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School’s Out: 5 Sweet Summer Festivals in College Towns

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Just because the school year is over, don't expect college towns to turn into ghost towns. Here's how five cities are living it up in the summertime.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor Summer Festival

Through 7/8

A boutique music and arts festival, the three-week spectacle offers over 100 varied activities and events. The Ann Arbor Summer Festival produces two concurrent programs— one indoor and one outdoor—at different venues and spaces across the University of Michigan campus and in downtown Ann Arbor. The indoor Mainstage series includes ticketed performances of world-class music, dance, theater, spoken word and comedy. This year's line-up: Circa, an Australian circus troupe, This American Life co-creator and host, Ira Glass and Grammy-winning jazz artist Esperanza Spalding. The outdoor program, Top of the Park, is held on the campus green and offers free concerts, movies under the stars, open-air spectacles, and fun family attractions.

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5 Food-and-Music Fests We’re Looking Forward to This Summer

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The chef-as-rock-star trend may have played itself out, but here’s a new spin: star chefs plus music icons. And no, they aren’t just sizing up each others’ tattoos. At a handful of events from coast to coast, our country’s top toques are catering alongside the most anticipated stage shows of the summer. Below, a few that we’re especially excited about.

The Great GoogaMooga (May 19-20, Brooklyn)
New York’s first food-and-music fest makes its debut in a big way, with 73 chefs (including David Chang, April Bloomfield, Marcus Samuelsson, and Daniel Boulud) and 150+ wineries all aboard. As for music, expect The Roots, Hall & Oates, and Preservation Jazz Hall Band. And the best part? It’s free to enter and open to the public—though you may want to splurge on ExtraMooga, with culinary demos and tastings by industry greats like Ruth Riechl and Anthony Bourdain.

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Q+A: Spring for Music with Conductor Jacques Lacombe

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This week and through May 12, six North American orchestras arrive in New York to participate in Spring for Music at Carnegie Hall, a festival that celebrates the individuality of musical enterprise, from Alabama to Edmonton, Houston to Milwaukee, and inventiveness and adventurousness in programming.  Audiences get the chance to hear these orchestras, some in Carnegie debuts, at which new music or music, familiar or rare, in new contexts is key.  And the price of these musical adventures: $25 for all seats, regardless of the location in the hall—front row to top balcony. Carnegie’s celebrated acoustics ensure every ensemble will be heard at its best.

I spoke with Jacques Lacombe, music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra(NJSO),  one of the participants who is traveling the least but which brings one of the widest-ranging programs.

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Musician (and World Traveler) Morley Debuts New Album

A Jamaica, Queens native, singer-songwriter Morley makes music that is global, to say the least. Her latest album, Undivided (due out today, April 3rd), was recorded hot off the heels of a year of travel and takes cues from the music of the Sahara and Morocco. Morley’s brand of internationally influenced pop has been pegged by some as the missing link between Sade and Joni Mitchell, touting love and tolerance to hip-hop beats and acoustic guitar. And well, we love it.

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Ludovic Morlot talks Seattle Symphony

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French conductor Ludovic Morlot's appointment as music director of the Seattle Symphony is one of the most exciting in the world of classical music. The 38-year-old Morlot has ideas—lots of them—from expanding repertoire to building 21st audiences for live music.  He talks with T+L in this, his first season in Seattle, which began in fall 2011 and included throwing out the first pitch at a Seattle Mariners baseball game. (For more on Seattle, see "Seattle State of Mind" by Gary Shteyngart in the March 2011 issue of Travel + Leisure).

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Composer Mason Bates talks Mass Transmission

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The San Francisco Symphony, with Michael Tilson Thomas its music director, has been celebrating its centennial throughout the 2011-12 season in a special, generous, and, for music-lovers, innovative fashion: first, it invited six of the leading U.S. orchestras to perform before San Francisco audiences, and, now this week (March 27-30) in New York's Carnegie Hall, the SFS brings a festival entitled American Mavericks, which features the music of pioneers of the ever evolving American sound from the 20th and young 21st century: Charles Ives to Meredith Monk, Aaron Copland to Steve Reich, Aaron Copland to John Adams.  Among four premieres is Mass Transmission by 35-year-old composer Mason Bates. T+L talks with Bates about the score, which features electronics, the sonic possibilities of which he has become expert, both as a composer and as DJ Masonic, his alter-ego. See the interview after the jump.

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On Our Radar: Savannah Music Festival

Savannah music Savannah is one of those mysterious places that I imagined coming to life in the dusty pages of antiquarian books. Other than what I saw in Clint Eastwood’s colorful depiction of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and some Civil War trivia, I didn’t know much about it. So when the opportunity arose to check out a new music festival, Savannah Stopover, I jumped at the chance to experience the Southern legend firsthand.

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Q&A: VJ Pogo Helps You Hear the World

Nick Bertke is commonly known as Pogo, the Internet sensation whose music videos have garnered a cult following worldwide.  He was born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand, and now lives in Australia.  As a teenager, he began taking film clips from Disney movies, spliced their sound bites into distinct melodies, and then posted the remixed product onto YouTube. At first they were taken down from the website, presumably for copyright infringement, but with their viral popularity, he was soon commissioned by Disney to make them for the company.  

Now, at age 23, and after a few international tours, he is traversing the globe to work on a more personal project, called World Remix. Using film shot by his own team, he is showing us his travels with an ear for its sounds and an eye for its sights.  I had the opportunity to talk with Nick about this unique career.

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Hotspots on Melbourne's High Street

shopping in Melbourne's Northcote neighborhood

You’ll find offbeat fashion boutiques, live music venues, and more on this off-the-beaten-path strip in Melbourne's Northcote neighborhood, a new hub for the city’s creative-cool crowd.

Hand-printed totes and knit hats—plus other crafty accessories such as earrings made from comic book pages—are the stock-in-trade at I Dream a Highway. 259 High St.; 61-3/9481-8858.

Northcote Social Club showcases indie musicians from near and far. Don’t miss the upscale pub grub served in the outdoor beer garden. 301 High St.; 61-3/9489-3917; dinner for two $50.

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Beloved Austin Band The Gourds Dishes on BBQ Joints, Travel, and Its New Album

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Austin’s roots rock veterans the Gourds are no strangers to the road. For seventeen years they’ve toured the U.S. and abroad with their sweet and spicy brand of southern country-blues-rock. With a new record out, Old Mad Joy, and a whopping nine other studio albums under their belt, the band shows no signs of slowing down. The Old Mad Joy tour takes the Texans from San Francisco to Philadelphia and dozens of towns in between. Frontman Kevin “Shinyribs” Russell calls the live show “kind of a cross between a revival, a house party, a pep rally and a pow wow.” We connected with the guys to ask about their time on tour and tips for would-be road warriors.

Q: You hail from Austin, which has been an indie hotbed for some time now (here’s looking at you, SXSW). Have you noticed a shift in the city’s music scene over the course of your careers?

A: Yes, the scene has been constantly changing for decades now. The biggest change has come from the economic boom of the last 15 years; dot com bubble/high tech expansion and real estate bubble. Also the focus of the city on encouraging downtown residential occupancy and a ridiculous sound ordinance has transformed live music into a migratory population in search of affordable leases and appropriate neighborhoods. The musicians and service workers sort of gravitate nearer to these places. So, lots of them are now in east Austin. The styles have become much more diverse and the talent level much more exceptional.

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