Brad Mehldau, Piano and Chris Thile, Mandolin
Pianist Brad Mehldau is first and foremost an improviser who cherishes the surprise and wonder that can occur from a spontaneous musical idea expressed directly, in real time. But he also has a deep fascination for the formal architecture of music.
Chris Thile is best known as the mandolinist and a singer for the progressive alt-bluegrass trio Nickel Creek, and for his work with Punch Brothers, but he has also collaborated with artists like Béla Fleck, Mark O’Connor, Aoife O’Donovan, Edgar Meyer and Yo-Yo Ma.
Together, these two artists take music in unexpected directions. John Fordham of The Guardian (UK) remarked of one of their recent performances, “… their musicality and sympathy for each other’s emerging ideas made [this concert] an unexpected tour de force.”
This performance is made possible, in part, by the Patricia C. Solomon Fund for Piano.
NEA Arts Magazine Interview
In this interview that we helped to arrange Chris talks about his music and inspirations.
Review by The Washington Post
…What made this set magical was that the pleasures of Mehldau and Thile’s music were every bit as immediate and razor-sharp as pop at its rawest and most primal. “Shade Tree” was as much a virtuoso showcase as “Dexterity,” with Thile transforming his axe into a percussion instrument and Mehldau somehow getting the sound of a cello from the keys, but it built to a cathartic rush when Thile began singing.
– MICHAEL J. WEST, The Washington Post, Saturday, April 13, 2013
Interview with Brad Mehldau
If I have the opportunity to work with musicians I admire, I grab it. It always makes me grow when I step out of my comfort zone, and I find a different way of communicating.
– BRAD MEHLDAU as interviewed by DON BALL, National Endowment for the Arts' Art Works blog, Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Review by The New York Times
On Tuesday night they played a sold-out show at the Bowery Ballroom, kicking off a nine-city tour…They worked together as an acoustic duo with no reinforcements, Mr. Thile cradling his mandolin in the crook of an arm and Mr. Mehldau seated at a Steinway that stretched nearly the length of the stage. There was some courteous give and take in their 90-minute show, but more often a balance of enthusiastic risk and intuitive accord.
– NATE CHINEN, The New York Times, Wednesday, April 10, 2013