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Bach Project with Zach Mayer and McKinley James

7 January 2020
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Burlington Violin Shop

Presented by Young Tradition Vermont with the Burlington Violin Shop. $20 suggested donation. Reservations and other info at mark.sustic@gmail.com.

The Bach project is an initiative to show Bach in a new light- how Bach as another type of folk music.

For over a year now Zach Mayer and McKinley James have been composing and rehearsing a duet version of the Bach Cello Suites, with Zach improvising soprano sax over the original cello line. The saxophone sound plays in and around the steady cello, shaking up the familiar music so that you hear the harmonies and the intricacies of Bach’s brilliance in an entirely new way. They then composed two more suites each written in our own folk styles.  Zach grew up playing klezmer and is writing a suite based off of klezmer dance music and McKinley is writing a suite based from New England traditional music.

With over 7 million hits on YouTube for his “Subway Sax Battle,” Zach Mayer has performed with John Zorn, Frank London, Michael Alpert, Joey Weisenberg, and Bobby McFerrin. He performs internationally with Zion80, a 10-piece Jewish Afrobeat band inspired by the music of Shlomo Carlebach, and his folk sextet, Night Tree, has toured internationally and has released two albums produced by Seamus Egan of SOLAS. He has been on the faculty at the Brandeis Institute of Music and Art, Laguardia Arts High School in Manhattan, and teaches at Jewish music festivals worldwide. Zach is the musical director of Kahal B’raira, a humanistic Jewish congregation in Cambridge. He received his Masters of Music from the New England Conservatory in Boston.

McKinley James is a cellist studying at New England Conservatory. After years with the Vermont Youth Orchestra, she joined the Boston Youth Symphony, and then the premier youth orchestra led by Ben Zander, the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. With the BPYO, she toured Europe twice, playing in concert halls such as the Berlin Philharmonie and at the Alhambra in Spain. She has also played with the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra, Middlebury College Orchestra, and the New England Conservatory Symphony, she also soloed with the Champlain Philharmonic Orchestra. She was principal of the Vermont All State Orchestra sophomore year and won the All States Scholarship that year. She now studies with Yeesun Kim at the New England Conservatory.

Zach and McKinley are both founding members of the band Night Tree, that won the New England Conservatory’s Honors Ensemble. Together they have toured throughout the US, opened for Solas in Portsmouth Music Hall, and played in Jordan Hall and Rockwood Music Hall. They released their debut album produced by Seamus Egan in 2017 and toured in Europe in 2018.

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