The Akropolis Reed Quintet formed at the University of Michigan back in 2010 and since then has gone on to perform around the world, picking up numerous awards along the way.
On August 11, you’ll be able to see them live in Mt. Gretna as a part of the 2019 Gretna Music season.
Each week this summer, LebTown will be previewing who’s playing next at Gretna Music—leaving you time to purchase tickets or get more information on the artists by visiting the Gretna Music website or Facebook page, or calling 717-361-1508.
So, without further ado, here are five questions with Akropolis Reed Quintet saxophonist, Matt Landry.
How would you describe the Quintet to someone who hasn’t seen it perform before?
Matt Landry: An Akropolis performance is all about connection—between Akropolis and the audience, between the audience and the music, and between the Akropolis musicians themselves. You will see deep communication between the performers, and from that, you will hear unique and one-of-a-kind music, with instruments you’ve probably never seen together at one time!
What inspirations have gone into the performance?
Matt Landry: Our concert is inspired by many things! But in order of most inspiration, I’d say the foremost inspiration is an idea that we carry with us every performance, to bring new things to audiences, and through our connection with them and each other, to leave them thrilled they got to experience it. So when we’re choosing music, we use this as our guide. For this concert, we’re doing two pairs of music. The first pair is inspired by jazz, but in two different ways. First, the WORLD PREMIERE of a piece for us by New York City studio musician and living French horn great, Jeff Scott, of Imani Winds. Then, a piece of music arranged for us by French composer Darius Milhaud in which saxophone originally replaced the viola! The second half is all about how artists respond to the world around them, so both pieces reflect the world around the composer. First, a piece by David Biedenbender inspired by hilarious YouTube videos and other cultural phenomena today. Then, we close the concert with George Gershwin’s epic “An American in Paris,” which he composed as a tone poem to describe the Paris streets right outside his doorstep.
What has the experience rehearsing and putting it together been like?
Matt Landry: It’s been normal and not normal in many ways. Normal because half of the music we’ve played quite a lot. Not normal because two of the pieces are very new for us! We do a lot of new pieces, be they arrangements of old music, or brand new music. In this case, we’re getting new parts for a new piece by Jeff Scott right off the press. We’re super excited to introduce this to our repertoire, but we’re always nervous about how difficult new pieces will be. Jeff’s piece has some challenges for sure, but it’s such a rewarding piece that we’re taking them head on, and really dedicated to perfecting this new piece as quickly as possible!
Where is the most unexpected place you’ve heard or played amazing music?
Matt Landry: Two places that stand out are Juneau, Alaska, and Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They’re very different experiences, but they really stand out in our memories. When you’re in a new place you get new inspiration and new energy for your performances, and audiences from far-away places always seem to appreciate groups that travel far to get there, which is also really nice.
What would be your Jigger Shop order?
Matt Landry: EASY! I grew up in New Orleans, so I’m going with the Beignet Sundae. Let’s see how they do their beignets in Gretna!
An earlier version of this post misidentified the name of the act in a question heading. We regret the error.