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The Wires – Listen Local Interview

The Wires
Thursday, Jun 1, 2017
Tagged As: classical
The Wires
The Wires
The Wires are an original alternative classical music duo comprised of Sascha Groschang on cello and Laurel Parks on violin. Together they surpass expectations of what a string duo can be by incorporating innovative sounds and techniques into their pop song-length compositions and teaching other string players how to do the same. Their first album, The Wires, was released in 2013 and they are currently finishing a follow-up in addition to performing, teaching and other music-related projects. We honored to share an interview with the duo about their unique collaboration. Enjoy!

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Please introduce yourselves. Where do you live and work?

Sascha Groschang (SG): I live in Hyde Park, in midtown KC. I teach at Missouri Western State University, and am principal cellist of the Saint Joseph Symphony. I teach privately, and have a quartet that plays a variety of events with Laurel. We also both do tons of recording sessions, improv work and freelance jobs all around the area.

Laurel Parks (LP): I live in midtown. I am a freelance violinist and I also have a home studio.

Talk about the origins of The Wires. How did you start your collaboration?

We wanted to start a project that was all our own. We had been doing tons of records for bands and gigs for other people, playing their music, and we wanted something original that was our own creation.

How does your collaboration work in terms of composition? Are your pieces fully transcribed? What may surprise a listener about how your pieces are created?

Usually, one of us comes up with a riff or melody, and we improvise until we come up with a section we like. We slowly piece our work together over weeks or months. We don’t have any of our tunes transcribed (yet) – it’s all just floating around in our brains! What’s surprising about our pieces (even to us), is the length they take to complete. We have lofty goals about finishing certain songs, and then it ends up taking weeks or months (or years).

Your first album, The Wires¸ was released in 2012. How is work going on the follow-up?

It’s going well! We are currently recording and hope to have a big release in 2017. We have a much better system for recording and producing this go around, and so it’s a little smoother and faster. Which is good, because Sascha has a baby, so there’s much more limited time!

What inspires you both about the classical or traditional music communities in Kansas City?

We both started with classical training, and KC’s classical scene just keeps growing in inspiring ways – besides the big groups, such as the KC Symphony, there’s New Music, Baroque performance practice opportunities (Sascha is even learning the viola da gamba and is playing a viol consort!) and plenty of concert of all types to go to and participate in. The traditional music community is so open and welcoming – you can show up and join in no matter what level or experience you have and they are just happy to have you. It’s a great way to make music and have a good time!

Sascha and Laurel’s recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog:

Books:

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Into Thin Air by John Krakauer

Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

Music:

Goat Rodeo Sessions

Any and all music by Jose Gonzalez

Vespertine by Bjork

Film:

Dancer in the Dark

Dark Days

The Wires

Bryan V.
Written by Bryan V.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – 2:08pm
Fun fact: I once met a guy who met Captain Beefheart.

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Wires Interview – The Kansan

The Wires to perform at the Lawrence Arts Center with visual artist
Lane Hornback | @Laner2301 Feb 8, 2017 (0)

http://www.kansan.com/arts_and_culture/the-wires-to-perform-at-the-lawrence-arts-center-with/article_094f54f6-ed77-11e6-ad92-03ccc8318c6b.html

Sascha Groschang (left) and Laurel Morgan Parks (right) will perform at the Lawrence Arts Center Saturday, Feb. 11.
Combining art forms like string instruments and paintings to create a new perspective on music is one of the newest ways the Lawrence Arts Center is looking to engage the community.

The Wires, a classical music duo from Kansas City, Missouri, plans to bring this enhanced art experience to life with its performance and display of visual art Saturday, Feb. 11. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m.

The Wires consists of professional violinist Laurel Morgan Parks, and professional cellist Sascha Groschang. The show will be accompanied by visual artist and painter Benjamin Parks, who will provide visual support to the music of the concert through digital projection.

“We are hoping that a lot of people who are studying violin and cello will come out, because we think this will be very educational for them to see this kind of cutting-edge performance,” said Sarah Bishop, chief communications officer at the Lawrence Arts Center.

The music people will hear from the The Wires is inspired by folk, nonconventional string music, indie rock, celtic and Appalachian music, according to Laurel.

“We will be playing a lot of dramatic music, and even though there are only two of us, people often comment that it sounds bigger than that,” Laurel said. “We often play on multiple strings, so sometimes it sounds full, like a string quartet.”

Benjamin, also Laurel’s husband, is involved with work in visual design, while also playing music on the side. For this show, Benjamin will have several of his paintings on display for attendees to observe before and after the show, Bishop said.

During the show, Benjamin will project an image on a screen, which will line up and change with the mood and sound of the music played by Laurel and Groschang. Laurel said that the image and music will progress as if they are going through the seasons, starting with spring and ending with winter.

Laurel said the duo first met while attending the University of Missouri–Kansas City Conservatory of Music, and they have been musical partners ever since.

“We had been drowning in work from other people’s music projects, and being hired to do recordings and gigs,” Parks said. “We had a phone conversation late one night and we just decided that we would try to write our own music.”

The event is $10 for University students. For more information, visit the event’s website.

— Edited by Frank Weirich

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Pitch Interview

The Wires talk alternative classical ahead of Lawrence Arts Center gig Saturday

The Lawrence Arts Center’s Nine Forty Live series has showcased innovative local and regional musicians for the past five years. But its reputation perhaps leans on tried-and-true singer-songwriter bookings more than it does on classical or concert music. The series is open to all genres, but you’re less likely to run into John Cale than you are to hear Grant Hart, Matt Pryor, Drakkar Sauna or Truckstop Honeymoon.

That’s not a complaint, of course, but it’s hard not to feel some excitement ahead of the rare opportunity that awaits on Saturday, February 11. That night, the series stages a show by Kansas City string duo the Wires: Laurel Morgan on violin, and Sascha Groschang on cello.

Fans of local music might be familiar with Morgan’s work as part of the on-again, off-again murder-ballad specialist In the Pines. But the Wires achieves an altogether different sound, and this event promises to entrance — thanks not least to a live video installation by artist Benjamin Parks.

“The video element of this production will make it particularly wonderful,” Ric Averill, the Lawrence Arts Center’s artistic director, writes in an email. “The Wires are amazing musicians and creative collaborative artists. Their music is bold, accessible and fresh.”

Morgan and Groschang are just as eager to play this venue as Averill is to have them, the cellist says.

“It seems like a really great fit,” Groschang says. “Since we don’t strictly play classical music, we often find it difficult to find appropriate venues for our style.It’s either too formal, like a church, or not formal enough, like a bar.”

Given the multidisciplinary aspect of this particular presentation, the Saturday concert looks to fall right in the sweet spot for the Wires and artist Parks (art by whom is seen above). The musicians and the artist have worked together before, several years back, but this time is different. Parks says the evening marks a deep collaboration.

“With this project, we developed the idea together but have worked rather separately in the implementation,” he says, explaining that he sees his work as that of an observer that can then translate the basic emotions of the piece. “Essentially, the visuals consist of taking the documented process of painting and projecting it, and then incorporating the projection into the live performance. The visuals are subtly affected by the instruments, showing the under painting and the layers of color in different ways as the songs progress.”

The Wires’ members have plenty of experience playing what might roundly be referred to as pop, and they’ve been hired for weddings and events, together and with fellow musicians, to play familiar covers. Echoes of that conversance with a more everyday sound are audible on the pair’s first album, Alternative Strings.

“For me, I have used a lot of the rhythmic bass lines and textures in our music,” Groschang says. “And in some ways, we want our music to be accessible, so pop music has informed our form — as in, we like to include a catchy hook.”

It helps that the Wires’ music delivers a percussive snap. This is by design: “Since we are limited with only two [players], we are trying to fill the space with rhythmic aspects as well as melodic to make a more modern sound, so that we sound more like a quartet than just two,” Groschang says.

Averill agrees and goes further, calling their music “driving yet soulful, collaborative, storytelling, accessible.”

The Lawrence performance lets the Wires make a full-blooded case for everything the act does. Beyond a four-segment program meant to represent the four seasons, the show includes a preview of the band’s second album.

“This song starts with birth and follows through the cycle of life,” Groschang says. “From a musical aspect, we based this idea around one of our new pieces that will be on our upcoming album. Sometimes we rehearse — especially when there is wine involved. We have a sort of collaborative vision that informs our writing.”

The Wires

With Benjamin Parks

7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 11, at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire, Lawrence, 785-843-2787, lawrenceartscenter.org
http://www.pitch.com/music/blog/20851217/the-wires-talk-alternative-classical-ahead-of-lawrence-arts-center-gig-saturday

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wednesday

Wednesday MidDay Medley presents The 113 Best Recordings of 2013 (The Wires #12)

Wednesday MidDay Medley
TEN to NOON Wednesdays – Streaming at KKFI.org
90.1 FM KKFI – Kansas City Community Radio
Produced and Hosted by Mark Manning

The 113 Best Recording of 2013

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Editor’s Picks 2012–13 season

KCM’s executive editor Kristin Shafel Omiccioli reflects on some of her favorite shows from Kansas City’s performing arts scene during the 2012–13 season.

Read the Article

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KCMETROPOLIS Review

By Kristin Shafel Omiccioli

After hitting it off as students at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, Kansas City natives violinist Laurel Morgan and cellist Sascha Groschang maintained their friendship and officially formed alternative strings duo The Wires in 2009. Since then, the pair has found fresh arrangements of pop hits to perform, run a Creative Strings Workshop in the summer, and recorded and released its eponymous debut album in early 2013.

On Friday night, Morgan and Groschang took the stage on the lawn of the Kansas City Museum for a two-hour concert of contemporary string music, including a few covers and mostly originals from their album. While the cover arrangements were well done and it was fun to hear recognizable tunes (songs by the Beatles and Muse, for example), The Wires’ own compositions were far more compelling. Displaying a wide range of musical influence, The Wires’ impressive oeuvre shows traces of American jazz and blues, alt-rock, and dance and folk music from around the world, underscored by Morgan and Groschang’s highly developed technical abilities.

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Fox 4 News Kansas City

We recently were featured on Fox 4 News Kansas City Morning show!

View Article and Watch Video Here

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Indie Music Reviewer

Not to sound cliché, but the Kansas City girls of the unsigned band The Wires make beautiful music together.  It is exciting to entertain the idea that maybe one day we could see a collaboration between Wires members Sascha Groschang (cello) and Laurel Morgan Parks (violin) with 2Cellos’ Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser (and maybe throw in some Lindsey Stirling for good measure?) for a knock-down, drag-out, modern classical music bonanza!

But, in all seriousness, if you are a fan of classical music, or any music that willingly sacrifices a vocal track for lush instrumentals, then The Wires’ Alternative Strings (recorded at Hyde Park Studios in Kansas City and released March 9, 2013) proves itself to be a worthy adversary for your music collection.

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Review from UNEWS

album review: The Wires debut broad album

April 16th, 2013

The lively rhythmic tales the violin and cello unfold in local group The Wires is spell-binding.

Officially together since 2009, UMKC Conservatory alumni and Kansas City natives, violinist Laurel Morgan Parks and cellist Sascha Groschang have put their artistry to good use in their debut album.  The group’s self-titled album exemplifies the different genres of training the musicians have had. KCUR described the album as “an alternative exploration in string sound.”

Also described as “crossover classical,” by the pair, the degree of emotion evoked within their haunting and dreamlike songs is highly tantalizing.

The first song, “Native,” portrays a level of mastery and form, as well as a high level of wonder and artistry within the movements of the song.

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UMKC

Published on March 13, 2013

Listen to the story here.

Cellist Sascha Groschang and violinist Laurel Morgan Parks have been good friends since they trained together as classical musicians at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance. They perform around the region, and internationally, in symphony orchestras and chamber groups.  They’ve also delved into traditional folk, rock and jazz genres.

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