John Miller: Professional Bassist / Broadway Contractor
John Miller plays the bass and if you were a fan of that amazing, fantastical series about a NYC symphony orchestra – you know John Miller as Dee Dee – the drug supplying timpanist in “Mozart in the Jungle.” John’s only other acting role was in Cy Coleman’s “I Love My Wife” for which he won a Drama Desk Award.
But John Miller is mainly a Music Contractor having put together the pit bands for over 130 Broadway productions. He has worked on Broadway's biggest hits such as “The Producers,” “Jersey Boys,” and “Hairspray.” And -- as a bassist -- has played with Madonna, Bob Dylan, and Elvis Costello, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and the New York Philharmonic – to name a few. I caught up with this Upper West Sider hunkered down in his rural home with his wife, Connie Barron, on the NY–Massachusetts border.
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31. Tim Goplerud: A Pre-COVID Talk at The Dead Poets Bar59:31Reaching back a bit for this conversation with music composer Tim Goplerud. We got together several months before the COVID19 pandemic and talked about this man's delightful, joyful, and can't-get-it-out-of-your head music -- but in a really good way.
30. Wade Ripka's Multiple Musical Personas23:51The week before Wade Ripka was on the New York Lawn Bowling Green in Central Park with his small band playing for the "Old Timers Day" Tournament. It was the first paying gig he and his musicians had had for over seven months. He was on the Green a week later -- this time bowling -- and after our game I sat down with this talented and multifaceted musician to catchup on how his career is progressing and his new interests. This talented guitarist and band leader and music transcriber -- always has a new interest -- right now it is the Turkish lute -- Bağlama.Wade is a wild and loving cat and I am glad to call him a friend.
29. Pedro Cortes: Flamenco Guitar Master27:17Pedro Cortes is a master Flamenco guitar musician with roots in Spanish Gypsy traditions. He learned his craft from his family's close friend Flamenco legion -- 'Uncle' Sabicas. Mr Cortes performed professionally since he was 17 – all over the world – St. Louis Opera -- New York Grand Opera -- Guthrie Theatre’s production of Lorca’s "Blood Wedding" – and he had a regular gig at Alegerias – at the Spanish Benevolent Society -- until the pandemic hit. The artist was interviewed before his performance at a music salon arranged by Deirdre Towers in honor of her longtime companion who had recently died -- Jared Newman. Pedro played his own composition "Mineros" on Jared's guitar. NOTE: In the program notes photo - Pedro Cortes is playing the blanca guitar commissioned by Paul Jared Newman and made by Andrés Marvi in Ferreirola, Spain.
28. Mark Kaplan - Part Two44:18Part 2 of a two-part HD episode. Mark Kaplan is a leading violinist of our time. He has performed solo at nearly every major American orchestra including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras and many more. Mark Kaplan has collaborated with the world's foremost conductors, among them Ormandy, Maazel, Masur, Foster, Gatti, Rattle, Slatkin and so many others. In Part 1 of this conversation, we talked about Mark's early career and how he got started as a soloist for the world's foremost orchestras. In Part 2 we focused on his chamber music and his most interesting predictions of where big-time professional music will be after the pandemic. Along the way we included excerpts from Mark's performances of Bach, Bartok, Lerdahl and Schoenfield. This is a wonderful listen and should not be missed.CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
27. Mark Kaplan - Part One49:51Part 1 of a two-part HD episode. Mark Kaplan is a leading violinist of our time. He has performed solo at nearly every major American orchestra including the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras and many more. Mark Kaplan has collaborated with the world's foremost conductors, among them Ormandy, Maazel, Masur, Foster, Gatti, Rattle, Slatkin and so many others. In Part 1 of this conversation, we talked about Mark's early career and how he got started as a soloist for the world's foremost orchestras. In Part 2 we focused on his chamber music and his most interesting predictions of where big-time professional music will be after the pandemic. Along the way we included exceprts from Mark's performances of Bach, Bartok, Lerdahl and Schoenfield. This is a wonderful listen and should not be missed.CONTACT: email@example.com
26. Composers Concordance Social Bubble Salon45:09Joining me for this Hunkered Down episode are three musician/composers and one poet. Shortly after the COVID19 lockdown in NYC, these artist produced socially-distanced music events and broadcast them over their Facebook pages -- and called it -- The “Composers Concordance – Social Bubble Salon.”Each of these artists is a composer and known performer in today's music world of New Music. In this HD episode, we talked about their work, the origins of the Composers Concordance, and then listened to excerpts of the music they have been presenting at their Social Bubble Salons.
25. LIVE! Steven Feifke's Jazz Quartet -- January 202050:21This Hunkered Down episode takes us back to that time when we could sit down with our neighbors at a great bar and listen to wonderful live jazz. This program was first presented on Upper West Side Radio's "UWS LIVE" program. Here is a look-back to a January 2020 recording of Steven Feifke's Jazz Quartet at The Gin Mill's Monday Night Speakeasy.
24. David Schnitter w/ Art Blakey & many others42:15David Schnitter is a master Jazz tenor saxophonist who early in his career played in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers from 1974 to 1979 and then played with Freddie Hubbard. During a stellar career, Mr Schnitter has worked with Frank Foster, Charles Earland and Groove Holmes – and other Jazz greats. He has performed in the major Jazz venues in NYC and around the world. Last year he recorded a CD in Barcelona to be released in 2020 featuring Yaniv Taubenhouse on piano, Jorge Rossii on drums and vibes and Masa Kamaguchi on bass. We thank Joel Bernstein for inviting David Schnitter on Hunkered Down.
23. Yelena Shmulenson and Allen Lewis Rickman01:04:29Here are two actors working in – and out – of New York City’s Yiddish Theatre. Ever since the great immigration of Jews from Europe New York City has been the center of Yiddish theatre which continues at such venues as the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbienne in downtown Manhattan since 1915.Yelena Shmulenson was born in Belarus and came to the US with her family in 1993. She studied acting at Marymount College and learned Yiddish at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. And is known for her work on The Good Shepherd (2006) and Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish (2010), and inmate Boyle on “Orange is the New Black.”Allen Lewis Rickman grew up in Far Rockaway in a Yiddish-speaking family. He attended Modern Orthodox schools and studied film at Brooklyn College. He is known for his work on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Boardwalk Empire as actor and translator, You Don't Know Jack and The Cobbler (2014) – and is quite busy as a Yiddish translator and he lectures and writes about Yiddish Theatre. Yelena and Allen are probably best known for the brilliant opening of the Coen brother’s “A Serious Man” which we got to at the end of the conversation. And -- do not miss Yelena's Allen's rendition of a piece about a kazen-lover and baseball.