Composers Elizabeth Brown and Frances White will have their works performed in collaboration with the Momenta Quartet on Thursday, December 5th, 2019, 8pm at Brooklyn’s Roulette. As part of the celebrated Interpretations Series 31st Season, they will present an evening of works that blend sound and sight, both Western and Eastern in style, and steeped in literary and mythic origins.

The evening takes inspiration from 11th-century Persian epic Shahnameh, James Pritchett, W.G. Sebald, and poet Mark Strand, utilizing Interpretations founder Thomas Buckner narration and vocal skills.


Lothar Osterburg with Tower of Babel sculpture

Among several visual accompaniments, video and sculpture artist Lothar Osterburg has constructed a sculpture to pair with Elizabeth Brown’s Babel a fresh take on the Biblical myth. Rather than destruction, the pairing of music and visual presents the tale as cumulative growth, with New York City acting as a thriving analogue.

 

Watch a preview clip of Brown’s Babel with Osterburg’s visuals:


The program also makes excellent use of composer Elizabeth Brown‘s masterful prowess as a shakuhachi player.

This haunting Japanese flute is given a chance to shine in various works, such as Frances White‘s The book of the eveningand Brown’s own Dialect, for solo shakuachi, which makes its NY premiere.


Frances White’s world premiere of And so the heavens turned is not the first time she has directly collaborated with James Pritcher’s texts — for an example, check out The Old Rose Reader.

Her work has been called “seductive and hypnotic” (Music Works), and with its lilting string parts, this certainly follows suit.


This is also not the first time the Momenta Quartet has been summoned to bring Brown and White’s compositions to life. Please enjoy this clip of Momenta performing Brown’s Just Visible in the Distance.


For more of Brown and White:
Elizabeth Brown’s music page, with works and audio
Frances White’s SoundCloud and website

For the event’s official press release, click here.

As one half of the upcoming September 26th, 2019 Interpretations Series 31st season opener at Brooklyn’s Roulette, composer and pianist Rocco Di Pietro has curated an evening of compositions that span his whole career.

With a setlist comprised of selections that Di Pietro wrote himself, one special piece makes for an exception: “Hail Mary” by the late Julius Eastman. A dear friend and colleague, Eastman composed the piece especially for Di Pietro. As such, it is more than appropriate to be included in this retrospective, and will be performed in an arrangement by Di Pietro on piano and Robert Dick on flute.


Watch a 2017 performance of Eastman’s “Hail Mary” at OSU Urban Arts
with Rocco Di Pietro (keyboard), Larry Marotta (guitar),
and David Nelson Tomasacci (recitation).

Of the piece, Di Pietro had this to say:

Julius Eastman’s “Hail Mary” was written for me in 1984 after a concert he had set up for us at the Clocktower in NY fell apart. He had commissioned me for a two piano work we were to play together. He was having a very hard time in NY, and he thought I was much too isolated in Buffalo. He wrote the “Hail Mary” as a consolation for my meditation, in which everything would be all right.

He admired me because I was still writing music with few opportunities, while he was giving up music altogether. It was a misunderstanding, as I wrote music to protect myself from reality. Julius did not like this Giacometti-like stance.

I buried the work for 32 years. I found it one day when the Guardian newspaper called and asked me about Julius in 2016. It was first performed in London at the LCMF in 2017, and I performed it myself in Berlin in 2018 at Savvy Contemporary Berlin.

I may have played it myself in New York in 2016 in an early non sequenced version at Spectrum, but I can no longer remember without checking past programs. Since then, Luciano Chessa told me he has performed it in NY at Mannes and in San Francisco.

As a special tie-in, Di Pietro will offer copies of his new book, Memoir of Julius Eastman, at the Roulette performance.

Although the book is not for sale, donations will be accepted to cover the cost of the galley and the book.

Following the performance, the book will be given away online and at dipietroeditions.com.

For more information about Interpretations’ 31st season opener, click here.

The Amagansett Life-Saving Station is not only a place of great historic importance, but one that is tied to the family history of Libero Canto‘s Deborah Carmichael.

The 2nd annual benefit concert for the Station will be held on Friday, June 28th, 5pm (160 Atlantic Ave. Amagansett, Long Island, NY 11930).  Held in its boat room, tickets are $20 in advance (amagansettlss.org) / $25 at the door.

Amagansett Life-Saving Station – photo by Olga Goworek

A documentary film about the Station was made, titled Ocean Keeper. Interviewing the Carmichaels and others, and integrating great archival footage, the film covers the 100+ years of its rich history. It has aired on PBS as a ‘Treasure of New York’, and was an Official Selection in both the Long Island International Film Expo, and the Hamptons International Film Festival.

To quote the Ocean Keeper‘s website:

“The Amagansett Life-Saving Station has been a unique centerpiece of Long Island history since it was built in 1902. Over a period of 44 years, the dedicated men who worked at the Station saved hundreds of lives. In 1942, four Nazi saboteurs were found by Coast Guardsman John Cullen close to the Station during a nightly beach patrol.

And in 1966, the building was rescued from demolition and purchased for a dollar by Joel Carmichael whose family lived there for the rest of the 20th century. After Carmichael’s death in 2006, the house was donated to East Hampton Town for historical preservation.”

(partially cited with permission from OceanKeeperTheMovie.com)


For more information on the film, please visit OceanKeeperTheMovie.com.
And for more information on Libero Canto, please visit LiberoCanto.org.

Kinga Cserjési and Deborah Carmichael

In anticipation of Libero Canto’s upcoming New York City workshop (February 15-17th), singers Deborah Carmichael and Kinga Cserjési would like to share this supplemental film: “Libero Canto – Voice is Breath,” made by award-winning director Andrea Simon in 2001. The film focuses on the work of Edvin Szamosi (son of founder Lajos Szamosi), and the history of the Libero Canto Approach.


Click to play “Libero Canto – Voice is Breath”

The film, while made almost 20 years ago, still serves as an inspiring introduction to the approach, which continues to evolve and thrive through the work of dedicated teachers and students in many cities including New York, Toronto, Florence, The Hague, and Budapest. Carmichael and Cserjési feel the film will be of interest to many different people, among them singing teachers, music teachers, teachers of children, singers, musicians, actors, dancers, anyone in the performing arts, and anyone interested in the arts, pedagogy or psychology.

The path to free singing” was first developed by Lajos Szamosi in Budapest before the Second World War. This unprecedented pedagogic approach was carried on and further developed by Lajos’s son Edvin Szamosi, who taught singing in Vienna and New York City for more than 50 years, until his death in 2014.

Through interviews and footage of lessons and rehearsals, “Libero Canto – Voice is Breath” draws the viewer into the musical and human evolution of Edvin Szamosi’s students both in New York, and in Vienna. The care, love, and attention to detail with which the film is made reflect these same qualities in Edvin’s teaching. With gentleness, rigor, and humor, Mr. Szamosi guides his students towards increasing freedom, spontaneity, and authenticity.


Deborah and Kinga are still accepting applicants for their February workshop.
for more information, click here or email [email protected].

Violist Jeongeun Park is set to make her debut at Carnegie Hall on December 17th, 2018 at 8pm. (Tickets are available through Carnegie Hall’s website.)

A monumental moment in Park’s career, she wanted to share her program notes about the four works she will be performing.

Poetically conceived by Park around themes of romance and fantasy, this program moves from dreamy beginnings to a serious and somber conclusion, with Shostakovich’s Viola Sonata, composed right before the composer’s death.


Carl Reinecke (1824-1910),
3 Fantasiestücke for Viola and Piano, Op. 43

As a pianist, violinist, composer, conductor and teacher, the German composer Carl Reinecke (1824-1910) was one of the most versatile musicians of his time. He was born in Altona, then under Danish rule and initially trained under his father (Rudolf Reinecke, 1759-1883). The younger Reinecke began composing at the age of seven, and debuted as a pianist at the age of twelve. He underwent a remarkable musical education, studying with the likes of Felix Mendelssohn and Robert Schumann. Reinecke’s early works were faithful to the early masters of the Romantic era who trained him while in Leipzig. 3 Fantasiestücke for Viola and Piano, Op. 43 was composed in 1844. The opening, Andante, explores a warm, song-like viola melody while the piano accompanies with rapidly flowing triplets. The second movement contrasts the first, resembling a scherzo with a folk-like refrain. The last movement, Molto Vivace, depicts the frenzied crowds of annual fairs carried on from the medieval era.

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953); arr. Vadim Borissovsky,
Selected pieces from the ballet Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has influenced artists and musicians for centuries. The epitome of a tragic love story, it has been adapted to countless genres and forms such as opera, ballet, symphony, theater and film. Russian Composer Sergei Prokofiev’s interpretation initially resulted in music for ballet, written in 1935. The composer subsequently arranged the music as a standalone piece for orchestra.  Three Suites from Romeo and Juliet, Op.64. Following the success of the second version, Prokofiev reduced the score for Ten Pieces for Piano, in Op.75. The viola transcription was made by Vadim Borisovsky, a founding member of the Beethoven Quartet and professor at the Moscow Conservatory. Borisovsky is an important figure in the expansion of the viola repertoire. He is responsible the hundred arrangements. Despite the challenges of arranging and reducing a piece for large forces, the two instruments are able to imitate of the colour and textural sophistication of the orchestral version.

Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924),
Après un rêve (After a Dream), Op.7 No.1

The French composer Gabriel Fauré was a composer of immense technical skill. His ability to blend elements from seemingly disparate styles and eras made him an important bridge to the music of the twentieth century. Fauré studied with Camille Saint-Saëns, and went on to teach influential modern era figures such as Claude Debussy and Nadia Boulanger. Written between 1870 and 1877, Après un rêve features one the composer’s most beloved melodies. The piece, anticipates the impressionist style of later French composers. In Après un rêve , Fauré draws the poetry of Romain Bussine. Much like the contents of the poem, the melodic gestures are full of affection and nostalgia.

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975),
Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 147

Along with Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich is a towering figure of twentieth century Russian music. Despite the many limitations imposed on artists in the U.S.S.R., Shostakovich was a prolific composer and pianist with a distinctive style. Written in 1975, the Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op.147 was his final work. This piece was composed in 1975 and dedicated to Fyodor Druzhinin, a violist of the Beethoven Quartet, who replaced the founding member, Vadim Borisovsky as violist from 1964-1988. The piece was premiered in October of 1975, shortly after Shostakovich died. This viola sonata has three movements with a slow-fast-slow structure. In the first movement, the viola opens the theme with the pizzicato gestures continues on with a layered texture that mixes different melodic elements. The second movement is more rhythmically focused and direct than the first. It relies more on concentrated, often jagged melodic motives. The third movement, the composer blends his own ideas with borrowed material from Beethoven’s piano sonata No.14, ‘Quasi una Fantasia’, also known as the Moonlight Sonata. The final movement gradually fades away, almost as if the composer is referencing his own death.


For more information about Jeongeun Park, please visit her website.
For tickets to her upcoming Carnegie Hall debut, click here.