The Glass House Orchestra and Muzsikás Folk Ensemble perform in Washington, D.C.

Publicated on: June 13, 2015

The world-renowned Muzsikás Folk Ensemble joins Glass House Orchestra for a double bill at the Sixth&I Synagogue in Washington, D.C.

Astro-Hungarian folk punk is how bandleader and Grammy winner Frank London describes it, but it is also contemporary, at times postmodern and deconstructivist, at times archeological-conservationist – Glass House Orchestra is a supergroup of 8 established musicians with various backgrounds and countries who take on the wonderfully complext Jewish musical tradition of Hungary. The outcome is in fact astral or stellar, and thus the label „Astro-Hungarian” is certainly not undeserved. Muzsikas are world music royalty. When they take the stage – and they have been taking the stage for four decades – an unparalleled dedication to skill and traditions shines through – interlaced with real outlaw mentality. This time, they take their Hungarian Jewish collection from Transylvania, unearthed through exacting research and years of fieldwork in the smallest of villages, and present the Maramaros material with outstanding singer Ágnes Herczku. This is a double bill not to be missed.

 

Grammy Award-winner Frank London acts as the bandleader for this ensemble that grew out of a project initiated by the Balassi Institute – Hungarian Cultural Center in New York to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust in Hungary. The band seeks to present an image of the incredibly complex legacy of Jewish Hungarian culture, while also attempting to mark out a space for this legacy in the present, both in Hungary and the world over. The ensemble is named after the Glass House or Üvegház, the famous building, one among 76, designated as a safehouse by Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz during the Holocaust in Hungary, which sheltered thousands of persecuted Jewish Hungarians.
The Orchestra is a meeting of no less than 8 virtuosos who come together to explore a uniquely attractive but also highly complex universe: that of Hungarian Jewish music stretching from the religious to the secular, from the urban to the distinctly rural. The Grammy-winning curator and artistic director Frank London is joined on stage by Aram Bajakian, the lead guitarist for the late Lou Reed’s touring band, Pablo Aslan a giant of Argentinian jazz, Yonadav Halevy one of Israel’s best known jazz drummers, Jake Shulman-Ment a Brooklynite ethnomusicologist and world class fiddler as well as three standout Hungarian artists: Miklós Lukács, the most important innovator of the cimbalom/tsimbl of the past years, world music phenomenon Edina Szirtes Mókus and one of the most multi-faceted performers on the jazz-etno-experimental scene, Béla Ágoston form the Hungarian contingent in this international supergroup.

 

The winners of the WOMEX Award 2008 for World Music, after 40 years of their unrivaled career, MUZSIKÁS is the most renowned and popular Hungarian folk music ensemble worldwide and in their home country as well. MUZSIKÁS pioneered the global popularity of Hungarian folk music that is now a well-established niche in the roots and world music scenes. Due to their unique musical skills, instrumental knowledge and musical versatility, they can cope with playing on different music scenes, collaborating with various noted musicians and groups, from folk and world-music to classical and jazz, and even to alternative rock music. They have already presented their exceptional live performances at the greatest festivals and in the most significant concert halls, such as the Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Center and Queen Elisabeth Hall in London, Théatre de la Ville and Cité de la Musique in Paris, Santa Cecilia Academy in Rome, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and Carnegie Hall in New York. Among the various prizes, they were awarded the most respected Hungarian State award for artists, the Kossuth Prize, the Prima Primissima Award and in 2008 they received the prestigious WOMEX Award for World Music as well. In 2011 they appeared at the Royal Festival Hall in the concert-series of Infernal Dance organised by Philharmonia London Orchestra honouring the great composer Béla Bartók. In the 2012 concert season they received standing ovation at the Carnegie Hall with their program, The Routes and Roots of Bartók, together with the renowned pianist, András Schiff.

 Date: June 18, 2015 8pm

Venue: Sixth&I Synagogue (600 I Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20001)

Tickets available:

http://www.goldstar.com/events/washington-dc/muzsiks-and-glass-house-orchestra-tickets

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