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JCC Manhattan to Present 'PREformances' with Allison Charney, 11/17

JCC Manhattan presents PREformances with Allison Charney on Monday, November 17th at 12:30pm.

This unique concert series offers audiences rare opportunities to hear celebrated classical musicians before they perform on the world's most prestigious stages, providing a coveted space for engagement and rehearsal whilst dissolving traditional barriers between performer and audience.

The second concert in the fall series will feature a plethora of exceptional artists new to the PREformances with Allison Charney scene. The wind quartet of flutist Elizabeth Mann, oboist Melanie Feld, clarinetist Liam Burke and bassoonist Cynde Iverson will join composer Moshe Knoll to play his Pastorale Fantasia. Clarinetist Liam Burke will prepare for his upcoming performance of Brahms' Clarinet Sonata No. 2 in E Flat Major and returning to PREformances with Allison Charney, violist Robert Meyer gets ready for his December concert of Bloch's Suite Hebraique. Accompanied by the series' official collaborative pianist, Craig Ketter, Allison Charney will perform works by Bach, Bernstein and Verdi in anticipation of her 2015 recital tour.

Funds raised through patron support of the PREformances program will support both The Basser Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania and special programs at The JCC in Manhattan that promote early detection of cancer and care for those living with breast and ovarian cancer. Donations can be made here.

Located on 76th Street and Amsterdam, JCC Manhattan is a vibrant non-profit community center on the Upper West Side. The cornerstone of progressive programming in Manhattan, the JCC serves over 55,000 people annually through 1,200 programs each season that educate, inspire, and transform participants' minds, bodies, and spirits. Since its inception, the JCC has been committed to serving the community by offering programs and services that reach beyond neighborhood boundaries. Programs at the JCC reach people at all stages of their lives, and serve the entire family and community.


Jewish Community Center in Manhattan
The Samuel Priest Rose Building
334 Amsterdam Avenue at West 76th Street, NY
(646) 505-5708
Subway: 1/2/3 to 72nd St.; Bus: M7 or M11 to West 75th Street Admission: $15; $10 Members; $5 for Ages 62+

About PREformances with Allison Charney - Opera singer Allison Charney lost her cell phone in a cab. The JCC of Manhattan Executive Director Rabbi Joy Levitt found it. Upon their meeting, a brand new model for a concert series, PREformances with Allison Charney, was born.

PREformances with Allison Charney is truly unique in the vast landscape of NYC musical offerings, as it affords professional classical musicians of the highest caliber* an opportunity to try out something they are preparing to perform somewhere big, in front of an audience who understands that they are seeing a not-quite- finished product. The performers benefit from the slightly pumped up pressure that any public performance brings, without any worry of a possible review, along with an extra chance to hone their performances in this day of massive budget cuts in the arts which severely limits opportunities for ample rehearsal time. Simultaneously, the audience benefits from an up-close-and-personal, barrier-breaking opportunity to get inside the head of a top-notch performer...see what they think about, what their challenges may be, all while hearing the best classical concerts in New York City.

PREformances with Allison Charney maintains its highly accessible concerts with extremely low single ticket prices. However, about to enter its sixth season, PREformances with Allison Charney will also continue its vastly successful and profoundly impactful charitable relationship with the Basser Research Center through its fundraising arm: Friends of PREformances.

Inspired by the incredible philanthropy of Mindy and Jon Gray, whose 25 million dollar gift launched the Basser Center at the University of Pennsylvania, PREformances with Allison Charney will be able to help promote awareness and education at the JCC about breast and ovarian cancers, which coincidentally impact women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, thousands of whom walk through the doors of the JCC annually, at a rate of 1 in 44, or 10 times that of the normal population. All gifts starting at $100 include a season subscription for two to PREformances with Allison Charney with many more perks available at higher levels of patronage, including tickets to exclusive concerts in Manhattan's finest private homes.

Begun in the most ordinary circumstances, PREformances with Allison Charney is now blossoming into a most extraordinary program - one that not only creates beautiful music but could also save lives of countless women at risk.

*A sampling of recent PREformances with Allison Charney performers

  • Alan Gilbert, Music Director, New York Philharmonic
  • William Burden, tenor, Metropolitan Opera
  • David Cerutti, principal violist, Orchestra of St. Luke's
  • Joel Fan, world-renowned pianist and frequent collaborator with Yo-Yo Ma
  • Navah Perlman, esteemed pianist
  • Kajsa William-Olsson, principal cellist, Royal Philarmonic Orchestra - Stockholm
  • Carol Wincenc, Grammy winning flutist
  • Maria Zifchak, mezzo-soprano, Metropolitan Opera
  • Allison Charney, Soprano

Soprano Allison Charney's operatic career began in earnest following the national finals of the Metropolitan Opera Competition with her debut at the New York City Opera as Musetta in LA BOHE?ME. She went on to sing most of Puccini's leading soprano roles in opera companies throughout the country, including the title roles in MADAMA BUTTERFLY, TOSCA and SUOR ANGELICA, Mimi in LA BOHE?ME and Liu? in TURANDOT, earning a reputation for her "vocal agility, lush sound and dramatic portrayals" of the lirico-spinto roles in her wide ranging repertoire. Ms. Charney has experienced enormous success with her Mozart interpretations as well, including both Susanna and the Countess in LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, both Donna Anna and Donna Elvira in DON GIOVANNI, Pamina in DIE ZAUBERFLO?TE and Sandrina in the rarely-heard LA FINTA GIARDINIERA. She wowed both audience and critics all over the United States with her tour-de-force portrayals of all three heroines in Offenbach's TALES OF HOFFMANN. Her versatility has also led her to sing roles as varied as Rosalinde in DIE FLEDERMAUS, Micae?la in CARMEN, Nedda in PAGLIACCI, Santuzza in CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA and the title roles in MARTHA, LA TRAVIATA, JENUFA and THE MERRY WIDOW. Ms. Charney's career has brought her to opera companies across the United States, including the New York City Opera, Atlanta Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Utah Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Memphis, Annapolis Opera, Opera Theater of Connecticut, New Rochelle Opera, Opera Illinois, OperaDelaware, Utah Festival Opera, DiCapo OperaTheater, Tampa Opera, Opera Idaho, Syracuse Opera, Washington Summer Opera Festival, Colorado Opera Festival and Mississippi Opera. Concert highlights have included performances at Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and as a featured soloist with the esteemed Philadelphia Orchestra. Ms. Charney sang her first performance of Samuel Barber's KNOXVILLE: SUMMER OF 1915 along with the world premiere of Kim D. Sherman's newly-orchestrated, INVOCATION, under the baton of JoAnn Falletta, and returns to the Riverdale Sinfonietta in December of 2014, after her successful turn in Kurt Weill's MAHAGONNY to sing in a concert of Bach cantatas. Continuing her commitment to performing music of our times, Ms. Charney premiered Moshe Knoll's PSALM 133 with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, in a concert that also featured Kim D. Sherman's oratorio (composed for Ms. Charney) SONGBIRD AND THE EAGLE in the spring of 2014, after which she performed in the Rite of Summer Music Festival on Governors Island and made her debut with the Boston Pops under the baton of Alan Gilbert, Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. Ms. Charney is featured in the newly-released, first recording of the Pulitzer Prize nominated oratorio CHOOSE LIFE, by composer Mona Lyn Reese and can be heard in a CD of American songs with pianist, Benjamin Loeb, on the DSC Label. Ms. Charney is an active recitalist and master teacher and is the founder and curator of the concert series, PREformances with Allison Charney housed at the JCC Manhattan. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude with highest honors, in Special Concentrations from Harvard University, she went on to earn two graduate degrees in music from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Charney now lives in New York City with her husband, Adam Epstein and their two sons, Evan and Oliver.

Elizabeth Mann, Flutist - Elizabeth Mann is a featured performer in concert halls throughout the United States, Europe and the Far East. She is the principal flutist of the Orchestra of St. Lukes, the St. Lukes Chamber Ensemble and is a member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. She has played principal flute with the Rotterdam Philharmonic under the baton of Valery Gergiev and performed with the New York Philharmonic. She recently premiered a solo flute piece by Joan Tower and performed a commissioned concerto by Peter Maxwell Davies with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Mann has been principal flute with the Santa Fe Opera, played with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Dorian Quintet and Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Project. She has been featured at Caramoor, Santa Fe and the Lochenhaus Festivals and teaches at the Colorado College in their Summer Festival. Ms. Mann attended the Juilliard School as a student of Julius Baker. She can be heard on over 100 recordings, which include her critically acclaimed flute and harp CD with Deborah Hoffmann of Chopin transcriptions titled "Reflections." Ms. Mann is also an active teacher.

Melanie Feld, Oboist - Melanie Feld is a member of the Orchestra of St. Luke's and American Composers Orchestra, and is principal oboist of the Westchester Philharmonic, Opera Orchestra of New York and the Stamford Symphony Orchestra. She is the English hornist of the American Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Since 1992, she has been a member of the orchestra with the Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera. A native of the San Francisco Bay area, Ms. Feld moved to New York City to attend the Mannes College of Music, and completed her graduate studies at the Juilliard School of Music. Her teachers have included Leland Lincoln, Marc Lifschey, Stephen Adelstein, and Ronald Roseman.

Liam Burke, Clarinetist - Hailed by The New York Times as a clarinetist who plays with "vitality and nuance," Liam Burke is a recent alumnus of Ensemble ACJW. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Liam was a recipient of the prestigious Peter Mennin Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Music. He also won the Juilliard Clarinet Concerto Competition and Vandoren Emerging Artist Competition in 2011. Liam has appeared as soloist with the Juilliard Orchestra, Aspen Music Festival, Colorado College Summer Music Festival and Senior Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. Liam is in high demand as an orchestral musician, and has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke's, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, and American Ballet Theatre Orchestra. He performed on tour with musicians from The Juilliard School and the Royal Academy of Music at the 2012 BBC Proms. Equally at home in the classroom as he is on stage, Liam is a teaching artist and conductor with the Youth Orchestra of St. Luke's and is artistic director of the Opportunity Music Project Chamber Orchestra. In addition to maintaining a private studio, Liam is on the clarinet faculty at the Usdan Center and works as a mentor for current Ensemble ACJW Fellows. Liam conducts sectionals and coaches chamber music as a substitute for Juilliard's Pre-College division and was a fellow for Juilliard's Instrumental Music Program. Liam received his bachelor's and master's degrees from The Juilliard School where he studied with Jon Manasse.

Cynde Iverson, Bassoonist - Cynde Iverson is recognized as one of the finest bassoonists today. She has held the Principal Bassoon Chair of the New Haven Symphony for the past twenty-five seasons as she has continued to perform with many of New York's most prestigious ensembles, including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the American Symphony Orchestra and the American Ballet Theater among many others. As a soloist Ms. Iverson recently completed highly successful tours of the US, Europe, Japan, and Southeast Asia with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Iverson is a founding member of the acclaimed Wind Soloists of New York. In the summer months she has performed at the Caramoor Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, North Country Chamber Players Festival, Moab Music Festival, Waterloo Music Festival, Talcott Mountain Festival, Summer Music at Harkness and the Colorado Music Festival. In addition, she has held principal positions with the Rhode Island Philharmonic and the Connecticut Orchestra. As an advocate for contemporary music, Ms. Iverson has performed and recorded numerous compositions with the chamber ensembles Continuum and Musical Elements and has explored the medium of jazz with such artists as Steve Lacy, Anthony Davis and James Newton. Her unique talents were highlighted as a member of the improvisational group, Episteme, which has toured extensively both here and abroad. She has recorded for several commercial labels and most recently she recorded the Ravel Piano Concerto with Orpheus and jazz legend, Herbie Hancock. Cynde Iverson received her B.M. (cum laude) from Indiana University as a student of Leonard Sharrow and her M.M. (cum laude) from the Juilliard School as a student of Stephen Maxym. Ms. Iverson is on the Faculty at SUNY Purchase.

Moshe Knoll, Composer & Pianist - Israeli Pianist-Composer Moshe Knoll received the B.M. and M.M. Degrees from The Juilliard School and the D.M.A. Degree from the University of Arizona. Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, and living for many years in Israel before his recent return to New York, Moshe is a versatile performer/composer whose repertoire embraces a variety of style-periods including Jewish Liturgical music and Historical Baroque performance. Currently, he holds the positions of Composer-in-Residence and Director of Musical Research at ArtsAhimsa; as well as Faculty member of the ArtsAhimsa Music Festival, at Belvoir Terrace, Lenox, MA. His solo performances have included recitals in NYC at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall; Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center; the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium at the United Nations; several concerto performances with orchestras in Venezuela, as well as a concerto recording with the London Symphony Orchestra. He won the "Artist of the year 1987 Award" from the Pianist's Foundation of America, Tucson, AZ. Dr. Knoll's compositions have been heard at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, the Chautauqua Music Festival; Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall; Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center; the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium at the United Nations; the PREformances Series at the JCC in Manhattan, the Calhoun School, LyricaFest Chamber Music Festival, Lincoln, MA and at the ArtsAhimsa Music Festival in Lenox, MA. Dr. Knoll sits on the board of DAHA (Dvorak American Heritage Association). He has a published essay online "Music's philosophy" which can be read on the website Intellectualsanonymous. Before moving to Israel, Dr. Knoll taught piano for several years at the Music Institute, as well as teaching theory and arranging several pieces for the MILI library.

Robert Meyer, Violist - Hailed as an "outstanding young musician" by the Boston Globe, Robert Meyer has performed in chamber music and recital throughout the United States and abroad. While violist of the acclaimed Arianna Quartet, he collaborated with members of the Tokyo, Juilliard, and Vermeer Quartets, and was featured on the cover of Chamber Music Magazine. During his five-year tenure with the quartet, they performed extensively throughout North America, including performances of the complete cycle of Beethoven string quartets, and recorded works of Ravel and Mendelssohn. A proponent of new music, Robert was a founding member of the New Fromm Players, a contemporary music ensemble in residence at the Tanglewood Music Center. He has performed major chamber works of many of today's great composers, including Elliott Carter, Milton Babbitt, George Benjamin, Gabriela Frank, and Lukas Foss, often collaborating with the composers. In recent years, Mr. Meyer has been a guest artist with many chamber music series and festivals, including Strings in the Mountains, Camerata San Antonio, the Chelsea Music Festival, and the Killington Music Festival. As a teacher, Mr. Meyer previously held the position of Associate Professor of Viola at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, and more recently taught viola and chamber music at the University of Connecticut. He has also given masterclasses at universities and music festivals throughout the United States and Canada, and presented lectures on the art of chamber music performance. Robert began viola lessons in the public school strings program of New Rochelle, New York, and continued his studies in high school at the Manhattan School of Music. He received his Bachelor of Music from the University of Michigan, and Master of Music from the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. His primary teachers were Yizhak Schotten, Wayne Brooks and Karen Ritscher.

Craig Ketter, Pianist - Critically acclaimed for "transporting the listeners to extraordinary heights," American Craig Ketter has distinguished himself as a leading pianist of his generation. Mr. Ketter has performed as soloist to Mexico, Argentina, France, Germany, Japan, and across the United States and Canada. Complementing his solo performances with collaborative ventures, Mr. Ketter can be heard in venues including NPR's Performance Today series, CBS Sunday Morning, Sirius Satellite Radio, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, La Huaca, Atlapa in Panama City, the Savannah Music Festival, Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport, Maine, "Music in the Mountains" in Colorado, and The Marilyn Horne Foundation. He has collaborated with flutist Eugenia Zukerman, clarinetists Stephen Williamson, Ricardo Morales and Jon Manasse, cellists Robert deMaine and Eric Bartlett, violinists Kelly Hall-Tompkins and Roy Malan, and singers Deborah Voigt, Margaret Jane Wray, Cynthia Lawrence, Samuel Ramey, Paul Plishka, and Ben Heppner, to name a few. He has also performed with the esteemed actress Claire Bloom. Mr. Ketter has been a faculty member of the Rocky Ridge Music Festival in Colorado and has served as Chair of the Piano Faculty at the American Festival for the Arts in Houston, Texas. He is a regular guest artist at the Raleigh Conservatory of Music and recently joined the faculty of New Jersey City University and is the official collaborative pianist for PREformances with Allison Charney. Mr. Ketter currently resides in the New York area with his wife, Canadian soprano Valerie Gonzalez, and his two sons, Isaac and Daniel.

Photo Credit: Mark Rosenberg

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