• Tuesday, Sep 4, 2012

    The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain Performs a High-Energy Evening of Singing and Strumming Entertainment at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday, October 17

    Photo courtesy of Carnegie Hall.
    On Wednesday, October 17 at 8:00 p.m. in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, Carnegie Hall presents the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain—a group of all-singing, all-strumming ukulele players, which believes that all genres of music are available for reinterpretation, as long as they are played on the ukulele. A concert by the Ukulele Orchestra is a funny, virtuosic, twanging, foot-stomping obituary of rock-n-roll, and melodious light entertainment featuring only the ukulele with a menagerie of voices in a collision of post-punk performance and toe-tapping oldies. The ensemble returns to Carnegie Hall this season after its sold-out 2010 debut concert in Zankel Hall, which according to The New York Times featured “…jazz, blues and comic spins on a few classical pieces…all cleverly arranged and played with humor, energy, and virtuosity.” It was dubbed by the paper as one of the five best concerts of the year. This fall, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain continues its world tour which has included sold out performances at the Sydney Opera House and stops at renowned venues such as The Royal Albert Hall.

    With an engaging mix that is at times equal parts physical comedy and artistic virtuosity, the orchestra uses only the ukulele—jokingly referred to as the “bonsai guitar.” There are no drums, pianos, backing tracks, banjos, no pitch shifters or electronic trickery—only an astonishing revelation of the rich palette of orchestration afforded by ukuleles, singing and a bit of whistling.

    Using instruments small and large, in high and low registers, whether playing intricate melodies, simple tunes, or complex chords, and sitting in chamber group format dressed in formal evening wear, the ensemble—which features Dave Suich, Peter Brooke Turner, Hester Goodman, George Hinchliffe, Richie Williams, Kitty Lux, Will Grove-White, and Jonty Bankes—uses the limitations of the instrument to create a musical freedom as it reveals unsuspected musical insights. Both the beauty and vacuity of popular and highbrow music are highlighted, the pompous and the trivial, the moving and the amusing. Performances can feature anything from Tchaikovsky and Nirvana to Otis Redding and Spaghetti Western film music.

    Sometimes a foolish song can touch an audience more than high art; sometimes music which takes itself too seriously is revealed to be hilarious. You may never think about music in the same way once you’ve been exposed to the Ukes’ depraved musicology.

    About The Artists
    The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is a group of all-singing, all-strumming ukulele players, using instruments bought with loose change. The ensemble believes that all genres of music are available for reinterpretation, as long as they are played on the ukulele. Formed in 1985 as a bit of fun, the group’s first performance was an instant sell-out, and they have been performing ever since. By 1988, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain had released an LP, appeared on BBC TV, played at the World of Music, Arts and Dance Festival (WOMAD), and recorded a BBC Radio 1 session. The current ensemble has been playing together for over 20 years, and has become a national institution. The orchestra has performed thousands of sold-out concerts across the world in Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Poland, France, America, Canada, New Zealand, and Japan. Members of the orchestra are often credited for the current ukulele revival which is sweeping the globe.

    Program Information
    Wednesday, October 17 at 8:00 p.m.

    Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage

    Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.
    Tickets, priced from $25—$60, are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.

    For Carnegie Hall Corporation presentations taking place in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, a limited number of seats, priced at $10, will be available day-of-concert beginning at 11:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:00 noon on Sunday until one hour before the performance or until supply lasts. The exceptions are Carnegie Hall Family Concerts and gala events. These $10 tickets are available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis at the Carnegie Hall Box Office only. There is a two-ticket limit per customer.

    In addition, for all Carnegie Hall presentations in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage a limited number of partial view (seats with obstructed or limited sight lines or restricted leg room) will be sold for 50% of the full price. For more information on this and other discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit carnegiehall.org/discounts.
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