List Grid

Blogs The Green Room

Meet the Minnesota Artists of This Clement World

Cynthia Hopkins has invited a slew of talented Twin Cities musicians to perform beside her in next week’s Midwest debut of This Clement World. This part-music, part-theater performance investigates expansive issues of climate change and more personal struggles with addiction. Pulled from various music scenes of the Twin Cities, Cynthia brings these twelve musicians to […]

Cynthia Hopkins in This Clement World, Photo: Ian Douglas

Cynthia Hopkins in This Clement World. Photo: Ian Douglas

Cynthia Hopkins has invited a slew of talented Twin Cities musicians to perform beside her in next week’s Midwest debut of This Clement World. This part-music, part-theater performance investigates expansive issues of climate change and more personal struggles with addiction. Pulled from various music scenes of the Twin Cities, Cynthia brings these twelve musicians to support her in the performances here at the Walker. We wanted to know more about this eclectic group of performers, so we asked them to tell us their most rewarding or memorable musical experiences and answer a more casual question related to their everyday lives. Check out their answers below (and learn such things as what they listen to, where they can be found on a Saturday night, and what they ate for breakfast)!

Crystal Myslajek, Piano

My most memorable performance is actually a toss-up between two performances with my band, Brute Heart. It would be either performing Brute Heart’s original score to the silent film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, in August 2012 in the Walker’s Open Field for the Music & Movies series, or playing in First Avenue’s Mainroom for Minneapolis-based, Polica’s record-release show. For me, both experiences reflect the vibrant fabric of music and art in Minneapolis. The Walker’s movies in the park have been a longstanding summer staple for many a Minneapolitan and I had always wanted to play First Avenue having grown up in the Twin Cities going to many shows there since I was a teenager.

What have you been listening to lately?
I’ve been listening to a lot of ambient music. Some of the artists on my playlist are Grouper, Stars of the Lid, and Tim Hecker. I’ve also been thoroughly enjoying the newest release of local music duo Father You See Queen and the lovely guitar and vocals of Chicago-based singer-songwriter Julie Byrne.

Crystal Myslajeck (left) of Brute Heart, Photo: Sophia Hantzes

Crystal Myslajeck (left) of Brute Heart. Photo: Sophia Hantzes

Larry Zimmerman, Trombone

I’ll never forget the first time I performed with my quintet, Chestnut Brass Company, at the Jeju Seaside Arts Center in South Korea–an amphitheater full of (mostly) Koreans clapping in unison to our arrangements of George Gershwin & Irving Berlin songs. What a rush, and now we’re looking forward to our sixth trip to Jeju this August!

What is your favorite thing about the Twin Cities?
There’s something really special about a bright sunny day in February, with fresh snow on the ground and in the trees. A lot of places you won’t ever see that, and it’s a beautiful thing.

Larry Zimmerman (second from left) of Chestnut Brass Company, Photo: abelcentral.blogspot.com

Larry Zimmerman (second from left) of Chestnut Brass Company. Photo: abelcentral.blogspot.com

Erica Burton, Viola

One of my most memorable experiences as a musician came when I played in-studio at the Hideaway for Lazerbeak of Doomtree. It was the very first time I had played music outside of the classical genre, and it was thrilling.

What have you been listening to lately?
Lately I’ve been listening to Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You,” The Pharcyde’s “Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde,” and John Mark Nelson’s “Waiting and Waiting.”

Erica Burton, Photo : facebook.com/Laurels.String.Quartet

Erica Burton.  Photo: facebook.com/Laurels.String.Quartet

Zack Lozier, Trumpet

Last summer, as a member of Doc Severinsen’s latest orchestra, I arrived at a rehearsal to find a chart labelled, “Duet/Split-Lead.” I later performed “Well Get It,” a Dorsey classic, trading note for note, right next to Doc at the front of the stage! I sure hope it’s in the show when we go back out in April.

What did you eat for breakfast?
This morning I had corn grits with cotija cheese, a hard fried egg, dark roast coffee, and an orange juice.

Zack Lozier (right), Photo : Andrea Canter

Zack Lozier. Photo : Andrea Canter

Jonathan Sunde, Tenor Vocals

My band, The Daredevil Christopher Wright, got an opportunity to perform for 50 or so people on a rooftop balcony in Paris overlooking La Basilique du Sacre Coeur. The opening act was a two-person, one-act performance of a Bertolt Brecht play. It was absolutely as bizarre and romantic as it sounds.

What have you been listening to lately?
I’ve been really excited about Nina Simone. I picked up her Pastel Blues record and am really enjoying. She’s amazing.

Jonathan Sunde (middle) of The Daredevil Christopher Wright, Photo: thedaredevilchristopherwright.com

Jonathan Sunde (middle) of The Daredevil Christopher Wright. Photo: thedaredevilchristopherwright.com

Karen Townsend, Alto Vocals

Last summer I played accordion for Open Eye Figure Theatre’ s Driveway Tour. It was incredibly rewarding to be part of these hilarious puppet shows that bring communities together for highly entertaining, free, outdoor, family friendly (yes, adults LOVE it too) entertainment in various backyards and neighborhoods. After performing 40 shows last summer in the Twin Cities and Tulsa, I still laughed at every joke and thrived off of the responses of the children and adults in the audience.

Which animal do you identify most with?
The snake. I was born in the year of the snake. I am about to give birth to my first child who will also be born in the year of the snake. I love encouraging people to shed what is no longer serving them. I like to visualize snakes and their movements when thinking about how to introduce concepts and ideas that people may not be open to if I just come right out and say it. I’m always looking to slither my way in, past the armor, to the most kind and compassionate part of the human heart.

Karen Townsend, Photo: karentownsend.bandcamp.com

Karen Townsend. Photo: karentownsend.bandcamp.com

Leslie Ball, Alto Vocals

My most memorable experience as a performer — over so many decades! — would have to be a three-way tie:
1) in the ’70s:  the adventure of weeks spent entertaining our troops on a U.S.O. tour in Panama, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and  several other Caribbean islands
2) in the ’80s: the privilege of singing  for Stephen Sondheim and others in a private presentation of a new work
3) in the ’90s: the honor of being a backup singer for Gene Pitney at his Carnegie Hall concert

Where can you be found on a Saturday night?
At the stunning Southern Theater hosting BALLS Cabaret, the longest-running weekly midnight cabaret in human history (now in our 22nd year). BALLS is a greenhouse for artists of any discipline or experience, nurturing creative community in a sober environment every Saturday night at midnight. BALLS was cited in the New York Times as a “must-see” while in the Twin Cities.

Leslie Ball, Photo: circleofgracemn.org

Leslie Ball. Photo: circleofgracemn.org

Parker Genne (Soprano Vocals)

My most memorable performing experience was busking on the streets in Edinburgh for fringe before my evening shows. There was this magnificent afternoon where I was singing away with my ukulele and this older Scottish gentleman who I noticed singing along to every tune I sang, accepted my offer to join me, and we busked together and made a killing for two hours. We had crowds as we belted our tunes, the best being “Down by the Riverside.”

What is your favorite thing about the Twin Cities?
The people, my family and friends that I love so much, and the lakes we swim in, sail on, and run across in the winter.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

Also performing with Cynthia Hopkins are local musicians: Jesse Edgington (bass vocals), Jake Endres (bass vocals), Jason Sunde (tenor vocals), and Lauren Asheim (soprano vocals).

Cynthia Hopkins performs the Walker Commision of This Clement World March 7-9, 2013.