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The Assad Brothers
The Assad Brothers learned to play music as kids in their native Brazil from their mandolinist father. The youngsters went on to study guitar with Monina Távora, a disciple of Andrés Segovia, and their international career began with a major prize at the 1979 Young Artists Competition in Bratislava (Slovak Republic). Now these remarkable guitarists — Odair Assad, based in Brussels, and Sérgio Assad based in Paris and San Francisco — spend most of their time on tour throughout the Americas, Europe, and the Far East. Their many recordings include the Latin Grammy-winning Sérgio and Odair Assad Play Piazzolla (Nonesuch) and Originis (NSS Music), a collaboration with violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg.
The DiGiallonardo Sisters
The DiGiallonardo Sisters — Daniela, Nadia, and Christine — started singing together when they were kids Brooklyn. They still call Brooklyn home, and they still love stacking up those three-part harmonies. Nadia is a pianist, composer, arranger, and singer. She was music director and conductor for the 2008 production of Hair at the Delacorte Theater. Daniela teaches social studies at Brooklyn's Mark Twain Intermediate School for the Gifted & Talented. And Christine is a singer and actor whose credits include Two Gentlemen of Verona (Shakespeare in the Park Festival), My Fair Lady (Lincoln Center), and Monica! The Musical (New York Musical Theatre Festival).
Robin and Linda Williams
Robin and Linda Williams made their debut appearance on A Prairie Home Companion in 1975, the same year they recorded their first album. In 2008, they released their 20th, Buena Vista (Red House Records). And a new CD is in the works — songs from Stonewall Country, their musical about Stonewall Jackson. For decades, these two have charmed listeners worldwide with their robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time, and acoustic country. Robin and Linda claim that they make their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, but truth be told, they spend the lion's share of their time on the road. And fans at every stop are glad they do.
Sonnet readers: singer and actor Liz Lark Brown; actor Kristen Bush; Broadway legend Joel Grey; New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller; Edward Koch, three-term mayor of New York City; author and educator Michael A. Morrison; and Michael Ramirez, Marina Del Giacco, and Giovanna Del Giacco, students at the High School of Applied Communication in Queens.
Garrison Keillor was born in Anoka, graduated from the University of Minnesota ('66), and lives in St. Paul. He is the author of numerous books, including Life Among the Lutherans (Augsburg Books) and Pilgrims: A Wobegon Romance (Viking), and the editor of several anthologies of poetry, including Good Poems: American Places (Viking).
Keyboard player, composer and improviser in any style, Richard Dworsky is A Prairie Home Companion's music director. He leads the Guy's All-Star Shoe Band and writes all of the show's script themes and underscores. A PHC regular since 1986, he has accompanied Garrison Keillor on U.S. and European concert tours. Rich's latest CD is So Near and Dear to Me.
One minute he's mild-mannered Tim Russell; the next he's George Bush or Julia Child or Barack Obama. We've yet to stump this man of many voices. In other roles, Tim played the part of Al, the stage manager, in the Robert Altman film A Prairie Home Companion and a detective in the Coen brothers' A Serious Man.
On APHC, Sue Scott plays everything from ditzy teenagers to Guy Noir stunners to leathery crones who've smoked one pack of Camel straights too many. The Tucson, Arizona, native is well known for her extensive commercial and voice-over work on radio and television, as well as movie and stage roles.
Sound effects man Fred Newman is an actor, writer, musician, and sound designer for film and TV. He is author of the book (and CD/CD-ROM) MouthSounds. Fred admits that, growing up, he was unceremoniously removed from several classrooms, "once by my bottom lip."
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).