Simone Dinnerstein & Brad Mehldau to Continue 'Neighborhood Classics' Series at PS 321
Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau has been called "adept at bending almost any music to the will of the jazz tradition" (The Times). On December 6, Mehldau joins pianist Simone Dinnerstein, who has been praised for her "majestic originality of vision" (The Independent) and "arresting freshness and subtlety" (TIME), for an evening of musical conversations as part of her ongoing Neighborhood Classics series: hour-long, family-friendly concerts combine extraordinary music with reflections by Dinnerstein.
For this latest installment, Mehldau and Dinnerstein explore the juxtaposition of classical, contemporary and jazz compositions, including works by Bach, Glass, Schubert and Mehldau's own compositions.
The concert, which begins at 7pm, takes place at P.S. 321 (180 7th Avenue, Brooklyn). Tickets are $15 and can be purchased by visiting www.neighborhoodclassics.com.
Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau has recorded and performed extensively since the early 1990s. Mehldau's most consistent output over the years has taken place in the trio format. Starting in 1996, his group released a series of five records on Warner Bros. entitled The Art of the Trio (recently re-packaged and re-released as a 5-Disc box set by Nonesuch in late 2011). During that same period, Mehldau also released a solo piano recording entitled Elegiac Cycle, and a record called Places that included both solo piano and trio songs. Elegiac Cycle and Places might be called "concept" albums made up exclusively of original material with central themes that hover over the compositions. Other Mehldau recordings include Largo, a collaborative effort with the innovative musician and producer Jon Brion, and Anything Goes - a trio outing with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy.
American pianist Simone Dinnerstein gained an international following with the remarkable success of her recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations. Released in 2007 on Telarc, it ranked No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Classical Chart in its first week of sales and was named to many "Best of 2007" lists including those of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The New Yorker. Her performance schedule has taken her around the world to venues including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Sydney Opera House, Seoul Arts Center, and London's Wigmore Hall; and performances with many orchestras including the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and the Tokyo Symphony.
Pianist Simone Dinnerstein founded the Neighborhood Classics series in 2009 at P.S. 321, the school that her son attended and where her husband teaches. Neighborhood Classics builds relationships at a local level between neighborhoods and musicians.
These one-hour, family-friendly performances, which are hosted by Simone and feature musicians she has admired and collaborated with during her career, are open to the public and raise funds for the school. The musicians performing donate their time and talent to the program, and the concerts are organized and administered by parent volunteers and faculty members.
In addition to evening concerts, Neighborhood Classics stages all-school happenings - including a "Bach Invasion" and a "Renaissance Revolution" - which immerse the school in music, with dozens of musicians performing in all of the school's classrooms throughout the day.
"This concert series is about bringing communities together around music," Simone explains. "It is a way for students, parents, teachers, and neighbors to gather in a familiar and comfortable setting to listen to great music." All of the performances take place in the evenings and on weekends, so that families may attend together. Proceeds benefit the school's PTA, which helps to fund art, chess, band, and chorus programs.
Since 2009, the following top-tier musicians have been presented by Neighborhood Classics: pianist Simone Dinnerstein, clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, cellist Maya Beiser, pianist Pablo Ziegler, cellist Zuill Bailey, pianist Valentina Lisitsa, harpist Bridget Kibbey, violinist Maria Bachmann, cellist Wendy Sutter, Face the Music (a teenage new music group), lutist Paul O'Dette, cellist Clive Greensmith, Cypress String Quartet, Chiara String Quartet, and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME). The program has been profiled by Time Out New York, New York Daily News, CUNY-TV's Nueva York, Early Music America, and more.