Photos courtesy of Pentangle Arts
John McEuen, founder of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and classical
performer Alpin Hong engage in a "bluegrass meets Beethoven" duo
show that is sure to delight, as their perfect synergy creates a
blend of the unusual mix of American roots and classical tradition.
See them at Woodstock Town Hall Theatre on Jan. 18.
Legendary Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founder John McEuen will take
the Pentangle stage on Friday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the
Woodstock Town Hall Theatre, alongside rising-star pianist Alpin
Hong in a "bluegrass meets Beethoven" duo show that bridges
American roots music and classical traditions.
Although these two musical talents come from different
backgrounds, the synergy between them on-stage couldn't be more
perfect. As McEuen explained it, they had an instant creative
connection from the first time they played music together. Their
first joint appearance was before a sold-out crowd in Crested
Butte, Colorado in September 2011. Hong, an award-winning pianist,
can expertly blend classical sounds with just about any musical
"He's an improviser in a way that many classical players
aren't," McEuen said.
At the Jan. 18 show, music fans will see each of these great
musical talents performing solo and then together. They lend a new
and brilliant feel to old favorites like "Mr. Bojangles," along
with some tunes that will be totally new.
The audience can also expect a rich blend of music and
storytelling. After four decades in the music business and a life
raising six children, McEuen has plenty of material for song and
"Along the way you try to make people laugh, because that's how
they remember things," McEuen said.
McEuen, a multiple-Grammy-Award-winning bluegrass and folk rock
icon, is also regarded as a pioneer of the five-string banjo. He
recalled that he first heard the instrument at the age of 17, when
The Dillards performed at a club in his native Orange County,
California. From that moment, he was hooked.
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band formed in 1966, and McEuen went on to
make over 40 albums during his famed career. He has also played
over 8,000 shows and traveled over 3 million miles while touring.
In 2012, he released The McEuen Sessions/all for the good, recorded
with his sons Jonathan and Nathan. He won a Grammy in 2010 for
"Best Bluegrass Album," for his production of Steve Martin - The
Crow: New songs for the 5-string banjo.
The Jan. 18 show in Woodstock is a continuation of McEuen's
longtime interest in musical diversity, which would help explain
why he took such an interest in Alpin Hong's work. Piano
prodigy Hong is a native of Michigan and made his orchestral debut
with the Kalamazoo Symphony at the age of ten, followed by a slew
of competition wins and eventually a Master's degree from The
Rooted in extensive classical training but also a background in
skateboarding, snowboarding, martial arts, and video games, Hong's
uncanny ability to connect with young people has earned him the
reputation as a "modern-day Pied Piper." While in Woodstock, Hong
is also bringing his youthful energy and vitality to the school
community, with special performance for school groups on Thursday,
Jan. 17. A part of Pentangle Arts in Education program, Hong
offers students a dynamic glimpse into classical music as an
important part of the musical world, even in this modern digital
For more information about the Jan. 18 show, visit
www.pentanglearts.org. Tickets are available online or by calling
the Pentangle box office at 802-457-3981. Prices for the
Woodstock concert are: $33 in advance, $30 in advance for Pentangle
members, $15 for students, and $35 on the day of the show.
Also on the Pentangle website are details about a special Artist
After-Party with McEuen and Hong following the performance ($20 for