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Rufus Wainwright

You won’t find too many artists with a better musical upbringing than Rufus Wainwright: Son of folk legends Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, big brother of folk-rocker Martha Wainwright—the guy grew up around Leonard Cohen for God’s sake! And, not to be overshadowed by his famous family, Rufus has made a respectable name for himself as a singer-songwriter, with a signature sound often described as “popera.”

With musical influences that span from Franz Schubert and Edith Piaf to Judy Garland and Al Jolson, tossing his family’s folk roots into the eclectic mix, Wainwright has certainly defined a signature sound. His self-titled debut album, released a decade ago, garnered Wainwright a Best New Artist of the Year nod from Rolling Stone, and he has been hauling in album after album of Juno Award nominations (yes folks, that’s the Canadian Grammy equivalent). His quiet cover of Cohen’s “Hallelujah” became a familiar ballad on U.S. airwaves thanks to the Shrek soundtrack.

While many of his songs layer complex orchestrations and rock instrumentation with his tenor melodies, the singer-songwriter is also an accomplished guitarist and pianist, and some of his most memorable tunes are his simplest—and this tour finds him performing solo in an intimate acoustic concert. His half-sister, Lucy Wainwright-Roche, opens the show.

Rufus Wainwright brings his singular sound to the Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) on Saturday (Aug. 16) at 8 PM. Tickets are $34.50. For more info, call 473-1845.

Under Milk Wood

“It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters’-and-rabbits’ wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea.” So begins the introduction of Under Milk Wood, Dylan Thomas’ masterpiece “play for voices.” The play, originally commissioned for radio by the BBC in 1945 and later adapted for stage, was Thomas’ last work, and his only play.

Under Milk Wood unfolds as a series of vignettes, weaving the lives and dreams of 63 quirky characters who make up the fictional Welsh town of Llareggub. Thomas was an undisputed master of lyrical language, and Under Milk Wood is poetry-cum- theater, brimming with Thomas’ perceptive and witty music.

The folks at Walking the Dog will present their production at PS/21 in Chatham, with an ensemble of seven actors creating all the inhabitants of the small seaside town.

Under Milk Wood opens at 8 PM on Wednesday (Aug. 13) at PS/21 (2980 Route 66, Chatham). Tickets are $20, $15 for PS/21 members. For more info, or to reserve tickets, call 392-6121.

Cooperstown Chamber Music Festival

This summer, the Cooperstown Chamber Music Festival celebrates 10 years of bringing the best in chamber-ensemble programming to a variety of venues in and around this upstate village—complementing nearby Glimmerglass Opera, in a place heretofore best known for its association with the “national pastime.”

On Sunday evening, the CCMF will hold its gala anniversary concert: “One of the largest ensembles ever gathered at the Festival” will perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos No. 3-6. We can’t think of better music to celebrate with.

The CCMF gala will be held Sunday (Aug. 17) at 7:30 PM at the Farmers’ Museum (Louis C. Jones Center, Lake Road, Route 80, Cooperstown). Tickets are $30, $15 students. There will be a postconcert reception with the artists. For more info, visit or call (877) 666-7421.

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