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Pit Stop Players to Present A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH Concert, 5/14


The Pit Stop Players, a fourteen-member instrumental ensemble composed of veteran Broadway pit musicians, closes its third season with a concert at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, Benzaquen Hall, 450 W. 37th Street, New York, NY, on Monday, May 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $25 ($15 for students) or cash at the door.

The critically acclaimed group will offer works grouped around the theme of creation and destruction. “I’m very excited that we can, in one program, both create and destroy the world,” said music director Joshua Rosenblum. “It’s well known that the Mayans predicted the apocalypse for this December, so I wanted to get this concert in as soon as possible.”

In addition to presenting Darius Milhaud’s “La création du monde” (The Creation of the World), Rosenblum’s “Mayan Apocalypse 2012” will have its world premiere.

The group will also present the world premieres of Emmy Award-winner Jamie Lawrence’s “Hira and Kumoi” and Steve Kenyon’s “The Death of Webern.” The latter was inspired by a conspiracy theorist who claimed, in a letter to The New York Times, that the Austrian composer Anton Webern was assassinated because his music rendered American efforts “a pitiful embarrassment” by contrast. The concert will also feature music by Ives, Bernstein, and, for reference, Webern.

The Pit Stop Players, who collectively have played in pit orchestras for over 120 Broadway productions, include Ed Matthew, Steve Kenyon, and Rick Heckman, woodwinds; Chris Jaudes, trumpet; Wayne Goodman, trombone; Dan Culpepper, horn; Paul Woodiel and Katherine Livolsi-Landau, violin; David Blinn, viola; Anik Oulianine, cello; Jeff Carney, bass; Garah Landes, piano; and Greg Landes and John Ferrari, percussion.

Rosenblum, who founded the Pit Stop Players in 2009 as a means of giving Broadway musicians a chance to climb out of the pit and take center stage, says that nearly any genre is fair game for their programs, including traditional and contemporary classical, jazz, rock, fusion, and film music. However, the primary emphasis is on new compositions and arrangements, written and orchestrated specifically for the group. View videos here:

Composer, conductor and pianist Joshua Rosenblum has led the orchestras for thirteen Broadway and Off Broadway shows, including Wonderful Town, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Music Man, Miss Saigon and Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He is also the composer/creator of BUSH IS BAD, the hit Off Broadway satirical revue, and the composer/co-lyricist of Fermat’s Last Tango, Einstein’s Dreams, Garbo and Me, and the forthcoming The Haunted Hotel. His instrumental music has been recorded on two CDs: Impetuosities and Sundry Notes, both on the Albany Records label. Rosenblum has written pieces on commission for Philip Smith, principal trumpeter of the New York Philharmonic; Ethel, America’s premiere post-classical string quartet; and the Chase Brock Experience dance troupe, among many others. He teaches Composing for Musical Theater at Yale University, his alma mater, and was recently awarded a grant from the Signature Theatre in Washington, D.C., as part of the American Musical Voices Project: The Next Generation.

Jamie Lawrence’s compositions and arrangements have been honored with four Emmy Awards and one Clio award. Most of his time is currently spent in the film world where he has written the score for Bart Got A Room, starring William H. Macy, and produced the music for The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, starring Alan Arkin, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, starring Daniel Day Lewis, and Music of Regret, starring Meryl Streep. He has scored numerous documentary films—many of them for HBO, including Death On A Factory Farm, The Alzheimer’s Project - “Momentum In Science”, Dealing Dogs, and Shot in The Dark, directed by Adrian Grenier. Jamie has written all the original music for the Tony Awards broadcasts for the past ten years, as well as serving as its Associate Music Director. He recently proudly scored the music for the new PBS series Bill Moyers and Company.

Woodwind player and composer Steve Kenyon has led ensembles performing his original music at the Blue Note (NYC), Birdland, Carnegie Hall, and live on WNYC radio. He has performed throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia with Maria Schneider, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Blood Sweat and Tears, Chuck Mangione, Rachel Z, Philip Glass, NYC Ballet, Brooklyn Philharmonic, NY Pops, American Symphony, NJSO, Aretha Franklin, Beyonce and A Prairie Home Companion. He is co-leader, composer, and lead saxophonist with the NewYorkestra big band and plays tenor with the NY Saxophone Quartet. He has performed with some 40 Broadway shows, numerous Encores! at City Center, and many Broadway cast recordings. Other recordings include his Quartet’s CD Fidel’s Nightmare, and albums with Mike Holober, Andy Middleton, NewYorkestra, Audra McDonald, Judy Collins, Maury Yeston, Ricky Ian Gordon, and Michael John LaChiusa. Television work includes Ed, Today Show, David Letterman, Wonder Pets, and many national jingles. He currently plays woodwinds for Broadway's Porgy and Bess.

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