Herbie Hancock headlines Strings of Autumn

The cross-genre festival has several notable names from across the spectrum

The Strings of Autumn (Struny podzimu) festival will run Oct. 20 to Nov. 9, with the headline star Herbie Hancock and his quartet appearing Nov. 9 at Forum Karlín. Some of the shows are already almost sold out.

The festival, which began in 1996, is a meeting place for classical music, jazz, world music, and genre-defying projects from renowned artists in their fields.

Aside from jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, another highlight is Julia Wolfe's oratorio Anthracite Fields performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars on Nov. 11 at Forum Karlín. The oratorio about coal mining in America won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music.

Local music stars Tonya Graves and Dan Bárta will be joining in on vocals along with the Martinů Voices ensemble.

Tonya Graves
said she was excited to be involved in such a high-profile festival. She was looking forward to exploring new types of work as she is always trying to branch out into new genres and new vocal challenges. She also was looking forward to working again with Dan Bárta, whom she has worked with on countless occasions already in the band Monkey Business and other projects.

She said she doesn't want to be pigeonholed into any single genre, and projects like this one help her to reach a more diverse audience.

Anthracite Fields will have its Czech Republic premiere at Strings of Autumn, and Julia Wolfe will be in attendance, giving an on-stage interview.

But these two events are at the very end of the festival.

Strings of Autumn kicks off Oct. 20 with the Gloaming, also at Forum Karlín. The group blends traditional Irish music with modern influences and styles. They began doing a show for a one-off event, but after that was highly successful they continued on together, and have sold out venues like Royal Albert Hall.

There are four events at Divadlo Archa from Oct. 22 to 29. Shabazz Palaces are described as gangsta rap from outer space.

Lambchop comes from Nashville and uses instruments associated with country music to make a new style. The progressive Nashville band is fronted by Kurt Wagner, who is the one constant member.

British composer and double bassist Gavin Bryars will present Nothing Like the Sun, an hour-long contemplative suite of eight Shakespearean sonnets performed by a reciter and two singers to the accompaniment of an eight-instrument ensemble.

Pianist Jason Moran will perform an homage to Theolonius Monk called Monk at the Town Hall 1959. The piece is composed for jazz octet and supplemented with visual backdrops to give insight to the recording of a legendary concert by Monk.

The festival then moves to the Rudolfinum for a collaboration between accordion and bandoneon virtuoso Richard Galliano and horn player Radek Baborák and his ensemble. Both are master of their instruments.

The nightclub La Fabrika will host Jiří Slavík, Marian Friedl and the Ondráš Military Art Ensemble. Czech Angel Award-winning world music multi-instrumentalist Jiří Slavík returned to the Czech Republic two years ago. He explored folk musical roots in his album Mother Tongue, along with Marian Friedl. They will perform with members of a unique military cimbalom band.

The Cloister of St Agnes (Anežský klášter) will have acoustic guitarist Ralph Towner for two shows on Nov. 5. He is influenced by classical music, folk genres, and improvisation. He also does not use amplification, preferring a natural sound.

That show is followed by the already mentioned headliners, Julia Wolfe and Herbie Hancock, who close the festival.

Running at the same time as the festival is a program called Encores, which has events later in the evening that are somewhat like afterparties. There are five events at Divadlo Archa, Dům Černá labuť, La Fabrika, Forum Karlín and Royal.

For more visit also Strings of Autumn (Struny podzimu) festival on Facebook.

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