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JCC Manhattan to Present PREformances with Allison Charney, Today

JCC Manhattan presents PREformances with Allison Charney on Monday, December 15th at 7:30pm. 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 third concert in this series welcomes the return of three favorite artists. Pianist Navah Perlman, lauded for her "spellbinding performances" will play the first movement of Chopin's B-minor sonata along with his final great work, the dramatic Barcarolle. Back from her recent concerts with the Royal Philharmonic in Stockholm, cellist Kajsa William-Olsson will join series founder and curator, soprano Allison Charney in a world premiere performance of a new setting of American composer Kim D Sherman's song cycle Prairie Diaries with text by Willa Cather and playwright Darrah Cloud.

Finally, pianist Joel Fan will treat the audience to his first ever performance of a new arrangement of Liszt's Mephisto Waltz. Mr. Fan will also be available to sign copies of his newly-released recording, "Joel Fan: Dances for Piano and Orchestra."

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.

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 is located at The Samuel Priest Rose Building, 334 Amsterdam Avenue at West 76th Street, NY. For more information, call (646) 505-5708 or visit Directions: 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.

About Allison Charney - 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.

About Navah Perlman, Pianist - Known for her lyrical eloquence on the stage, Navah Perlman has established herself as one of the most poetic and admired pianists of her generation. She has performed to critical acclaim in major concert venues throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Ms. Perlman began her piano studies at age six with Ronit Amir Lowenthal and later attended the Juilliard School where she worked with Herbert Stessin. She also studied chamber music with Robert Mann, Felix Galimir, and Dorothy DeLay. Ms. Perlman holds an honors degree in Art History from Brown University. Ms. Perlman has appeared with numerous orchestras throughout North America including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Nashville Symphony and Montreal Symphony. Internationally, Ms. Perlman has appeared with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Mexico, the Israel Philharmonic, the Prague Symphony and the New Japan Philharmonic in Suntory Hall. She has given recitals in Washington, D.C., Dallas, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, and Baltimore. Her previous season highlights include performances with the Israel Philharmonic, Westchester Philharmonic and a duo-performance with soprano Arianna Zukerman in Washington, D.C.. In addition to her successful solo career, Ms. Perlman collaborates frequently in chamber music with violinist Philippe Quint and cellist Zuill Bailey as the Perlman/Quint/Bailey Trio. The trio's energetic and passionate performances have taken them to major concert halls, festivals and universities across North America including Lincoln Center, the Lied Centers of Kansas and Nebraska, the Kennedy Center, Ravinia and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival as well as in cities such as San Francisco, Chicago, St. Louis, Phoenix, Houston, Charlotte, Westchester, and Mexico City. Ms. Perlman is an active and respected performer of residency and educational outreach activities. Communities in which she has given extended residencies include Raleigh, North Carolina and Vancouver, British Columbia. While in residence, Ms. Perlman teaches students of all ages in master classes, speaks to school assemblies and has also conducted pedagogy workshops for teachers. Ms. Perlman has participated in several chamber music residency programs, including those at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, the University of California at Davis, and Stanford University. Ms. Perlman's recital recording of Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin and Prokofiev is available on EMI Classics.

About Kajsa William-Olsson, Cellist - Kajsa William-Olsson has been a member of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Stockholm, Sweden since 1995. As a founding member of the VITALIS Quartet and Hanna Quartet, Kajsa William-Olsson has toured all over Sweden, Norway, and Finland, as well as Austria, Germany, England, and France. She performs regularly at the Konzerthus in Stockholm in various chamber music series and has made her U.S. debut at Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall. In addition, Kajsa William-Olsson teaches and performs annually at the MMCK Festival in Japan. In 2008 she performed at the Aspen Music Festival with violinist Julia Fischer. She collaborates regularly with her husband, conductor, violinist, and violist Alan Gilbert. Kajsa William-Olsson plays a Giovanni Grancino cello, 1709.

About Joel Fan, Pianist - Pianist Joel Fan is acclaimed as "soaring" (Los Angeles Times), "fantastic" (Washington Post), and possessing a "probing intellect and vivid imagination" (New York Times). Celebrated for his exuberant virtuosity, and a bold repertoire that embraces piano classics and inspired discoveries of contemporary and world music, Fan re- invents the piano recital by illuminating the rare and unexpected - creating, in the words of the Baltimore Sun's critic Tim Smith, "one of the most satisfying piano performances I've heard."

Joel Fan's discography illustrates Fan's highly creative musical persona. Following his work on Leon Kirchner: Revelations - critic Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times proclaimed Fan as an "impressive pianist." Of Fan's recital disc, West of the Sun, the Toronto Star stated, "Fan offers nine stunningly brilliant renditions drawn from a wide range of styles and sources... Capping it all off is an arresting interpretation of Samuel Barber's fearsome 1949 Piano Sonata. Wow." Fan's solo CD World Keys contains five world premiere recording tracks - creating a "deeper, more rewarding experience" (Minnesota Public Radio) - and reaching #3 on Billboard's Classical Chart.

As a concerto soloist, Fan has performed over 40 different concertos with orchestras worldwide, including the New York Philharmonic, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Odessa Philharmonic, Singapore Symphony, and London Sinfonietta, with conductors such as David Zinman, Zubin Mehta, Alan Gilbert, and David Robertson. According to the Boston Music-Intelligencer: "We've heard many of the great pianists... Fan belongs in the company of the best."

As a recitalist, Joel Fan has found an enthusiastic following on numerous stages ranging from the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Jordan Hall in Boston, Calgary Celebrity Series, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, to the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. Internationally, Fan has performed recitals on four continents - most recently in tours of China, Cuba and South America. Along with his innovative programming, Fan delivers Mozart with "eloquence and sensitivity" (Boston Globe), and brings "a steely power and feather-light touch to Prokofiev.. and red- blooded Romantic gestures in Kirchner's sonata" (New York Times). "He deserves special praise for the spontaneity, wit, and emotional urgency he drew from the music" of Bolcom and Carter (Washington Post).

As a "champion of new music" (Boston Globe), Joel Fan is also recognized for his work with cellist Yo-Yo Ma as a member of the Silk Road Ensemble, appearing at Carnegie Hall and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., and on the television programs Good Morning America and Late Night with David Letterman. Fan has also collaborated with numerous leading ensembles, including the Shanghai Quartet, Orion Quartet, Imani Winds, and A Far Cry chamber orchestra.

Joel Fan's latest album, Dances for Piano and Orchestra, presents another turn in Fan's original approach to repertoire. The disc is a wide-ranging journey focusing on the intersection of music and dance, with rarely heard compositions by Chopin, Saint-Sae?ns, Pierne?, Weber-Liszt, Gottschalk, and culminating in a world premiere recording of Charles Cadman's Dark Dancers of the Mardi Gras.

Joel Fan was born in New York City to Taiwanese parents, began early musical studies at the Juilliard School, earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard University, and a Master of Music degree in piano performance from the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University. He attended the Tanglewood Music Center and the Steans Institute at the Ravinia Festival. Fan is a prize winner of several international competitions, including the Busoni International Piano Competition in Italy. He was also the winner of the Kosciuzko Foundation's Chopin Prize and named a Presidential Scholar by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. Fan studied with the composer Leon Kirchner and the pianist Leon Fleisher.

Joel Fan has recorded for Reference Recordings, Sony Classical, Verdant World Records, and Albany Records. He is a Steinway Artist.

Photo Credit: Mark Rosenberg

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