MacArthur Fellows Chris Thile & Edgar Meyer to Play Meany Hall this Fall
Mandolinist/composer Chris Thile, of Punch Brothers, and bassist/composer Edgar Meyer will team up again in Fall 2014. These two MacArthur Fellows will cross traditional boundaries in a diverse program of largely original music. The duo has collaborated on several critically acclaimed projects, including the Grammy-winning Goat Rodeo Sessions, a 2008 recording of original compositions (Nonesuch Records) and, most recently, Chris Thile's 2013 solo recording, Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1, produced by Meyer. Their new album, Bass & Mandolin, will be released by Nonesuch on September 9, just prior to the launch of the duo's North American tour.
In a review of his quintet Punch Brothers' latest Nonesuch recording, Who's Feeling Young Now?, London's Independent called Chris Thile "the most remarkable mandolinist in the world." The McArthur Foundation echoed that assessment when it named Thile one of its 23 MacArthur Fellows for 2012-a recipient of its prestigious "Genius Grant." In honoring Thile, the MacArthur Foundation noted that his "lyrical fusion of traditional bluegrass with elements from a range of other musical traditions is giving rise to a new genre of contemporary music."
Prior to recording Punch Brothers acclaimed new disc, Thile completed an album of tradition-upending interpretations of bluegrass classics with guitarist Michael Daves, Sleep With One Eye Open, which garnered a 2011 Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album. He also recorded The Goat Rodeo Sessions with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Stuart Duncan, and Thile's mentor and frequent collaborator Edgar Meyer, which won the 2012 Grammy for Best Folk Album.
After a lengthy 2012 Punch Brothers tour, Thile, always up for another challenge, immediately embarked on a series of duo dates with fellow virtuoso, the jazz pianist Brad Mehldau. Said the Washington Post, "Their complex work translated to plain-faced beauty: simple, direct and exquisite." In between his Punch Brothers shows, Thile also found time to present his mandolin concerto, Ad astra per alas porci with several chamber orchestras around the United States, including a date at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium.
A child prodigy, Thile first rose to fame as a member of Grammy Award-winning trio Nickel Creek, with whom he released three albums and sold two million records. As a soloist he has released five albums, as well as performing and recording extensively as a duo with Edgar Meyer and with fellow eminent mandolinist Mike Marshall. Other stellar musicians with whom Thile has collaborated include Béla Fleck and Hilary Hahn. Nonesuch Records released Thile's most recent solo recording, Bach: Partitas and Sonatas, Vol.1, produced by Meyer, on August 6, 2013.
In demand as both a performer and a composer, Edgar Meyer has formed a role in the music world unlike any other. Hailed by The New Yorker as "...the most remarkable virtuoso in the relatively un-chronicled history of his instrument," Mr. Meyer's unparalleled technique and musicianship in combination with his gift for composition have brought him to the fore, where he is appreciated by a vast, varied audience. His uniqueness in the field was recognized by a MacArthur Award in 2002.
As a solo classical bassist, Mr. Meyer can be heard on a concerto album with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra conducted by Hugh Wolff featuring Bottesini's Gran Duo with Joshua Bell, Meyer's own Double Concerto for Bass and Cello with Yo-Yo Ma, Bottesini's Bass Concerto No. 2, and Meyer's own Concerto in D for Bass. He has also recorded an album featuring three of Bach's Unaccompanied Suites for Cello. In 2006, he released a self-titled solo recording on which he wrote and recorded all of the music, incorporating piano, guitar, mandolin, dobro, banjo, gamba, and double bass. In 2007, recognizing his wide-ranging recording achievements, Sony/BMG released a compilation of The Best of Edgar Meyer. In 2011 Mr. Meyer joined cellist Yo-Yo Ma, mandolinist Chris Thile, and fiddler Stuart Duncan for the Sony Masterworks recording The Goat Rodeo Sessions which was awarded the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Folk Album.