Special Guests
Saturday, June 30, 2007

Jaime Laredo

Born in Bolivia, Jaime Laredo started playing the violin at the age of five. He performed his first recital at eight, and made his orchestral debut with the San Francisco Symphony at 11. By the time he was 17, he had won the Queen of Brussels Competition - the youngest winner in that competition's history. Now, in more than 40 years of performing, he has appeared with the world's leading orchestras, including the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, the Chicago, Boston and London symphonies, and the New York and Royal philharmonics. His conducting career has included appearances with the Baltimore, Hartford, Houston, Montreal, New Jersey, Ottawa, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle and Utah symphonies, as well as a long-term association with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Among his honors are a Grammy Award and a Deutsche Schallplatten Prize. With his wife, cellist Sharon Robinson, and pianist Joseph Kalichstein, he tours as the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. Since 1971, he has taught at the Curtis Institute of Music, and several years ago, he joined the faculty of Indiana University. He is Music Director of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Brandenberg Ensemble.

Erica Rhodes

Just a tiny kid when she first appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, Erica Rhodes is now a seasoned actor. She studied at Boston University's College of Fine Arts, and she is a recent graduate of the Atlantic Theater Conservatory in New York. With some colleagues, she started The Group B Project, a New York theater ensemble based in Manhattan's West Village. Her acting credits with Group B include "White Russian" and "All in the Timing," an evening of comedic short plays written by David Ives. She appeared Off-Broadway in "Right as Ron," and she toured with TheatreWorksUSA's production of "Ramona Quimby."

Sharon Robinson

Sharon Robinson's father played string bass. Her mother played violin. Her siblings are all string players. What's a girl to do? Sharon became a world-class cellist - that's what. After studying at the North Carolina School for the Arts, the University of Southern California and the Peabody Conservatory, she made her New York debut in 1974. Since then, she has played at numerous festivals and has appeared with the National Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia and Minnesota orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Boston, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and San Francisco symphonies, in addition to the London Symphony, Helsinki Philharmonic and Zürich's Tonhalle Orchestra. She is a member of the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, formed more than 30 years ago with her husband, violinist Jaime Laredo, and pianist Joseph Kalichstein. She has been honored with the Avery Fisher Recital Award, the Leventritt Foundation Award, the Piatigorsky Memorial Award and a Grammy nomination. Robinson is on the faculty of the Indiana University School of Music.

Andy Stein

Andy Stein (violin, saxophone) definitely has far-flung musical leanings, He collaborated with Garrison Keillor to create the opera Mr. and Mrs. Olson, and he has performed with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Eric Clapton, Smashing Pumpkins, Billy Joel, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan.

Inga Swearingen

Inga Swearingen always loved singing, whether it was with her elementary school choir in San Luis Obispo, California, or writing her own songs and accompanying herself on the guitar, or during her years of voice lessons. But it may have been joining a jazz choir while pursuing her education at Cuesta College that sealed her decision to be a jazz singer. In 2003, she traveled to Switzerland to study under Swiss artist Susanne Abbuehl, and later that year she won the Shure Jazz Voice competition at the world-renowned Montreux Jazz Festival. After earning a master's degree in choral conducting from Florida State University, Inga went back to San Luis Obispo, where she now performs and works on recording projects. She has also returned to Cuesta College - her old alma mater - this time as a teacher. Her debut CD, Learning How To Fly, was released in 2003. Her latest, Reverie, is on the Rhythome label.

James Taylor

Safe to say, jillions of people still have a copy of Sweet Baby James on vinyl. How could you part with an album like that? For close to four decades, James Taylor has made dozens of wonderful recordings — each new offering snapped up by legions of fans. He has been honored with five Grammys, Billboard magazine's Century Award, and induction into both the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. He made Rolling Stone's list of "100 Greatest Artists of All Time," and in 2006, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences selected him as its MusiCares Person of the Year, recognizing his contributions to the preservation of the arts, as well as his commitment to environmental and humanitarian causes. His most recent CD is James Taylor at Christmas (Columbia). Born in Boston and raised in North Carolina, Taylor now makes his home in western Massachusetts. Owen Young (cello) joins James Taylor for tonight's performance.

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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