The February Show!
with JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske
with JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske
St Mane Theater, 206 Parkway Avenue North, Lanesboro, MN
A wonderful show of all things February (yes, including Valentine's Day! Steve is joined by jazz singer pianist JoAnn Funk and bassist vocalist Jeff Brueske. Enjoy an evening of music and humor! St Mane Website
The Dunsmore Room, 6161 Highway 65 NE, Fridley, MN
Music and laughter! In February! Jazz pianist singer JoAnn Funk brings her unique piano vocal style to this entertaining show. Her style has been compared to Blossom Dearie and Diana Krall but is very much her own. JoAnn is a Twin Cities favorite who most recently performed with Jeff Brueske for Jazz in The Lobby Bar at The Saint Paul Hotel. Her fourth and most recent CD, Jazz in The Lobby Bar, continues to receive international airplay. These days she is traveling and performing - enjoy this rare treat to hear her in the Twin Cities! Baritone Steven Marking will be performing an astonishing range of music, from Schubert, Samuel Barber and Flanders and Swann, to songs from musicals. Steven has over 40 opera roles to his credit. Since his move to the Twin Cities in 2012, he has sung with the Minnesota Chorale, Metropolitan Symphony, performed a role with Minnesota Opera, sung many oratorios, led hymn sings and performed his popular show Our Mighty Mississippi, as well as shows with Jeff and JoAnn. His newest CD, "Holy Chestnuts", is collection of Victorian Era Anthems, recorded with organ and piano at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis, where he was the bass baritone soloist for four years. Never one to take himself too seriously, Steve has a comfortable stage presence and is a marvelous storyteller. Bassist and vocalist Jeff Brueske rounds out the talented trio, adding swing and beauty to everything, and also doing some great singing. Jeff might be the most understated musician you will ever meet. He is a choir director, educator, has a master's degree in guitar performance and is also a fine bassist. His vocals are a treat and are reminiscent of John Pizzarelli.
Steven Marking with his striking stage presence, rich baritone voice, and impeccable diction captivated the Italians. --Corriere della Sera, Milano
The Story behind the Concert
Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) was arguably the most renowned conductor of the 20th century. He began his musical career as a cellist and aspiring composer. Upon hearing the masterful music of Wagner, he decided to give up composing and devote his life to performing and conducting the works of other composers.
In 1993 Steven embarked on a concert tour of Italy with Walfredo Toscanini, Arturo’s grandson, and Walfredo’s wife Elaine, an accomplished accompanist. Arturo Toscanini is absolutely revered in Italy. For each concert Walfredo would speak of his grandfather and his strong working relationships with specific Italian composers. Elaine would then accompany Steven in songs written by those composers. He received many compliments from the Italians and they often assumed he was fluent in Italian.
In the years after the tour Steven was doing a great deal of performing with pianist/conductor Ian Hobson. As they discussed his concert tour and of the songs of Arturo Toscanini and his Italian contemporaries, Ian became eager to see the songs, since he was unaware that Arturo Toscanini had composed music . Steve and Ian then recorded these beautiful songs in Foellinger Great Hall at the Krannert Center for the performing arts in Champagne Urbana, Illinois. The CD is a stunning combination of two extremely skilled musicians. Exquisitely crafted, it has nuance, power, drama, poignancy and beauty.
In his concert performances of Toscanini and Friends, Steve often adds a few pieces by the British duo Flanders and Swann for a delightful contrast. He also performs art songs of other composers represented on the CD: Ottorino Respighi, Giacomo Puccini, Amilcare Zanella, Giuseppe Verdi, Pietro Mascagni, Alfredo Catalani, Ildebrando Pizzetti, Francesco Ciléa, Francesco Paolo Tosti, Ruggiero Leoncavallo, and Ernesto de Curtis. Steven will be accompanied by renowned pianist, Donald Livingston. He often combines this repertoire with Ives, Hoiby and Flanders and Swann for a truly unique concert experience.