2019 The University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award winner Scott Laird

Scott Laird, nationally recognized string pedagogue and conductor (and NS Design Artist and Educator), has received The University of North Carolina Board of Governors 2019 Excellence in Teaching Award.

Steven Krull Photography

Established by the Board in 1993 to highlight the importance of teaching, the award recognizes the extraordinary contributions of faculty members System wide, honoring 17 outstanding faculty members this year.

“We take great pride in honoring these recipients. They all bring a high standard of excellence in the classroom through creative teaching methods that impact our students,” said UNC Board of Governors Chair Harry Smith.

Laird, who has served on the faculty of The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics is currently the Fine Arts Coordinator and Instructor of Music.

Beginning in 2001, Laird’s milestone achievements include promoting and developing a high standard of musicianship and pride in the Orchestra and initiating popular electives Classical Piano and Guitar, Audio/Digital Music Production, and History of Western Music. Taking on the new role of Fine Arts Coordinator in 2008, Laird has played an integral role in recruiting, hiring, and supporting all of NCSSM’s Fine Arts instructors with an eye toward developing a team that exemplifies excellence in teaching, scholarship, impeccable musicianship, care for students, and collegiality.

In his 18 years as NCSSM’s orchestra conductor, the string section has grown from only 12 members in 2001 to over 60 players this year. They have performed major works every year including symphonies by Beethoven, Dvorak, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Haydn, and this year, Brahms and have featured over 70 student soloists over the years as part of an annual Concerto Concert. He sponsors and supports students who are selected for the NCMEA Eastern Regional Orchestra, NC Honors Orchestra, and NAfME National Honor Orchestra.

“This award is an opportunity to acknowledge the great work that’s being done by some of the finest instructors in all of higher education,” said UNC System Interim President Bill Roper. “It represents the talent we have in the UNC System and the high-quality education our students receive.”

Noted for his innovative approach to ensemble development and musicianship, Laird is a frequent conductor of honor orchestras and is a sought-after conference presenter. He has developed relationships with the Durham community by promoting the Fine Arts Series events to the community on area list-serves and our programs are now well known for their high quality, free admission, and family-friendly atmosphere.

He regularly performs on acoustic and electric violin and is known for his abilities in both the classical and improvisatory arena. We’re proud to add that his electric of choice is the NS Design CR Violin.

His blog: “Thoughts of a String Educator,” enjoys broad readership in the music education community.

More on Scott and the other esteemed recipients of this prestigious award:  https://www.northcarolina.edu/Board-Governors-Awards/Teaching-Awards-2019


From Winter NAMM 2019 NS Artist Donald Waugh’s Review of the NS RADIUS Bass Guitar

Donald on the WAV Radius Bass from NS Design!

From the NS Design Booth at Winter NAMM 2019, here is NS Artist Donald Waugh’s Review of the NS RADIUS Bass Guitar with NS Design’s founder and award winning designer, Ned Steinberger:

“It’s not very often I play instruments that make me not want to stop playing… the WAV Radius Bass is one of those instruments. The NS Design bass guitars are all very beautifully designed, with a lot of tone options. The thing that stuck out most to me was the piezo pickup system that Ned Steinberger designed himself. It is not only dynamic, but also very warm; a unique blend of shimmering brights and deep lows. Don’t take my word for it, listen to the sound for yourself. Enjoy the video!” – Donald Waugh

For more of his reviews, music and what’s new from Donald, visit https://donaldwaugh.com/

For more information about the RADIUS Bass Guitar Series from NS, visit: https://thinkns.com/instrument/the-ns-design-radius-bass-guitar/


Ned Steinberger, NS Design Founder, Keynote Speaker at 2nd Annual Maine Luthiers Exhibition & Music Showcase

October 12 – 14, 2018, Hallowell, Maine welcomes you to celebrate the craft of lutherie at the 2nd Annual Maine Luthiers Exhibition and Music Showcase at central Maine’s “New Orleans on the Kennebec”, with a gallery exhibition of Maine made instruments, craft demonstrations, and great live performances at auditoriums, restaurants, and pubs in the most charming, and rocking, downtown north of Portland.

Friday night’s reception at City Hall includes a meet and greet with Ned Steinberger, our keynote speaker and an internationally recognized innovator in musical instrument design and construction.  He is an incredible example of innovative intellectual property producer who lives and works in Maine, and is part of an international manufacturing network.

The 2nd Annual Maine Luthiers Exhibition and Music Showcase is brought to you by the City of Hallowell, in partnership with The Harlow Gallery and Maine Craft Weekend, and funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Friday Night Welcoming at Hallowell City Hall

  • Keynote Speaker: Ned Steinberger, internationally recognized stringed instrument design innovator, City Hall Auditorium, 6:30 PM, with VIP reception at 5:30.  General seating starts at 6 PM.
  • Featured Performers: Adam Frederick, bassist, NS Design Featured Endorser, City Hall Auditorium, 7:30 PM; The Katie Matzell Band, City Hall Auditorium, 8:00 PM

NS Artist Adam Frederick with the Fretless Sunburst NXT5a RADIUS

Music and woodworking vendors and demonstrations including:

  • Bourgeois Guitars, Hallowell City Hall
  • Kennebec Instrument and Amplifier, Hallowell City Hall
  • Carter Ruff, Luthier, Hallowell City Hall
  • Shelter Tool, Hallowell Bandstand (next to The Harlow)

All days Featuring:

  • Maine-Made Stringed Instrument Exhibition at The Harlow
  • Raffle drawings for great stringed instruments including a NS Design WAV4 Radius electric bass guitar and a Yamaha Revstar RS502 electric guitar
  • Music Performances in Downtown Venues throughout the weekend

Visit http://hallowell.org/luthiers/ for more details and to reserve your tickets!


Featured Artist: Glen McDaniel

The electrifying trio of Glen McDaniel, Zack Clark, and Nick Villalobos, together known as Simply Three, have been captivating audiences worldwide with high-octane performances since 2010. Be sure to catch Simply Three at upcoming appearances. Link to their website for more information on the new album Undefined: https://simplythreemusic.com/

Glen plays the NS CR4 Electric Violin in Custom Slate Gray Finish.

Check out Simply Three’s latest original song “S.O.A.”

More about Glen . . .


Featured Artist: Zack Clark

The electrifying trio of Zack Clark, Glen McDaniel, and Nick Villalobos, together known as Simply Three, have been captivating audiences worldwide with high-octane performances since 2010. Be sure to catch Simply Three at upcoming appearances. Link to their website for more information on the new album Undefined: https://simplythreemusic.com/

Zack plays the NS CR Electric Cello in Custom Slate Gray Finish.

Check out Simply Three’s latest original song “S.O.A.”

More about Zack . . .


Featured Artist: Nick Villalobos

The electrifying trio of Nick Villalobos, Glen McDaniel, and Zack Clark, together known as Simply Three, have been captivating audiences worldwide with high-octane performances since 2010. Be sure to catch Simply Three at upcoming appearances. Link to their website for more information on the new album Undefined: https://simplythreemusic.com/

Nick plays the NS CR5M Upright Bass in Custom Slate Gray Finish.

Check out Simply Three’s latest original song “S.O.A.”

More about Nick  . . .


NS Artist Jamaaladeen Tacuma: Presenting the Outsiders Festival

NS Design is proud to co-sponsor the Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival in Philadelphia, PA, with events taking place throughout the month of April and a Grand Finale concert April 29th at the Ibrahim Theater. The festival is curated by renowned bassist and NS endorser Jamaaladeen Tacuma and produced by Jam-All productions. Taking place during Philadelphia’s Jazz Appreciation Month, the festival showcases diverse styles of risk-taking, progressive music and provides a platform for both renowned artists and up-and-coming performers.

Grammy-nominated bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma is celebrated internationally for his creatively free, avant-garde and funky approach to the electric bass. One of the most distinctive bassists of his generation, he is credited for redefining the potential of the instrument. He began playing a Steinberger bass in the 1980s and has maintained a relationship with Ned Steinberger ever since. Jamaaladeen now plays the NS Design WAV RADIUS Bass Guitar and WAV Electric Upright.

Tacuma’s Albums, Grammy-nominated Jukebox and Dreamscape, with original Steinberger bass.

At the age of 19, Tacuma caught the attention of Ornette Coleman and rose to prominence as the first bassist in Coleman’s electric band, Prime Time. He toured and recorded with the group throughout the 1970s and 80s. In 1989, Tacuma’s Jukebox was nominated for a Grammy for best jazz album of the year. In 2011 he was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.

Tacuma plays the WAV Electric Upright Bass (left) and the WAV RADIUS Bass Guitar (right).

Tacuma has collaborated with a diverse roster of musicians, including Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, Marc Ribot, Pharoah Sanders, Grover Washington Jr., David Murray, and Odean Pope, among many others. He has worked with orchestras led by Anthony Davis at Carnegie Hall, and he has appeared with Hip-Hop group The Roots and artists DJ King Britt and DJ Logic. He made an appearance as band director for the David Letterman Show and has performed on Saturday Night Live.

Since 2015, Tacuma has been producing the annual Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival in his hometown of Philadelphia. He is a recipient of the 2018 Benny Golson Award from the City of Philadelphia.

The Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival will host its Grand Finale April 29 at the Ibrahim Theater, International House, 3701 Chestnut St. in Philadelphia. Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time Band will headline the show. Music starts at 2pm. Visit www.jamaaladeenmusic.com for more information.

More details and features for all the NS Basses that Jamaaladeen plays, along with our new eco-friendly NXTa active series  EUBs, Omnis, Cellos, Violins and Violas, featuring battery-free electronics, are found at our website ThinkNS.com.


Featured Artist: Jamaaladeen Tacuma

Recently awarded this year’s Benny Golson Award by Mayor Jim Kenney of Philaldelphia, PA, renowned jazz bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma, presents the fourth annual Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival. This year’s 3-event festival continues its mission of showcasing diverse styles of risk-taking, progressive music and groundbreaking artists on April 6th, 15th and 29th for Philadelphia’s Jazz Appreciation Month. Featuring Tacuma along with headliner Ornette Coleman’s PRIME TIME led by Denardo Coleman and FREE FORM FUNKY FREQS trio with G. Calvin Weston and Guitarist Vernon Reid.

For tickets and venues visit:  https://www.jamaaladeenmusic.com/

Jamaaladeen plays a WAV RADIUS Bass Guitar and WAV Electric Upright Bass.

More about Jamaaladeen . . .


NS Artist Noor Che’ree Joins the Spring 2018 “I Believe You” Tour and Clinic Featuring Emiko

 

NS Design Bassist Noor Che’ree is embarking on the “I Believe You 2018 Tour” with Rock-Pop musician Emiko. The National Tour begins on March 21, 2018. Along with drummer Lee Piatelli, the trio will play a series of shows throughout the US. In May 2018, Emiko Asia Tour will play in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Bantam Border Stage Festival, The World Youth Jazz Festival (Kuala Lumpur), and Jakarta, Indonesia.

While on their US tour this spring, Che’ree and Emiko will hold the ‘Emiko LIVE! Songwriting & Instrument Demo Clinic Series’ at select Sam Ash Music Store locations around the country. Che’ree is representing NS Design, along with Emiko and her brand partner Hammond Organ USA. They will share their experiences and process in the music creation process, from concept to writing to performance and recording.

Along with sharing his insights and tips, Noor will demonstrate the versatility of the NS Basses and various types of available bass sounds from the RADIUS Bass Guitar. Attendees are welcomed to play the instruments and take part in the process during the clinic.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn and work with Che’ree and Emiko. Visit the Sam Ash Events Calendar at for a current list of locations, dates and times.

For tour dates and locations for the “I Believe You 2018 Tour” with Emiko visit her website: www.emikomusic.com

For more information about Noor Che’ree visit www.noorcheree.com


NS Artist Jason Yang – Exploring new modes of violin performance

Performance by Jon Boogz and Lil Buck at TED2017 – The Future You, April 24-28, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Bret Hartman / TED

NS Violinist Jason Yang follows his creative instincts into innovative musical territory. As a young classical violinist growing up in New Jersey, Yang enjoyed performing with the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. He broadened his interests beyond classical music while at the University of Southern California, where he met musicians who sparked his interest in composing and improvisation.

Yang began composing, arranging, and teaching, and developed his own unique style.  In 2007, he began playing the NS Design CR Series Electric Violin, which expanded his sonic palette and offered a new array of technical possibilities.  Jason’s performances came to encompass a variety of genres, bound together by technological innovation and his deft, playful musicianship.

Yang is pictured here at NAMM 2017 with his composing mentor Mick Baumeister (left), and Ned Steinberger (right),  founder and designer, NS Design.

In 2008, while still at USC, he started posting YouTube videos of himself from his dorm room jamming on the CR4 with various pedals and layering effects. Layering and mixing using the NS electric violin, his acoustic violin, and other instruments, Yang constructed an orchestral base for his music. The success of his YouTube videos raised his profile among a new generation of experimental violinists. Today, his YouTube channel has 198,000 subscribers.

At Yang’s workstation, pictured in foreground: NS Design CR4 Transparent Black Cherry High Gloss Custom Electric Violin displayed on the NS Violin Caddy; background: NS Design CR4 Amber Satin Electric Violin.

After college, Jason found increasing success as a professional musician. In 2012 he joined Madonna’s MDNA World Tour as her violinist. He continues to collaborate with dancer and performance artist Lil Buck, who also tours with Madonna. Lil Buck and Yang have also performed together on The Colbert Report, and recently at TED2017, in the premier of a performance as MAI: Movement Art Is, co-led by dancer/choreographer John Boogz. That work, “A Dance to Honor Mother Earth”, combined dance, spoken word, and Native American song and music performed by Yang on the CR Violin.

Performance by Jon Boogz and Lil Buck at TED2017 – The Future You, April 24-28, 2017, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED

Watch the full performance here:

Jason has played the CR Violin for almost a decade. In his own words, the instrument is “hands down the best electric violin available … sound, response, design, build quality, dependability.”  Jason goes wireless in his live performances, with a wireless pack in to his CR, and wireless in-ears for monitoring. He uses Boss pedals and loop stations for his effects.

Here’s another example of what Jason does so well, in what he describes as: “Spontaneous 100% freestyle jam of Moonlight Sonata. With a lil’ bit of distortion…” in a video post with fellow Movement Art Is collaborator, John Boogz:

Recently Amazon.com approached Yang to host his own live streaming channel on their online streaming service TwitchCreative.  Growing out of TwitchTV, which originally focused on live-stream gaming, TwitchCreative has channels for music, cooking, painting, and crafts.

Jason’s live shows feature jamming, requests from among his 14,000 followers and guest appearances by other artists he hosts from his living room studio.  Some of the most popular streams include work with ChewieMelodies, The Luck, Cellist Mariko, and several collaborations with his sister, pianist Pauline Yang.

For more information about Jason Yang and links to various projects and performances, goto his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/JasonYangViolin or at TwitchCreative: http://www.twitch.tv/jasonyangviolin.

For more information about the CR Series Electric Violins that Jason plays and the entire selection of NS Bowed Electric Instruments, including the new Eco-friendly and battery free NXTa or the affordable and road-worthy WAV Series or to see a selection of our Custom CR Series Finishes, and available accessories for the NS Electric Violin, please visit our website: ThinkNS.com.


NS Artist Margot Lane – Music Director and Violinist ‘Angel’ with Corey Feldman and the Angels

NS Artist and multi-instrumentalist Margot Lane is an accomplished writer, pianist and is currently violinist, keyboardist and music director for former child actor and musician Corey Feldman’s new outfit Corey Feldman and the Angels.  Corey and the Angels includes Lane and three other musicians.  They made an impact last summer with a unique performance on the Today Show, and by doing so created a social media storm filled with criticism and accolades.

Feldman explains in an article by Brett Callwood of LA Weekly: “There’s a strong buzz, and the reviews from the first show have been fairly tremendous,” Feldman says. “It’s not rocket science. We’re not The Beatles. But there’s an importance to what we’re doing. It’s tongue-in-cheek and we’re all having fun with it, but it’s also an important and positive message: Don’t ever think that your day is done. As long as you have the fight and fire in you, you can achieve anything.”

The momentum of that particular performance last year inspired Feldman to find testing ground for an exciting and theatrical production collaborative with the ‘Angels’ in a mini-tour.  He continued to garner more attention and a full spectrum of press coverage from this new performance concept as Corey Feldman and the Angels, and a full U.S. summer tour was recently announced with several dates slated for venues all around the country.

Tour poster photographed by Maggie St. Thomas & with artwork by Chris Canote.

“Corey’s Heavenly Tour: Angelic 2 The U.S.” kicks off June 9th in Las Vegas at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino with Margot Lane featured on the NS NXT4a Electric Violin.  She plays on hits from Feldman’s notable movies such as “Stand By Me,” “The Lost Boys” and even “The Goonies.”

Lane is no stranger to the theatrical realm and since moving to Los Angeles has written, performed and recorded soundtracks for film, worked in Asia with the Saigon Broadcasting Television Network and is also currently violinist in the Las Vegas based rock string group Bella Electric Strings.  She also has time to lead a heartland rock band called The Grey Birds and Margot Lane.

To kickoff Winter NAMM each year Michael Angelo Batio and Neil Turbin host a metal concert, an artist collective of bands and players that play in benefit to a particular charity.  Lane played her NS violin in the 9th Annual N.A.M.M. All-Star Metal Jam in benefit for the Rock Against MS Foundation.  Here’s a great shot of her from that show playing her NXTa.

For more information about Margot Lane, links to her videos, music and more check out her website:  https://www.margotlane.com/home.

For tour information and tickets for Corey’s Heavenly Tour: Angelic 2 The U.S. you can visit their official website: www.Angelic2theCore.com.

For information on the new eco-friendly active and battery-free NXTa electric violin that Margot plays and all the NS Design family of instruments visit ThinkNS.com.


NS Design Bassist Bakithi Kumalo with Paul Simon – 2017 U.S. Summer Tour

NS Bassist Bakithi Kumalo is back on tour with Paul Simon this summer playing several dates around the country throughout the month of June.  The tour kicked off June 1st in St. Augustine, FL and ends at SummerFest in Milwaukee, WI on June 30.  Don’t miss it!  Tour and ticket information can be found here: http://www.paulsimon.com/news/paul-simon-announces-us-summer-tour/

Kumalo plays a variety of NS Basses and his go-to on this summer’s tour are the WAV5 RADIUS Bass Guitar and the NXT4 Electric Upright.  He also plays the NXT Omni Bass and the CR RADIUS Bass Guitar.

Joining him with an NXT Electric Cello is fellow multi-instrumentalist, composer and tour mate Mark Stewart who has been recording and touring with Paul Simon since the late 1990’s. Stewart is also one of the All-Star musicians in Bang on a Can, awarded Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year and heralded as “the country’s most important vehicle for contemporary music” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Mark is also a member of Steve Reich & Musicians and the comic duo Polygraph Lounge with Rob Schwimmer and in 2013 was in a year-long residency at MIT in the Glass Lab teaching students to design and create a glass orchestra.

Photos: Bakithi Kumalo and Mark Stewart in rehearsal for tour with Paul Simon.

Watch:  Paul Simon‘s debut performance at Austin City Limits with “Wristband” from his album Stranger to Stranger. The album is described by Andy Greene of Rolling Stone as “an experimental album heavy on echo and rhythm that fuses electronic beats with African woodwind instruments, Peruvian drums, a gospel music quartet, horns and synthesizers.”  A great showcase for Kumalo’s talents, who opens this funny song playing his NXT Upright.

 

Watch:  Bass Musician Magazine Interview with Bakithi Kumalo in which he describes how he got his start on stage at just 7 years old playing a Gibson bass in his uncle’s band in South Africa; his ultimate respect for finding the tone, the most influential bassists for him and his willingness to share lessons he has learned along the way to a successful career playing his music for audiences around the world.  And at 22:00 in this interview…see and hear the slap sound technique he’s having fun with these days on his CR5 RADIUS Bass Guitar, it’s a real treat and is as fun, adventurous and masterful as Kumalo himself. Enjoy!

 

Watch:  Bakithi Kumalo and his quartet at 2016 Bass Bash at Winter NAMM, with special guest and fellow NS Artist Avery Merritt playing his NS Custom Exotic Top Zebrawood CR4 Electric Violin.

 

More details and features for all the NS Basses that Bakithi plays along with our new eco-friendly NXTa active series EUB’s, Omni’s, Cello’s, Violin’s and Viola’s featuring battery-free electronics are found at our website ThinkNS.com.