For most people, the harmonica is a solo instrument most commonly associated with blues, rock and folk; but in the virtuoso hands of Bernie Fields, it is a fluent, supple, musical voice, unlimited by genre. With it he explores pop, jazz, rock and the classics in a compelling, new way.
Bernie has been a featured soloist with symphony orchestras, played on scores of artists’ recordings, movie and television soundtracks, and still continues to enjoy performing live around the world. His music ranges widely, but it all bears the consistent stamp of his unique talent and enthusiasm.
As a boy growing up in Montreal, Canada, Fields’ first instrument was the clarinet. His parents were musical and regularly attended classical concerts. At one such concert, young Fields heard a harmonica soloist with the Montreal Symphony, and he was hooked. Out went the clarinet, and by the age of thirteen, he had won a scholarship for two years of advanced study after performing at The Canadian National Exposition.
From there Bernie began working smaller clubs, which took him all across Canada as a solo performer. He also began to work with the prestigious National Film Board of Canada, and finally repaid his original inspiration when, working for the Canadian Broadcasting Company, he appeared as the featured guest soloist with the Montreal Symphony.
The next important move was to Europe, where he was to live for four and a half years. When in Berlin, Fields was heard by a representative of the Nordeutschen Rundfunks Studio in Hamburg, who offered him a contract as in-house featured soloist. He worked continually in Europe, most notably as assistant musical director and soloist for the Gent Opera House’s Porgy & Bess.
Later, Bernie moved to Los Angeles and began work on various television and film soundtracks. However, live performance remains an important part of his musical life, as is evident in his 3 guest solo appearances with Orange County’s Pacific Symphony Orchestra, opening for pianist Roger Williams, the Three American Tenors and, most recently, Pink Martini, along with his appearance opening for The Smothers Brothers with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, all under the direction of principal Pops conductor Richard Kaufman. And to that, he recently performed with the New West Pop’s Orchestra and Lorna Luft.
Fields’ CD, Harmonica Heat, produced by award-winning Emilio Kauderer, has a sizzling contemporary Latin/Jazz feel. His latest CD, Harmonica Holiday, produced by music veteran Edgar Struble, is rich with familiar tunes, and features Struble tastefully on piano.
No matter what style of music is in, these genres prove to always have an audience; whether an older crowd appreciating the technique and memory of the father of the harmonica, Larry Adler, or younger, hipper audiences – in awe of the variety of music and sounds that comes from this unique instrument.
2 x 45 minutes
Home Airport: LAX
Use The Band : Yes
Tracks Only show : No