The Free Press, Mankato, MN


April 19, 2013

Where's Andy Stein? (Actually, the colorful multi-instrumentalist plays Sunday with the MSO)

MANKATO — Andy Stein is sort of like the Waldo of the musical world. You’ll spot him in any crowd.

There he is in the string section, playing the violin lick from “Georgia on My Mind” during a Ray Charles performance at Carnegie Hall. Now, he’s a 20-year regular on “A Prairie Home Companion” as the Powder Milk Biscuit Fiddler for The Guy’s All Star Shoe Band.

Over here, he’s opening for the Grateful Dead at the Hollywood Bowl as a founding member of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. Over there, he’s playing a solo in Disney’s “Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Elsewhere, he’s playing for two presidents, recording with Paul McCartney or accepting his first Grammy in 1978 in the category of Best Country Instrumental for his work with Asleep at the Wheel. (He’s since won a second as a member of Vince Giordana and the Nighthawks for their work with the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire”.) 

Don’t blink — or you’ll miss Stein playing with the Mankato Symphony Orchestra during its Sunday concert “It Ain’t Necessarily So.”

“The performance will range from the sublime to the ridiculous,” said Stein, who has performed twice previously with the MSO. “I’m very psyched for this.”

In the case of Sunday’s concert, Stein said the sublime will come from the duo rendition of Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante” with MSO conductor Ken Freed — a man whom Stein said he has known for decades and praised as a “monster musician.”

Described on the MSO website as the “quintessential piece for two old friends to play together,” Mozart’s 1779 composition will be performed with Stein on violin and Freed on viola. A highly conversational piece, Stein said it is “definitely one of my favorite pieces that Mozart has ever written.”

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