with The Grneta Ensemble (Vasko Dukovski, clarinet; Ismail Lumanovski, clarinet; Alexandra Joan, piano) & Jennifer Choi, violin

Tue November 11th, 2014


Main Space

Minimum Age: 18+

Doors Open: 6:00PM

Show Time: 7:00PM

Event Ticket: $15

Day of Show: $20

event description event description

This concert celebrates SEA OF REEDS, an album of Gerald Cohen’s music for clarinet and chamber ensemble, which will be released by Navona Records on November 11. The Grneta Ensemble and Jennifer Choi will perform several pieces from the album, and the composer and performers will speak with the audience about the creation of the album.
Cohen has developed a special love and affinity for the clarinet in his compositions, especially through working with many superb clarinetists. The performers on this album are the dynamic members of the Grneta Ensemble (Vasko Dukovski and Ismail Lumanovski, clarinets, and Alexandra Joan, piano), together with the superb string players Jennifer Choi and Maria Lambros. The three members of the Grneta Ensemble share an Eastern European heritage and a love of folk and improvised music, and have been particularly devoted to Cohen’s chamber music.
Cohen’s compositions explore the clarinet’s colorful personality with his particular combination of classical, Jewish, and jazz influences. Variously Blue is a vibrant group of variations on a 12-bar blues pattern, highlighting an interplay between jazz and concert music; the title collection Sea of Reeds arranges five of Cohen’s Jewish vocal works, turning them into virtuosic clarinet showpieces. Yedid Nefesh, based on a delicate Sephardic song, explores both meditative and exuberant aspects of that melody, while the wide-ranging variations of Grneta Variations take advantage of the wonderful virtuosity and unique musical personalities of the three musicians of the Grneta Ensemble.
(More on the album, and audio excerpts)
$10 student ticket available at the door
Table seating for all seated shows is reserved exclusively for ticket holders who purchase “Table Seating” tickets. By purchasing a “Table Seating” ticket you agree to also purchase a minimum of two food and/or beverage items per person. Table seating is first come, first seated. Please arrive early for the best choice of available seats. Seating begins when doors open. Tables are communal so you may be seated with other patrons. We do not take table reservations.
A standing room area is available by the bar for all guests who purchase “Standing Room” tickets. Food and beverage can be purchased at the bar but there is no minimum purchase required in this area.
All tickets sales are final. No refund or credits.

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composer: Gerald Cohen

Composer Gerald Cohen has been praised for his “linguistic fluidity and melodic gift,” creating compositions with “a strong sense of tradition — one that embraces Brahms, Bartok and Britten on one hand and his own Jewish heritage on the other” (Gramophone Magazine). His deeply affecting compositions have been recognized with numerous awards and critical accolades.
His opera, Steal a Pencil for Me, based on a true concentration camp love story, had its semi-staged premiere in 2013. Lucid Culture’s review noted the effectiveness of Cohen’s “…mesmerizingly hypnotic, intricately contrapuntal” music, with moments of “…Bernard Herrmann-esque, shivery terror…”. Cohen’s operas Sarah and Hagar, based on the story from the book of Genesis, and Seed, a one-act opera about love and choices for a post-apocalyptic couple, have been performed in concert form. Cohen is a noted synagogue cantor and baritone; his experience as a singer informs his dramatic, lyrical compositions. Cohen’s best-known work, his “shimmering setting” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) of Psalm 23, has received thousands of performances from synagogues and churches to Carnegie Hall and the Vatican.
Recognition of Cohen’s body of work includes the Copland House Borromeo String Quartet Award, Aaron Copland Award, Westchester Prize for New Work, American Composers Forum Faith Partners residency, and Cantors Assembly’s Max Wohlberg Award for distinguished achievement in the field of Jewish composition. Cohen received the Yale University’s Sudler Prize for outstanding achievement in the creative arts, and has been awarded commissioning grants from Meet the Composer, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and Westchester Arts Council. Throughout his career, he has been selected for residencies including those at The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and American Lyric Theater.
Cohen’s music has been commissioned by chamber ensembles including the Cassatt String Quartet, Verdehr Trio, Franciscan String Quartet, Chesapeake Chamber Music, Grneta Ensemble, Wave Hill Trio, Bronx Arts Ensemble, and Brooklyn Philharmonic Brass Quintet; by choruses including the New York Virtuoso Singers, Canticum Novum Singers, Syracuse Children’s Chorus, St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York City, Zamir Chorale of Boston, and Usdan Center Chorus; and by the Cantors Assembly of America and Westchester Youth Symphony. Cohen’s music has been performed by the Borromeo String Quartet, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Westchester Philharmonic, Riverside Symphony, Plymouth Music Series Orchestra, New York Concert Singers, Princeton Pro Musica, and many other ensembles and soloists.
A recording of compositions performed by the Grneta Ensemble, Sea of Reeds (Navona Records), will be released in November 2014. Lucid Culture proclaimed Grneta Ensemble’s concert featuring his compositions as one of the “best of the year.” An earlier album devoted to his chamber, choral and solo vocal compositions, Generations (NWCRI), includes performances by the composer. Cohen’s compositions are published by Oxford University Press, G. Schirmer/AMP and Transcontinental Music Publications.
For more information:
Gerald Cohen official site

The Grneta Ensemble (Vasko Dukovski, clarinet; Ismail Lumanovski, clarinet; Alexandra Joan, piano)

First prize winners of the Arriaga Chamber Music Competition in 2010, the Grneta Ensemble has been praised for “the strength and intelligence of [its] playing” (Lucid Culture). Clarinetists Vasko Dukovski and Ismail Lumanovski joined forces with pianist Alexandra Joan in 2008; a unique combination of instruments performing a varied repertoire. Sharing the same Eastern European roots, the trio members present engaging and unusual recital programs inspired by Balkan folk elements and improvisation. Their repertoire includes works from the Romantic era as well as original arrangements of traditional music from the Balkans. Committed to preserving and continuing the clarinet duo repertoire, the Grneta Ensemble has revived many neglected works as well as created arrangements for its unusual instrumentation. The ensemble has inspired and commissioned new works such as The Macedonian Bloody Wedding by Nicholas Csicsko as well as Grneta Variations by Gerald Cohen, heard on this recording.
Each of the members of the ensemble are Juilliard graduates, prize winners in international music competitions, and have been coached by Charles Neidich and Ayako Oshima at the Juilliard School.
Grneta Ensemble official site
Vasko Dukovski official site
Ismail Lumanovski official site
Alexandra Joan official site

Jennifer Choi, violin

Violinist Jennifer Choi has charted a career that breaks through the conventional boundaries of solo violin, chamber music, and the art of creative improvisation. Heralded as a performer with “brilliance and command” (New York Times), who has “intense, spectacularly virtuosic play” (Seattle Weekly), and as “a leading New York new-music violinist that plays it with fiery authority” (Boston Globe), Choi has performed worldwide in venues including Library of Congress, Lincoln Center, RAI National Radio in Rome, and Mozartsalle in Vienna. A prominent chamber musician, Choi was violinist of the Miró String Quartet, which won Grand Prize at the 1996 Fischoff and Coleman chamber music competitions. Choi pioneers works that stretch the limits of violin playing – employing extended techniques, improvisation, and electronics – including seminal works by John Zorn, Wadada Leo Smith, Helmut Lachenmann, and others. She can be heard on over a dozen recordings on the Tzadik label performing music by John Zorn, Elliott Sharp, and Wadada Leo Smith, with the Susie Ibarra Trio, and on her debut solo album, Violectrica – Works for Solo Violin and Electronics. Choi earned degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory and the Juilliard School.

Jennifer Choi official site)

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