Strathmore AIR Alumni Concert Series

Laura Burhenn Photo | DP Muller

Laura Burhenn
Photo | DP Muller

Strathmore introduces its retrospective AIR Alumni concert series during October, in which the arts center looks back at its touchstone Artist in Residence (AIR) education program during its ninth season. The miniseries begins with singer-songwriter Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds, a graduate of the inaugural year of the AIR program who went on to tour with supergroup The Postal Service and who will share new material during her intimate concert in the Mansion at Strathmore. Additional performances include Latin American sounds from Jamie Salazar and Gato + The Palenke Music Co., an album release from rock cellist Loren Westbrook-Fritts and Primitivity, and eccentric jazz duo The Mancuso-Suzda Project. Tickets are $17. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 301.581.5100 or visit Strathmore website.

All performances are held in the Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. Parking is free in the Mansion lot on a space available basis. Enter the Mansion lot at 10701 Rockville Pike.

Created to foster the point of transition from amateur to professional musician, Strathmore’s Artists in Residence (AIR) program provides performance, composition, teaching and networking opportunities for emerging musicians. Through a competitive selection process, six musicians or singers take up 10-month residencies at Strathmore.

The AIR Alumni series is a testament to the impact and breadth of the program. Since its creation in 2005-2006, the Artist in Residence program has shepherded the careers of more than 40 musicians, creating an extensive network of alumni and mentors. The series is representative of the enduring relationship that these musicians have with Strathmore, and also that the knowledge learned during the intensive residency is still applicable years later.

Schedule of performances

LAURA BURHENN, SINGER-SONGWRITER
Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets $17

“We had heard about Laura Burhenn long before we actually heard her,” wrote Washington City Paper. “And when we finally did feast our ears on the music of the sultry singer/songwriter/pianist, it was obvious that all the hype was more than justified.” After drawing rave reviews and a growing fan base with her indie band, The Mynabirds, former Strathmore Artist in Residence Burhenn comes home following a stint touring with supergroup The Postal Service to play a stripped-down intimate set at the grand piano. Burhenn will debut a selection of new material during this rare solo show, as well as songs from her band, The Mynabirds, and covers of her favorite songwriters. A night focusing on storytelling with a surprise guest or two.

GATO + THE PALENKE MUSIC CO., LATIN-FUSION
Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets $17

Jaime Salazar (Gato) blew the roof off the Mansion during his 2008-2009 Strathmore residency and again in his 2010 Friday Night Eclectic appearance, when his Latin-fusion band, Gato + The Palenke Music Co., creating a play on the melting pot phenomena by blending influences from El Salvador, Peru, Paraguay and Colombia to create a new sound. Now rooted in Los Angeles, Gato stretches his sonic exploration even further, incorporating traits from the LA music scene into his music arsenal. Gato will also exhibit a small collection of his photography work.

LOREN WESTBROOK-FRITTS AND PRIMITIVITY, ROCK CELLO
Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets $17

Rock cellist Loren Westbrook-Fritts brough the cello into new realms of music by Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, Metallica and more. His band, Primitivity, thrilled listeners with the power chords, speeding riffs and blistering solos of its recording, Plays Megadeth for Cello. The 09-10 Strathmore Artist in Residence alum returns to the Mansion with a sound that David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet calls “vital and explosive…terrific,” with the release of Primitivity’s second album, Evolution, featuring all original music that covers melodic acoustic ballads to modern rock riffs all composed for the cello.

THE MANCUSO-SUZDA PROJECT, AVANT GARDE JAZZ
Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets $17

Serendipitously connected through Craigslist, the Mancuso-Suzda Project joins Italian-born classical percussionist Simone Mancuso and jazz saxophonist Jeff Suzda. Their sonic exploration into new musical possibilities—amplified cacti, water drums and gongs, for instance—is performance art for the ears that has taken them around the world to Brazil, China, Romania, France, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and Germany. Inspired by jazz, contemporary classical, world and electronic styles as well as the sounds of nature, the duo is preparing their second CD. They’ll share early cuts from the album during the AIR Alumni concert.

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