Artists Governor's Arts Awards news showcase

Grusin, Dave

Dave Grusin ~ Santa Fe

Dave Grusin has written the music and composed the theme songs for over twenty network television shows including “Maude”, “St. Elsewhere” and “Good Times”.  Dave was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning one Oscar for “The Milagro Beanfield War“.  His other nominated films include, “The Champ”, “Tootsie”, “On Golden Pond,” “Heaven Can Wait,” “The Firm”, “The Fabulous Baker Boys” and “Havana.”  He was the co-founder of GRP Records, the groundbreaking jazz label that was nominated for eighty Grammy Awards.  Dave himself was nominated for thirty-eight Grammys and he won ten. Grusin has scored more than sixty Feature Films and been involved as a producer, composer and pianist on over one hundred record albums.

above: Dave Grusin : Not Enough Time is a Feature Length Documentary Film about the adventure-filled life and extraordinary career of composer, pianist and arranger, Dave Grusin. Over the past 60 years, Dave has been nominated for thirty-eight Grammy Awards, eight Academy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and one Emmy Award along with many other achievements. Grusin was also a co-founder of GRP Records, the best-selling jazz label for five consecutive years. His forward-thinking partnership with Larry Rosen had a monumental impact on the record industry. They set a standard for digital recording fidelity and became notorious for the “Grusin-Rosen Sound.” As a composer, producer and arranger, Dave Grusin is one of the most prolific American musicians of the last century.

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Neikrug, Marc

Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts: Marc Neikrug ~ Santa Fe

photo courtesy of Mark Neikrug

Recipient of the 2019 Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, Marc Neikrug’s musical career has spanned over 54 years as a globally recognized concert pianist, composer, and artistic director of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. As a pianist, he performed as a soloist, a chamber musician, and most notably as a duo partner with the violinist Pinchas Zuckerman for over 35 years. Together they performed in North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East in concert halls such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. His performances with Mr. Zuckerman have been recorded in over 20 CDs and performances broadcast on German, Swiss, English, and Japanese stations as well as on PBS. As a composer, major pieces were commissioned by the Berlin Opera, London’s South Bank Festival, the Frankfurt Festival, the Polish Radio Symphony, the Library of Congress, Lincoln Center, and the Atlanta, Houston, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Boston, Washington National, and Jerusalem symphonies. He has written five pieces on commission for the New York Philharmonic and G. Schirmer has published over 60 of his works. Since 1998, Neikrug has been the Artistic Director of the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Its annual season of 45 concerts features nearly 100 musicians from all over the world and the festival’s three-month series of radio shows is broadcast by over 200 stations. He developed major educational components to the Festival that brings curriculum, teacher training, and performances to 6,000 elementary students as well as pre-K students through the Music in Our Schools program.

Marc Neikrug performing Schumann’s Scenes of Childhood #7 (Dreaming) in 2007 for the “Sunken Cathedral: Classics for Kids” CD. The video is licensed to YouTube by Entertainment One U.S., LP (on behalf of eOne Music).

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Oppenheimer, Catherine

Catherine Oppenheimer ~ Santa Fe

photo: National Dance Institute

Recipient of the New Mexico Music Commission’s 2017 Lee Berk Award, Catherine Oppenheimer, a former professional dancer with the New York City Ballet, has provided opportunities for talented young musicians throughout the state to receive top-quality music education. In 1994, she co-founded the National Dance Institute of New Mexico, a statewide organization annually teaching nearly 10,000 children throughout the state. In 2010, she was also the driving force behind the creation of New Mexico School for the Arts, the state’s first residential high school for the performing and visual arts.

NDI is recognized for “Teaching Children Excellence,” and has introduced thousands of New Mexico children to dance training and performance experiences as an effective catalyst for character development and artistic expression.

Oppenheimer was also the driving force behind the creation of the New Mexico School for the Arts, New Mexico’s first chartered residential high school for the performing and visual arts. The charter school is dedicated to arts mastery and academic excellence assisting passionate young artists in developing their full potential.

An impressive artist in her own right, Oppenheimer danced with the New York City Ballet under the leadership of choreographers George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and with the Twyla Tharp Dance Company.

Oppenheimer came to New Mexico to teach residencies with NDI in Santa Fe and in selected rural communities. NDI provides classes at its Dance Barns to all children who desire to study the performing arts regardless of financial capabilities.

In 2008, Oppenheimer was honored by the MS Society of New Mexico with its Award of Distinction and by the New Mexico Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts for her dedication to the arts.

In 2005, the readers of The Santa Fe New Mexican named Oppenheimer to its annual “Ten Who Made a Difference” list.

Under Oppenheimer’s leadership, NDI received a prestigious Coming Up Taller Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, which was awarded by then First Lady Laura Bush.

above: New Mexico School for the Arts Chamber Ensemble, conducted by Carla Lehmeir, 2016.

for more information: NDI New Mexico

source: Governor’s Arts Awards

Artists Governor's Arts Awards showcase

Bayou Seco

Bayou Seco ~ Silver City

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Recipients of the 2017 Governor’s Arts Award in music, Ken Keppeler and Jeanie McLerie, known the world over as Bayou Seco, are not only extraordinary performers but they are ambassadors of New Mexico music. They have made significant contributions to New Mexico by preserving the cultural heritage of Hispanic and Cowboy folk music, and bringing it to life for future generations through their performances and teaching. McLerie has been a professional musician since 1962, performing in the United States, Canada and Europe with the groups Sandy & Jeanie, The Harmony Sisters and the Delta Sisters.

For more than 30 years, she has taught fiddle instruction to children through “The Fiddling Friends,” which focuses on an international repertoire of fiddle styles and music, with an emphasis on the sources of the music. Keppeler, a fourth generation Southwesterner with roots in New Mexico, Arizona and California, grew up with the music of the region and has been a professional musician since 1972. He plays fiddle, harmonica, banjo, and accordion and is also a violin maker. Together in Bayou Seco they are renowned for their “chilegumbo music,” which celebrates the cross-cultural music of the Southwest. Former State Folklorist Claude Stephenson said Keppeler and McLerie were instrumental in helping to bring the old traditional Hispanic style music of such New Mexico legends as Cleofes Ortiz, a violinist from Bernal, into the mainstream of the folk music scene. Cipriano Vigil of El Rito, who received a Governor’s Arts Award in 1994 for traditional music, said he has known and admired Keppeler and McLerie since the early 1980s. “So many other people know our music because of their efforts,” Vigil said. Rus Bradburd, an associate professor at New Mexico State University, said Bayou Seco have found and kept alive traditional dances in Albuquerque, Silver City, Las Cruces and Mesilla.

“Simply put, nobody else in the history of our great state has done so much for the music and gotten so little personal gain,” Bradburd said. “In a world overrun with smart phones, iPads, iTunes and technology gone wild, Keppeler and McLerie have pushed in the other direction. To them, the oldest magic is the best kind – the music that gets you dancing, the love of tradition, the respect for roots and older people.”

above: Bayou Seco performing, “Happy One Step” at their home in Silver City, NM, 2014. They share, “A tune we learned directly from Dennis McGee while living in SW Louisiana in 1978 and 1979. He would come and sit on our back porch on Saturday mornings and we’d play tunes and visit.”

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source: Governor’s Arts Awards

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Mirabal, Robert

Robert Mirabal ~ Taos Pueblo

Two-time GRAMMY Award winner, Robert Mirabal, is a 2019 New Mexico Music Commission Platinum Music Awards honoree. He lives with his family at the foot of the sacred Taos Mountain in northern New Mexico. Maintaining a traditional life, keeping the centuries-old customs of the Taos Pueblo people, Robert has been described as a Native American “Renaissance man” – musician, composer, painter, master craftsman, poet, actor, screenwriter, horseman and farmer – and he travels extensively playing his music all over the world. If you live a traditional life you see things differently—spiritually and musically. His first flute came when he was 18 with money he borrowed from his grandmother, and shortly afterward he had the opportunity to meet Native American flute player R. Carlos Nakai who greatly influenced him. When we met he looked at my hands and laughed. He said, “I have that same scar. It’s the scar of the flute maker.”

In the years since, Robert has continued the evolution of his flute making and has also become an accomplished novelist, poet, craftsman, composer, dancer, actor, painter, sculptor, concert performer and recording artist. His dozen albums of traditional music, rock and roll, and spoken word present a contemporary view of American Indian life that is unequaled. My music is informed by the ceremonial music that I’ve heard all my life. What I create comes out of my body and soul in a desire to take care of the spirits of the earth. A leading proponent of world music, Robert has merged his indigenous American sound with those of Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, tapping into a planetary pulse with a style that defies categorization. My travels have provided me with experiences that I could have never imagined, and exposed me to a global sound and a global voice.

Whether as a composer, songwriter, or musician, Robert has won many honors including two-time Native American Artist of the Year, three-time Songwriter of the Year, a 2006 GRAMMY Award for Sacred Ground, and his 2008 GRAMMY Award for Johnny Whitehorse Totemic Flute Chants, blending all of Robert’s influences into a musical landscape that conjures up both the historic and contemporary West. His 2002 breakthrough PBS Special, Music From a Painted Cave is unsurpassed in Native American theatrical expression. He is also the author of A Skeleton of a Bridge – a book of poetry, prose, and short stories, and most recently his book, Running Alone in Photographs – a memoir laced with gritty, introspective prose, that opens a window to a palpable experience of life in the Pueblo through the voice of Robert’s alter-ego Reyes Winds.

As a theatrical performer, Robert is no stranger to transforming himself. He portrayed Tony Lujan (Taos Pueblo), the famed husband of Mable Dodge Lujan, in the movie Georgia O’Keeffe, a retrospective about artist Georgia O’Keeffe starring three-time Academy Award nominee, Joan Allen. In recent year’s, Robert has appeared on Japanese and Italian TV as well as several guest roles on Walker Texas Ranger. “In August of 2012,” Robert premiered Po’Pay Speaks, his one-man show in Sante Fe about the leader of the Pueblo Revolt (1680) that is now touring internationally.

above: video biopic short about Robert – premiered August 23, 2019 at the Platinum Music Awards show – created by Bunee Tomlinson of Windswept Media.