American virtuosos in Cape Town for one show

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Kathleen Tagg and David Krakauer. Photo Credit: Tasja Keetman.
Kathleen Tagg and David Krakauer. Photo Credit: Tasja Keetman.

Grammy-nominated clarinetist David Krakauer and SAMA-nominated pianist Kathleen Tagg will give one Cape Town performance of their genre-bending project, Breath & Hammer.

Youngblood Arts & Culture Development 70-72 Bree Street, Cape Town 8001
Thursday, July 14 at 19:30
Booking essential: info@younblood-africa.com | 021 424 0074; Tickets: R150.

Grammy-nominated clarinetist David Krakauer and SAMA-nominated pianist Kathleen Tagg will give one Cape Town performance of their latest genre-bending project, “Breath & Hammer” at Youngblood Arts & Culture Development on Bree St following two shows at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

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The show premiered at the FERUS Festival in New York in January 2016, and upcoming shows include North American residencies and performances at Brown University and the University of Illinois, Vancouver Great Performers series, John Zorn’s renowned New York club, The Stone, and performances for six thousand school children at the Kaufman Concert Hall and sixty thousand online viewers as part of the 92nd St Y’s First Exposure series.

“Breath & Hammer” features clarinetist David Krakauer and pianist Kathleen Tagg, who share a constant quest to redefine the sounds and roles of their instruments. This project pushes far outside the boundaries of the traditional clarinet and piano recital by including extended techniques, loops and samples in a program ranging from Azmeh to Zorn, and compositions by the duo and a host of performer-composers from around the globe. The show includes video projections by Los Angeles video designer Jesse Gilbert.

Influences of world music, jazz, classical, experimental techniques and electronics blend together in this collaboration. Krakauer’s use of extended techniques, improvisation and circular breathing on the clarinet, and Tagg’s prowess inside the piano to use it as a harp, a zither, a drum and a cello through bowed piano, plucking, strumming and more augment the traditional sounds of their instruments. In addition to utilizing the full range of timbres that can be imagined from both instruments, they further expand the scope of sonic possibilities by incorporating electronic effects and layers.

Widely considered one of the greatest clarinetists on the planet, Grammy-nominated artist David Krakauer has been praised internationally as a key innovator in modern klezmer as well as a major voice in classical music. South African pianist, composer and producer Kathleen Tagg has performed on four continents in leading venues such as Carnegie Hall, had her original music performed in venues such as New York’s Lincoln Center, appeared on a host of classical, world music and multi-genre recordings and produced numerous CDs and inter-disciplinary programs from South Africa to Los Angeles.

“Breath & Hammer” is made up of Krakauer & Tagg’s arrangements of “simple songs” by composers as diverse as New York-based visionary John Zorn, Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, Cuban percussionist Roberto Rodriguez, as well as original compositions. These diverse and seemingly disparate musical influences intermingle, transformed into something entirely new, a hybrid art form that bridges the cultures of the past and new work that looks towards the future.

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