Special Guests
Saturday, July 7, 2007

Gillian Welch and David Rawlings

She may have grown up in West Los Angeles in the '70s, but Gillian Welch draws on the roots of rural Appalachia for her sound. She began a successful duo act with fellow Berklee School of Music student David Rawlings; they now live in Nashville and tour the world.

Prudence Johnson

Prudence Johnson's 25-year career in music has taken her from honky-tonks to Carnegie Hall, from the theater stage to the Silver Screen (Robert Redford's A River Runs Through It), from the Midwest to the Middle East. Her ten album releases include Little Dreamer, a collection of international lullabies, Moon Country, which features the music of Hoagy Carmichael, and S'Gershwin, a collaboration with pianist Dan Chouinard. She recently collaborated with four Minnesota composers to create A Girl Named Vincent, a presentation of the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay set to music to be released on CD this year, and is currently writing a play about Elisabeth Hauptmann, an uncredited collaborator of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. Prudence is a 2001 recipient of the McKnight Artists Fellowship for Performing Musicians and enjoys a steady schedule of concert appearances across the country.

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.

Calvin Trillin

Kansas City native Calvin Trillin, who has published solidly reported pieces in The New Yorker for 35 years, has been called "perhaps the finest reporter in America." Trillin, who now lives in New York, left Kansas City after high school, went to Yale, spent time in the Army, and then became a writer for Time magazine, later becoming a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine. After 15 years of producing 3,000-word pieces every 3 weeks from somewhere in the U.S.—pieces about the murder of a farmer's wife in Iowa, or the definitive history of a Louisiana restaurant—he spent seven years as a columnist for The Nation, writing what USA Today called "simply the funniest regular column in journalism." The column was syndicated to newspapers for 9 years, and since 1990, Calvin has written a piece of comic verse weekly for The Nation. His many published books include collections of his columns, comic novels, short story collections, and antic books on eating. His latest book is called Obliviously On He Sails: The Bush Administration in Rhyme, published last week.

Peter Schickele

Peter Schickele is a composer, musician, author, and satirist. He is widely recognized as one of the most versatile artists in the field of music. Born in Ames, Iowa, and brought up in Washington, D.C., and Fargo, North Dakota. He graduated from Swarthmore, and by that time had already composed and conducted four orchestral works, a great deal of chamber music, and some songs. He studied composition with Roy Harris and Darius Milhaud, and at the Juilliard School of Music with Vincent Persichetti and William Bergsma. As a composer, Peter's commissions are numerous and varied - including works for the Saint Louis Symphony, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The Audubon String Quartet, the Minnesota Orchestral Association, and many other such organizations. His most recent premieres include; Chapbook for piano, six hands (three pieces inspired by poetry), Thurber's Dogs - commissioned in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of James Thurber's birth, and Blue Set - a jazz string quartet commissioned by the Greene Quartet. As a satirist, he is well-known as perpetrator of the oeuvre of the now-classic P.D.Q. Bach.

David Düsing

David Düsing has a varied career as conductor, singer and composer. He has performed in concerts, cabaret and Broadway shows throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. In the classical field he has sung as soloist under the batons of Robert Shaw (Handel’s Messiah, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Haydn’s Creation), Pierre Boulez (Stravinsky’s Renard), Klaus Tennstedt (Orff’s Carmina Burana), Michael Tilson Thomas and Gunther Schuller. In the folk and pop fields he has sung with or under the direction of Robert De Cormier, Harry Belafonte, Norman Luboff, Joanna Gleason, Pearl Bailey, Jean Ritchie, Michael Crawford, Oscar Brand, John Raitt, and Morton Gould, among others. Additional credits include radio, television, the occasional commercial and more than 130 recordings.

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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