Collegial Concert II
May 1, 2011, 7:00 p.m.
Church of Christ and St. Stephen's
(West 69th Street between Columbus and Broadway)
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Jim Lahti - Sonata for Viola and Piano
Amelia Hollander Ames, Viola
Jim Lahti, Piano
Mauro Giuliani - Serenata in G major, Op. 127
Louise Schulman, Viola
Bill Zito, Guitar
Francois Couperin - Three Dances for Solo Viola (1722) (arranged by Frank Foerster)
Frank Foerster - Three Miniatures for Viola and Piano (2008)
Frank Foerster, Viol
Nelson Padgett, Piano
Jay Sydeman - Place of the Blue Flowers
Poem by Julia Connor
Louise Schulman, Viola
Lutz Rath, Speaker
Nino Rota - Intermezzo for Viola and Piano
David Cerutti, Viola
Molly Morkoski, Piano
Paul Hindemith - Sonata for Viola and Piano, Op. 25, No. 4
Sehr lebhaft. Markiert und kraftvoll
Sehr langsame Viertel
Finale. lebhafte Viertel
Amanda Verner, Viola
Elena Jivaeva, Piano
Piano Courtesy of Yamaha Inc.
About the Performers
Amelia Hollander Ames is the founder and artistic director of Con Vivo, a not-for-profit organization that produces free chamber music concerts in the diverse neighborhoods of Jersey City, NJ. In its four years of existence, Con Vivo has received grants from the Jersey City and Hudson County Departments of Cultural Affairs, and Meet the Composer, as well as support from, and collaboration with, a large number of local individuals and institutions.
From 2004—2007, Amelia was the violist of the award-winning Israel Contemporary String Quartet (ICSQ), with whom she performed throughout Israel and on tours to the U.S., Canada, and Asia. With the ICSQ, Amelia collaborated with composers such as Josef Bardanashvili, Ben-Zion Orgad, Judd Greenstein, and Steve Reich, and with luminaries of the Israeli music, dance and theater worlds. While living in Tel Aviv, Amelia also performed with the Tel Aviv Soloists Ensemble and the Carmel Quartet, and was on faculty at Jerusalem’s Hasadna Conservatory.
Amelia has collaborated in chamber ensembles with members of the New York and Israel Philharmonics and San Francisco Symphony, violists Garth Knox and Tabea Zimmermann, and counter-tenor Andreas Scholl. She has performed at Prussia Cove, the Singapore Arts Festival, Kneisel Hall, and Schleswig-Holstein, and toured Europe and Asia several times with the Verbier Festival Orchestra. Amelia went to Mexico with Cultures in Harmony in the summers of 2008 and 2009 to work with music students in Mexico City and indigenous communities in Michoacan. She has recorded for the Naïve, Nonesuch and Tzadik labels.
Amelia is on faculty at the Third Street Music School Settlement. She is an alumna of the Eastman School of Music (B.M.) and New England Conservatory (M.M.). Teachers include Martha Katz, George Taylor, and Karen Ritscher. Also an improviser, she has collaborated with Anthony Braxton, Joe Maneri, Butch Morris, and Matana Roberts.
Amelia is a member of Musicians Union Local 802, and has performed in the orchestra of the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular and with such orchestras as the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Erie (PA) Philharmonic, and Arcos and Wild Ginger Chamber Orchestras. She lives in Jersey City with her husband Christopher, who teaches in the NYC Public Schools, their baby son Griffin, and two dogs.
For much longer than he cares to admit Jim Lahti has been immersed in both music and theatre. After college at the Manhattan School of Music he was the pianist at various restaurants and clubs around town and a church organist (scary times, those…). Most of his musical life has revolved around classical music: composing it, performing it, and so on. But the theatre has always played a big role in his life as well. As a musical director he has conducted musical revues, musicals, operettas, and operas; as a performer he has played as a soloist and with chamber ensembles, jazz groups, and orchestras; as a composer he has written for a wide range of combinations – from chamber music to art songs to orchestral pieces to musicals, a requiem mass, and an opera. Jim has performed with David Amram (composer of – among other things – the film scores of both the original Manchurian Candidate and Splendor in the Grass), as well as Renée Fleming and Itzahk Perlman (that last one might not count; they were just goofing around playing blues in his living room and there was no audience). Website: www.jimlahti.com.
Louise Schulman has been an active performer and musical leader on the New York scene and internationally since 1970. She is a founding member and principal viola of the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble (since 1974) and Orchestra of St. Luke's. She has been on the performing and coaching staff of the Composers Conference and Chamber Music Center since 1975, and has recently been chosen as the player representative on the board of directors. Ms. Schulman has nearly 100 recordings to her credit, including Telemann and Vivaldi concerti for both viola and viola d'amore, and such chamber works as the Schubert Cello Quintet, Hindemith Octet, Beethoven Septet and Eyeglass Duo, Mozart Divertimenti and many others. Her recording of Interviews for viola and piano by Eleanor Cory is on CRI Records. Baroque groups include Ensemble Breve, Long Island Baroque Ensemble, Folger Consort, Waverly Consort, Clarion Concerts, Philomel, Bacchinalia and the New England Bach Festival. She is also a member of the Strathmere Ensemble and Armstrong Chamber Concerts. Her reviews include "... lovely playing, filled with a wealth of expression and a lush tone..." [Strad Magazine] and "... a gifted soloist...An unusually cultivated musician of no outward pretensions..." [Newsday].
Described as "first rate throughout" by the New York Times, Bill Zito has received praise for both his solo and ensemble work. He has toured extensively in the US and Europe.
This versatile performer is equally at home on such historical plucked instruments as Renaissance lute, vihuela, archlute, mandolin, and baroque guitar, at times performing back to back on as many as three different instruments.
Along with his solo work and his duo with Ms. Schulman, Bill Zito has premiered many new works and has performed opera, dance scores and music for the stage. He is currently a member of the Strathmere Ensemble and the Long Island Baroque Ensemble, and frequently appears in duo recitals with harpsichordist Gerald Ranck. He has performed with the Da Capo Chamber Players with whom he recently recorded "Dream Tigers" by Judith Shatin.
Mr. Zito is currently on the guitar faculty of Adelphi Unversity, Hofstra Unversity, Queens College and Nassau Community College. His guitars are by Hermann Hauser I (1950) and Antonio Marin (2009).
Mr. Zito uses La Bella strings.
Violist Frank Foerster enjoys a varied career as orchestral and chamber musician, soloist and composer. He studied with Wolfram Christ at the music school in Berlin and with Yehudi Menuhin in Switzerland. He received his masters and doctoral degrees from the Juilliard School, where he studied with Lillian Fuchs and Karen Tuttle. Since 1988, he has been principal violist of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and he has performed Bartok’s viola concerto with this orchestra under Zdenek Macal. He teaches violin, viola and chamber music at the New Jersey City University and is a member of New York Scandia String Quartet, Zanoli String Trio, and Beowulf Consort.
Born in North Carolina, Nelson Padgett began piano studies at age six and gave his first solo recital at age nine. He attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, The Peabody Conservatory of Music, and the Banff Centre School of Fine Arts. His teachers have included Ruth Walters, Clifton Matthews, Anne Epperson, Ellen Mack, Leon Fleisher, Lee Luvisi, Gyorgy Sebok, and Menahem Pressler. Awards as a soloist include a Silver Medal at the William Kappell International Competition and a Beethoven Fellowship from the American Pianists Association.
Mr. Padgett has collaborated with Elmar Oliveira, Pinchas Zuckerman, Pamela Frank, Alexander Simionescu, Ilya Kaler, Vadim Repin, Nai-Yuan Hu, Nicholas Eanet, Aaron Berofsky, and from 2000-2007, he has been an official pianist at the famed Meadowmount School of Music in upstate New York. He has performed in major venues around the world with the Philip Glass Ensemble, Steve Reich and Musicians, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Orchestra of St. Lukes. He records regularly for film and television, and can be heard on the Harmonia Mundi, EMI Classics, and Orange Mountain labels. Highlights of 2010 included a European tour with the Philip Glass Ensemble and a performance of all three Brahms Violin Sonatas in Weill Recital Hall.
Mr. Padgett is on the faculty of The Ridgewood (NJ) Conservatory, and teaches privately in New York City. He performs nearly every Friday and Saturday throughout the year at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of Orion Music's Balcony Series.
Lutz Rath - Born in Germany, Music Director of the Washington Square Festival Lutz Rath is heard regularly in St. Luke's Orchestra and performs in solo and chamber music recitals on his Carlo Antonio Testore cello once belonging to the Budapest String Quartet. Over the years he has been a regular performer in the Washington Square Music Festival. For the last 17 years he has participated in the Chamber Music Conference of the East at Bennington College. Mr. Rath has been a member of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, for 10 years the cellist of the International String Quartet, which won Grand Prix in the International Chamber Music Competition, Evian, France. While with the Quartet he toured Europe, Asia, South America, and the US regularly, and recorded internationally. From 1996 to 2000 Rath was the cellist of the Elysium Quartet and toured the USA and Greece, recording with Lucas Foss and Stanley Drucker on the Elysium label. In 2002 he formed the Ecliptica Ensemble, specializing in chamber music composed or performed in concentration camps. Intermittently he performed with the Kandinsky String Trio in Europe and was the director of Chamber Music Lyon from 1992-1998
Rath held academic positions at Indiana University and at Brown University.
David Cerutti performs internationally as violist and violist d'amore, and is co-principal violist with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and member of the St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble. He appears regularly with The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, has been a guest soloist at Lincoln Center for The Chamber Music Society's Double Exposure series, and is a regular participant in the Helicon Concert Series. He is a founding member of Trigon, former member of Smithson String Quartet and has been a guest artist with The Brentano String Quartet and The Cygnus Ensemble, and is a regular soloist with The Little Orchestra Society of New York. Mr. Cerutti has collaborated with members of Ensemble Archibudelli on a recording of the Mendelssohn and Gade String Octets performing on Stradivarius instruments for the Sony Classical label, and his recordings of the Brahms G Major Sextett and Schoenberg's Verklaerte Nacht will be available this spring on the Meyer Media label.
Pianist Molly Morkoski has performed as soloist and collaborative artist throughout the US, Europe, and Japan. In June of 2007, she made her solo debut on Carnegie’s Stern Auditorium stage and in 2003 performed on the inaugural concert of Carnegie’s Zankel Hall under the direction of John Adams. Ms. Morkoski’s performances include appearances at Carnegie's Weill Hall, Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall and Miller Theater in NY, Le Poisson Rouge in NY, Boston's Gardner Museum and Jordan Hall, St Louis’ Pulitzer Museum, Portland’s Newmark Theater, Washington D.C.'s Smithsonian, Strasbourg Conservatoire, and the US Embassies in Paris and Nice, France. She has appeared as soloist at the Tanglewood, Bang-on-a-Can, and Pacific Rim festivals, and performed concertos with the Raleigh, Asheville, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestras, and Moravian Philharmonic Orchestras. An avid chamber musician, she is a member of the Zankel Band, Open End Ensemble, and Meme; and has collaborated with some of today’s leading musicians including Dawn Upshaw, John Adams and David Robertson. Ms. Morkoski was a Fulbright scholar to Paris, France where she was apprentice with the Ensemble Intercontemporain. She is also a recipient of the Teresa Sterne Career Grant and the Thayer-Ross Awards. Her principal teachers were Michael Zenge, Leonard Hokanson, and Gilbert Kalish and she holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Indiana University-Bloomington, and SUNY-Stony Brook. She currently resides in New York City and is Associate Professor at CUNY’s Lehman College in the Bronx.
Amanda Verner, a native of New Zealand, began her viola studies at the age of four. While in New Zealand, she studied at the Victoria Academy of Music before obtaining her Bachelor of Music degree at The Cleveland Institute of Music under Jeffrey Irvine and Lynne Ramsey. She is currently in the Artist Diploma program at the Curtis Institute of Music as a student of Roberto Diaz and Misha Amory. Ms. Verner is principal viola of the Curtis Symphony Orchestra and has also been principal viola of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Akron Symphony Orchestra and Verbier Festival Orchestra. As a soloist, she has appeared with the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra and the Illinois State University Orchestra. Ms. Verner has collaborated with such artists as Roberto Diaz, Pamela Frank, Sarah Chang, Alexander Kerr and Paul Kantor. Her upcoming performances include a tour of New Zealand with the newly formed MelerEnsemble and an invitation to play in the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra.
Elena Jivaeva, a pianist of Russian descent, is a graduate of the Tashkent State Conservatory in Uzbekistan. For fifteen years she was principal piano of the Uzbek TV and Radio Orchestra and was actively engaged in folk music ensembles and vocal groups, frequently participating in international concert tours. She continued her career as a concert pianist in the United States after moving to Pittsburgh in 2000, performing in various chamber music settings at Duquesne University. She moved to Philadelphia in 2001, and, as a staff pianist at the Curtis Institute of Music, frequently performs with students in master classes with well-known artists such as Midori, Joseph Alessi, Kim Kashkashian, Anthony McGill, Paul Neubauer, and many others. With violinist Elissa Lee Koljonen, Ms. Jivaeva has taken part in the Kimmel Center's Summer Solstice Celebration, and she toured Germany for a series of chamber music concerts with her son Daniel Khalikov, a Metropolitan Opera Orchestra violinist, and brother, Anton Jivaev, principal viola of the North Carolina Symphony. An enthusiastic participant in unusual projects incorporating modern music, dance, and theater, she was the featured piano soloist in the recording and presentation RACHMANINOFF AND SCRIABIN created by Dr. Emanuel Garcia (2002), the opera-ballet TO ASHES, and GANDHI'S DREAM featuring Pamela Whitman (2008). In addition to her active performing schedule, she is closely involved in music education of very young children, implementing her own innovative program, which can be found at www.domisolkids.com. Ms. Jivaeva joined the Curtis Institute of Music as staff accompanist in 2001.
About the Music
French composer Francois Couperin (1668-1733) was a harpsichord virtuoso and a man of vivid musical imagination. In 1717 he became music director at the royal court in Versailles and produced weekly chamber music concerts for the French King. The influence of the courtly French dance music on other composers throughout Europe, including J.S. Bach, cannot be overestimated; it combined stylish finesse with joyful vitality and strictness of form. From Couperin’s large oeuvre of harpsichord pieces I arranged three movements for unaccompanied viola.
The Sarabande was originally a Spanish dance. In some countries the Sarabande was forbidden because it was considered to be an overly sensuous dance, requiring excessive body contact between the dancers. Menuet and Gallop is a very witty composition: the menuet is composed in a conservative manner, but during the following gallop we hear the musical portrayal of a horse running faster and faster, until it finally disappears in the distance. Miller’s Dance is a cheerful folk dance with changing 2/4 and 6/8 meters.
I have always enjoyed collecting gemstones and minerals, and these three musical miniatures were inspired by three specimens from my collection.
TOURMALINE portrays a Brazilian crystal, forest green in color with flecks of gold in it. Deep underground, in darkness, heat, pressure and the right combination of chemical elements come together to create this crystal’s unique color and clarity. The crystal shape is hexagonal, so I chose a 6/4 meter for this piece; its character is noble and calming, which made me think of the theme’s Sarabande-like rhythm.
The MOONSTONE possesses two opposing characteristics. Ordinarily it appears to be pale like the nocturnal moon. But if light hits the gemstone from a certain angle it suddenly displays a brightly iridescent shimmer, radiating light in all colors of the rainbow. The opening of this movement portrays the calmly melancholic side of the stone, while the romantic middle section conjures its mysteriously ecstatic qualities.
AQUAMARINE (“water of the sea”) was inspired by a facetted gem, sparkling cheerfully in carefree exuberance. Its round shape gave me the idea of the harmonic pattern which continually repeats itself. To capture the stone’s uplifting energy I avoided the lower strings of the viola and used high pitched harmonics instead; the piano is heard in its highest register as well, reflecting the sparkling brightness of this gemstone.
Nino Rota (b. 1911, Milan, d. 1979, Rome) is best known for his music written for films by such eminent directors as Fellini, Zeffirelli, Visconti and others, and he must rate among the twentieth-century composers with the widest appeal. Intermezzo was composed in 1934/35 and dedicated to Piero Farulli, well-known violist of the famous Quartetto Italiano. The piece is like a short legend, its simplicity belying the emotional scope and power contained within its telling. Nino Rota was apparently a very warm and almost childlike person; following is a quote which shows him to be altruistic in nature: "When I’m creating at the piano, I tend to feel happy; but - the eternal dilemma - how can we be happy amid the unhappiness of others? I'd do everything I could to give everyone a moment of happiness. That's what's at the heart of my music."