Saturday, June 19, 7:30PM Sudden Music Gifts

 HAROLD SELETSKY - THE INTIMATE FLUTIST (1982)
Andrew Bolotowsky, flute; Christopher Oldfather, keyboards

ELIZABETH BELL - LES NEIGES D'ANTAN Sonata for Violin and Piano (1998)
Kolot Ensemble: Keats Dieffenbach, violin; Yael Manor, piano

ELLIOTT SCHWARTZ - COLLAGE CONCERTANTE (2010)
I. Birthday Tribute II. Round Robin
Abriel Ferreira, trumpet; Olivia Madrid, clarinet; Katie Cushing, piano; Akiva Zamcheck, guitar; Peter McLaughlin, drumset; and boombox; New York Premiere

MICHAEL SLAYTON - LE SOIR TOMBE (2007)
Nicole Pantos,soprano; Yael Manor & Molly Morkoski, piano

**LANSING MCLOSKEY - SUDDEN MUSIC (2009) Song cycle for soprano and piano, on texts by Javen Tanner.
 Rebecca Duren, soprano; piano, Alan Johnson

BURTON BEERMAN - GIFTS (FOR YOU) (2009)
for violin, piano, and dance ensemble, featuring Duo Diorama and Jennifer Kayle; New York Premiere.

LOCATION: LEONARD NIMOY THALIA AT SYMPHONY SPACE; June 19,

7:30PM TICKETS LINK

 

HAROLD SELETSKY - THE INTIMATE FLUTIST (1982)
Andrew Bolotowsky, flute; Christopher Oldfather, keyboards

The Intimate Flutist is a virtuosic piece for flute and piano, plus 24-tone keyboard.

Harold Seletsky is a prolific and versatile composer and a virtuoso clarinetist and improviser whose playing is marked by great expressivity and vitality. He has distinguished himself, as both a composer and performer, in the realms of classical music, jazz, folk and popular music.

Born in 1927 in Brooklyn, Seletsky studied clarinet and from 1944-49 music theory and composition with composer-conductor Josef Schmid, a prize pupil of Alban Berg. Soon thereafter Seletsky used Schoenbergian techniques in such early works as the Gradual Variations on a Simple Theme for clarinet and string quartet, Op.1 (1958), the Sonata for clarinet and piano (1958) and the First String Quartet (1963). In the 1960s, Seletsky began experimenting with various microtonal concepts based on equal temperament. Yet in his many quartertone works, Seletsky remains indebted to the composers of the Second Viennese School in that the development of thematic ideas continues to be paramount. Seletsky explored manifold musical genres including opera, music for ballet and film, song, orchestral and chamber music. Some of his compositions have a political and social dimension. These include Christ in Concrete for narrator and orchestra (1963) and Apathy for voice and three instruments (1980). Seletsky also composed a wide variety of jazz-inspired works, Yiddish songs, music for the Broadway and Off-Broadway productions as well as music for film and television.   --Sabine Feisst

ELLIOTT SCHWARTZ - COLLAGE CONCERTANTE (2010)
I. Birthday Tribute II. Round Robin
The Bowdoin New Music Ensemble:
Abriel Ferreira, trumpet; Olivia Madrid, clarinet; Katie Cushing, piano; Akiva Zamcheck, guitar; Peter McLaughlin, drumset; and boombox; New York Premiere

Collage Concertante is a two-movement work which uses the a multifaceted concerto model as its springboard, and also (in a manner related to visual “collage”) incorporates pre-existing fragments – musical and otherwise – into its texture. The first movement, Birthday Tribute, began as a piano piece honoring the bicentennials of Chopin and Schumann (both born in 1810), and evolved into a miniature neo-Romantic piano concerto. (The “orchestra” in this instance includes live performers and recorded sounds.) The entire fabric draws upon quotations – musical and otherwise – from Robert, Clara, Frederic and George. Round Robin,   on the other hand, is influenced by the model of Baroque concerto grosso. In this movement the pianist (having held the spotlight earlier) becomes a bit player. The other four ensemble members take turns as soloist, with tutti passages separating each solo section. This format gave rise to the title “Round Robin,” which in turn led me to use pre-existing materials related to robins. (Sources range from the 13th-century Adam de la Halle to Edward MacDowell to English folk song to Al Jolson.)

Elliott Schwartz received all his degrees from Columbia University, where his teachers included Otto Luening, Jack Beeson and Paul Creston. He was a member of the Bowdoin College music faculty for 43 years, retiring in 2007; he has also held academic appointments at the University of California (Santa Barbara and San Diego), Cambridge (UK), Harvard, Tufts and Ohio State. His  appearances as visiting composer/lecturer have also included London, Paris, Amsterdam, Oxford, Leningrad, Copenhagen, Reykjavik, Tokyo and Hong Kong.  His works have been performed by orchestras and chamber ensembles through the United States,  and recorded on the Albany, Capstone, CRI, New World, BMOP-Sound and Innova labels. Commissions, awards and prizes include the Gaudeamus Foundation (Netherlands), the Rockefeller Foundation, and the McKim Fund of the Library of Congress. The premiere of his new orchestra work Diamond Jubilee is scheduled for the January 2011 concert of the Portland Symphony.

**LANSING MCLOSKEY - SUDDEN MUSIC (2009) Song cycle for soprano and piano, on texts by Javen Tanner. New York Premiere
Rebecca Duren, soprano;  Alan Johnson, piano

When I first read the poetry of Javen Tanner, I was immediately struck by the evocative, highly sensual language and imagery, as well as the profound and deeply personal subtexts.  In composing this song cycle, I decided to set “Sudden Music,” a set of four poems from Curses For Your Sake.  Indeed, how could a composer resist a set of poems called “Sudden Music”!?  My primary goal was to echo in music the reflective and intimate mood of the poetry, where retrospection, memory and sexuality blend together in smoke from burning cedar. Sudden Music was commissioned by Mormon Artists Group (NYC).

Sudden Music - Click here for text by Javen Tanner

Described as "A major talent and a deep thinker with a great ear" by the American Composers Orchestra and "an engaging, gifted composer writing smart, compelling and fascinating music with a bluesy edge and infectious punch" by Gramophone Magazine, Lansing McLoskey came to the world of composition via a somewhat unorthodox route.  The proverbial "Three B's" for him were not Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, but rather The Beatles, Bauhaus and Black Flag. His first experiences in composition were not exercises in counterpoint, but rather as the guitarist and songwriter for punk rock bands in the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1980's.  It was actually through these years in the visceral world of punk that he first developed a love for classical music (but that's another story).

McLoskey’s music has been performed across the U.S. and in twelve other countries on six continents, and has received more than two dozen national and international awards.  In 2009 he became the first composer in the 43 year history of the ISU Contemporary Music Festival to win both the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra Composition Competition and the “Music Now”

Competition, both blind-juried.  Other awards include the 2009 newEar Composition Competition, the 2009 American Composers Forum-LA National Composition Competition, the Omaha Symphony International New Music Competition, the Kenneth Davenport National Competition for Orchestral Works, Charles Ives Center Orchestral Composition Competition, the Paris New Music Review International Composition Competition, the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and an Astral Career Grant from The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.

He has received dozens of commissions and grants, including from Meet The Composer, the Fromm Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trust, the N.E.A., the Barlow Endowment, ASCAP, and Music At The Anthology, and has written for such renowned ensembles as The Hilliard Ensemble, Speculum Musicæ, and Dinosaur Annex Ensemble.  He has been a Guest Composer at the Tanglewood Institute and the Aspen Music Festival, where his music was performed and he gave masterclasses.  Recent performances include concerts in Rome, León (Mexico), and Lima (Peru), and premieres in Melbourne, New York, Chicago, Boston, and Miami.

McLoskey completed his Ph.D. at Harvard, with additional studies at USC and The Royal Danish Academy of Music.  He was Co-President of Composers in Red Sneakers from 2006-09, and served on the Board of Advisors of the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition from 2004-09. Currently he is on the faculty of the University of Miami Frost School of Music.  McLoskey’s music is released on Albany, Wergo Schallplatten, Capstone, Tantara, and Beauport Classics.  A monograph CD of his music - Sixth Species - was released to critical praise in 2008. www.lansingmcloskey.com

**Chosen as festival title "Sudden Music" for 2010 ACA Festival

MICHAEL SLAYTON - LE SOIR TOMBE (2007) pour la voix et piano à quatre mains
New York Premiere
;  Nicole Pantos,soprano; Yael Manor & Molly Morkoski, piano

Le Soir Tombe, click here for  text by Mme. Therésè Planiol

This work was commissioned in 2006 by French poet and scientist, Mme. Therésè Planiol. Mme. Planiol, now at age ninety-five, had a monumental career in the medical field (she is named as one of French history’s “fifty most influential women in medicine”). Since her retirement, Mme. Planiol has dedicated herself to supporting the arts in France and around the world, and she is now considered one of her country’s leading philanthropists. I was quite surprised when I learned that Mme. Planiol was desirous to have me set one of her many published poems to music—at the time, I had never met her. Also intriguing to me was that she specifically wanted the piece to be written for soprano and piano four-hands, as this is a quite rare medium. Therésè Planiol is easily one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever met, and I am deeply honored to be currently working on another setting of her poetry.

Michael Slayton is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Music Composition and Theory at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. His music is regularly programmed in the U.S. and abroad, most recently in Chemnitz, Seitz, Leipzig, Droyssig, and Weimar, Germany; Paris, Tours, and Marquette-lez-Lille, France; Kristiansund, Norway; Aviero, Portugal; Brussles, Belgium; Johannesburg and Potchefstroom, South Africa; and London, UK. Since moving to Nashville in 1999, Slayton has received numerous commissions for choral, solo, and chamber works, including two pieces for the Nashville Ballet’s “Emergence” project. He is author/editor for the upcoming book American Composers Today: Women of Influence (Scarecrow Press, 2011), and current projects include a work for the Kreutzer String Quartet (London) and an ensemble piece for Percussion Vortex in Nashville. A member of the American Composer’s Alliance, Society of Composers, Inc., the College Music Society, Connecticut Composers, Inc., and Broadcast Music Inc, Slayton continues to be an active participant in the national and international music community.

ELIZABETH BELL - LES NEIGES D'ANTAN Sonata for Violin and Piano (1998)
Kolot Ensemble: Keats Dieffenbach, violin; Yael Manor, piano

I     Snow-Dreams
II    Elegy
III  Shadow-Dance
IV  The Furies

LES NEIGES D'ANTAN: SONATA FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO

The title of the piece is taken from a well-known poem by the famous 15th century French poet, François Villon, about the ephemeral nature of time.  It closes each stanza with the query: "Where are the snows of yesteryear?"  “Mais ou sont les neiges d’antan?”

Looking back on 70 years (it would be 80 now), I wrote the sonata to explore different facets of nostalgia.  The opening movement, "Snow-Dreams", presents a montage-like frozen dream landscape of scenes from my past life.  "Elegy" is a lament for loved ones I have lost, especially for my gentle father (and now for my wonderful husband).  "Shadow-Dance" recalls happy times with a trace of wistfulness.  And "The Furies” is an invocation of anger and sadness for lost opportunities, spoiled hopes.

Turning my back on the past, I dedicate the piece to Grace Cecelia Drake, my new and first grandchild, who looks only to the future!

ELIZABETH BELL was born in 1928; graduated from Wellesley College (Music) in 1950, and from Juilliard (Composition) in 1953. She was music critic of the Ithaca Journal, 1971-1975; one of the founders, a former officer, and currently a director of New York Women Composers; and a member of Board of Governors of American Composers Alliance, 2000-2004. She has had commissions from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Bradshaw/Buono duo, the Inoue Chamber Ensemble, North/South Consonance, the Putnam Valley Orchestra, and Vienna Modern Masters. Awards have been: the Delius Prize (Keyboard), 1994; first prize (1986), and grand prize (1996) in the Utah Composers Competition; many Meet-the-Composer grants.

There are three all-Bell CD’s: “The Music of Elizabeth Bell”, MMC 2082; “Snows of Yesteryear”, N/S R 1029; and “A Collection of Reflections”, N/S R 1042. Other recordings are on CRS, Classic Masters, VMM, and North/South Records. There have been six all-Bell concerts, including two to celebrate her 75th birthday: NYC 10/12/03, and Yerevan, Armenia, 4/28/04. Performed world-wide, she is a member of BMI, ACA, SCI, AMC, NACUSA, and other professional organizations.

BURTON BEERMAN

GIFTS (for you) for piano, violin and dance ensemble (2009) for Duo Diorama and dance ensemble. New York Premiere

Winston Choi, piano, MingHuan Xu, violin; Dance: Flamingo, featuring Jennifer Kayle, choreographer, with dancers:  Erin Donohue, Sra Karimi, Aya Wilson, and Chih-Hsien Lin.
(Funded in part through Meet the Composer's Met Life Creative Connection program)

Program Note:

"Ancient Egyptians believed Flamingos to be the living representation of the gods"

 

Water Lilies  
poetry by Burton Beerman

Water Lilies
    Paint photographs on her fingernails So she would remember
    So she could sell this moment To the highest bidder
    Her Tears
    Speak to me of nothing but pleasure For I have only had pain
    Bring me to the soundless
Rantings of the sea
    Trying to comfort us all
As we crawl to her breasts
    And sink into her flesh
    To speak of nothing but pleasure  Despite the pain
    Bring me to where
We see nothing but each other.

 

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Composer, clarinetist, video artist Burton Beerman’s music spans many media, including interactive real-time electronics, chamber and orchestral music, interactive video art, theatre, dance, and musical score for documentary films. His works have been the subject of international, national and public television and radio broadcasts, including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, NPR and PBS.

 New York City’s The Village Voice states, “There is a remarkable clarity in the way Burton Beerman carries out the logic of his materials and he has an excellent ear for sound color…the composer displays an acute sensitivity to the differences between live sound and electronic sound and the music contains extraordinary moments when the sound seems to belong to both worlds.”   

Amongst some of his prestigious awards and honors are the Barlow Endowment Commission for Music Composition, the 2008 Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio, selected as one who is recognized as a “distinguished artist sustaining extraordinary artistic talents and achievements throughout his career”, a 2008 CINE Special Jury Award, the 2007 CINE Golden Eagle Award as composer for the film documentary 203 Days produced by bbarash productions, LLC.,and the Martha K.Cooper Orchestra Prize (First Place) for Moments.  Most recently his 90 minute multimedia chamber oratorio TIKVAH (“Hope”) was featured on PBS. TIKVAH, scored for chorus, saxophone quartet, soprano voice, digital video/film and dance based on the memoirs of living Holocaust survivor Philip Markowicz has received over twenty performances to critical acclaim. “Beerman’s Tikvah breathes a stunning honesty musically and sets an ardent mood of inspiration” (Atlanta Journal Constitution). Beerman  was  named  a Distinguished Professor of the Arts by the Board of Trustees at Bowling Green State University, in February, 2010.

Beerman’s music has been presented at prominent venues and festivals worldwide, such as the Edinburgh International Art Festival in Scotland, The Chicago Sinai, Martin Luther King International Center in Atlanta, Rudolfinum Performing Center, Prague, the Haag, Amsterdam, OrfRadioFunkhaus, Vienna and Chopin Hall, Mexico City, as well as throughout Australia, Canada , Europe and Asia. His works have been featured on CNN and CNN International, FutureWatch, and The World Today, broadcasting Beerman’s Virtual Video Opera, Jesus’ Daughter to a viewing audience of 50 million plus. The opera addressed a critical social issue of Violence against Women~Children-at-Risk and was chosen as a Video Installation ArtWork exhibited in Switzerland and Italy, endorsed by UNESCO-CIRET, sponsored by the United Nations, at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (MOMA), Lincoln Center Gallery, and Dance on Camera Festival.

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LOCATION: LEONARD NIMOY THALIA AT SYMPHONY SPACE; June 19 7:30PM TICKETS LINK

 

PERFORMING ARTISTS FOR THIS CONCERT:

One of New York's most gifted, trusted, respected, often-requested, and well-liked pianists, Christopher Oldfather has devoted himself to the performance of twentieth-century music for more than thirty years. He has participated in innumerable world-première performances, in every possible combination of instruments, in cities all over America. He has been a member of Boston’s Collage New Music since 1979, New York City’s Parnassus since 1997, appears regularly in Chicago, and as a collaborator has joined singers and instrumentalists of all kinds in recitals throughout the United States. In 1986 he presented his recital début in Carnegie Recital Hall, and since then he has pursued a career as a freelance musician. This work has taken him as far afield as Moscow and Tokyo, and he has worked on every sort of keyboard ever made, even including the Chromelodeon. He is widely known for his expertise on the harpsichord, and is one of the leading interpreters of twentieth-century works for that instrument. As a soloist he has appeared with the MET Chamber Players, the San Francisco Symphony, and Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt, Germany. His recording of Elliott Carter’s violin-piano Duo with Robert Mann was nominated for two Grammy Awards in 1990. He has collaborated with the conductor Robert Craft, and can be heard on several of his recordings.

 

Andrew Bolotowsky, flute, learned his extensive technique with Willard Kincaid, Elaine Shaffer and Jean-Pierre Rampal. He graduated from the New School for Social Research after finishing a thesis on Baroque Ornamentation. He has performed over 3,000 solo recitals and worked with the Westchester Philharmonic and Brooklyn Philharmonic orchestras, Downtown Music Productions, Music Downtown, American Festival of Microtonal Music, Soho Baroque Opera, Muse (Colonial American Music), the Delbartin Baroque Ensemble and the New Amsterdam Baroque Ensemble. He has appeared on the radio on WQXR, WBAI, WNCN, WNYC and on television on NBC abd CBS. Equally at ease in Baroque and early music, contemporary music, jazz and experimental music, he has recorded for a wide variety of labels: Orion Master Recording, Golden Age Records, Opus 1, Station Hill Records, Frog Peak, 4Tay, Sonic Muse, XI, Stereo Society, CRI, Newport Classics and Pitch.

 

Jennifer Kayle is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa, and an independent choreographer, dancer, and improvisational artist.  This year, Kayle co-created “Virtually Yours,” a meditation on the poetry, politics, and new technologies used in crossing the border, presented at Highways, Los Angeles, and The Centro Leon in Santiago, Dominican Republic.  In 2009, she presented at The Body/Word Festival in St. Petersburg Russia,  in 2008, created  JOLT!  a multimedia extravaganza in collaboration with American composer, Burton Beerman, to his award winning composition, A Still, Small Voice, and premiered works in Chicago, Colorado, and in her first Joyce SoHo season in New York City.  Other venues include the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Jacob’s Pillow’s “Inside/Out,” Big Range Dance Festival (Tex.), venues in Russia, Finland, Puerto Plata, D.R., and in the repertories of companies such as New ARTiculations (Tucson) and The Dance COLEctive (Chicago). Recent teaching adventures include Bates Dance Festival/Young Dancers Workshop 2009, “Building the Dance” in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the 5th annual MICI: Movement Intensive in Compositional Improvisation.

 

Composer Elliott Schwartz (at left) with the BNMEComposer Elliott Schwartz (at left) with the BNMEThe Bowdoin New Music Ensemble
The BNME is a student ensemble directed by Peter McLaughlin. The group's concerts have included music by Barney Childs, Frederic Rzewski, Lukas Foss, Stuart Saunders Smiith, Olivier Messiaen, Elliott Schwartz, Joshua DeScherer, and Dan Sonenberg.

 Abriel Ferreira comes from Wassenaar, the Netherlands. (Her parents teach at the American School in the Hague.)  At Bowdoin she had a double major in Music and Government/Legal Studies, studying trumpet with Alan Graffam and composition with Vineet Shende. Her performing experience has ranged from chamber brass ensembles to pop groups and multi-media. This fall she will stay in Maine, working on the development of small-scale wind energy projects.

Catherine Cushing, a native of Westwood MA,  majored in English with a minor in Education. This coming year she will remain in Maine to receive teacher certification. Katie has studied piano at the New England Conservatory of Music, and at Bowdoin with Joyce Moulton. At last summer’s ACA Festival, she was piano soloist in Elliott Schwartz’s suite The Seven Seasons.

Peter McLaughlin is a percussionist and composer from Needham MA. He majored in Music at Bowdoin, where he studied with Vineet Shende, Frank Mauceri and Steve Grover. Peter has been active in many bands and ensembles, performing everything from new music to rock to jazz to electronic music to hip-hop.

Olivia Madrid is a resident of Hong Kong and Scottsdale AZ. At Bowdoin she double majored in Music and Visual Art, studying composition with Bill Matthews and Frank Mauceri. Olivia has been active as performer (piano, percussion, clarinet), composer (with special interest in electroacoustic music), and sculptor.

Akiva Zamcheck is a native New Yorker, growing up in Riverdale and graduating from LaGuardia High School before coming to Bowdoin. Akiva’s college major was Music, and he was active as composer and guitarist, hosting an early-music program on the college radio station and performing in rock groups and non-Western ensembles. This fall he will begin graduate study in Music at New York University.

 

Rebecca Duren, soprano: Described by the New York Times as having a “clear, bright soprano [voice],” and hailed as “the most versatile performer in the Baltimore-Washington area” (The Baltimore City Paper), Rebecca Duren is often praised for the ability to incorporate her multi-faceted background with the operatic stage.  Originally from Dallas, Ms. Duren received her Bachelor’s of Music from The University of North Texas and her Master’s of Music from The Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.  Highlights in her performing career include numerous appearances with American Opera Theater; including the role of Jonathas in M.A. Charpentier’s David et Jonathas (Washington, DC and Brooklyn Academy of Music), Ascanio and Cupid in Cavalli's La Didone (Washington, DC Early Music Festival), and as Galatea in Acis + Galatea: A Circus Opera (Baltimore and Midwest tour).  Most recently Ms. Duren premiered a concept opera called Annunciation / Visitation - a fully staged production for two sopranos comprised of George Crumb's Ancient Voices of Children and Apparition, followed by Francois Couperin's Troisième Leçon De Ténèbres.  She has also appeared with the Wichita Falls Symphony as soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem, and soprano II soloist in Bach’s Matthäuspassion with The Grand Tour Orchestra in New York City.  Future solo engagements for Ms. Duren include Songspiel, a production of Kurt Weill's music with American Opera Theater; the role of Sesto in Giulio Cesere also with American Opera Theater in the 2010-11 season; and an all Couperin concert for two sopranos with Seraphic Fire in late 2010. http://www.rebeccaduren.com/

 

Alan Johnson has led numerous opera, music theater, concert, and dance works by today’s most innovative composers, including Nicholas Brooke, Mary Ellen Childs, Douglas Cuomo, Tina Davidson, Anthony Davis, Jonathan Dove, John Duffy, Michael Gordon, Allan Jaffe, Leroy Jenkins, Michael John LaChiusa, David Lang, John Moran, Polly Pen, and Michael Torke.  His work has garnered Bessie, Drama Desk, Jefferson, and Obie Awards, including an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Music Direction and a Joseph Jefferson Award for Outstanding Music Direction of The Sound of a Voice, two one-act operas by Philip Glass and David Henry Hwang.

His long association with Philip Glass has included music direction for the premieres of In the Penal Colony, The Mysteries and What’s So Funny?, Henry IV Parts I and II, and Cymbeline. Johnson has also prepared premiere casts in operas by Glass including The Making of the Representative for Planet 8, Hydrogen Jukebox, Orphée, and La Belle et La Bête.  He has led dance performances with music by Glass for Molissa Fenley and David Gordon’s Pick-Up Performance Company.

In 2006 he conducted the world premiere of The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, an opera by David Lang and Mac Wellman at Montclair State University, and in 2007 he led the world premiere of Coincidents, an opera by Leroy Jenkins and Mary Griffin in Milan, Italy.  Performances at venues across the United States include the American Repertory Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music, City Center – NY, Lincoln Center, New York Shakespeare Festival, Opera Delaware, A Contemporary Theater – Seattle, Court Theater – University of Chicago, Long Wharf Theater, McCarter Theater, and Spoleto Festival USA and Italy.

Active in New York City since 1986 as a vocal coach and pianist, Alan has prepared and collaborated with singers holding national and international engagements.  As a soloist and collaborative pianist, he has performed at venues including Alice Tully Hall, The Walker Art Center, The Kitchen, Diverseworks, Dia Center for the Arts, Jacob’s Pillow, and The Joyce Theater.

Johnson is the Director of the Frost Opera Theater program at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.  Other education affiliations have included positions with New Jersey City University, The Metropolitan Opera Guild, and New York City Opera Education Program.  Alan holds a Bachelor of Music in piano performance from the University of Miami and a Master of Music in vocal coaching/accompanying from the University of Illinois.

 

DUO DIORAMA comprises Chinese violinist MingHuan Xu and Canadian pianist Winston Choi.  They are compelling and versatile artists who perform in an eclectic mix of musical styles, ranging from the great standard works to the avant-garde.  It is a partnership with a startlingly fresh and powerful approach to music for violin and piano.  Comprised of two renowned soloists who can effectively blend their distinctive personalities together to create a unified whole, the duo maintains an active performing and touring schedule.

Their name "Duo Diorama" captures the couple's artistic ideals.  In 19th-century Paris, the Diorama was a popular theater entertainment that prefigured cinema.  A marvelous landscape scene - one telling the tale of some mythic event - was painted on linen and brought to life using dramatic effects o lighting (executed using sunlight redirected by a series of mirrors); such were the skills of its virtuoso light artists that the Diorama's scenes would appear to take on dimensionality and motion - to literally come alive.  Duo Diorama seeks to bring sheets of music notation to life using similar sonic manipulations of color, feeling, and movement; thus transporting their listeners to realms of musical drama, profound emotions and inspiring aesthetic ideas.

Having already commissioned and premiered over 20 works in the last few years, Duo Diorama is a leading proponent of music of living composers.  Their insightful and dynamic interpretations of music of living composers have established the duo as a true champion of contemporary music.  They are committed to music from today’s culture and take a very personal approach to the presentation of these works – both those by the established modern masters and today’s emerging young composers.  Composers they have commissioned include Marcos Balter, George Flynn, Derek Hurst, Gregory Hutter, Felipe Lara, Jacques Lenot, Andrew List, M. William Karlins, John Melby, Robert Morris, Michael Pisaro, Stephen Syverud, Kurt Westerberg, Daniel Weymouth, Amy Williams, Amnon Wolman, Jay Alan Yim, and Mischa Zupko.  Their many projects include performing multi-disciplinary works involving electronic media.  By juxtaposing their performances with colorful commentary, Duo Diorama’s unique performances emphasize the relevance and vivacity of classical music. 

MINGHUAN XU performs extensively in recital and with orchestra in China and North America. She is also a highly sought-after chamber musician, having collaborated with the St. Petersburg Quartet, Colin Carr, Eugene Drucker, Ilya Kaler, and Ani Kavafian. She delights audiences wherever she performs with her passion, sensitivity and charisma.  Xu was a winner of the Beijing Young Artists Competition and gave her New York debut at age 18 as soloist with the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra. Currently Assistant Professor of Violin at Grand Valley State University, she plays on a 1758 Nicolas Gagliano violin. 

WINSTON CHOI was Laureate of the 2003 Honens International Piano Competition (Canada) and winner of France’s 2002 Concours International de Piano 20e siècle d’Orléans.  He regularly performs in recital and with orchestra throughout North America and Europe.  Already a prolific recording artist, he can be heard on the Arktos, Crystal, l’Empreinte Digitale, Intrada and QuadroFrame labels.  Formerly on the faculties of the Oberlin Conservatory and Bowling Green University, he is Assistant Professor and Head of Piano at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

 

Emerging from its members’ shared passion for contemporary compositions, Kolot Ensemble seeks to bring largely-unknown and new music to a wider audience. The music performed by Kolot Ensemble encompasses early 20th century and recent compositions, with a specialization in music written by Jewish and Israeli composers. By combining solo and chamber pieces, each of Kolot Ensemble’s programs is a journey traveling through diverse styles and cultural influences.

Current members include: Hadar Noiberg, flute; Eileen Mack, clarinet; Keats Dieffenbach, violin; Junah Chung, viola; Brian Snow, cello;and Yael Manor, piano.

 

A new music specialist, soprano Nicole Pantos collaborates regularly with composers such as Lera Auerbach, Tom Cipullo, Vivian Fung, and Joyce Hope Suskind, among many others. Formally trained as a pianist, harpist, and flutist, Ms. Pantos brings instrumental sensibility to chamber performance.  She has performed at the Christmas Tree Lighting in Rockefeller Center, the Korean Embassy in Washington, DC, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Carnegie Hall, the 14th-century landmark Nikolaikirche in Wismar, Germany, and has been broadcast on WQXR radio’s Young Artists Showcase.  Last spring, Ms. Pantos sang a new music recital featuring the world premiere of Sarah Dawson’s song cycle What Power?at the Nicholas Roerich Museum, centering the program around the sounds and spirit of the American frontier. She also performed the world premieres of Suskind’s Meditations on War and Peace in the 2008 Women’s Work series at Greenwich House and Suskind’s Two Yeats Songs at the 2009 ACA Festival.  Ms. Pantos holds degrees from Princeton University and Manhattan School of Music, and she is currently working toward her Ph.D. in Musicology at Rutgers University.