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Grammy-Nominated Pianist Matt Herskowitz to Headline Jazz and Beyond Benefit at West Side YMCA 8/11

The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater at the West Side YMCA will host Grammy-nominated pianist Matt Herskowitz, his trio MaDFusion, and several accomplished musicians for Jazz and Beyond at 8pm on August 11. The evening will feature performances by classical guitarist Bert Lams, flutist and composer Carol Alban and flutist Nancy Tyler. Jazz and Beyond is a benefit show that raises funds for the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater at the West Side YMCA and its many theater classes, programs and services.

Tickets for the Jazz and Beyond performance are $15 for general admission, $10 for senior citizens and can be purchased at www.theatermania.com, keyword: Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater. The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater is located in the West Side YMCA at 5 West 63rd Street (between Broadway and Central Park West). Theatergoers should use the entrance on 64th Street. For more information, contact Kimberly Loren Mulvaney, Artistic and Managing Director, The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater, at 212-875-4292.

About the Musicians

Matt Herskowitz is a pianist, composer, songwriter and arranger who has distinguished himself in several musical genres. His 2007 solo piano release, Matt Herskowitz Plays Gershwin (Disques Tout Crin), featuring Gershwin's great solo arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue and Matt's own original solo arrangements of the Concerto in F and Cuban Overture, is in nomination this year for Quebec's prestigious Prix Opus. It also made Montreal's prominent quotidian La Presse's list of top 10 jazz albums of the year. His 2006 solo release, Gabriel's Message, which features his original arrangements and compositions based on popular Christmas themes, was nominated for Qu?'s prestigious Félix award in 2007.

Matt's performance on the soundtrack of the Grammy-nominated film The Triplets of Belleville has earned him much popular and critical acclaim. He performs Bach's Prelude in C minor in the film, loosely posing as Glenn Gould, and Bach à la Jazz, his own jazz arrangement of the same Bach prelude, which is also featured on the award-winning hit soundtrack CD of the film. Matt also recorded a solo improvisation in Robert Lepage's film La Face Cachée de la Lune in 2003. In 1997 he won first prize at the Orford International Piano Competition, which led to his recording of Glazunov's 2nd Piano Concerto with I Musici de Montreal for Chandos Records in 1998. The recording was hailed by Strad Magazine as "by far the best recording on disc."

As jazz pianist with his group MaFusion, which includes Mat Fieldes, David Rozenblatt, he's performed at major festivals around the world, including the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Etnafest music festival in Italy, the Rhino Jazz Festival in France, and the Hamburg and Bremen international music festivals in Germany, as well as a nine city tour of Belgium. Their debut recording, Forget Me Not, received wide critical acclaim, and was also nominated for Félix award in 2005. Dave Brubeck, upon hearing the album, wrote to Matt and commented: "Hearing such technique almost ruined my day. This is the final straw, I'd better retire now." Barry Manilow, after hearing this recording, invited Matt and his trio to join him on his 2007 Christmas release for Hallmark, In The Swing Of Christmas, which has just been nominated for a Grammy award for Best Traditional Pop Album.

As composer/soloist, Matt recently premiered his new piano concerto, Undertow, with Absolute Ensemble at the Bremen International Musikfest in Bremen, Germany. The piece was part of a program called "Reinventions", in which 5 composers were asked to write original pieces based on Bach Inventions. Undertow was one of four major pieces composed for the festival. One reviewer wrote: "Matt Herskowitz proved himself a highly energetic rhythmian, without comparison in his mastery of the piano... he also conjured up absolutely lyrical moments of the compositional structure of his Bach Invention." His other works for piano and orchestra include his Chorale and Variations on a Theme of Dave Brubeck, which he performed with the Ensemble Contemporain de Montreal in 1998 for Radio-Canada broadcast, Serial Blues, which he recorded with Absolute Ensemble for Enja Records in 2000, and several performances of smaller crossover works for piano and chamber orchestra from 2002 to the present. Upcoming projects include the premier of a new piece for jazz piano trio, violin and cello in the spring of 2009, commissioned by the Lyric Chamber Music Society of New York, the premier of a new concerto for bandoneon and orchestra in the fall of 2009, commissioned by Absolute Ensemble, and several performances of his solo Gershwin program in festivals in Europe and Canada throughout 2009.

In 2002 Matt composed an original film score for a silent avant-garde French short film, which was performed live with the film at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater. His piece was one of six short films screened with new music performed live by Parabola, a New York-based ensemble specializing in new film music. Other contributing composers included renowned film composers Carter Burwell and Stephen Endelman. In 2005 Matt performed again with Parabola music of Carter Burwell in two "sound plays" by the Coen Brothers and Charlie Kaufman in New York and London. The show featured renowned actors Meryl Streep, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and Hope Davis, among others.

As a songwriter, Matt has collaborated with many artists and producers, most notably pop diva Lara Fabian. His Piano Nocturne, a nearly 17-minute solo piano piece featured on Lara's album Nue (Universal, 2001), earned him many thousands of fans in Europe and was a milestone in pop recordings. As a result of its success, Matt and Lara began a long and productive collaboration which continues to this day.

A graduate of the Juilliard School in New York and the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Matt is originally from Albany, New York, and has made Montreal his adopted home of 10 years.

MaDFusion represents a new frontier in musical collaboration. Pianist Matt Herskowitz, drummer David Rozenblatt and bassist Mat Fieldes draw upon diverse musical cultures and genres to forge a completely new sound which defies labeling. The music is a progressive blend of jazz and classical traditions with world music, funk, club, pop and hip-hop. MaDFusion's first album, Forget Me Not (released under the band's former name "HRP"), has received worldwide acclaim. Influenced by their experiences with great music and musicians from around the world, MaDFusion brings an eclectic slant to its musical soundscape. Performances include high-energy bursts of virtuosity interspersed with contemplative, soul-searching respites. MaDFusion consistently dazzles audiences with the unexpected through scripted content and improvisation. MaDFusion has appeared at major music festivals in Europe, Canada and the United States, and has been featured in performances and recordings with Absolute Ensemble, Paquito D'Rivera, Lew Soloff, Dave Taylor, Marcel Khalife, Dhafer Yousef and Daniel Schnyder, among others.

Bert Lams has twenty years of experience in performing and teaching classical guitar and guitar technique. He studied classical guitar with Monique Vigneron and Albert Sundermann (A. Sundermann was a student of Andres Segovia.) at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, Belgium where he graduated with honors. He has also conducted workshops for guitar students around the world, including master classes in Berlin, Paris, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Mexico City.

Since 1990, Bert Lams has been a composer and performer with the highly acclaimed California Guitar Trio. In 1993, the California Guitar Trio released their first recording Yamanashi Blues on Discipline Records followed by a successful world tour. In the same year Lams completed a world tour with the Robert Fripp String Quintet resulting in the recording, The Bridge Between, on Discipline Records.

In 1995, the California Guitar Trio released its second recording, Invitation, followed by a two-year world tour as opening act for King Crimson. In 1998, the California Guitar Trio's third recording, Pathways, was released and was supported by extensive world touring. CGT's music also had the unique honor of being played on the space shuttle as a wake up call for the astronauts. 2001 saw the release of CG3+2 (Inside Out Music), with special guests Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto. In 2002, the California Guitar Trio released, Ten Christmas Songs (Inside Out Music). 2003 highlighted the release of The First Decade, a CGT Retrospective. (Inside Out Music). The 2004 release of Whitewater, featured a CGT disc focusing on all original material. Several of Lams' compositions for California Guitar Trio have been featured in film and on television. Currently, the 2005 release of Nascent, features Bert Lams transcripts of Bach Preludes on the steel string guitar.

Among the many accolades that Bert Lams has received, he has also achieved the following awards:

1980 First laureate for Belgian National Music contest for Youth.
1982 First laureate of the National Kiwanis contest for classical guitar.
1984 First laureate for classical guitar performance at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels.

Carol Alban is the principal flutist with California's Bay Area Chamber Symphony and has performed at such notable places as Carnegie Hall, The Blue Note Jazz Club, Tavern on the Green and CBGB's in New York City, Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland, the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood and at many other venues and events.

Nancy Tyler began studying flute at the age of nine in Berkeley, CA. She currently resides in Santa Rosa, California with her husband and their dog. Former teachers include Paul Renzi, Principal Flutist of the San Francisco Symphony, who she studied with while obtaining her Bachelor of Music Degree at San Francisco State University. Ms. Tyler is the Associate Principal Flutist with the Bay Area Chamber Symphony and was a featured performer at the 2008 World Flute Fest at Carnegie Hall.

About the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater

The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater at the West Side YMCA is a non-for-profit, independent, Off-Broadway Theater dedicated to:

· Encouraging the creative spirit in young people.

· Empowering, educating, and maximizing the potential of the young people and emerging artists.

· Serving the community by providing affordable and high quality professional arts performances, programming, training, education.

· Serving as a launch pad for the creation of new and innovative works creation of art that inspire, entertain, and reflect the Upper West Side's diverse community.

· Advancing the YMCA of Greater New York's mission of building healthy bodies, healthy minds, and healthy spirits.

In the spirit of this mission, the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater will launch its Kids Company this fall, offering youth of all social and economic backgrounds the opportunity to learn about and express themselves through the performing arts.

The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater at the West Side YMCA hosts affordable performances for all age groups, with an emphasis on inspiring youth and families to learn about and appreciate the theatrical arts. Having recently undergone $2-million in renovations, the Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater boasts new raked seating with handicap accessibility; professional grade flooring and rigging; state-of-the-art lighting, audio-visual equipment (including movie screen) and acoustics, a centrally located sound-proof control booth and more. For more information about West Side YMCA Theater and Arts programs or renting The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater, contact Kimberly Loren Mulvaney, Artistic and Managing Director, The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater, at 212-875-4292.

About the West Side YMCA

The West Side YMCA is a member of the YMCA of Greater New York, a community service organization that promotes positive values through programs that build mind, body and spirit. Every year, the West Side YMCA serves more than 20,000 New Yorkers, including 12,000 kids from throughout the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Supported in part through contributions to the Strong Kids Campaign, the West Side YMCA provides membership assistance and scholarships to programs like summer camp, child care and teen activities, ensuring that no family or youth is turned away due to financial difficulties.

For more information on West Side YMCA programs and services, visit www.ymcanyc.org/westside or call (212) 875-4101.

 


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