Violinist and artistic director Gil Morgenstern's acclaimed Reflections Series opens the 2012-2013 season onWednesday, September 12 at 7pm and on Thursday, September 13 at 7:30pm with Stravinsky, The Violin Years: 1930–1935.
Celebrating five years of innovative programming in its intimate home at WMP Concert Hall (31 East 28th Street, NYC), Morgenstern will be joined by pianist J.Y. Song in exploring Stravinsky's "Russian" and neo-Classical styles through the wealth of material written and transcribed for violin and piano during this brief but extremely fertile period. Music will include selections from the Violin Concerto in D Major, Firebird Suite, Duo Concertante, and Suite Italienne, all arranged by Stravinsky in consultation with violinist Samuel Dushkin. Season Ticket buyers are invited to a VIP Opening Night Party after the concert on September 12.
Igor Stravinsky once said, "I had taken no pleasure in the blend of strings struck in the piano with strings set in vibrations by the bow." Yet his introduction to Samuel Dushkin in 1930 seemed to have given him pause, resulting in a relatively brief but highly prolific period for the composer. Coming just at the time when Stravinsky was developing an interest in piano performance and conducting, their collaboration produced a number of new compositions as well as transcriptions of orchestral works for violin and piano. For these concerts, Morgenstern will explore how these styles-Stravinsky's "Russian" and neo-Classical styles-overlap and depart from one another.
By placing musical works in their respective artistic, historic and social context, Morgenstern invites audiences to travel with him behind the scenes into the composers' creative processes. Using both existing and original works, and with the collaboration of a superb ensemble of creative and performing artists representing all art forms, Reflections Series programs present works that both reflect upon one another and invite the audience to reflect anew on universal themes. The 2012-2013 Reflections Series will also be presented in Miami, Philadelphia, Boston and at An Appalachian Summer Festival in Boone, North Carolina; and in various cities throughout Italy, France, and England.
A sneak peek at upcoming Reflections Series Concerts:
Nacht und Traüme, "Night and Dreams" | Mon., November 19, 2012 at 7:30pm
A journey from dusk to dawn, Nacht und Traüme ("Night and Dreams") creates a narrative of fantasy and nightmare through the music of Schubert, Sibelius, Cage and Enesco, and the prose and poetry of Sylvia Plath (from The Unabridged Journals, Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, and The Wishing Box). With four-time Obie Award-winning actress Elizabeth Marvel and pianist Donald Berman.
The Voice of the Violin, Part 2 | Tues., February 26 & Wed., February 27, 2013 at 7:30pm
The Voice of the Violin, Part 2 expands on the theme of Gil Morgenstern's opening concert at WMP in 2010. Mr. Morgenstern has crafted a second program showcasing the singularly expressive range of the violin and the contrasting manner in which composers have exploited it. He will perform selections highlighting the instrument's unique and versatile voice in music by Beethoven, Berio, Webern, Bach, Schumann, Ysaÿe, and Ravel. With Benjamin Hochman, piano.
Reflections on Things Past: The First Five Years | Tues., May 7 & Wed., May 8, 2013 at 7:30pm
An evening of Reflections Series' highlights, celebrating five years of innovative and original programming. With Jonathan Feldman, piano. Program TBA.
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 Mr. Morgenstern as a, "brilliant and musically curious artist."
A violinist with a long history of performing in the world's great concert halls, Mr. 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.
Mr. Morgenstern has also shared the stage with such eminent musicians as Philippe Entremont, Lynn Harrell, 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.
Mr. 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.com. Of the CD The New York Times raved, "the music is terrific and the performances compelling on this surprisingly exciting and excellently engineered recording." Mr. 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.
Highlights of Mr. 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, and Samuel Beckett at 100 at New York City's 92nd Street Y and at Harvard University. Mr. 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. Mr. Morgenstern continues to tour the United States and Europe, and his highly acclaimed Reflections Series will be presented in new venues in London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Milan and Venice in the 2012–2013 season. Mr. Morgenstern lives in New York City. For more information, visit www.gilmorgenstern.com.