Tanenbaum, Fox Open Summer Atherton Concert Series



Tanenbaum and Fox, With Special Guests, Bring Celtic-Infused Music to Concert

            Michael Tanenbaum and Stephen Fox share an evening of Celtic-infused soundscapes, with guest appearances by saxophonist Randy Wheeler,  Stephen Inglis (guitar) and Robert Wehrman (piano). Tanenbaum and Fox have collaborated for over a decade, sharing a cinematic breadth and delicate acoustic instrumental sensitivity in their personal compositions. Together, Tanenbaum plays guitar and Fox plays the enigmatic santur/cymbalom, the ancestor of the piano. Both have years of experience as composers, including music for film, dance, and theater, and the combination of instruments generates a synergy that listeners say is like stepping outside time as the tunes evolve. Their Atherton concert is set for Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 general, $25 for HPR members, and $15 for students with ID. For reservations, call 955-8821.

           The music Tanenbaum and Fox make together combines the melodic sensibilities of Loreena McKennitt with the harmonic sensibilities of Pat Metheny and the ethereal textures of Michael Hedges. After a decade of playing together whenever they were on the same land mass in Hawaii, California, or Florida, their live performances have evolved into an intimate exchange of music and emotion that simultaneously pulls the listener into the immediate moment and spans eons of music history.
            Tanenbaum flirted with guitar as he developed a highly successful software company. He credits hearing Hawaii artist Makana playing ki ho'alu (slack-key guitar) for the switch to serious study and eventual excellence on guitar. Today, Michael Tanenbaum is a Celtic inspired instrumental guitarist based in Honolulu, Hawaii. His music is inspired by the power of the land, light and ocean waters of the islands. Originally from Canada, he found a new sound in the island’s Hawaiian Slack Key guitar music that resonated within him and was inspired to re-explore the guitar after 25 years at the piano. In time, he incorporated his northern Celtic music roots with the tranquility and beauty of his new home in a fusion of what he now calls locally, "Celtic Slack Key".

             He's an innovative composer/guitarist of instrumental music that can be described as visual "Guitar Tapestries" - music you can SEE. Storytelling for him takes the form of acoustic journeys through changing landscapes. His major guitar influences include: Bruce Cockburn, Michael Hedges, Leo Kotke, Don Ross, Alex De Grassi, Pat Metheny, Franco Morone and Makana.                                                             

            Michael has composed music for film and modern dance extensively. For guitar performance and composition, he placed among the top 5 finalists in the 2009 Fingerstyle Guitar Competition at the Canadian Guitar Festival in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. In the same year, his Big Island inspired tune “Road To Waimea” was nominated for Best World song at this year's New Music Awards in the Barrie New Music Festival in Canada.

            As a young man, Stephen Fox was mesmerized with the sound of an Appalachian group called Trapezoid, named for the shape of the precursor of piano, called santur, cymbalom, or hammered dulcimer, depending on the culture. It is a trapezoid of strings, played with small mallets, that evolved into the modern piano. The instrument came into existence in  ancient Persia 2500 years ago and travelled across Asia, Central, and Western Europe, becoming the yang chin in China and cymbalom in central Europe.   
            Fox kept his santur as a side interest, primarily playing keyboard as a backup and session player in rock, but also becoming an accomplished collaborator in World Music. In rock, he played with Andy Partridge of XTC, and in rare late performances by Jack Nitzsche, an Oscar winning film composer who started his career as Phil Spector’s orchestrator. In World Music, Fox has played with African musicians including bala master Lansana Kouyate and kora master Boujou Sisoko, with taiko master Kenny Endo, and with Indonesian saxophonist Singghi Sanjaya, as well as numerous others from the British Isles and Europe, South America, Egypt, and Jamaica. With family roots in the Isle of Man, Celtic has always been a favorite style. On returning to university, Fox studied Okinawan sanshin with National Living Treasure Harry Nakasone and Indonesian gamelan with Hardja Susilo, widely regarded as the greatest teacher outside Indonesia. While doing his doctorate, Fox played with Maori musicians Joe Standeven and Steve Taylor in the band F8 to Decide, a popular group in the Wellington scene. 

            Fox has an extensive list of feature and documentary scores to his credit.