like slammin' grooves, good lyrics, and a good tune doesn't hurt. More often than not, I prefer silence."

Last month's top five: Bach's Mass in B Minor, Debussy piano preludes played by Walter Gieseking, Charles Mingus' "Black Saint and the Sinner Lady," the Beatles White Album and Stevie Wonder's "Innervisions."

Currently on the CD changer: Bach's Goldberg Variations (Glenn Gould's '80s recording), Bill Dixon's "Intents and Purposes" (Miles Davis predecessor), Sarah Vaughn with Duke Ellington and his band, Johnny Cash "Live at Folsom Prison" and Plastic Ono Band (John Lennon).

Lorna McGhee

McGhee, a flutist, will be featured Thursday in Krzysztof Penderecki's Flute Concerto, with the composer conducting, and Friday in a program of Celtic and classical music with violist David Harding and harpist Heidi Krutzen.

Musical tastes: "I am a big fan of peace and quiet. But I married violist David Harding. He has 3,000 CDs, and we have a very small apartment."

Last month's top five: Rokia Tragre (Africa singer), Kelly Joe Phelps, Monteverdi, Bob Marley, David Sylvian plus any of Jordi Savall's recordings (`my hero'). "And no road trip is complete without Sheryl Crow."

Currently in the CD changer: Penderecki Flute Concerto. (`I'm doing my homework.')


Norah Jones and Johnny Cash are among the artists that classical musicians involved in the Bach Festival listen to. Principal violin and soloist Elizabeth Baker likes "Come Away With Me" by Jones; soprano Elizabeth Keusch enjoys the "Live at Folsom Prison" album by Cash. INSIDE Helmuth Rilling: German choir makes its first trip to the festival / E3 Calendar of events: All the week's activities are listed / E5
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Title Annotation:Entertainment
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 4, 2004
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