Music with Minnesotans: Don Ladig

October 19, 2011
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St. Paul, Minn. — Don Ladig spends his days as a garden designer and installer. He listens to classical MPR pretty much all day long under the sun wearing what his wife calls an "anti skin cancer music delivery system hat" - something he can only find anymore at garage sales.

Sounds like a good idea, but sometimes he has to have his head cocked in unusual positions to pick up a signal. He says it's worth it, even if he gets a little neck cramp now and again.

Don Ladig's life has been an unusual journey including a stint as a modern dancer and choreographer. In fact, he wanted some modern dance at his wedding, but one of the male dancers was so anti-marriage, he wouldn't dance, so Don found himself in tights at his own wedding, much to the dismay of his mother and mother-in-law.

His dance career was supported by several "boring if respectable" day jobs, and followed by botanical print-making - and that led naturally into becoming a designer of gardens.

Don also has a musical background, playing clarinet in high school and peaking with Bernstein's Clarinet Sonata. It was just happenstance that he heard the Chieftains played on a sidewalk speaker just outside of a record store. He was so moved he picked up the path of traditional Irish music for himself and plays wooden flutes as well as the Irish Whistle.

Some of the music on today's playlist is by Don's wife Sherry, a keyboard player who he plays with in the ensemble Dunquin.

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Don Ladig's playlist:

Ralph Vaughan Williams, Sweet Day - Polyphony/Layton

Arvo Part, Cantus in Memorium Benjamin Britten - Bournemouth Sinfonietta/Studt

Conference of the Birds - Dave Holland Quartet

Mrs. Nugent, Turlough O'Carolan/Powerscourt Gardens, Sherry Ladig - Dunquin Irish Trio

George Frideric Handel, Concerto Grosso No. 8. op. 6 - Handel and Haydn Society/Hogwood

Steve Reich, Music for 18 Instruments - Ensemble Modern

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Next week, Christine Wehling if my guest of the Ecole d'Equitation - or school of riding, education for horses. Her love of riding, and deep understanding of the beauty of movement and artistry all meld together in a gorgeous playlist of French masterpieces.

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