Yo-Yo Ma, Cello
Stuart Duncan, Fiddle
Edgar Meyer, Bass
Chris Thile, Mandolin
with special guest Aoife O’Donovan, Vocalist
VIDEO SCREEN ON THE LAWN
Four American string virtuosos embrace styles and traditions that go beyond classical music and together create a new kind of chamber ensemble. Yo-Yo Ma joins bassist Edgar Meyer, mandolinist Chris Thile, and fiddler Stuart Duncan, as well as singer Aoife O’Donovan. With strong bluegrass influences in evidence, Goat Rodeo is a landmark performance by four of the greatest instrumentalists of today. While each musician is a renowned superstar in his own sphere, they have come together on a most remarkable and organic cross-genre project stemming from their friendship, and the title concept.
At first blush, the collaboration of a cellist, a fiddler, a bassist and a mandolin player seems like the set-up to a bad joke; but with Yo-Yo Ma, Stewart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile, the result is nothing to laugh at. Co-composer Thile explains that the eyebrow-raising title is “an aviation term used to designate a situation where a bunch of things will have to go just right for anyone to come out of it unscathed. We felt it was appropriate somehow.” Indeed, the wide array of musical backgrounds reflected in the ensemble posed some challenges in writing and performing: Duncan is a practiced improviser while Ma works his magic from music on a page. Together with vocalist Aoife O’Donovan, however, they produce a sound that’s simultaneously uptown and down home, funky and pastoral but, above all, uniquely American.