“Windham Hill Winter Solstice was a great success in the two communities we presented this show in. Not only were the artists engaging and entertaining, but top-class musicians who performed with excellence and skill. After listening to their recordings for years, it was a delight to host them in person. I would not hesitate to book them again!” – Craig Ralston, Yavapai College
“We thoroughly loved the show and the artists. Their musicianship was amazing and their showmanship was outstanding. Not only that, they were very pleasant people throughout their entire stay.” – John Murray, Missouri Theatre
Master musicians who made their names on the Windham Hill label, pianist Liz Story, singer and multi-instrumentalist Barbara Higbie, guitarist Sean Harkness (East Coast/Midwest dates), Celtic harpist Lisa Lynne (West Coast dates) and fiddler Darol Anger and guitarist and singer/songwriter Emy Phelps (East Coast/Midwest Dates) have created a special show in celebration of Winter Solstice. This ensemble in various forms has toured nationally for the past 10 years in support of the recording series that sold over 8 million copies. Warmth, humor and stunningly pristine performances abound.
The significance of Winter Solstice is recognized in indigenous traditions around the world. This concert brings the best of acoustic music to joyfully mark a special moment in time.
A native of California, Liz Story began her musical training as a young child, mastering Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 11 by the age of 11. When her family moved to Germany during her teens, she added languages, philosophy, and poetry to her studies. On her return to the United States, she continued her piano studies at the Juilliard School of Music and Hunter College. Later, after moving back to Southern California, she studied at the Dick Grove Music Workshops in Studio City. During her studies, she took a job playing piano in a restaurant and was thrust suddenly into improvisations when the piano had no musical strand. Over several months these improvisations developed into compositions. When Windham Hill’s Will Ackerman heard a tape of these, he signed her to record her debut album, Solid Colors. Liz Story has been an artist of great stature through the years of Windham Hill into the present times. Her brilliant stories and humor on stage contrasted with her deep and profoundly beautiful work on the piano keep audiences enthralled until the very last note. www.LizStory.com
Grammy-nominated Barbara Higbie is another classic artist from the Windham Hill label who combines elements of jazz, folk, classical, African, Brazilian and Celtic music to create unique compositions that are lyrical, rhythmically playful and harmonically inventive. Barbara is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and championship fiddle player as well as a pianist and composer. She is known for her work as co-founder of the acoustic super-group Montreux. Higbie is a high priestess of collaboration. She has played with musicians as different as Bonnie Raitt, Kronos Quartet, Milton Nascimento and Spyro Gyra, and has performed on more than 65 albums. Perhaps Higbie’s greatest gift is not just her knowledge about musical genres, but her view that live performance “is really a devotional form. Live music can heal you physically, mentally and spiritually.” Her energy and humor onstage delights audiences from every walk of life. www.barbarahigbie.com
Sean Harkness left Burlington, VT for New York City in 1994 to immerse himself in that music scene. Known especially for duets and ensemble work with singers from Broadway, television, and screen, Harkness is now a first-call guitarist who compliments an exhaustive client list of artists and productions worldwide. Sean performs extensively both as a solo artist and sideman in New York’s finest jazz, rock, folk, cabaret, blues, R&B, and singer/songwriter venues.
As a solo artist with six CDs, Harkness’s music is on Windham Hill Records [Sony/RCA/BMG] and a list of independents. He has also scored music for television, including World’s Strongest Man, ESPN, NASCAR and ABC Sports. www.seanharkness.com
Lisa Lynne is a multi-instrumentalist and performer who has gained worldwide recognition for her original music featuring her Celtic Harp. She specializes in Traditional acoustic folk instruments and is widely acclaimed for composing memorable and heartwarming melodies that transcend category and genre.
From humble beginnings, Lisa has ascended the ladder of success to owning her own production company and recording studio. She has released several internationally recognized recordings on the prestigious Windham Hill and New Earth Record labels, while simultaneously running her own label Lavender Sky Music. After more than a decade of full time touring, recording and performing Lisa has surpassed one million in sales of her recordings. www.lisalynne.com
Fiddler, composer, producer and educator, Darol Anger is at home in a number of musical genres, some of which he helped to invent. Exceptional among modern fiddlers for his versatility and depth, Anger has helped drive the evolution of the contemporary string band through his involvement with numerous path-breaking ensembles such as his Republic Of Strings, the Turtle Island String Quartet, the David Grisman Quintet, Montreux, his Duo with Mike Marshall and others.
He has performed and taught all over the world with musicians such as Dr. Billy Taylor, Bela Fleck, Bill Evans, Edgar Meyer, Bill Frisell, David Grisman, Tony Rice, Tim O’Brien, The Anonymous 4, Marin Alsop and the Cabrillo Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, Mark O’Connor, and Stephane Grappelli. He is an Associate Professor at the Berklee School of Music and recently began an ambitious online Fiddle School at ArtistWorks.com. www.darolanger.com
Emy Phelps is a standout artist in a large field, a prolific songwriter with a riveting voice which plumbs the deepest emotions. A musician of note in the Pacific Northwest, she has made a 30 year music career while raising 3 sons and a daughter, achieving degrees in Theatre Arts and Special Education, and touring for 7 years with Brian Ransom's Ceramic Ensemble.
Her current release with members of The Furies is Look Up, Look Down, and she has participated in recordings by Darol Anger, Taarka, Patrick Brayer, Chris Darrow, Norma Tanega and Duke McVinnie.
Her collaborations with fiddler Darol Anger bring out each other's special ability to convey deep emotional resonance and spark musical fire.
1) Carol of the Bells
3) White Snow (original winter themed vocal tune)
4) Walking in the Air (from the British animated Xmas season show" the Snowman")
5) Jeanette Isabella
6) Simple Birth (from Winter Solstice 5)
7) Have yourself a Merry Little Xmas
8) Hanukah oh Hanukah
9) Divali Song
10) Star of County Down (Irish Xmas instrumental)
11) Escape of the Circus Ponies
12) Xmas Time is Here (from Charlie Brown Special)
13) Yazala Abambuti (African Xmas song)
14) Calling All Angels
15) To Be
16) Fiddle tunes
* Each of these songs are not performed every time. The show is a tasteful presentation of Winter/Holiday/Solstice themed instrumental music with 3-4 vocal tunes and several rousing fiddle pieces. Excellent musicianship, cheerful interaction with the audience and warm camaraderie among the musicians create an uplifting evening
“One of the best shows I’ve seen at our hall and we have had a long and celebrated history. Barbara, Sean & Liz are each great solo artists and create a very special energy as an ensemble. Plus they are all great to work with.” - Jon Elbaum, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall
"The talent onstage was breathtaking at times. The audience . . . definitely enjoyed it, with a rousing standing ovation before the encore. It was my pleasure to present these amazing artists to the Grayslake community."
- Gwethalyn Bronner, James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts, Grayslake, IL