Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Duke Special to Perform at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Belfast-native Duke Special will perform in an exclusive show designed for the Metropolitan Museum of Art on March 24, 2011, at 7pm. The show, presented by Spectrum and conceived specifically for the Met, will debut all-new songs inspired by the Museum’s current exhibition Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand, which features masterpieces of photography from the early 20th century. Duke Special’s “signature atmospheric sound will take listeners back to a bygone era of steam trains, tycoons, grandes dames, and artists—a world of foggy city streets and tranquil country scenes.”

On this extraordinary night of music, Duke Special will perform in the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium accompanied by members of the Orchestre de Chambre Miniature, a string quartet founded by violinist Olivier Manchon of the popular indie band Clare and the Reasons. The stage design company 59 Productions will bring the space to life with projections of photographs by Stieglitz, Steichen, and Strand.

Tickets for this one-time event are $18 and can be ordered at

This creative undertaking is hardly a new vein for Duke Special.

For his 3-CD release in 2009, The Stage, A Book, and The Silver Screen, Duke Special did some pretty unique things.

“The Stage” covers the recording of the new score he wrote for the Bertoldt Brecht play, Mother Courage and Her Children. Duke was chosen to write this score by actress Fiona Shaw, and a part was written into the play for him to perform those songs onstage during the production.

The “Book” represents Twain’s Huckleberry Finn; when a friend played Duke a song called “The Catfish Song,” he asked of its origin and learned that composer Kurt Weill, who died in 1950, left behind five songs from a new collaboration he was working on with lyricist Maxwell Anderson called Raft and the River, and that no one had ever recorded them. Those five songs became te CD, Huckleberry Finn.

Finally, “The Silver Screen” refers to the disc inspired by The Book of Illusions by Paul Auster. The central character, Hector Mann, was a silent movie film star who went missing after releasing only 12 films. Duke wrote a song based on the title of one of the fictional films and had the idea to make an album of it. He sent the book to eleven other songwriters and had them each write a pre-rock-and-roll-style song based on the remaining film titles, which became the CD The Silent World of Hector Mann.

Most recently, Duke released a CD of songs by 1950’s Belfast starlet singer Ruby Murray, the proceeds of the sales to benefit charity Depaul Ireland which helps homeless people on both sides of the Northern Ireland / Ireland border.

Make plans to attend this one-time-only show and hear the no-doubt beautiful songs that Duke Special has composed, inspired by these vintage photographs. If you are unable to attend the show, visit Duke Special’s official website to familiarize yourself with his extensive and unique body of work.

(Also, check out my interview with Duke Special at the 2010 Craic Fest in New York City.)

To help get you excited about going, I’m giving out six tickets to Duke’s performance to people who comment to tell me their favorite thing about Duke Special, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand exhibit. Comment on this entry to win! (I am only giving away tickets to those in the New York area on the evening in question, but please feel free to comment with your favorite things about Duke Special regardless of your location! Just add #NoTix if you are not trying to win a ticket) Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. My favorite thing about duke is how he completely doesnt look the part. His look keeps you guessing - just like the music.