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Lisa Hansen and Eddie Venegas to Join North/South Chamber Orchestra on Valentine's Day

The North/South Chamber Orchestra continues its series of free-admission concerts on Sunday afternoon February 14, 2016. Flutist Lisa Hansen and trombonist Eddie Venegas will join conductor Max Lifchitz and the Grammy nominated ensemble for an eclectic program featuring first performances of action-packed works by Joel Feigin and Eddie Venegas as well as two other invigorating pieces performed previously penned by Max Lifchitz and Robert Martin.

The event -- part of the Composers Now Festival -- will be held at the intimate and acoustically superior auditorium of Christ & St Stephen's Church (120 West 69th St -- bet Bway & Columbus) on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The hall is ADA accessible. The free-admission concert will start at 3 PM and end around 4:40 PM. No tickets necessary.

"Irresistibly lyrical" is how the NY Times described Lisa Hansen's flute playing. The San Francisco Bay Guardian commented on her "technically awesome *and emotionally moving performances." A graduate of The Julliard School, Ms. Hansen has appeared on concert stages throughout Europe and Latin America and has recorded for several labels including EMI Classics, Centaur, and North/South Recordings.

Composer and trombonist Eddie Venegas began his musical education in his native Venezuela before moving to New York to study at the Aaron Copland School of Music. An incredibly versatile musician, Mr. Venegas is active as trombonist, violinist and composer who performs regularly with Marc Anthony, Tony Bennett and a variety of Latin, Jazz, Classical, and Popular music ensembles.

Since its inception in 1980, the North/South Chamber Orchestra has brought to the attention of the New York City public over 1,000 works by composers hailing from the Americas and elsewhere representing a wide spectrum of aesthetic views. Its activities are made possible in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs as well as grants from the Women's Philharmonic Advocacy and the Music Performance Trust Funds. Contributions by numerous individual donors are also gratefully acknowledged.

ABOUT THE COMPOSERS AND THEIR MUSIC:

A native New Yorker, Joel Feigin was educated at Columbia University and The Juilliard School where he studied with Roger Sessions. Until last year he taught composition at the Santa Barbara campus of the University of California. His many awards include a Fullbright grant to Russia and a Guggenheim Fellowship. His music has been heard across the U.S. and abroad, from France and Germany to Taiwan and Korea. Opera Magazine described his compositions as having "very strong impact, as logical in musical design as they are charged with emotion and drama." Being heard for the very first time, Feigin's dramatic large scale work Surging Seas was inspired by the horrifying tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. The composer states that the work "is an attempt to recreat the elemental and inexorable power of the seas encroaching on the land, destroying everything in their path, inspiring awe and terror."

Active as composer, pianist and conductor, Max Lifchitz was awarded first prize in the 1976 International Gaudeamus Competition for Performers of Twentieth Century Music held in Holland. The San Francisco Chronicle described him as "a composer of brilliant imagination and a stunning, ultra-sensitive pianist" while The NYork Times commented on his "clean, measured and sensitive performances" and remarked that he "conducted a strong performance." Wirtten in 1983 on commission from the Wisconsin Middleton Youth Symphony, Lifchitz's Expressions for string orchestra was described on the Classic Music Rocks website as follows: "The four movements succeeded one another fast and lean, four drastically distinct parts of a harmonious whole. It all started with the Espressivo's melodic power, continued with the Scherzo's jagged aggressiveness, went on with the Dramatico con calore's convoluted passion, and ended with the Dolce's newly found serenity." Robert Martin studied with the late Hugo Weisgall at Peabody Conservatory and CUNY. In 1976, the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Charles Ives Scholarship a couple of years later he received a Fulbright Scholarship that took him to Vienna, Eastern Europe and Israel. Deciding against pursuing an academic career, Martin worked on Wall Street eventually rising to the position of Senior Vice President in investment banking at a leading firm. In addition to providing financing help to hospitals and universities, during the 1980's he served as financial advisor to the City of New York. Written for flutist Lisa Hansen, Martin's One Year the Milkweed was inspired by Arshile Gorky's painting of the same name. Upon hearing the premiere of the work in 2011, blogger Mark Greenfest wrote: "the alto flute solo opens the piece, a bit melancholy, but with soaring contours. When the string orchestra enters, at first with a lovely melody, and then, with fascinating, modern dissonance, with entire musical lines dancing about with contrapuntal intensity, the piece fades so that the solo flute stands out against the orchestral tapestry. The composition's naturalness and variety are as striking as its brilliance of writing and taut structure."

Eddie Venegas' Swimmer was commissioned by the Talent Unlimited High School in 2011. Originally conceived as dance music, the composer recently transformed the work into a quasi-concerto for trombone and strings. The music attempts to evoke the various feelings and sensations an individual might have while swimming in a pool or ocean. The musical language of the single movement work employs jazz harmonies and latin-derived rhythmic gestures while providing the soloist with ample opportunity for technical display.

For the complete Winter/Spring concert series schedule, visit www.northsouthmusic.org/calendar.asp

To stream, download and/or purchase the more than 60 compact discs released under the North/South Recordings label, go to www.classicsonline.com/North_South_Recordings.



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