Alessio Bax: Tiny Desk Concert In time for Father's Day, watch the celebrated pianist play lullabies by Bach and Brahms for his 22-month-old daughter, who nearly steals the show.

Tiny Desk

Alessio Bax

The practice of lulling a child to sleep through music must be about the oldest tradition imaginable. All parents have wanted their children to sleep at some point, if only to have a little peace and quiet — and to plot strategies for getting their own shuteye.

Pianist Alessio Bax knows all about sleep — and lack thereof. He's a first-time parent, and his 22-month-old daughter Mila is, like any child that age, a handful, not to mention impossibly cute.

For Father's Day, we invited Bax and his daughter behind Bob Boilen's desk for a few lullabies from the award-winning pianist's recent album Lullabies For Mila. Sensing attention from the crowd and the cameras, Mila is anything but sleepy. On the contrary, with her own running commentary — and some fast fingering on a toy keyboard — she does her best to steal the show.

Bax begins with a rendition of J.S. Bach's "Sheep May Safely Graze," explaining that the composer asks the performer to do three things at once, which is not unlike the duties a new parent must juggle. Mila's mom, Lucille Chung, joins her husband at the piano for a brief Brahms Waltz (Op. 39 in A-flat) often referred to as a lullaby. As if on cue, Mila eagerly introduces Chung with a sweet "Mama, too." Bax closes with a ravishing Prelude by Rachmaninoff. As the undulating music begins to heat up, Mila pounds away at her own mini-keyboard — that is, until Mom plucks the toy from her lap.

Lullabies For Mila is available now. (iTunes) (Amazon)

Set List

  • J.S. Bach (arr. Petri): "Sheep May Safely Graze"
  • Brahms: Waltz No. 15 in A-flat major, Op. 39*
  • Rachmaninoff: Prelude No. 4 in D, Op. 23

* with pianist Lucille Chung

Credits

Producers: Tom Huizenga, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Kara Frame; Production Assistant: Jackson Sinnenberg; Photo: Brandon Chew/NPR.

For more Tiny Desk concerts, subscribe to our podcast.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Jeremy Dutcher performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 22, 2019 (Michael Zamora/NPR). Michael Zamora/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Michael Zamora/NPR

Jeremy Dutcher

There is no one making music like this 27-year-old, classically trained opera tenor and pianist. Watch and see why.

Ensemble Signal performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 25, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Ensemble Signal Plays Jonny Greenwood

Watch members of the New York-based group give the world premiere video performances of two recent pieces by Radiohead guitarist and composer Jonny Greenwood.

Magos Herrera and Brooklyn Rider perform a Tiny Desk Concert on March 6, 2019. Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Magos Herrera and Brooklyn Rider

Watch what happens when the smoky-voiced jazz singer from Mexico conspires with an adventuresome string quartet for songs steeped in Latin American traditions.

Ohmme performs at a Tiny Desk Concert on April 18, 2019 (Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR) Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Laura Beltrán Villamizar/NPR

Ohmme

These classically trained artists fill the NPR Music offices with shrieking, rhythmic noise that redefines what an electric guitar can do.

Thou performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 9, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Thou

This is probably the quietest you'll ever hear the first metal band to play the Tiny Desk.

Laraaji performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 8, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Laraaji

Laraaji is best known to some for his ambient work with Brian Eno in the late '70s. He brings his meditative calm to the Tiny Desk in this hypnotic performance.

Toro Y Moi performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 16, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Toro Y Moi

Toro y Moi loses the voice processing, synths and other heavy effects for a stripped-down acoustic set at the Tiny Desk.

Better Oblivion Community Center performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 3, 2019 (Amr Alfky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Better Oblivion Community Center

Tiny Desk alums Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers surprised us all with their stunning collaboration this year as Better Oblivion Community Center. Together they radiate joy at the desk.

The Calidore String Quartet performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 5, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

The Calidore String Quartet

The Calidore String Quartet confirms that the centuries-old formula — two violins, a viola and a cello — is still very much alive and evolving.

Theodore performs a Tiny Desk Concert on March 27, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Theodore

The music of Theodore is dark and transformative, with the kind of spare elegance you can hear in Sigur Rós or Pink Floyd.

Back To Top