Special Guests
Saturday, April 16, 2005

Rob Fisher

Rob Fisher is known to longtime listeners of A Prairie Home Companion for his 1989-1993 tenure as music director and as conductor of the Coffee Club Orchestra. Since then he has been music director and conductor of the Tony Award-winning Encores! series at New York's City Center since its inception in 1994. The Broadway hits Chicago and Wonderful Town began at this series. He also conducted the cast recordings of both, winning a Grammy Award with Chicago. He was the artistic advisor for Carnegie Hall's two-year Gershwin Centennial Celebration and was the music director and conductor for Ira at 100, broadcast on PBS Great Performances. He served as music director for Louisiana Purchase, which he conducted in concert at Weill Recital Hall. He's recorded fifteen albums with his Coffee Club Orchestra and eleven more with other musicians, and has performed concerts at Carnegie Hall, the New York City Opera, PBS, and the White House. As a guest artist he has led the Philadelphia, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Baltimore and National Symphonies.

Al Franken

He was born in New York City in 1951, grew up in Saint Louis Park, MN and graduated from Harvard College. He and his wife now live in New York. He was hired in 1975 as part of the writing team for the original Saturday Night Live television show, with whom he won four Emmys for writing and another for producing. In 1992 he provided commentary for CNN at the Democratic National Convention. He was a co-writer, with Ronald Bass, of the 1994 Touchstone Pictures movie When a Man Loves a Woman. He won a Grammy in 1997 for Best Comedy Album and another in 2004. He is the author of five books, including two New York Times number one best-sellers: Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations and Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them - A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. He was an executive producer and star of the NBC sitcom, LateLine, which ran in 1998 and 1999, and he currently hosts The Al Franken Show on Air America Radio.

Madeleine Peyroux

She was born in Athens, Georgia, and grew up in Brooklyn, Southern California and Paris. As a teen she was drawn to street music and in 1989 started to perform with a group of buskers. She joined the Lost Wandering Blues & Jazz Band, which toured Europe for several years. She released her first album in 1996, Dreamland, to what was called "a veritable torrent of gushing reviews," many of them comparing her to Billie Holiday. Time Magazine pronounced the album "the most exciting vocal performance by a new singer this year." She quickly went from being an American street musician living in Paris to a famous person, appearing at the Lilith Fair and opening tours for Sarah McLachlan and Cesaria Evora. Her mix of deep Southern U.S. roots and Parisian upbringing give her voice the distinctive quality that landed her latest Rounder album, Careless Love on several "best of" lists, including those published by Newsweek, Billboard, and The Wall Street Journal. As acclaimed pianist Cyrus Chestnut put it: "Madeleine has her own story to tell: with her voice, her heart, her spirit."

Jen Larson

She is a New Englander, raised in Boxford, Massachusetts, a town of 2,340 situated about 27 miles north of downtown Boston. She got into bluegrass music because she couldnít help herself; she has a background in choir but some friends had those high lonesome Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley albums and they were enough to turn her attention towards Kentucky. She's been singing professionally in New York since 2000 and has acquired a regular backup band, an up-and-coming bluegrass outfit from Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, called Straight Drive. She has recorded an album with them on their label, Cabinwood Music, titled Iíll Take a Page From Your Book.

Jennifer Rivera

Mezzo Soprano Jennifer Rivera has performed extensively with the New York City Opera as well as domestically and abroad. Her roles with NYCO include Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Lazuli in L'Etoile, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, and Meg in Mark Adamo's Little Women. She has also sung the role of Jo in Little Women in Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio. Other credits include Cherubino with Portland Opera and Cincinnati Opera, the title role in La Cenerentola with Lake George Opera and Opera di Colombia in Bogota, and Dorabella in Cosi fan Tutte with Kentucky Opera and Eugene Opera. Her upcoming engagements include performances in Japan of Little Women, Rosina in The Barber of Seville, and Mhryinne in the New York premiere of Adamo's Lysistrata with New York City Opera, as well as Hansel with Opera Columbus and Lazuli in L'Etoile with Cincinnati Opera. She graduated from the Juilliard Opera Center in 2001.

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).

Available now»

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