Denver Eclectic Concerts only requirement: Serious talent
Sciaky's billed as a "medieval-music superstar," known for researching centuries-old compositions and executing them flawlessly on period instruments like the viola de gamba. He's an offbeat, alt-performer with a taste for burlesque who's helping to make the ukulele trendy once again.
But somehow they both fit the Eclectic profile. They're both local, and they're both at the top of their game, the two series' major requirements.
After that anything goes; Eclectic Concerts keeps an open mind. While other series are all about specializing and refining — trying to hone the best of chamber music or piano jazz — Eclectic works hard not repeat itself. Its mission is diversity and showcasing just how varied Denver's players can be.
That said, the eight concerts that run through May don't include a heavy-metal band or anything close. They're all "somewhere near the classical scene," said Scott Higgins, who along with his wife, Susan Cahill, curates the events.
That makes sense, considering Higgins and Ca-hill are classical musicians themselves. He plays percussion, and she's a bassist with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
The series does have some purely classical-leaning moments, like the "Colorado Composers Concert," set for Feb. 9, and the remixed program of "Bach, Beethoven and Brahms," on May 14.
But even Higgins acknowledges those are a long way stylistically from John Kite, the well-known house pianist at the Brown Palace hotel, who specializes in Broadway tunes. He performs April 9.
Higgins said the main goal is to keep life interesting for local musicians, to give players like Kite a fresh audience or to provide classical pros, who spend most of their time in orchestra pits, a chance to stretch. The "Perfectly Piano (quiet) Percussion" program on Nov. 13 is a good example. "You wouldn't expect percussionists to try to play as quietly as they can, but that's what this is going to be," said Higgins.
Audiences also get to shake it up, hearing music outside its normal context. The Andrew Dahlke & Friends concert on March 12 will feature classical saxophone, not the usual fare in Denver.
Another benefit: The concerts are inexpensive, at $18 in advance, $20 at the door. Wine and cheese are included.
Ray Mark Rinaldi: 303-954-1540, email@example.com or twitter.com/rayrinaldi
Denver Eclectic Concerts 2014-15 season
Oct. 9: Carla Sciaky
Nov. 13: Perfectly Piano (quiet) Percussion
Dec. 11: Not XMAS with The Intermezzo Players
Jan. 8: Ukulele Loki
Feb. 12: Colorado Composer Concert
March 12: Andrew Dahlke & Friends
April 9: John Kite & Friends
May 14: Bach, Beethoven and Brahms
All concerts are at the Mortgage West Gallery in the Plum Building, 1705 S. Pearl St.. Tickets and info available online at eclecticconcerts.com.