Perspectives: Chris Thile

  • National Concert Hall Earlsfort Terrace Dublin, County Dublin Ireland

Widely regarded as one of the most interesting and inventive musicians and composers of his generation, Chris Thile of Punch Brothers has changed the mandolin forever. He returns to the National Concert Hall performing original compositions, as well as contemporary, traditional and classical works.

A child prodigy, Thile first rose to fame as a member of Grammy Award-winning trio Nickel Creek, with whom he released three albums and sold two million records. He has gone on to enjoy critical acclaim with the Punch Brothers, formed in 2006, with The Times saying - "Their songs glitter and soar, capable of pushing beyond traditional bluegrass into alternative rock." Their debut disc for Nonesuch Records, Punch, was released in 2008, followed by the Jon Brion-produced Antifogmatic in 2010 and more recently Phosphorescent Blues.

As a soloist, Thile has released five albums, as well as performing and recording extensively as a duo with Edgar Meyer and with fellow eminent mandolinist Mike Marshall. Other stellar musicians with whom Thile has collaborated include Béla Fleck, Brad Mehldau and Hilary Hahn.

Recipient of the MacArthur Foundation’s prestigious “Genius Grant” in 2012, Nonesuch Records released Thile’s most recent recording, Bach: Partitas and Sonatas, Vol.1, produced by Meyer,in 2013. The programme draws from this Bach-influenced recording, while also exploring his own compositions and contemporary music.

Thile explains his connection to the composer: “Bach was my first meaningful experience with—for lack of a better word—classical music. It was the second recording of Glenn Gould playing the Goldberg Variations. Gould plays with the kind of rhythmic integrity that I had previously only associated with non-classical music: music with a groove, with a pocket, that made you move. Gould was playing that music like my heroes play fiddle tunes. It humanized the whole thing for me and the heavens opened up and Bach came down. I started devouring all the Bach I could get my hands on.”

He continues, “This record to me is not about this iconic violin music played on the mandolin—like, ‘Oh boy, what fun, he’s playing a weird instrument!’ It's about Bach being one of the greatest musicians of all time, the solo violin music being some of his best work, and the mandolin having the potential to cast it in a new and hopefully interesting light."

“Chris Thile is the most remarkable mandolinist in the world.” Independent on Sunday

“Thile reinterprets Bach solo violin pieces for mandolin to stunning effect. The fingerwork is as extraordinary as the variety of textures he coaxes from his instrument.” Sunday Express

Presented by the National Concert Hall

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