At 7:30pm on Wednesday, April 25, Gil Morgenstern's celebrated Reflections Series ends the 2011-2012 season in its intimate home, WMP Concert Hall (31 East 28th Street, NYC). Morgenstern, the series' violinist and artistic director, recently praised for his "rich, penetrating tone" and "hauntingly beautiful interpretation" (New York Times), leads the evening in a program entitled Shades of Ravel.Morgenstern will be once again reunited with cellist Ole Akahoshi and pianist Benjamin Hochman. Exploring the colors of Maurice Ravel's rich musical palette, the program includes: Joaquín Turina's Trio No. 2 in B Minor, Op. 76; Germaine Tailleferre's Berceuse and the Scherzo from Sonata No. 1; Bill Evans' Peace Piece for solo piano; Amy Beach's Allegro from Trio, Op. 150; and Maurice Ravel's Piano Trio.
Morgenstern explains, "Maurice Ravel's shimmeringly beautiful Trio for violin, cello and piano is a complex amalgam of Basque folk melodies, Eastern harmonies, intricate rhythms based on a Malaysian verse form, and Spanish-style dance tunes. Exploring Ravel's musical palette, tonight's program presents works of similar sonorities and sensibilities including music by the Spanish composer Joaquín Turina; the jazz pianist Bill Evans who is often considered a direct descendant of the French school that included Ravel and Debussy; Germaine Tailleferre, a student of Ravel's and the only female composer in the group known as Les Six; and Amy Beach, the lone female composer of the group known as the Boston Six."
The Reflections Series debut season at WMP Concert Hall enjoyed tremendous success this year, with every concert filled to capacity. By placing musical works in their respective artistic, historic and social contexts, Morgenstern invites audiences to travel with him behind the scenes into composers' creative processes. Using both existing and original works, and through the collaboration of a superb ensemble of creative and performing artists representing all art forms, Reflections programs present works that both reflect upon one another and invite the audience to reflect anew on universal themes. The 2011-2012 Reflections Series will also be presented in Miami, Philadelphia, Boston, at An Appalachian Summer Festival in Boone, North Carolina, and in various cities throughout Italy, France, and England.
About Gil Morgenstern: Acclaimed for his artistry and technical brilliance, violinist Gil Morgenstern is devoted to exploring and expanding the possibilities for inventive classical music programming. His vision is to present the audience with a more complete concert experience, meticulously curated from start to finish, by organically integrating music with other artistic disciplines in innovative and unexpected ways. The New York Times describes Morgenstern as a, "brilliant and musically curious artist."
In addition to his work as artistic director of the Reflections Series, Morgenstern is also the co-founder and co-artistic director of Nine Circles Chamber Theatre, a creative organization dedicated to exploring the collaborative nature of inter-disciplinary performance, and of the Broyhill Chamber Ensemble, a diverse chamber group specializing in Classical, Romantic and contemporary works of mixed instrumentation.
A violinist with a long history of performing in the world's great concert halls, Morgenstern's career has taken him to international venues including Wigmore Hall, London; Cultural Center Concert Hall, Hong Kong; the American Academy, Rome; Salone dei Cinquecento, Florence; El Teatro Sucre, Quito; Arts Centre and State Theatre, Melbourne, Australia. He has also toured the U.S. extensively, performing in recital and as guest soloist with many leading orchestras including the symphonies of St. Louis, Baltimore, Louisville, Indianapolis, Denver, Milwaukee, New Jersey and North Carolina. New York Times has hailed his playing as "a perfect demonstration of supreme ability;" "a rare poet of the violin" reported The South China Morning Post; "Morgenstern played a program that tested every part of a violinist's equipment and he did it all beautifully," wrote The Washington Post.
Morgenstern has also shared the stage with such eminent musicians as Lynn Harrell, Philippe Entremont, André-Michel Schub, Jeffrey Kahane, Sharon Isbin, and Heinz Holliger, and has collaborated with United States Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, and performance artist Laurie Anderson.
Morgenstern's discography includes works by Beethoven, Fauré, Copland, Ravel, Kodaly, Sessions and the award-winning American composer George Tsontakis. His latest recording, 20th Century Duos for Violin and Cello, was the No. 1 classical CD for over a month on eMusic, the largest online store for independent music in the world, and was one of the top ten best selling classical music albums on Amazon. Of the CD The New York Times raved, "the music is terrific and the performances compelling on this surprisingly exciting and excellently engineered recording." Morgenstern records for the MMC, Engine Company and Koch International Classics labels, and can regularly be heard on National Public Radio and classical music radio stations across the country.
Morgenstern's many honors include a command performance at the White House, a performance at the inaugural festivities for President Clinton, and a citation from the floor of the House of Representatives entered in the Congressional Record for outstanding service in the arts.
Highlights of Morgenstern's recent seasons include interdisciplinary performances with the Julliard Dance Company at Lincoln Center, and the Brooklyn Ballet; the premieres of staged versions of The Epic of Gilgamesh, Venus and Adonis with Claire Bloom and John Neville, andSamuel Beckett at 100 at New York City's 92nd Street Y and at Harvard University. Morgenstern's performance in the Nine Circles Chamber Theatre production of When Samson Met Delilah toured Holland to rave reviews and his recent appearance in Toronto was broadcast throughout Canada on CBC. He also appeared as violin soloist in U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky's translation of Dante's Inferno, which toured the country and was broadcast on PBS and NPR, for which it received a Peabody nomination.
Morgenstern lives in New York City. For more information, visit www.gilmorgenstern.com.