Violinist Yevgeny Kutik, and Pianist and Composer Timo Andres Perform at National Sawdust
On Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at 7pm, Russian-American violinist Yevgeny Kutik, known for his "dark-hued tone and razor-sharp technique" (The New York Times) and pianist/composer Timo Andres, will perform a concert at National Sawdust (80 North 6th St.). The performance is part of Andres' engagement as a National Sawdust curator for the 2016-2017 season, and will include a selection of works from Kutik's new album, Words Fail, out October 28 on Marquis Classics, including two of Mendelssohn's Songs without Words (arr. Friedrich Hermann), the New York premiere of Andres' Words Fail, and the world premiere of Michael Gandolfi's Arioso Doloroso/Estatico, both of which Kutik commissioned for the album. The duo will also perform Nico Muhly's Compare Notes, Stravinsky's Suite Italienne, and the world premiere of Andres' arrangement of a short work by Janacek titled Words Fail.
Kutik was inspired to create the album Words Fail following musings on Hans Christian Andersen's well-known adage, "where words fail, music speaks," best encapsulated by Mendelssohn's iconic Songs Without Words. In this album, Kutik uses Mendelssohn's songs as a starting point to expand upon the idea that music surpasses traditional language in its expressive capabilities. Words Fail, recorded with pianist John Novacek, includes three of Mendelssohn's songs, Tchaikovsky's Song without Words, a rarely heard arrangement of Mahler's Adagietto from Symphony No. 5, Prokofiev's Five Melodies Op. 35, Messiaen's Thème et variations, Lera Auerbach's T'filah (Prayer), plus Words Fail for violin and piano by Timo Andres, with Andres performing the piano part, and Arioso Doloroso/Estatico for solo violin by Michael Gandolfi. The digital version includes Stravinsky's Pastorale and Wagner's Albumblatt as bonus tracks. (Review copies and downloads available upon request).
Timo Andres' Words Fail uses the descending four-note incipit of the first of Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words, transforming it into what Kutik describes as "something that seems both folk-like and occasionally medieval." Of Kutik and Andres' premiere of Words Fail at The Phillips Collection, The Washington Post wrote, "The violinist may have reserved his most insightful playing for the premiere of Words Fail, a one-movement song without words he commissioned from Andres. From a descending lament, the work slowly gathers power through overlapping variations, becoming darker, more ambiguous and more complex before building to a soaring climax. Kutik and Andres gave a persuasive, deeply thoughtful reading to this involving new work."
Gandolfi uses the same descending four note melodic material from the first Mendelssohn Song for his Arioso Doloroso/Estatico. Kutik notes that Gandolfi' s decision to write this work for unaccompanied violin highlights the gravity, solitude, and timeless wisdom evoked by the timbre of the solo violin. Gandolfi explains, "My method was to include the 'deliverer' of the words, the human voice, in this notion - i.e., to construct a piece that begins in a vocal range, with vocal-quality contours, and progresses to an instrumental outburst that overtakes those constraints, not in a display of virtuosity for its own sake, but born from a musical fervor that can only be realized through the unique qualities of instrumental writing.
Watch a trailer for the album below!
Kutik's 2014 album, Music from the Suitcase: A Collection of Russian Miniatures, features music he found in his family's suitcase after immigrating to the United States from the Soviet Union in 1990. Music from the Suitcase debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Classical chart, garnered critical acclaim, and was featured on NPR's All Things Considered and in The New York Times. Kutik's 2012 debut album, Sounds of Defiance, features the music of Achron, Pärt, Schnittke, and Shostakovich, focusing on music written during the darkest periods of the lives of these composers.
Highlights of Yevgeny Kutik's current season include his South African debut with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as debuts with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Asheville Symphony, performances with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MA) and Springfield Symphony (MO), and a recital at Milton Academy's Gratwick Concert with Edwin Barker, double bass, and members of the Boston Symphony.
Deeply committed to fostering creative relationships with living composers in addition to performing music from the standard repertoire, Yevgeny Kutik has been involved in commissioning and premiering several new works. Premiere performances include the world premiere of Ron Ford's concerto Versus with the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra at Ozawa Hall, the New York premiere of George Tsontakis' Violin Concerto No. 2 at the 92Y, and the world premiere of Sheila Silver's Six Beads on a String, which he commissioned. He has also been involved in the performances of new and rarely played works by Kati Agócs, Joseph Schwantner, Nico Muhly, and Donald Martino.
Yevgeny Kutik made his major orchestral debut in 2003 with Keith Lockhart and The Boston Pops as the First Prize recipient of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition. In 2006, he was awarded the Salon de Virtuosi Grant as well as the Tanglewood Music Center Jules Reiner Violin Prize. He was a featured performer for the 2012 March of the Living observances, where he played for audiences at the Krakow Opera House and for over 10,000 people at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
A native of Minsk, Belarus, Yevgeny Kutik immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of five. He is an advocate for the Jewish Federations of North America, the organization that assisted his family in coming to the United States, and regularly speaks and performs across the United States to both raise awareness and promote the assistance of refugees from around the world.
Yevgeny Kutik began violin studies with his mother, Alla Zernitskaya, and went on to study with Zinaida Gilels, Shirley Givens, Roman Totenberg, and Donald Weilerstein. He holds a bachelor's degree from Boston University and a master's degree from the New England Conservatory and currently resides in Boston. Kutik's violin was crafted in Italy in 1915 by Stefano Scarampella. For more information, visit www.yevgenykutik.com.
About Timo Andres
Timo Andres is a composer and pianist who grew up in rural Connecticut and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. A Nonesuch Records artist, his newest album of orchestral works, Home Stretch, has been hailed for its "playful intelligence and individuality," (The Guardian) and of his debut album for two pianos, Shy and Mighty, Alex Ross wrote in The New Yorker that "it achieves an unhurried grandeur that has rarely been felt in American music since John Adams came on the scene."
Andres's notable works include Strong Language, a string quartet for the Takács Quartet, commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the Shriver Hall Concert Series and The Blind Banister, a piano concerto for Jonathan Biss and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Co-commissioned by the SPCO with Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, and the Orchestra of St. Luke's, The Blind Banister was a 2016 Pulitzer Prize Finalist. In the current season Andres has world premieres with the Boston Symphony and the Barbican Centre with the Britten Sinfonia. He also performs the world premiere of a piano concerto by Ingram Marshall - written specifically for him - with John Adams and the LA Phil, and appears at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, where he receives the City of Toronto Glenn Gould Protégé Prize; Philip Glass selected Andres as the recipient of this award.
Recent highlights include commissions for the New World Symphony, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and a piano quintet for Jonathan Biss and the Elias String Quartet. He has toured the US with fellow composer/performer, Gabriel Kahane, and frequently appears with Philip Glass, performing Glass's complete piano Etudes throughout the world.
As a pianist, Andres has performed solo recitals for Lincoln Center, Wigmore Hall, the Phillips Collection, (le) Poisson Rouge, and San Francisco Performances. He appeared at the 2014 Ojai Festival with the Knights Chamber Orchestra, and performed Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with in repeat performances with the North Carolina Symphony.
Andres earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the Yale School of Music. He is one sixth of the Sleeping Giant composers' collective. For more information, visit www.andres.com.