WMV in the Media

Excerpts from reviews:

"The audience didn't just like it, they whooped, yelped, [and] bravoed… After the Czech Embassy standing ovation, one audience member summed it up: 'This music makes me feel it’s good to be alive.' ” Marsha Dubrow in examiner.com

“There was nothing boring about the high level of performance that Washington Musica Viva offered at the Ratner Museum on Wednesday. What there was, in spades, was a feeling of geniality that invited a collaboration, not only among the musicians but also among musicians and audience in the pleasures of the music…. Musica Viva is pianist Carl Banner's baby, and he has surrounded himself with fine chamber artists: clarinetist Ben Redwine, whose sophistication in the Brahms was as compelling as his sense of humor in switching among six different-size clarinets for the Stephens work; violinist Judith Spokes, who offered a soulful if somewhat careful reading of the Dvorak; cellist Amy Leung, who projected lyricism throughout…” Joan Reinthaler, in the Washington Post

“From the grand first movement through the rollicking scherzo, to the passionate finale, the performers were involved and intense.” Mark J. Estren, in the Washington Post

"...flowed with such freedom that one couldn't help but imagine standing on a boat's bow, arms outstretched. " Grace Jean, in the Washington Post

“With a muted, yet powerful tone and special attention toward phrasing and accent structure, Charley Gerard and Carl Banner opened these ears to a concert repertoire of jazz and dance influenced works with roots in the early twentieth century.” Devin Hurd, in HurdAudio

“One of the pleasures of alto saxophonist Charley Gerard's recital on Tuesday (hosted by Washington Musica Viva at the Ratner Museum) was hearing mid-20th-century classical composers letting their hair down and embracing popular musical forms. Gerard's playing displayed the chops and range to embrace the mellow, Gallic phrases of the Francaix, as well as the grittier wailing asked for in parts of the Schulhoff. His lived-in feeling for this material was matched by pianist Carl Banner's stylish, rhythmically scrupulous keyboard work.” Joe Banno, in the Washington Post

"Attended a fun concert by Washington Musica Viva on Sunday....a mix of classical and jazz from DC composers past and present. WMV performances always feel like a party - as more concerts should!"  Alexandra Gardner, composer, from her blog.

“Washington Musica Viva, the extended shadow of pianist Carl Banner, has built a solid reputation for the group’s willingness to explore relatively unknown music, especially slightly ‘edgy’ modern music that strays tantalizingly close to the outer borders that separate classical music from jazz or other ethnic strengths.” Stephen Neal Dennis, in allartsreview4u

“Czech music is full of surprises, but none of them daunt the relentless exuberance of Washington’s keenest promoter of Czech music, Washington Musica Viva, the extended apparatus of organizer Carl Banner. The high point of the evening was the performance of Smetana’s Piano Trio in G Minor (Opus 15). National Symphony cellist David Teie played magnificently during a piece which at times might have reminded a listener of intertwined DNA strands as the piano, cello and violin took turns dominating the music.” Stephen Neal Dennis, in allartsreview4u

“Tenor Jeffery Peterson stole the show with his accomplished cabaret style as he tore through the rapid and subtly rhyming words of each song against a background of music written by a composer obviously influenced by American jazz of the 1920s and 1930s.” Stephen Neal Dennis, in allartsreview4u

“Place a modern septet between two great classical quintets, season with high-caliber playing in a pleasantly informal setting, and you have a chamber concert of unusual piquancy… The septet was "The 44 Faces of Funk," by Charley Gerard, in its premiere performance. …its mixture of dance and jazz, dissonance and swing was ingratiating.” Mark J. Estren, The Washington Post

“The Andante mistico was sinewy and eloquent in Musica Viva’s hands, and the ensemble let rip in the concluding Allegro energico with almost Bartókian, stunning, intensity.” George Pieler, in Ionarts

“…evocative, communicative, powerful music that Poster and Banner brought vividly to life.” Andrew Lindemann Malone, the Washington Post

“Mr. Redwine's soaring, commanding lines were transparently backed by Mr. Banner's piano, something that is not easy to achieve, given the way that Brahms wrote his piano parts. It was a fine concert, with new music paired with old.” Charles Downey, Ionarts

“In their beautifully coordinated and rhythmically propulsive performance, Musica Viva highlighted two elements that have made Czech music special: the vitality of dance forms and the exquisite cadences of folk melody.” Joseph McLellan, The Washington Post

" Another winning concert from WMV... Opened with Bach's Cantata No. 82 - sung beautifully by Gary Poster. It was done as a chamber piece - one player per part, which created a gorgeous kind of intimacy. Soprano saxophone was substituted for oboe, which really worked nicely. Rhonda Buckley played it beautifully. Her soprano sax playing has a warm, rich tone that blended nicely with the strings - a much more luxurious sound than an oboe." Jon Morris

"Mezzo soprano Karyn Friedman delivered a rock solid performance [of Faure's La Bonne Chanson] - teetering on the edge of losing control, just as the poems are. I think this is the first time I've heard this set of songs done by a female voice? Well, it works just fine that way. The ensemble was excellent (string quartet and piano)." Jon Morris

"There was lots of variety in this engaging program delivered with passion from all three musicians." Karren LaLonde Alenier, scene4.com


Review of Broken Reed Saxophone Quartet’s album The Sound of a Broken Reed (Charley Gerard's quartet, with pianist Carl Banner. delarue in Lucid Culture, January 4, 2013.

Feature article in "Takoma Park", a newsletter published by the city of Takoma Park, by Joy Jones, March 1, 2012.

Review of Raycurt Johnson and Carl Banner at Urban Eats February 26, 2012 by Lisa McFarren-Polgar in FestivalDC.com.

Review of February 17, 2012 "Turkish/Jewish" at the Takoma Park Community Center by Karren Alenier in scene4.com.

WETA-FM's "Front Row Washington" broadcast the complete performance of Dvorak's Moravian Duets from the September 15, 2011 Czech Embassy concert on October 17, 2011.

Marsha Dubrow in examiner.com, reviewing the premiere performance of Charley Gerard's "Dvorak Jazz Dances" at the Embassy of the Czech Republic, September 21, 2011.

Washington Post, Review of the September 15, 2011 performance of the Martinu Quartet and Dvorak Moravian Duets, Embassy of the Czech Republic.

Karren LaLonde Alenier's review of the February 18, 2011 "Five Episodes" program in scene4.com.

Melora B. North feature in the Cape Codder, January 13, 2011

Stephen Neal Dennis' review of the September 21, 2010 "Waltzes and Trios" concert.

Stephen Neal Dennis' review of the May 4, 2010 Brahms' Birthday Concert.

Feature article by Reva Blau in the Provincetown Banner, January 22, 2010.

Review of The Jaime S. Porras Memorial Concert, July 14, 2009, by Stephen Neal Dennis.

Review of Hans Gál's "What a Life!" at the Austrian Embassy, May 28, 2009 by Stephen Neal Dennis.

Calandria Somuah reviews the Weary Blues at the Ratner Museum in the Montgomery County Sentinel, May 22, 2009.

Stephen Neal Dennis' review of the August 20, 2008 concert in AllArtsReview4U.com.

Joan Reinthaler's review of the August 20, 2008 concert in the Washington Post.

Mark J. Estren's review of the debut of The BannerArts Trio in the Washington Post, July 19, 2008.

Karren Alenier's review of Charley Gerard's "Sex Appeal" at Busboys and Poets June 18, 2008.

Karren Alenier's review of Charley Gerard's "The Weary Blues" at Busboys and Poets January 23, 2008.

Ellyn Wexler's feature article on Carl Banner in the December 5, 2007 Montgomery County Gazette (jpeg version).

Devin Hurd's review of the October 7 concert ("The Mighty Saxophone of Charley Gerard") in HurdAudio.

Joe Banno's review of the September 11, 2007 concert ("The Mighty Saxophone of Charley Gerard) in the Washington Post.

Stephen Neal Dennis' review of the September 11, 2007 concert ("The Mighty Saxophone of Charley Gerard) for allartsreview4u.com.

Photos and description of the premiere of Masatoshi Mitsumoto's Sonatina February 11, 2007 on the World Clarinet Alliance website.

Stephen Neal Dennis' review of the February 27, 2007 concert at the Czech Embassy for AllArtsReview4U.

Stephen Neal Dennis' review of the October 19, 2006 concert at the Czech Embassy for AllArtsReview4U.

Mark J. Estren's review of Schubert, Brahms, and "The 44 Faces of Funk" in the Washington Post, September 14, 2006.

Jon Morris' review of the June 25, 2006 Atlas Performing Arts Center program.

George Pieler's review of the May 23, 2006 Ratner Museum concert in Ionarts.

Blog review by Jon Morris of the May 23, 2006 Ratner Museum concert.

Duncan McHale's blog review of the March 19, 2006 "Jazz at our Roots" concert at the Atlas Performing Arts Center

Stephanie Kaye's interview with Carl Banner on WAMU-FM's "Metro Connection" March 10, 2006.

Blog review by Jon Morris of the February 21, 2006 Czech Embassy concert.

Video of the January 13, 2006 David Teie concert at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage.

Washington Post review by Andrew Lindemann Malone of the October 23, 2005 program at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

Karren Alenier of WordWorks, on the October 23, 2005 program at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.

Karren Alenier of WordWorks, on the February 5, 2005 program.

Charles T. Downey in Ionarts, on the July 18, 2005 concert at the Ratner Museum.

Washington Post review by Cecelia Porter of the June 21, 2005 concert.

Bethesda Gazette feature by Chris Williams (June 23, 2005) on Carl Banner.

Washington Post review by Joseph McLellan of the December 9, 2004 concert.

Feature article about Carl Banner by Don Luckett

Washington Post review by Grace Jean of the October 5th, 2004 concert.

Washington Post review by Grace Jean of the May 26th, 2004 concert.

Karren Alenier of WordWorks, on the March 20, 2004 program.

Washington Post review by Daniel Ginsberg of the December 10th, 2002 concert.

Washington Post review by Joe Banno of the July 9th, 2002 concert. (And we did give up our day job - thank you, Joe!).

Washington Post review by Cecelia Porter of the June 11, 2002 concert.

Washington Post review by L. Peat O'Neil of the April 23, 2001 concert.

ArtsBeat feature article by Nicole Miller from January 10, 2001.

A couple of early rave reviews:

The Buffalo Evening News, February 23, 1970
Woodwind, May 16, 1972

And a curiosity from the distant past:

The Buffalo Evening News, March 1, 1971

Goldstar member reviews:

Second Jaime Porras Memorial concert (June 23, 2010 at the Ratner Museum):

1) This was a truly enjoyable concert where everyone had fun, including the musicians. The presentations and performances were first rate.

2) good setting, lovely music. only problem is small parking lot.

3) What a wonderful evening! The music was very interesting, tuneful and lively. The museum venue and the dress were casual and comfortable.

Brahms Birthday concert (May 4, 2010 at the Ratner Museum):

1) Excellent! Very intimate setting.

Weary Blues (February 1, 2010 at Busboys and Poets):

The line to get in was a disorganized, slow-moving mess but the performance itself was excellent. A good night out. Tough to beat poetry and jazz (and sweet potato fries). Plus at the end they gave us all free cake in honor of Langston Hughes' birthday. Bonus!

Marilyn Goode's choice (January 6, 2010 at the Ratner Museum):

1) In this intimate setting it was very enjoyable to listen and experience the chamber music. The closing Saint-Saens piece was mind blowing! I recommend this for music lovers!

2) Excellent music in an intimate yet informal setting. Very enjoyable evening!

Some friend testimonials:

It was a full house at the Atlas Performing Arts Center this afternoon. A plugged-in audience soaked up classical and jazz musicians performing sort-of-jazz and sort-of-classical music. These people really like to shake it up.

It's refreshing to see artists do something that's way not mainstream and manage to be unpretentious about it.

These men and women have found a way to function in "normal" society while keeping their freshness and originality. I am moved to see that musicians from the jazz and classical worlds, two notoriously normative musical currents, are able to remember that what matters is playing rather than conforming.

Carl was recovering from the flu but you wouldn't have known it, he looked so delighted to be there.

Duncan W. McHale

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the concert last Tuesday night!!!
As someone who did not grow up with classical music, believe it or not, this was the first all Mozart program I have ever attended. I heard the music in a way I have not heard it before. Brilliant, overflowing with soulfulness and joy, a feast for the hungry heart! Thanks so much for being true to the Muse, and true to your calling. It is food that we all need, whether we know it or not. You and Marilyn deserve a lot of kudos for staying faithful over these many years.

Keep on keeping on,
Jesse Palidofsky

"It was incredible--one of the most exciting musical programs and performances that I have attended in a long, long time. And there, in the center, was Carl, somehow managing to be both the dynamic creative force and laid-back impresario."


Gerhard Ehrenspeck writes:

The review of your recent program reminds me that I forgot to tell you that your piano accompaniment of Karyn Friedman was terrifically sensitive and supportive. I remember periodically my "ear" moved back and forth between the vocal sounds and piano sounds, keying in on the piano and marveling how what came from the piano perfectly fit the words and meanings of the songs, filling in the emotions underlying the words or connecting the thoughts and phrases, without overpowering the singing or playing a subordinate or secondary role to the words of the songs.

Also, I really enjoyed your introductions and background comments about each of the pieces and composers. I always look forward to your introductions at your performances.


"Real music for real people." (Anon.)