Special Guests
Saturday, December 20, 1997

Of Garrick Ohlsson's final Chopin recital at Lincoln Center, New York magazine said, "Chopin-playing in the here and now does not get much better than this." Ohlsson devoted the bulk of his 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons to the complete solo piano works of Chopin, cycles that played to sold-out houses across the nation and were later recorded for Arabesque. Ohlsson's extensive concerto repertoire embraces far more than Chopin: it includes more than 70 works for piano and orchestra, ranging from Haydn and Mozart to 20th-century masters. An avid chamber musician, Ohlsson has collaborated with noted ensembles including the Cleveland, Emerson, Takacs, and Tokyo String Quartets and-together with violinist Jorja Fleezanis and cellist Michael Grebanier-is a founding member of the San Francisco-based FOG trio. Ohlsson was born in White Plains, New York, began studying piano at the age of eight, attended the Westchester Conservatory of Music, and at age 13 entered The Juilliard School. He won the top prizes at the 1966 Busoni Competition in Italy and the 1968 Montreal Piano Competition, and then was propelled into worldwide fame with his 1970 Gold Medal triumph at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Ohlsson has completed nearly a dozen tours of Poland, where he has become virtually a national hero. On Wednesday, February 4, Ohlsson returns to the Town Hall for a recital, part of the 1997-98 Landmark Performances season, a new classical music series at the Town Hall.

Walter Bobbie directed the current revival of Chicago, which earned him a 1997 Tony Award for Best Director. He continues to put up more touring productions of Chicago, which The New York Times called a "pulse-racing revival" and hailed Bobbie's work as "delightfully inventive direction [that] sustains just the right tone of heady irony." Bobbie is also an actor with a long list of Broadway and off-Broadway credits. He received a Drama Desk nomination for his performance as Nicely-Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls. Other New York credits include Assassins, Getting Married, Anything Goes, CafŽ Crown, Driving Miss Daisy, Up From Paradise, I Love My Wife, A History of the American Film, Dames At Sea, and the original Grease. He has appeared on numerous televison shows and in films including Edie and Pen, Stephen King's Thinner, and The First Wives' Club. Bobbie is also a director whose all-star Fiorello! In Concert premiered the Encores! series at City Center. Bobbie conceived and directed Rodgers and Hammerstein's A Grand Night for Singing at the Roundabout Theatre; directed Christopher Durang's Durang, Durang, six one-act plays at the Manhattan Theater Club; and worked with Andrea Martin on her one-woman show Nude Nude Totally Nude.

John McDonough has performed as an actor-narrator with many chamber-music groups, symphony orchestras, and choral ensembles, including Speculum Musicae, L'Ensemble, Soni Fidelis, the Annapolis Brass Quintet, and Chorus Angelicus. In 1995, he performed the title role in the Glimmberglass Opera Company's production of Britten's Paul Bunyan, and in 1996 he protrayed eight characters in the Centennial Theater Festival's production of Greater Tuna. McDonough has a great rapport with children and has spent four decades doing children's educational theater, which made him an obvious candidate when a nationwide search was launched for the new Captain Kangaroo. He emerged as the Captain and is seen each week on The All New Captain Kangaroo (Fox Network). McDonough has been appointed the first Ambassador to RIF (Reading is Fundamental) and continues to work at Recorded Books, Inc., where he has narrated more than 40 titles. The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan has been lucky enough to have McDonough as its Artist-In-Residence for the last 15 years.

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

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