The Santa Barbara Country Dance Society presents

Jacqueline Schwab Concert and Dance

Tuesday October 8, 7:00 to 9:30 p.m.

photo by Wayne Hankin

Jacqueline Schwab, pianist on Ken Burns’ Civil War series and with Bare Necessities English Country Dance ensemble, performs a short concert of excerpts from
I Lift My Lamp — Vintage Songs and Dances of Immigrant America
And then plays for our English Country Dance.

Jacqueline’s October 8 program celebrates our country’s immigrants, their vibrant spirit of community music-making, and their multicultural contributions to our heritage. She will perform vintage music from the British Isles, Western and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and America’s heartland and Tin Pan Alley. She will talk about the music and her childhood years in Pittsburgh’s “melting pot.”

Pianist Jacqueline Schwab spins heartfelt musical stories, connecting listeners to America’s rich multicultural musical tapestry. Her signature style is hard to categorize />but easy to recognize: it has been described by the New England Folk Almanac as “the jazz/classical improvisational spirit of Keith Jarrett and the touch of George Winston.” By turns flowing and percussive, nuanced and primal, spare and embellished, reflective and passionate, elegiac and joyous, Jacqueline’s playing speaks directly to the spirit. Her entwined classical and folk sensibilities arose from her childhood in Pittsburgh’s “melting pot” and further developed in Boston’s vibrant music scene. Her work with documentary film maker Ken Burns reacquainted her with the music of Stephen Foster and led to her folksy-yet-formal concerts of a diverse array of vintage American music.

In Ken Burns’ words: “Jacqueline Schwab brings more feeling and intensity to music than anyone I know. Her playing is insistent, physical, heartfelt and ... unusually moving.” Her distinctive playing infuses the soundtracks of Burns’ Grammy-winning Civil War, Baseball, Lewis and Clark, Mark Twain, The War, and The National Parks, among others. Critic Scott Alarik wrote she has “… an uncanny sensitivity to the moods and proprieties from other eras.” One listener wrote: “Your music, the touch you have, entwines the heart.” She has also performed on the public television documentary The Irish in America, Ric Burns’ New York: A Documentary Film and others. She has performed at the White House for President Clinton, and, with Scottish singer Jean Redpath, on public radio’s A Prairie Home Companion and on CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman.

Jacqueline graduated from the New England Conservatory in Boston, majoring in piano improvisation. She has long played for English country dancing with the Bare Necessities quartet, whose flowing, group improvisational style and nationwide performances have inspired new generations of dancers and musicians. She has released four solo recordings and has played on over 50 other studio recordings, including with Scottish singer Jean Redpath, Scottish fiddlers Alasdair Fraser and Laura Risk, and Irish singer Aoife Clancy. She has performed in almost every state of the Union. Current solo programs include: I Lift My Lamp—Vintage Songs and Dances of Immigrant AmericaBuilding Bridges—Vintage Music of Latin America, and Mark Twain’s America. She lives on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts.

Jacqueline’s solo performances evoke the historical spirit of community music-making, in a formal, contemporary concert setting. She performs her own arrangements of vintage American “heart songs” and dance tunes, frequently highlighting music from the immigrant experience. Programs include Stephen Foster and Civil War parlor songs, Victorian ballroom music, Scots and Irish fiddle tunes, hymns and spirituals, Cuban habaneras, Brazilian and Argentine tangos, ragtime, Tin Pan Alley music, Billie Holiday blues, klezmer and classical pieces. Mark Twain called tunes “remembrancers.” In concert, Jacqueline speaks about the power of music to transport us into our own past and also on to new horizons.


$12 admission for concert and dance
First Presbyterian Church
21 E. Constance Ave. (at State St.)
Santa Barbara, California