Demetrius Spaneas, Michael Harrison and More Set for Annunciation Church's 'Faith & Culture' 2013 Lecture Series

Demetrius Spaneas, Michael Harrison and More Set for Annunciation Church's 'Faith & Culture' 2013 Lecture Series

The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church presents "Faith & Culture," a ministry to inaugurate its first major programming endeavor this fall: a music-based lecture series titled Tastemakers & Pioneers curated by Marina Harrison. Serving to introduce the community to many creative disciplines of the humanities, "Faith & Culture" focuses on music, literature, history, film and theatre, and fine art. Several prominent individuals in the music community, considered innovators and highly-regarded experts, have committed to be a part of this season. All lectures will take place at 7pm and attendees are invited to special Meet-and-Greet Receptions with the artists afterwards.

The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, established in 1892, is one of the oldest Greek Orthodox Churches of the United States. They are proud of Annunciation's legacy of caring for their neighbor. "Faith & Culture" is one of many ways they achieve this.

Fall 2013 Series at a Glance:

Sep 20 Demetrius Spaneas IANIS XENAKIS: The Avant-Garde and Ancient Greek Culture

Oct 4 Stuart Isacoff A Natural History of the Piano: A Lecture With Musical Illustrations

Oct 25 Francisco J. Núñez The Unlimited Potential of Children

Nov 1 David Dubal A Plea For The Arts in The United States

Nov 15 Barrymore Scherer Strength in Numbers: Tracing Verdi's Musical Development Through His Ensembles

Dec 6 Michael Harrison Everything in Good Measure: Ancient Greek Principles of Tuning and Their Relevance to Music

All lectures take place at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 302 West 91st Street, New York, New York 10024. Call 212.724.2070 or visit ANNUNCIATION-NYC.ORG or email Subway: 1/2/3 to 96th Street; 1 to 86th Street. Admission: $20; $100 for all 6 lectures. For tickets, visit

Demetrius Spaneas

Friday, Sept. 20th, 7pm

IANIS XENAKIS: The Avant-Garde and Ancient Greek Culture

Demetrius Spaneas travels the world as a musical ambassador, connecting classical, jazz, and traditional music throughout the US, Eastern Europe, and Asia. He has worked with such diverse artists as John Cage, Ray Charles, and Kyrgyz traditional musicians, and has been featured soloist and composer at major concert venues and international festivals in the three continents. Through his work with the US Embassy system, he has presented concerts and lectures on American music and culture throughout the former Soviet Union. Interested in connecting cultures and creating international artistic dialogue through cultural diplomacy, his current initiatives focus on Central Asia, the Balkans, China, and Russia. To this end, he has been appointed a Fulbright Specialist in American Studies, Music and will be teaching in Tajikistan in summer 2013 through the Fulbright. He has won grants and awards from ASCAP, Meet the Composer, the American Music Center, and other organizations, including a special certificate from the Russian Duma (senate) for enriching the cultural life of St. Petersburg.

Lecture Summary:

Greek Avant-garde composer Ianis Xenakis was one of the most important and influential composers of the latter half of the 20th century, constantly pushing the boundaries of music by combining it with mathematics, statistics, physics, and architectural concepts. Much of his philosophy and thought was based in Ancient Greek culture, even though for much of his life he was unable to live in Greece and considered himself somewhat of an outsider to his heritage.

This talk will explore the influence of Ancient Greece on Xenakis's major works, especially his large works for theater such as Oresteia.

Stuart Isacoff

Friday, October 4th, 7pm

A Natural History of the Piano: A Lecture With Musical Illustrations

Stuart Isacoff, a pianist, composer and writer, is the author of A Natural History of the Piano: The Instrument, the Music, the Musicians-From Mozart to Modern Jazz and Everything In Between (Knopf and Vintage in the U.S. with additional publishers worldwide). He was the founding editor of Piano Today magazine, which he directed for nearly three decades. Mr. Isacoff is also the author of the highly acclaimed Temperament: How Music Became a Battleground for the Great Minds of Western Civilization (Knopf/Vintage in the U.S.). A winner of the prestigious ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in writing about music, he is a regular contributor on the arts to The Wall Street Journal as well as to many music periodicals and reference works such as Musical America and the New Grove Dictionary of American Music.

Mr. Isacoff is on the faculty of Purchase College (SUNY). He has given lectures and piano performances at numerous venues here and abroad, including The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Verbier Festival and Academy (Switzerland), Music@Menlo, Le Poisson Rouge, Bargemusic, The Portland Piano Festival, The Miami Piano Festival, The Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, The September Music Festival (Torino), The Gina Bachauer Foundation, The Van Cliburn Piano Institute and others. Stuart Isacoff's piano recitals often combine classical repertoire with jazz improvisation, demonstrating the threads that connect musical works created centuries and continents apart.

Lecture Summary:

In 1700, a technician named Bartolomeo Cristofori at the court of Ferdinando de Medici in Florence tinkered together a keyboard instrument capable of changing dynamics instantly in response to the finger pressure of the performer. Three hundred years later, it has evolved into the grand instrument that occupies center stage at most concert venues around the world. But it took more than half a century before anyone noticed the piano's true potential.

In this lecture/recital based on his book, A Natural History of the Piano: The Instrument, the Music, the Musicians-From Mozart to Modern Jazz and Everything in Between (Knopf), Stuart Isacoff relates the story of the piano as it unfolded both in Europe and in a young America. And he probes how the myriad styles that emerged in both the classical and jazz traditions can be traced to the basic sounds produced by the instrument itself. Using the categories he created for his book, Mr. Isacoff will demonstrate how these compositional styles-the Combustibles, the Alchemists, the Rythmitizers and the Melodists-cut across both chronological period and musical genre.

Musical examples will include the first extant pieces written for the piano (Lodovico Giustini, 1732), as well as explorations of the styles of C.P.E. Bach, Beethoven, Jerry Lee Lewis, Couperin, Ravel, Debussy, Bill Evans, Duke Ellington, Bartok, Chopin, Schubert and others. Mr. Isacoff will include some performances of the "marriages" he creates between works from the classical and jazz repertoires, using improvisation to demonstrate the threads that connect them.

Francisco J. Núñez

Friday, October 25th, 7pm

The Unlimited Potential of Children

Francisco J. Núñez, a MacArthur Fellow, is a composer, conductor, visionary, leading figure in music education, and the artistic director/founder of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award-winning Young People's Chorus of New York City (YPC). YPC, which Mr. Núñez founded 25 years ago on a mission of diversity and artistic excellence, has changed the perception of the capabilities of a children's chorus: dramatically heightening an awareness of the unlimited potential of children to rise to unforeseen levels of artistry. Mr. Núñez also leads the University Glee Club of New York City, its fifth conductor since the all-men's chorus was established in 1894. He is sought after nationwide as a guest conductor by professional orchestras and choirs, a master teacher and advisor, and is a frequent keynote speaker as a leading authority on the role of music in achieving equality and diversity among children in today's society. With the creation of his Transient Glory and Radio Radiance commissioning series, Mr. Núñez has greatly expanded and invigorated the repertoire of choral music for young people with more than 70 works from today's most distinguished composers. He composes countless compositions and arrangements himself in all musical formats and styles for choirs, orchestras, and solo instruments, all of which are published by Boosey & Hawkes. Among Mr. Núñez's numerous awards are an ASCAP Concert Music Award, the New York Choral Society's Choral Excellence Award, and a Liberty "Ambassador" Medal from the New York Post. Hispanic Business magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics of 2005; General Motors Corporation hailed him as an unsung Hispanic hero; and La Sociedad Coral Latinoamericana named him its 2009 Man of the Year.