Pianist Yael Weiss Performs Beethoven and Premieres by Schoenfield and Chihara at Bargemusic

Pianist Yael Weiss Performs Beethoven and Premieres by Schoenfield and Chihara at Bargemusic

With an eye towards 2020, the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, award-winning pianist Yael Weiss has embarked upon "A Beethoven Odyssey," a project that combines the complete set of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas with newly commissioned compositions related to them. On Friday, May 12 at 8 PM at Bargemusic (1 Water Street, Brooklyn, NY) she will offer a sampling of the overall project, with three Beethoven Sonatas, and three short related works written for her, one of them a world premiere of a short piece written this year by Paul Schoenfield, and another a New York premiere of a 2016 work by Paul Chihara with the influence of ragtime.

Close listeners to the world premiere of Paul Schoenfield's 32<2, which Ms. Weiss pairs with the Sonata no. 24 in F-Sharp Major, Op. 78 ("à Thérèse"), will be aural detectives as the composer, widely known for his inventive and very individual voice, has written a work combining motifs from all 32 Beethoven Sonatas. Beethoven's Sonata no. 22 in F Major, Op. 54 is juxtaposed with Mr. Schoenfield's Boogie 54, which mirrors and transforms the second movement of the Sonata. Ms. Weiss then precedes Sonata no. 30 in E Major, Op. 109 with the New York premiere of Paul Chihara's Rag 109. One of today's leading film composers, with also a substantial body of concert music, Chihara has secured recent commissions for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Tickets for the May 12 concert, priced at $40., $35. for seniors, and $20. for students, are available online at bargemusic.org or by calling 800-838-3006. Tickets are available for cash only at the door.

More about "A Beethoven Odyssey":

The year 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth. In celebration of this special moment in history, pianist Yael Weiss will be performing the complete cycle of Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas, to be presented alongside short new compositions from around the world that explore the relationship between Beethoven's musical realm and our own in the early 21st century. The concerts are presented as single events, as a series of concerts throughout a season or spread over several seasons, and as marathon-type events such as a full weekend of presentations incorporating the entire cycle. The concerts are also presented in lecture-demonstration format, including a discussion of the new works and the excitement of finding what makes Beethoven's music especially personal and meaningful today. In addition to Mr. Schoenfield and Mr. Chihara, Ms. Weiss is commissioning works by composers such as Joel Feigin, a California composer inspired by the spiritual world of Zen Buddhism who has already written "Prelude before a Sonata" for this project. In 2010, Yael Weiss premiered his Piano Concerto, which was dedicated to her; widely-performed Canadian-American composer Pierre Jalbert; and Zhou Long, a Pulitzer-prize winning composer who is one of the most important voices today in bringing Chinese traditional folk music to western music.

In addition to performances, the project will incorporate a recording component, including a CD release of the new compositions, videography of various live performances, and ultimately the recording of the complete cycle of Beethoven's Sonatas. A further important goal is to bring Beethoven and the new compositions to new and unusual venues. Aside from the traditional venues in major cities, Yael Weiss has a special interest in expanding the presentation possibilities by bringing this body of work to new audiences in unexpected places.

More about Yael Weiss:

Pianist Yael Weiss has been hailed by many of today's greatest musicians and critics for visionary interpretations of surpassing depth, immediacy and communicative power. Following a recent recital, the Washington Post portrayed her as "a pianist who delves deeply and tellingly into that cloudy area where fantasy morphs into improvisation, inventiveness being common to both."

Ms. Weiss has performed across the United States, Europe, Japan, Korea and South America at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Benaroya Hall, Moscow's Bolshoi Hall and London's Wigmore Hall. Her New York recital debut, presented by the Metropolitan Museum, was acclaimed by the New York Times as, "remarkably powerful and intense . . . fine technique and musicianship in the service of an arresting array of music." Ms. Weiss has appeared as soloist with many international orchestras, including the Prague Chamber Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra, and Israel Camerata Orchestra, to name a few. She is also in demand at international music festivals, such as Marlboro, Ravinia, City of London, Banff, Parry Sound, Caramoor, and the Seattle Chamber Music Festival.

Yael Weiss's discography encompasses piano works by over a dozen composers, with two releases, "Robert Schumann: Piano Works" and "88 Keys to Joy", on the Koch International Classics label. Ms. Weiss is also devoted to chamber music, and tours worldwide with violinist Mark Kaplan and cellist Peter Stumpf as the Weiss-Kaplan-Stumpf Trio (previously the Weiss-Kaplan-Newman Trio). The Trio's discography includes CDs of Brahms, Smetana, Chihara and Lerdahl trios, as well as a new-music release, "An American Tour", featuring world premiere recordings of compositions by American composers. Currently the trio is recording Beethoven's complete Piano Trios for the Bridge Records label.

Ms. Weiss's current touring schedule includes concerto and recital appearances in the US, Canada, Germany and Israel. This summer's upcoming festival appearances include the Hornby Island Festival in Canada, the Birdfoot Festival in New Orleans, and Indiana University's Summer Music Festival. In addition to her "Beethoven Odyssey" performances, she has been giving premiere performances with the Israel Camerata Orchestra of a new re-orchestration for Grieg's piano concerto.

Ms. Weiss has been honored with distinguished prizes from the Naumburg International Piano Competition and the Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Piano Competition. She is a recipient of the Presser Award as well as grants from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. She studied with Richard Goode and Edward Aldwell at the Mannes College of Music and with Leon Fleisher and Ellen Mack at the Peabody Conservatory.

Yael Weiss has presented master-classes for top institutions worldwide and served on the faculties of Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, UC Santa Barbara and the Heifetz Institute. Connecting with new audiences online, Ms. Weiss created and recorded "Classical Minutes", a popular series of daily podcasts available on iTunes.

Away from the piano, Yael Weiss is an avid runner, regularly taking part in marathons and other long-distance races. Born in Israel, she currently makes her home in New York City. www.yaelweiss.com

More about the composers:

Even if his works have rarely been popular with the press ["Bad Culture" (The Hague), "Really Annoying Music" (Danceview Times), "An Undeserved Standing Ovation" (The New York Times), "One is not sure whether to laugh or gape in awe at a mind so warped" (San Francisco Examiner)], Paul Schoenfield's music is widely performed and continues to draw an ever-expanding group of fans. According to Juilliard's Joel Sachs, "He is among those all-too-rare composers whose work combines exuberance and seriousness, familiarity and originality, lightness and depth. His work is inspired by the whole range of musical experience, popular styles both American and foreign, vernacular and folk traditions, and the 'normal' historical traditions of cultivated music making, often treated with sly twists. Above all, he has achieved the rare fusion of an extremely complex and rigorous compositional mind with an instinct for accessibility and a reveling in sound that sometimes borders on the manic."

Although he now rarely performs publicly, Schoenfield was formerly an active pianist, touring the United States, Europe and South America as a soloist and with groups including "Music from Marlboro." Among his recordings as a pianist are the complete violin and piano works of Bartók with Sergio Luca. His compositions can be heard on the Angel, Decca, Innova, Vanguard, EMI, Koch, BMG and New World labels.

Reclusive and a wanderer by nature (having rarely lived in any one place for more than five years), Schoenfeld is presently on the composition faculty at the University of Michigan. Additionally, he is an avid student of mathematics and the Talmud.

Paul Chihara received his doctorate degree (D.M.A.) from Cornell University, also studied with the renowned pedagogue Nadia Boulanger in Paris, Ernst Pepping in Berlin, and with Gunther Schuller at Tanglewood. Mr. Chihara has composed scores for over 100 motion pictures and television series, including work with directors Sidney Lumet, Louis Malle, Arthur Penn, and Michael Richie. Among his scores are Prince of the City, The Morning After, Crossing Delancey, China Beach, 100 Centre Street, and Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service. He orchestrated for Gil Shaham and Orpheus, "Live From Lincoln Center." Active on Broadway, Mr. Chihara served as musical consultant and arranger for Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies, and was composer for James Clavell's Shogun, the Musical. He is presently working on a Broadway-bound musical Rocket Boys, based on the film October Sky.

He has received many commissions and award, from the Lili Boulanger Memorial Award (1962), the Naumberg Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Fellowship, the Aaron Copland Fund, and National Endowment for the Arts, as well as from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, the New Juilliard Ensemble, Continuum, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. He was composer- in-residence at the San Francisco Ballet from 1973-1986, as well as the first composer-in-residence with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, under Neville Marriner. With Toru Takemitsu, he was composer-in-residence at the Marlboro Festival of 1971. He has orchestrated for Gil Shaham and Orpheus, which aired on "Live From Lincoln Center."

Mr. Chihara has been awarded the Composer-of-the-Year by the Classical Recording Foundation in New York, 2008. He founded and chaired the Visual Media (graduate film music) at UCLA.

He is now a Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Music, and is presently an Artist Faculty in film music at NYU.

More about Bargemusic:

Since 1977, Bargemusic has presented chamber music in an unlikely and startlingly beautiful venue-a floating barge at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. Both established and emerging musicians perform at Bargemusic on a small stage with the dramatic backdrop of the East River and lower Manhattan skyline.

From its inception, Bargemusic has been committed to attracting local audiences and enhancing the cultural life of New York by offering frequent, year-round performances of chamber music in a fittingly intimate setting-the type of setting in which chamber music is meant to be heard. To make this unique musical experience available to as many people as possible, Bargemusic presents more than 200 chamber music concerts annually, year-round-and offers free tickets to a variety of groups, plus an admission free Neighborhood Family Concert on Saturday afternoons.

Friday, May 12, 2017 at 8 PM

Yael Weiss, piano

Bargemusic, 1 Water Street, Brooklyn, NY


A Beethoven Odyssey

Beethoven: Sonata no. 24 in F-Sharp Major, Op. 78 "à Thérèse"

Paul Schoenfield: 32 < 2

World Premiere (written for Yael Weiss, 2017)

Beethoven: Sonata no. 22 in F Major, Op. 54

Paul Schoenfield: Boogie 54

Paul Chihara: Rag 109

New York Premiere (written for Yael Weiss, 2016)

Beethoven: Sonata no. 30 in E Major, Op. 109

Tickets for the concert, priced at $40., $35. for seniors, and $20. for students, are available online at bargemusic.org or by calling 800-838-3006. Tickets are available for cash only at the door.

Photo credit: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

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