MSM Precollege faculty member Kariné Poghosyan (MM ’05, DMA ’07) performed to a full house at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall on February 14.
The centerpiece of the program was the centennial celebration of the world premiere of George Gershwin’s iconic Rhapsody in Blue which debuted on February 12, 1924. The concert was presented by the Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations.
“We were happy to have partnered, once again this year, with our distinguished artist, the New York-based Armenian-American pianist Kariné Poghosyan, to bring together dear friends and colleagues,” said His Excellency Ambassador Mher Margaryan during pre-concert remarks before the group of Permanent Representatives of the U.N. member states.
The Armenian Weekly is calling the performance “magnificent… (she has) impeccable phrasing, breathtaking vulnerability and power.”
The cultural advisor of the Embassy of Armenia to the U.S., Vicki Shoghag Hovanessian said “Kariné Poghosyan is one of those virtuoso spectacular pianists with extraordinary stamina and musical skills as well as jaw-dropping performances. It’s a musical reverie to attend Ms. Poghosyan’s performances.”
Read the review in The Armenian Weekly here.
Pianist, Precollege faculty member, and MSM alumna Kariné Poghosyan (MM ’05, DMA ’07) will perform a concert in honor of the 100th anniversary of the premiere of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue on February 14 at 8 PM at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. Presented by The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Armenia to the United Nations, the concert will also feature works by Alberto Ginastera, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Tania León, and Arno Babajanian.
Rhapsody in Blue is to me one of those iconic works that speaks to absolutely everyone,” says Poghosyan. “It is a stellar example of what Gershwin was aiming for with his compositions – erasing boundaries between different genres and styles of music. Therefore, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of its premiere, I have created a program that highlights that magical combination of classical, jazz and Latin elements, alongside works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Alberto Ginastera and Tania Leon, with a bit of my Armenian roots sprinkled in through virtuosic selections by Arno Babajanian.”
Learn more about the concert and purchase tickets here.
Eugene Drucker — violinist, author, educator, composer, founding member of the Emerson String Quartet, and MSM violin faculty member — has been named Artistic Director of The Berkshire Bach Society (BBS). The 34-year-old arts organization presents live performances of Baroque music by world-class musicians in the Berkshires and surrounding areas.
Mr. Drucker is a longtime member of the Berkshire Bach Ensemble and director of the BBS Bach at New Year’s concert series. As Artistic Director of the BBS, he will help spearhead new programming and performance opportunities.
The appointment comes following the retirement of the Emerson String Quartet, which Mr. Drucker co-founded 47 years ago. Over the course of its existence, the Emerson earned nine Grammy Awards, three Gramophone Awards, the Avery Fisher Prize, and Musical America’s “Ensemble of the Year” award.
MSM faculty member pianist Elio Villafranca will be the headlining musician and a lecturer at the University of Arkansas‘s annual symposium dedicated to educating and exposing the community to the music contributions of Black Americans. The 11th annual conference will be held Jan. 31 to Feb. 4.
The theme for the 2024 symposium, “Celebrating Afro-Caribbean Music,” explores the rich culture of the Caribbean nations and their contributions to music genres ranging from reggae and salsa to merengue, calypso and more. Throughout the symposium, there will be lectures that support the theme exploring the ways in which Afro-Caribbean music relates to the experiences of Black musicians as well as social movements.
On Feb 2, Elio Villafranca will deliver a lecture on “The Music of the Afro Diaspora in the Caribbean,” hold a master class, and be the featured performer at an evening concert.
More information on the event here.
MSM faculty member Andrew Gerle is a composer/lyricist, librettist, pianist and author whose most recent production Whisper Darkly, set at the height of Prohibition in 1928, is “the world’s first eclectro-swing musical,” he says, an immersive theatre experience that follows the lives of three women living their lives on their own terms. The music and lyrics are by Andrew Gerle; the book and concept is by librettist DJ Salisbury.
The video teaser for the production was recorded in The Back Room, one of the last Prohibition era speakeasies still operating in NYC.
For more on the musical and to see both the production and recording teaser, visit the production’s website here.
Learn more about Andrew Gerle here.
The album Dynamic Maximum Tension by MSM Jazz Arts composition faculty member Darcy James Argue has been named to NPR’s list of 50 Best Albums of 2023, as well as to Slate’s list of Best Jazz Albums of 2023.
The album has been nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.
Find the NPR list here.
Find the Slate list here.
The 2023 Kurt Weill Book Prize for an outstanding scholarly book on music theater since 1900 has been awarded to Making Broadway Dance, by Liza Gennaro, Dean of Musical Theatre at the Manhattan School of Music, who is also a choreographer.
Her book, published by Oxford University Press, was selected by the Kurt Weill Book Prize advisory panel as the unanimous top choice for this year’s distinction.
The panel praised Liza’s book as a “remarkable work, that is as approachable and engaging as it is carefully researched,” and lauded the inclusion of “many illuminating and overdue corrections to misconceptions about the authorship of some pieces of choreography, and the provocative questions raised about the legacies of certain Golden Age musicals as a result.”
Learn more about the book here.
Violin faculty member Lucie Robert was a jury member at the International Global Music Education League Violin Competition in Beijing, China that took place from November 3 to 13.
There were four rounds to the competition. The finals two rounds were of Mozart and a romantic concerti with orchestra which included members of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The competition included prizes ranging from $5,000 to $100,00 dollars.
In photo: International jury members pose with the six finalists, including MSM student Risa Hokamura, along with competition pianists. Lucie Robert is pictured in the back row, first on the left.
Dynamic Maximum Tension, the new album on Nonesuch records by MSM Jazz Arts faculty member Darcy James Argue and his group Secret Society — the recording also features Dean of Jazz Arts Ingrid Jensen — has been featured recently in two national media outlets: The New York Times writes about the album in its column “5 Classical Music Albums You Can Listen To Right Now” and the album is featured on NPR‘s program Fresh Air.
Read The New York Times article here.
Listen to the NPR program here.
MSM faculty member violinist Ilmar Gavilán will be performing in a special concert event with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra on October 28 and 29, Strings without Borders. Also performing is with violist Jaime Amador. Both are currently artists in residence at the Tucson Symphony Orchestra.
Learn more here.
MSM faculty member Valerie Coleman and MSM alumnus cellist Thomas Mesa (DMA ’17) are both featured soloists on the new album Songs for Our Times by Sphinx Virtuosi released on the Deutsche Grammophon label.
Ms. Coleman is featured on two songs, Tracing Visions for String Orchestra I: Till. and Tracing for String Orchestra II: Amandla!
Cuban-American cellist Thomas Mesa, first prize winner of the 2016 Sphinx Competition and the Astral Artists 2017 National Auditions, is soloist on the concerto Divided, written for Thomas and Sphinx Virtuosi by Jesse Montgomery.
Sphinx Virtuosi is a groundbreaking self-conducted American string ensemble comprised of 18 exceptional young Black and Latinx string players.
The Village Trip GuitarFest features talented guitarists from the tri-state region for a three-day festival of new and old music for guitars.
Sept 14 showcases a tribute to the late Scott Johnson with a performance of his “Bowery Haunt” for two electric guitars, performed by MSM guitar faculty member Oren Fader, joined by William Anderson.
On Sept 16 at 6 PM, the Bowers Fader Duo will perform “Beyond the Line of Blue”, by Damon Ferrante, and Oren is joined by guitarist Jack Ward in Martin Rokeach’s “Fantasy on Twelve Strings.” And at 8 PM, the Bowers Fader Duo performs Richard Cameron-Woolf’s “Gazelle in my Garden.” The Bowers Fader Duo will also perform on Sept 19 and 29.
Festival information is found here.
MSM guitar faculty member David Leisner will be a featured soloist in the final of three GuitarFest concerts in the Village Trip Festival in New York City. David will play the second performance works he recently commissioned and premiered:
Chester Biscardi Finding Beauty in Small Places
Laura Kaminsky Ruminations
Bun-Ching Lam Five Contemplations
The concert takes place Sat., Sept. 16 at 8 PM at St. John’s in the Village, 218 W. 11 St. At 6 PM in the same venue, Sebastián Molina, a current student of David Leisner, will perform the world premiere of a piece commissioned for him by a Chilean foundation, Volver a los 19 by Felipe Pinto d’Aguiar, and will also play David’s composition Freedom Fantasy no. 1 (“Go Down, Moses”).
More information about these events and the festival can be found here.
MSM faculty member Lisa Yui says she is releasing these two recordings because for her, the compositions “are examples of the greatest legacies of the human mind and heart.”
The CD was recorded over three days in New York City in 2017. Ms. Yui writes about her reasons for waiting six years to release in an article here.
Joanne Polk‘s CD of solo piano music by 19th-century French composer Louise Farrenc (1804-1875) is released today on the Steinway & Sons label.
Entitled The Silence Between the Notes, the CD features, according to Joanne, “gorgeous poetic moments, as well as etudes that are quite challenging. Most of the music has never heard before.”
The CD is available on on streaming platforms; MSM students, faculty, and staff may listen to the CD on MSM’s NAXOS page in the MSM Library.
The New York Times classical music critic Zachary Wolfe reviewed Treemonisha praising MSM alumnus and faculty member Damien Sneed’s reworking of Scott Joplin’s opera.
“Sneed gamely inhabited a Joplin-like idiom in the newly composed material,” writes the critic.
Zachary Wolfe also hailed MSM alumnus Justin Austin (BM ’14, MM ’17) who has a lead role in the production: “Baritone Justin Austin vibrated with passionate life as Joplin and Remus.”
Read article here.
German composer Reiko Füting, a composition faculty member and department administrator at MSM, is releasing the world premiere recording of his opera Mechthild with libretto by poet and theologian Christian Lehnert on New Focus Recordings.
Füting’s subject, Mechthild of Magdeburg, was a 13th-century female Christian mystic whose influential writings were rediscovered in the 19th century. Füting and Lehnert’s score explores topics of faith and asceticism in the context of the musicality inherent in language, connecting different eras of artistic expression through time and memory.
MSM faculty member violinist Peter Winograd, a member of the American String Quartet, is the concertmaster for The Discovery Orchestra’s performance of Saint-Saëns “Organ” Symphony conducted and presented by George Marriner Maull, airing on April 22 at 11 AM on WNET’s (New York PSB affiliate) online All Arts channel.
Recorded by this Emmy-nominated and Telly Award-winning symphony orchestra and its 91 musicians last October, the interactive, educational concert will also be distributed nationally by American Public Television (APT) on May 1 for broadcast on U.S. public television stations (check local listings).
More info here.
MSM Precollege faculty member Judith Insell has been awarded an advocacy award of “Jazz Hero” from the Jazz Journalist Association, the jazz industry’s most respected association. She earned this honor for her work leading the Bronx Arts Ensemble. Judith has been executive director of the Bronx Arts Ensemble since March 2021, and was formerly its artistic director.
Learn more here.
On April 7, MSM piano faculty members Jeffrey Cohen (in center of photo) and MSM strings faculty member Lucie Robert (violin) will perform Brahms and Schubert in a chamber recital at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary, along with Gábor Farkas (in photo on left).
Admission is free.
More information about the concert here.
The new work by MSM theory and composition faculty member Paolo Marchettini is called Armoniosi accenti and was commissioned by the Orchestra Haydn of Bolzano in Italy. It will be premiered on May 16 and 17 in the cities of Bolzano and Trento in Italy under the baton of the famous conductor and harpsichordist Ottavio Dantone.
“Armoniosi accenti features the same unusual instrumentation of Mozart Gran Partita, which will be also in the program together with Haydn Symphony 96,” says Paolo.
More information about the concert here.
MSM Musical Theatre “Acting the Song” instructor LaDonna Burns is an understudy performing in White Girl in Danger, the latest musical from Tony- and Pulitzer-Prize winner Michael R. Jackson.
The Off-Broadway production will have its world premiere when it opens on April 10 in New York City at the Tony Kiser Theater and is a co-production by Second Stage Theater and Vineyard Theatre.
Learn more here.
An article by MSM alumna and piano faculty member Lisa Yui’s entiled “Piano Music by Composer’s from Asia: A History of the Piano in Asia” has been published in the spring 2023 edition of Piano Magazine.
Dr. Yui is a long-time faculty member at MSM and hosts the ongoing performance series in Greenfield Hall called Lives of the Piano.
Read the article in Piano Magazine here.
MSM Contemporary Performance Program faculty member Todd Reynolds is the concertmaster for the upcoming Broadway production of Parade, which is moving to Broadway after a sold-out run at New York City Center last fall.
The production is directed by Tony-nominated Michael Arden, with book by Tony-, Pultizer-, and Academy Award-winner Jason Robert Brown. It is co-conceived by Tony Award winning legend Harold Prince.
Parade opens in previews on February 21, with opening night on March 16. The show will have a limited run to August 6.
MSM piano faculty member, alumnus, and MET orchestra member Bryan Wagorn (DMA ’13) is performing onstage in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Fedora, as a pianist.
The New York Times writes about this exceptional highly visible role for a MET orchestra member here.
MSM Musical Theatre program Music Director David Loud is vocal arranger for the upcoming Broadway show New York, New York which opens in previews on March 24.
David recently authored his autobiography, Facing the Music.
Learn more about the new musical here.
MSM faculty member and internationally renowned pianist Yefim Bronfman (HonDMA ’15) returns to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra from November 2 to 5 to perform Mozart’s jubilant Piano Concerto No. 22.
Also on the program, Music Director Jaap van Zweden leads the Orchestra in Anton Bruckner’s monumental Symphony No. 7.
More about the concert here.
More about Yefim Bronfman here.
Jazz pianist, composer, and MSM faculty member Phil Markowitz has released Solo Piano Live in Rome, a nearly 90-minute live recording of a concert held at the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome. The three-encore performance includes original compositions and re-imagined standards. The album is Mr. Markowitz’s first solo release in his long and storied career.
Available at Amazon Music and iTunes. More about the album here.
In late October, Dean Graham will present two masterclasses at Brigham Young University and speak about the process of auditioning for graduate school programs in voice.
Dean Graham has also been invited to present with Darren Woods at the plenary session for the National Opera Association Conference in Houston in January 2023.
Conductor and baritone Malcolm J. Merriweather (DMA ’15), an MSM alumnus and faculty member, has been appointed the first-ever director of the newly formed New York Philharmonic Chorus. The ensemble will have its premiere performance during the David Geffen Hall opening galas beginning on October 26 at 7 PM in a concert that will feature some of opera and Broadway’s biggest stars, including Renée Fleming, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Bernadette Peters, and Vanessa Williams.