In Music

Sam Llanas headlines this year's Festival of Trees & Music at the Conservatory of Music. (PHOTO: Deone Jahnke)

Llanas headlines Conservatory's Festival of Trees & Music

Iconic American singer, acoustic guitarist and songwriter Sam Llanas (formerly of the BoDeans) is one of 11 highly anticipated acts set to headline during the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music's 11-day Festival of Trees & Music Nov. 13-23.

Llanas will perform Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the elegant Helen Bader Recital Hall, hailed as one of the finest small performance spaces in Milwaukee, located in the historic McIntosh|Goodrich Mansion at 1584 N. Prospect Ave. in Milwaukee.

"We are thrilled to present a diverse lineup of local, national and international acts during our Festival of Trees & Music this year," said Gregory Ruffer, President and CEO of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. "Artists such as Sam Llanas, Peter Bernstein and Sonora Slocum among others will elevate this event, now in its second year."

Best known for his unique and distinctively soulful voice, it was Llanas' voice that supplied the trademark vocal on Robbie Robertson's "Somewhere Down the Crazy River." Llanas, who founded the band Absinthe in 1997, under which he released one album, 1998's critically acclaimed "A Good Day To Die."

In 2011 Sam Llanas left the BoDeans and released "4 A.M. (The Way Home)" on Inner Knot Records. In 2013 he released the live retrospective "4/5 Live – Vol I." On Nov. 18, Llanas is set to release "The Whole Night Thru," an all new studio record produced by longtime collaborator Gary Tanin, four days before his Festival of Trees & Music debut.

Other Festival of Trees & Music headliners include Jazz guitarist Peter Bernstein (Nov. 20), who has been a part of the jazz scene in New York and abroad since 1989; the unique and charismatic sounds of chamber music by the Chicago Harp Quartet (Nov. 23); the diverse sounds of the Grant Ziolkowski Brazilian Trio (Nov. 15); Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra principal flutist Sonora Slocum (Nov. 16); and two of the Conservatory's resident ensembles—We Six jazz sextet (Nov. 13) and Philomusica String Quartet (Nov. 17) among others. Prior to each headline performance, the spotlight will shine on Conservatory students during daily music recitals.

Concert tickets are $35 for Premium Reserved Seating, $25 for General Admission. Suggested $10 donation for entrance into the tree exhibit and student recitals. For a complete festival lineup, visit Festival of Trees & Music Webpage at wcmusic.org/festival-of-trees-music-2014 for regular updates. For tickets, call (414) 276-5760 or visit wcmuic.org.

Student recitals from 4 to 6:45 p.m. Monday-Friday, from 1 to 6:45 p.m. Saturday, and 1 to 2:45 p.m. Sunday. Concerts begin at 7:30 p.m., Monday-Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday. Following its 2013 debut, Festival of Trees & Music has evolved into what is now recognized as "a wonderland replete with thousands of lights, sparkling trees and stunning décor for children of all ages" transforming the Conservatory's historic McIntosh|Goodrich mansion for the holidays. Last year, more than 4,000 attendees visited the mansion for an unforgettable live music experience while being surrounded by unique trees decorated by local artists.


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