october string alert

chris thile

chris thile

The October concert roster will now be coming to us with a few extra strings attached. Just added to the mammoth Alltech Fortnight Festival is a performance by the Punch Brothers on Oct. 5. But here’s the kicker: the venue will be the ultra intimate Natasha’s Bistro (9:30 p.m.; $25). Jump on this one fast, folks. Tickets will not last long.

Among the all-star string players making up the Punch Brothers is mandolinist Chris Thile, late of Nickel Creek and the composer of a three movement mandolin concerto that he is performing with orchestras from around the country this year and next. On March 28, Thile will play the work in Maine with the Portland Symphony in a concert conducted by newly inaugurated Lexington Philharmonic maestro Scott Terrell.

mark o'connor

mark o'connor

Now here is where the timing gets really interesting. The very same evening Thile and the Punch Brothers play Natasha’s, violinist/composer Mark O’Connor will perform across the street at the Kentucky Theatre for the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour with his Appalachian Waltz trio (7 p.m.; $10). O’Connor is largely regarded as the pre-eminent Americana composer of our day. He will visit Lexington again on Oct. 30 to perform at the Singletary Center for the Arts with the University of Kentucky Symphony and Chorale and conductors John Nardolillo and Jefferson Johnson (7:30 p.m.; $10 student, $20 public).

sara watkins

sara watkins

OK., then. We have two of the country’s most innovative stringmen playing, essentially, next door, to each other on Oct. 5. What more could a bluegrass-loving classicist want? Well, how about the local concert debut of Sara Watkins, Thile’s bandmate from Nickel Creek at Natasha’s one week later – Oct. 12, to be exact (8 p.m., $20). Watkins performed a brief WoodSongs set in the early summer to promote her recent self-titled solo album, but this will be her first full headlining concert since Nickel Creek disbanded in 2007. The Natasha’s date will also be her last performance before heading to Canada to open a series of concerts by John Prine.

For info on the Natasha’s shows, call (859) 259-2754. For reservations to O’Connor’s WoodSongs performance, call (859) 252-8888. For tickets to O’Connor’s concert with the UK Symphony, call (859) 257-4929.



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