with Blair McMillen album release concert & music of Bartók, Schnittke, Stucky, and Carter
Tue May 10th, 2016
Minimum Age: 18+
Doors Open: 6:00PM
Show Time: 7:00PM
Event Ticket: $15
Day of Show: $18
free for members
The New York Times has praised violinist Miranda Cuckson’s “undeniable musicality,” while Gramophone has declared her “an artist to be reckoned with.” Born in Australia and educated in America, she makes her ECM New Series debut – alongside pianist Blair McMillen – with three 20th-century milestones: the Hungarian Béla Bartók’s Violin Sonata No. 2 (1922), the Russian Alfred Schnittke’s Violin Sonata No. 2 “Quasi una Sonata” (1968) and the Pole Witold Lutoslawski’s Partita for Violin and Piano (1984). “Bringing these great Slavic composers together enables us to hear each dealing with the dichotomies of form and spontaneity, playfulness and seriousness, folk expression and abstraction,” Cuckson explains. “The colors and traits of Slavic ethnic music are vibrantly in the foreground in Bartók’s music, more subsumed into abstraction and flavor in the Schnittke and Lutoslawski. Humor is a tool of provocation and survival in Schnittke and to some extent Lutoslawski, a cheeky attitude anchored by deep purpose. In Bartók, the boisterousness and teasing charm of folk dances gives way to moods of profound melancholy.”
Bartok Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano
Schnittke Sonata No. 2 “Quasi una sonata” for violin and piano
Steven Stucky “Album Leaves” for piano
Elliott Carter “Four Lauds” for violin
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.
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Violinist/violist Miranda Cuckson is in demand as soloist and chamber musician in a wide range of repertoire and styles, and has in recent years become one of the most sought-after performers of contemporary works. Downbeat magazine recently stated, “Miranda Cuckson reaffirms her standing as one of the most sensitive and electric interpreters of new music.” A favorite of audiences for her “undeniable musicality” (New York Times), “formidable technique” (Sequenza 21) and “the warmth and humanity she brings to the music” (Cultured Cleveland), she appears in major concert halls and at universities, galleries and informal spaces. She performs at such venues as the Berlin Philharmonie, Carnegie Hall, Library of Congress, Teatro Colón, Miller Theatre, 92nd Street Y, Guggenheim Museum, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Museum of Modern Art, Monday Evening Concerts in LA, and the Marlboro, Bard, Lincoln Center, Bridgehampton, Music Mountain, Portland and Bodensee festivals.
She has performed as soloist with many orchestras in the US and abroad, including her Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium) debut in Walter Piston’s concerto with the American Symphony Orchestra. She recorded her first album for ECM Records last year, and her album of Luigi Nono’s ”La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura” for violin and electronics, with Christopher Burns on Urlicht Audiovisual, was named a Best Classical Recording of 2012 by the New York Times. Her other eight acclaimed albums include the Korngold and Ponce concertos, Michael Hersch’s “the wreckage of flowers”, solo and duo music by Americans Shapey, Martino, Finney, Sessions, Carter and Eckardt, and most recently, “Melting the Darkness”, solo microtonal and electronics pieces by Xenakis, Haas, Rowe and others.
In the past year, her solo recital appearances have included the Liquid Music series presented by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s newly opened Met Breuer, the Strathmore Music Center and the Look and Listen Festival. She has collaborated with an array of remarkable composers including Henri Dutilleux, Elliott Carter, Thomas Adès, Salvatore Sciarrino, John Adams, Pierre Boulez, Lee Hyla, Steven Mackey, George Crumb, Vijay Iyer, Helmut Lachenmann, Kaija Saariaho, Magnus Lindberg, Mario Davidovsky, Phillipe Hurel, Derek Bermel, Yehudi Wyner, Georg Friedrich Haas, Tristan Murail, Charles Wuorinen and Sebastian Currier. In 2012, the Library of Congress commissioned a work for her by Harold Meltzer, which she premiered there in honor of Fritz Kreisler.
Miranda is founder/director of non-profit Nunc, guest curator at National Sawdust and a member of counter)induction. She studied at The Juilliard School, where she received her BM, MM and DMA degrees and won the Presser and Richard F. French Awards. She is on the violin faculty at the Mannes School of Music at New School University.
Blair McMillen album release concert
Blair McMillen has established himself as one of the most versatile and sought-after pianists today. The New York Times has described him as “riveting,” “prodigiously accomplished and exciting,” and as one of the piano’s “brilliant stars.”
McMillen has performed in major venues both traditional and avant-garde: from Carnegie Hall, the Moscow Conservatory, Lincoln Center, Caramoor, Miller Theatre, and the Library of Congress; to (le) Poisson Rouge, Galapagos, and the Knitting Factory. Highlights from recent seasons include the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Bard Music Festival, the Walter Piston Concertino for Piano in Carnegie Hall, and numerous appearances with the New York Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and Albany Symphony.
2014 also saw McMillen’s debut at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, where he performed a solo recital featuring Morton Feldman’s Triadic Memories (a McMillen calling card; Alex Ross praised his “acute feeling for those remarkable passages…”) right on the heels of a sold-out performance with his tour de force piano sextet, Grand Band. Of his solo performance, the Kalamazoo Gazette wrote, “McMillen played with complete control, meticulously observing Feldman’s tempos, meters, and dynamics, making the high notes sing and the bass resonant…It was like watching the stars come out on a clear night by Lake Michigan, exquisitely played.”
Blair McMillen leads a multifarious musical life as pianist, chamber musician, conductor, and improviser. He thrives on playing a wide variety of musical styles: from medieval keyboard manuscripts to improvisation-based music of all types; from Classical/Romantic-era piano repertoire to the music of young 21st-century composers. Known for imaginative and daring programming, McMillen has premiered hundreds of new works both as a soloist and with numerous ensembles. He constantly collaborates with composers and artists of other genres in commissioning works that stretch the boundaries of the piano and the traditional recital format.
McMillen is pianist for the Naumburg Award-winning Da Capo Chamber Players, the American Modern Ensemble, and the six-piano Grand Band, among others. He is the co-founder and co-director of the Rite of Summer Music Festival, an alt-classical outdoor concert series. Held on New York City’s Governors Island, Rite of Summer celebrated its fourth season in 2014 with eleven world premieres and concerts by Ethel, Iktus Percussion, Grand Band, and Dawn of Midi.
Blair McMillen holds degrees from Oberlin College, the Juilliard School, and the Manhattan School of Music. He lives in New York City, and has served on the music faculty at Bard College and Conservatory since 2005.
Blair McMillen official site