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CONTACT! at SubCulture: Yefim Bronfman and Friends

This concert is now past.
Yefim Bronfman
Location: SubCulture (Directions)
Price Range: Starts at $25
Mon, Jan, 13, 2014
7:30 PM
This concert will be streamed on Q2 Music, WQXR’s online contemporary music station, January 21 at 8:00 p.m., and will be available for on-demand listening at wqxr.org/q2music for 30 days.
The 2014-15 Season

Program (Click the red play button to listen)

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Passions, Reflected for solo piano (World Premiere)

Marc Neikrug wrote that his Passions, Reflected, the solo piano work he composed for Yefim Bronfman, “takes its title from several aspects. I was thinking of the reflections of composer to performer and performer to audience and back again. I also was trying to base the piece on Schumann piano works, which I am passionate about, particularly the juxtaposition of a series of small pieces with musical connections, into a large structure. Hence also perhaps a reflection from Schumann’s passion.” Mr. Neikrug has had an international career for more than 30 years, and is equally renowned as a pianist; he is the longtime collaborative partner of violinist Pinchas Zukerman. He has written chamber music, symphonic music, musical theater, and opera, with major performances at the world’s major ensembles and institutions. His music-theater work Through Roses was commissioned by London’s South Bank Festival with the National Theater; since its premiere in 1980 it has had hundreds of performances in 15 countries and has been translated into 11 languages. Los Alamos, an anti-nuclear opera written in 1988, is the only American opera ever commissioned by the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Mr. Neikrug has been composer-in-residence at the Marlboro, Santa Fe, Angel Fire, Bravo! Vail, and La Jolla festivals. His works have been recorded on Deutsche Grammaphon, Koch International, Stereophile, Laurel, and Enya records. The Philharmonic has previously given the World Premieres of two New York Philharmonic Commissions: his Concerto for Orchestra (in April 2012, conducted by Alan Gilbert) and Quintessence: Symphony No. 2 (2008, Alan Gilbert). The Orchestra also performed the World Premiere of Eternity’s Sunrise (1980, Zubin Mehta), and presented his Violin Concerto (1990, with Pinchas Zukerman led by Zubin Mehta) and excerpts from his Piano Quintet (Hear & Now, 2008).

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String Quartet No. 4 (U.S. Public Premiere)

Poul Ruders’s String Quartet No. 4, which receives its U.S. Public Premiere in this concert, was one of the new works co-commissioned in 2013 by the Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) and the Britten-Pears Foundation to jointly celebrate the RPS’s bicentennial and composer Benjamin Britten’s centennial. The quartet’s World Premiere was at the Barbican in London in March 2013, performed by Norway’s VERTAVO quartet at London’s Barbican Concert Hall; the ensemble subsequently performed it at the Aldeburgh Festival, and New York Philharmonic musicians performed the work’s U.S. Premiere at a private event at the Morgan Library & Museum in October 2013. It is the first string quartet he composed in 33 years and, as Mr. Ruders tends to eschew standard chamber music forms, he writes that this quartet “is in five movements and is about nothing but itself. The first movement ‘Adagio — Presto alla breve — Adagio’ is an overture of sorts, lifting the lid, as it were, on the odd bit of what happens later on in the other movements. A portal into the second movement ‘Vivo scherzando,’ which is just that: a short (two minutes only) fast and jocular piece leading up to the next movement: ‘Adagio sognante,’ a slow and hushed dream-world, paving the way for the pièce de resistance of the entire quartet: ‘Presto alla breve,’ a ferociously fast tour de force for the four players, who, with that one under their belts, can lean back a little (but only a little) and put the whole thing gently to bed in the fifth and final movement: a simple ‘Adagio.’” Born in Denmark, Mr. Ruders has created choral, chamber, solo, orchestral, and opera works since the mid-1960s. His acclaimed opera, The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, brought him critical success, a MIDEM Composer of the Year honor, and two Grammy nominations for its recording. He is also the winner of the 2005 Wilhelm Hansen Composers Prize. Recent works include Kafkapriccio, four paraphrases of Kafka’s trial for 14 instruments; Händel Variations; the Second Piano Concerto; and his Third and Fourth Symphonies. The Philharmonic gave the World Premiere of the Philharmonic-commissioned Final Nightshade (2004, led by Lorin Maazel); the U.S. Premieres of Corpus cum figuris (1986, Oliver Knussen), Listening Earth (2003, David Robertson), and Oboe Concerto (on CONTACT! in April 2012 with Philharmonic Principal Oboe Liang Wang, led by Alan Gilbert); and has also presented Concerto in Pieces (1996, Sir Andrew Davis).

 

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Trio No. 1 for violin, cello, and piano

French composer Marc-André Dalbavie’s Trio No. 1 for violin, cello, and piano was commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Corporation and the Aspen Music Festival and School, and premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York by Yefim Bronfman, violinist Gil Shaham, and cellist Lynn Harrell. In a 2010 review of a performance of the work featuring Mr. Bronfman at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, critic Bryant Manning of Chicago Classical Review wrote: “There is still abundant mystery and a sharp personal signature aided by hypnotically creative sonorities. The lucidly etched narrative and crystal-clear three-part form are at the service of an incisive musical vocabulary.… Fragments of themes disappear and reappear, and some of the motoring accompaniment sounds like a page out of the American Minimalists.” Mr. Dalbavie studied at the Conservatoire de Paris, spent five years at IRCAM, and a year studying conducting with former Philharmonic Music Director Pierre Boulez. Mr. Dalbavie’s works have been referred to as “spatialized acoustic pieces” as they are often composed specifically for the venues in which they are being premiered, with the musicians placed in unorthodox locations so sound and timbre can be used to the greatest possible effect. He has received commissions from the world’s most prestigious orchestras, as well as from musical institutions including Suntory Hall in Tokyo, London’s Proms, Cité de la Musique in Paris, and the New York City Ballet. In October 2010, he conducted the premiere of his first opera, Gesualdo, on a libretto by Richard Millet, at the Opernhaus in Zurich, directed by Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser. This will be the second time the Philharmonic has performed a work by Mr. Dalbavie: his Melodia, a Philharmonic commission, received its World Premiere on CONTACT!’s inaugural program in December 2009, conducted by then Composer-in-Residence Magnus Lindberg.

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Piano

Yefim Bronfman by Dario Acosta Pianist Yefim Bronfman's 2014–15 season began with summer festivals at Tanglewood, Aspen, Vail, La Jolla, and Santa Fe, and includes U.S. performances with the Chicago, St. Louis, San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle, Atlanta, New World, and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras, The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras. He performs the World Premiere of a concerto written for him by Jörg Widmann in December with the Berlin Philharmonic, and revisits Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2 (commissioned for him by the New York Philharmonic, with whom he premiered it in 2012) with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic. With The Cleveland Orchestra, led by Franz Welser-Möst, Mr. Bronfman will perform and record both Brahms piano concertos, which he will also take to Milan’s Teatro alla Scala with Valery Gergiev. He will return to Japan for recitals and orchestral concerts with London’s Philharmonia Orchestra led by Esa-Pekka Salonen, as well as to Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Beijing, Sydney, and Melbourne. In the spring he will join Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lynn Harrell for their first U.S. tour together. Mr. Bronfman’s recording of Bartók’s three piano concertos with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, led by Mr. Salonon, received a Grammy Award in 1997; the pianist received a Grammy nomination in 2009, for his Deutsche Grammophon recording of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s Piano Concerto, and in 2013, for his recording of Magnus Lindberg’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with the New York Philharmonic led by Alan Gilbert. Born in Tashkent, in the Soviet Union, in 1958, Yefim Bronfman immigrated to Israel with his family in 1973. There he studied with pianist Arie Vardi, head of the Rubin Academy of Music at Tel Aviv University. He later studied at The Juilliard School, Marlboro, and The Curtis Institute of Music, and with Rudolf Firkusny, Leon Fleisher, and Rudolf Serkin. He became an American citizen in July 1989. Mr. Bronfman was awarded the Avery Fisher Prize in 1991 and the Jean Gimbel Lane Prize in piano performance from Northwestern University in 2010. Mr. Bronfman’s long history with the New York Philharmonic began with his debut in 1978, performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto alongside Shlomo Mintz and Yo-Yo Ma, led by Alexander Schneider; he appeared throughout the 2013–14 season as The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence.

 

Learn more about Yefim Bronfman

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Violin

Quen Ge

Violinist Quan Ge joined the New York Philharmonic in June 2009. She holds a bachelor's degree from The Curtis Institute of Music, where she worked with Yumi Scott, Ida Kavafian, and Jaime Laredo, and a master's degree from The Juilliard School, where she studied with David Chan. A native of Huai Nan, China, Ms. Ge was the recipient of a Fu Chen Xian Scholarship, and has won top prizes in both the China National Competition and the Jeunesses Music Competition (Romania). While a student at Curtis, she played as a substitute with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Ms. Ge is an active chamber musician and recitalist, and most recently worked with pianist Robert McDonald and the Borromeo String Quartet at the Taos School of Music in 2008.

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Cello

Maria Kitsopoulos

Cellist Maria Kitsopoulos comes from a musical family — her mother being an opera singer, one brother a conductor, and her other brother a composer. She was a finalist in the first Emmanuel Feuermann Cello Competition and a prizewinner in the National Society of Arts and Letters Cello Competition, and she won fellowships for study from the Aspen and Tanglewood music festivals. She received her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor of musical arts degrees from The Juilliard School where, upon graduation, she was awarded the Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Leadership. Her teachers have included Jerome Carrington, Ardyth Alton, Scott Ballantyne, Harvey Shapiro, and Aldo Parisot.

Before joining the New York Philharmonic, Ms. Kitsopoulos was an active performer of contemporary music with groups such as Ensemble Intercontemporain, Music Mobile, Guild of Composers, and Continuum, with whom she appeared as soloist in the New York Premieres of works by Leon Kirchner, Valentin Silvestrov, and Chinary Ung. As a member of the popular four-cello ensemble CELLO, Ms. Kitsopoulos performed music commissioned by that quartet — including works by Peter Schickele, Meyer Kupferman, and Reza Vali — at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and Merkin Concert Hall, as well as at colleges and universities throughout the United States. In addition she performed in Broadway productions and Community Concerts.

In the spring of 1996, Ms. Kitsopoulos earned a position with the New York Philharmonic. She has since performed chamber music with fellow New York Philharmonic musicians as well as guests including violinists Nikolaj Znaider and Leonidas Kavakos and pianists Emanuel Ax and Yefim Bronfman.

Maria Kitsopoulos has performed as soloist with the Phoenix Symphony, Westfield Symphony, and Graz orchestras, among others. Her solo recital debut in New York’s Merkin Concert Hall was sponsored by the Guild of Composers as well as the Alexander S. Onassis Foundation. Other recent appearances have included a solo engagement with the Athens State Orchestra. In New York, Ms. Kitsopoulos has performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and the New York Chamber Symphony.

Ms. Kitsopoulos performs on a 300-year-old cello made by Carlo Giuseppe Testore. She previously served on the faculty of Juilliard. An active recording artist, she has recorded for Musical Heritage Society, Angel Records, Deutsche Grammophon, Columbia, Mogul Entertainment, and MK Records. In September 2012 she performed the Prelude from Bach’s Suite No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello on an episode of The Colbert Report.

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Cello

Eileen Moon

Eileen Moon joined the cello section of the New York Philharmonic in 1998 and was named Associate Principal Cello, The Mr. and Mrs. Paul B. Guenther Chair, in 2007. A native of California, she began her studies with Irene Sharp at the San Francisco Conservatory and subsequently received a bachelor’s of music degree from The Juilliard School and a performance diploma from the Hochshule für Musik in Vienna, Austria. 

Ms. Moon won fourth prize at the Tchaikovsky International Cello Competition in Moscow in 1994, and second prize at the Geneva International Cello Competition in 1991, resulting in performances in France and a radio recording in Switzerland. She has performed chamber music at numerous venues in and around New York City and appears frequently with the New York Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Concert Hall.

Ms. Moon currently serves in an organizational role for a number of charitable causes as both a performer and presenter. Her passion for animals resulted in the formation of Friends of Warwick Valley Humane Society, an auxiliary group devoted to fundraising through educational seminars and performances. In addition, she is involved with The Artemis Project, a non-profit animal rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption organization in New York City, which she co-founded in 2000 with Philharmonic colleague Dorian Rence. Ms. Moon is a strong advocate for Celebrate Life Half Marathon, whose mission is to assist cancer patients with treatment and associated care.

Eileen Moon is artistic advisor at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts in Sullivan County, New York, and curator and presenter of its chamber music series, Sundays with Friends. She is founder and artistic director of Warwick Music Series in Warwick, New York, where she resides with Principal Horn Philip Myers and their animals.

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Viola

Robert Rinehart

Robert Rinehart, who joined the New York Philharmonic’s viola section in 1992, is a familiar figure on the New York chamber-music scene. He has appeared at the Spoleto, Vancouver Chamber Music, and Santa Fe Chamber Music festivals, and with Chamber Music Northwest and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. A founding member of the Ridge String Quartet, Mr. Rinehart has performed in every major music center in the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia, Japan, and in Europe. He has collaborated with Benny Goodman, Rudolf Firkusny, and the Guarneri String Quartet, among others, and his chamber music recordings have received a Grammy Award, two Grammy nominations, and the Diapason d’Or. A native of San Francisco, Mr. Rinehart studied violin at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with Isadore Tinkleman, and at The Curtis Institute of Music with Jaime Laredo, David Cerone, and Ivan Galamian. He is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music.

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Violin

Fiona Simon

Violinist Fiona Simon, a member of the Orchestra since 1985, made her Philharmonic solo debut in November 1989, performing Vivaldi’s Concerto for Three Violins. Ms. Simon began her career in her native England, where she studied with Szymon Goldberg and won major prizes in the Carl Flesch and Jacques Thibaud competitions. For three consecutive years, she was London’s Young Artist of the Year. She has performed with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the Royal Opera at Covent Garden, and the English Chamber Orchestra, among others. She has also been featured in many recitals and concerts broadcast over the BBC, and has made numerous appearances throughout Europe. Ms. Simon is a member of the Vanderspar String Trio and the Simon String Quartet. She was married to the late New York Philharmonic violinist Richard Simon, and has a son, Michael Paul, a poet.

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Violin

Sharon Yamada

Sharon Yamada, a member of the New York Philharmonic since 1988, has performed extensively on both the East and West Coasts. She performs regularly with the New York Philharmonic Ensembles at Merkin Hall, and has appeared with the New Jersey Chamber Music Society. Ms. Yamada has performed frequently in the summer at the Grand Teton Music Festival. Other summer activities have included the Aspen, Norfolk, and Chigiana (Siena, Italy) music festivals. Formerly assistant concertmaster of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Yamada has also appeared in concert with Orchestra New England and the Wallingford Symphony. She is a former member of the Hofstra String Quartet, which was in residence at Hofstra University.

Ms. Yamada received her Master of Music degree from the Yale School of Music under the tutelage of Szymon Goldberg and Syoko Aki. While earning her undergraduate degree in architecture from Yale College, she appeared as soloist and concertmaster with the Yale Symphony. A native of Los Angeles, Ms. Yamada attended the Crossroads School for the Arts and Sciences and was a student of Alice Schoenfeld.

Learn more about Sharon Yamada

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Special Thanks

Yefim Bronfman is The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence.

The January 13 CONTACT! concert is made possible with generous support from Linda and Stuart Nelson.

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