Chris Thile – WOW!

Chris Thile Suzanne Bona

There are so many extraordinarily talented musicians in the world. I had a chance to attend a live performance by one of them last week: Chris Thile. He’s one of those rare people whose technical command of his instrument is so complete and effortless that every sound he makes expresses his exceptional artistry. The 2012 MacArthur Fellow (the so-called Genius award) is a mandolin player, singer, and songwriter, and his repertory spans many genres, from bluegrass to Bach. His performances included playing a truly extraordinary and virtuosic extended solo while singing. Chris Thile also has the “magic” of a great overall performer — a complete entertainer who lives and breathes the music, is a generous collaborator with other musicians, and interacts with the audience with his words, expressions and body language. One could see on his face the pleasure and enthusiasm he felt for his fellow performers. We in classical music often worry about the future of classical music, and whether young people will have opportunities to be drawn in and learn to love it as we do. Musicians such as Chris Thile give me great hope! [Hear selections from Chris Thile’s recent recording of Bach’s Partitas and Sonatas on the October 9th edition of Sunday Baroque.]