Shai Wosner Curates and Performs in Virtual Schubertiade On Composer's Birthday

The concert takes place Saturday, January 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET and Sunday, January 31 at 2:00 p.m. ET.

By: Jan. 04, 2021
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Shai Wosner Curates and Performs in Virtual Schubertiade On Composer's Birthday

Pianist Shai Wosner, "a Schubertian of unfaltering authority and character" (Gramophone), takes the tradition of the Schubertiade online, curating a four-concert virtual chamber music series that launches with Parts I and II presented by Peoples' Symphony Concerts the weekend of Schubert's birthday-Saturday, January 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET and Sunday, January 31 at 2:00 p.m. ET. A co-production of Bard College, where Mr. Wosner is on faculty, and Peoples' Symphony Concerts, where he is Resident Artist, these virtual programs pair the music of Schubert with works by composers of the 20th and 21st centuries, linking them through common threads of mood and theme that cast each in a new light.

Mr. Wosner said:

In creating a new Schubertiade I was aiming not only to revive the tradition of celebrating the oceanic expanses of music left to us by one of the greatest composers that ever lived, but also to celebrate the spirit of those famed Schubert get-togethers-where music fresh off the page was the source for a communal experience as much as an artistic one. Obviously, the getting-together part isn't possible quite yet but the recurring themes in Schubert and the newer works included-longing and belonging, loneliness vs. community-perhaps acquire a whole new meaning in a year such as this one.

The performances were filmed at Bard College, except where noted otherwise, and many of the series' performers are affiliated with the school. Each concert is followed by a live Q&A session with the performers via Zoom.

Tickets priced $12 will be available via Access will also be available through subscription to Peoples' Symphony Concerts' Arens Series (Part I on Jan. 30) and Salomon series (Part II on Jan. 31).

After a series introduction by Mr. Wosner and fellow Bard faculty member Christopher Gibbs, an accomplished Schubert scholar, Part I opens with Mr. Wosner and his long-time collaborator Orion Weiss performing Schubert's Fantasy in F minor, Op. 103, D. 940, for piano four-hands. Schubert's Piano Trio No. 2 in E-flat major, D. 929 is also performed, as is a cello-and-piano arrangement of "Se solen sjunker," the Swedish folk song on which the melody of the trio's famous second movement is based. The song's title translates to "See the setting sun," and related subject matter occupies the remaining pieces on the program, "'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime" and "Aurora Rising" from Northern Lights by Guggenheim-winning composer Kati Agócs and performed by harpist Bridget Kibbey. The Schubert trio features Bard faculty violinist Carmit Zori, Emerson Quartet cellist Paul Watkins, and Mr. Wosner. The folk song arrangement is performed by Mr. Watkins and Mr. Wosner.

Part II focuses on a central aspect of the original Schubertiades-music-making in the home. Mr. Wosner performs one of Schubert's impromptus (No. 3 in G-flat major, Op. 90, D. 899), which were composed with amateur pianists in mind. Mr. Wosner pairs this impromptu with another by George Gershwin, the Impromptu in Two Keys, filmed by the Gershwin House in Manhattan. The domestic theme continues with Schubert's "Trout" Quintet, which owes its unusual instrumentation to having been written for a particular gathering of friends. The work is performed by Brentano Quartet cellist Nina Lee and Bard faculty members Adele Anthony (violin), Melissa Reardon (viola), Leigh Mesh (bass), and Mr. Wosner. The program is rounded out by a modernist take on chamber music in the home, John Cage's Living Room Music, which is written for a quartet of unspecified instruments typically found in the living room of a house. The Bard College Percussion Ensemble performs, each musician filmed in their own living room.

Dates and times for the last two Schubertiade programs will be announced in the future. Part III will feature baritone Tyler Duncan singing Schubert's "Der Wanderer," D. 489, with Erika Switzer on the piano; flutist Tara Helen O'Connor filmed around New York City performing Allison Loggins-Hull's Homeland; and Schubert's String Quintet in C major, D. 956, performed by Bard faculty members Daniel Phillips (violin), Luosha Fang (violin), and Melissa Reardon (viola) alongside Paul Watkins and JACK Quartet cellist Jay Campbell. The series will conclude with a vocal program pairing lieder by Schubert with songs of the same titles by Guggenheim-winning composer Amy Williams. Part IV will also feature Schubert's long-form, quasi-operatic ballad "Der Taucher" (The Diver), sung by baritone Tyler Duncan. Additional performers on this program will include soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon and keyboard players Erika Switzer (on the piano) and Ryan McCullough (on the piano and Indian harmonium).

Pianist Shai Wosner has attracted international recognition for his exceptional artistry, musical integrity, and creative insight into a broad range of repertoire-from Beethoven and Schubert to Ligeti and the music of today. A recipient of Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award, an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, he has appeared in North America with the orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, St. Paul, and Toronto, among others, as well as in Europe with ensembles ranging from the BBC orchestras to the Vienna Philharmonic. He also performs around the world as a solo artist and chamber musician, including in New York as part of his 2020-23 artist residency with New York's oldest concert series, Peoples' Symphony Concerts, now in its 120th season.

Mr. Wosner records for Onyx Classics, and his most recent release on the label-four of Schubert's late sonatas-continues his career-long, critically acclaimed engagement with the composer's music. Released in March 2020, this double album marked the completion of his recorded series of the composer's final six piano sonatas. In concert, he has performed cycles of the last six sonatas in New York at the 92nd Street Y; in Washington, DC at The Phillips Collection; at Duke University in Durham, NC; and at the Konzerthaus Berlin. He also curated a series titled The Schubert Effect with the Grammy Award-winning Parker Quartet, pairing the music of Schubert with that of Missy Mazzoli and György Kurtág.

Born in Israel, Mr. Wosner studied piano with Opher Brayer and Emanuel Krasovsky and composition, theory, and improvisation with André Hajdu. He later studied at The Juilliard School with Emanuel Ax.

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