Now in its 13th concert season, on its April 24th program the Music of the Spheres Society will feature music by several iconoclasts of the early 20th century: Sergei Prokofiev, Bela Bartok, Charles Ives and Camille Saint-Saens – and if you are wondering why we are including Saint-Saens, it is because he was among the first composers to write music for film, in his case “The Assassination of the Duke of Guise” in 1908. He is also close to our hearts because of his interest and expertise in geology, archaeology, botany, lepidoptery, mathematics, acoustics, occult sciences, Roman theatre decoration, and ancient instruments. Last but not least, as a member of the Astronomical Society of France; Saint-Saens lectured on mirages, designed a telescope and planned concerts to correspond with astronomical events such as solar eclipses!
The concert features the Sonata for violin solo, op. 115 (1947) by Sergei Prokofiev; the Sonata no. 1 for violin and piano (1923) by Bela Bartok; the Largo for clarinet, violin and piano (1901, rev. 1934) by Charles Ives; and the Sonata for clarinet and piano (1921) by Camille Saint-Saens.
Violinist and Artistic Director Stephanie Chase will be joined by pianist Brian Connelly and clarinetist Jon Manasse. The concert will start at approximately 8:15 pm at Christ & St. Stephen’s Church, located at 120 West 69th Street in Manhattan. Tickets are available at the door at $30, $20 student/senior, cash or check only. Doors open at 7:15 pm. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets.
At 7:30 pm, Joseph Sherman will give what promises to be a fascinating talk on “Music Education in New York City Public Schools – 1950 to Now,” which is included in concert admission. Mr. Sherman is the founding principal of the High School for Violin and Dance in the Bronx and an avid saxophonist and violinist. For more information, please visit www.musicofthespheres.org or call (646) 678-0391.
“All the basic virtuoso qualities — intonation, rhythmic accuracy, flawless phrasing, and the like — are to be heard in Jon Manasse’s playing, yet what sets him apart is his exceptionally beautiful sound. Hearing his warmth of tone in all registers is like listening to a top-class vocalist or violist. It’s radiantly gripping.” – San Francisco Classical Voice “ “(Stephanie Chase is) a supreme musical performer whose complete virtuosity enables her to ennoble everything she plays.” – Byron Belt, Newhouse Newspapers
“Brian Connelly is…a technically masterful and naturally gifted musician (whose) playing contained many moments of beauty and refinement.” – Peninsula Reviews
STEPHANIE CHASE is acclaimed as “one of the violin greats of our era” (Newhouse News) and excels in the virtuoso soloist’s repertoire, period instrument practice, contemporary music, chamber music, and music education. As violin soloist she has appeared with the world’s most illustrious orchestras, among them the Chicago Symphony, London Symphony and New York Philharmonic, and her playing is widely acclaimed for its “elegance, dexterity, rhythmic vitality and great imagination” (Boston Globe). Her recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Romances, the first ever on period instruments, has been declared “one of the twenty most outstanding performances in the work’s recording history” (Beethoven: Violin Concerto, Cambridge University Press) and honored with the highest possible ratings by BBC Music Magazine and Classic CD. Among Ms. Chase’s many awards are a top medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition and the Avery Fisher Career Grant. She co-founded the Music of the Spheres Society in 2001.
Among the most distinguished classical artists of his generation, clarinetist JON MANASSE is internationally recognized for his inspiring artistry, uniquely glorious sound and charismatic performing style. His solo appearances include New York City performances at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts´ Avery Fisher Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Hunter College´s Sylvia & Danny Kaye Playhouse, Columbia University, Rockefeller University and The Town Hall, fourteen tours of Japan and Southeast Asia – all with the New York Symphonic Ensemble, debuts in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Osaka and acclaimed concerto performances with Gerard Schwarz and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, both at Lincoln Center´s Avery Fisher Hall and at the prestigious Tokyu Bunkamura Festival in Tokyo. Among the orchestras with which he has appeared as soloist are the Academy of St. Martin’s in the Fields, the Augsburg, Alabama, Dayton, Evansville, Indianapolis Symphonies, the National Philharmonic, and Canada´s Symphony Nova Scotia.
Jon Manasse appears frequently in highly praised duo concerts with pianist Jon Nakamatsu, and together they have released several recordings. Their acclaimed recording for Harmonia Mundi of the Brahms quintets for clarinet and piano, in collaboration with the Tokyo String Quartet, was released in 2012.
Pianist BRIAN CONNELLY’s performances span an unusually broad range of historical and modern repertoires. Born in Detroit, he attended the University of Michigan, where he studied with pianists Gyorgy Sandor and Theodore Lettvin. Mr. Connelly has premiered works by a host of contemporary composers such as William Albright, Karim Al-Zand, Derek Bermel, William Bolcom, Paul Cooper, David Diamond, Ross Lee Finney, and many others. He is a frequent guest with new-music groups such as the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and the Chicago Contemporary Players, and he was recently featured in the Carnegie Hall series Making Music in a tribute to composer William Bolcom.
Known for his affinity for the works of Olivier Messiaen, Connelly’s recent performances include Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus and Catalogue d’Oiseaux for piano, the complete songs cycles with soprano Carmen Pelton and mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, all of the chamber music, the Oiseaux exotiques with chamber orchestra, and the Trois petites liturgies de la Présence Divine with conductor Donald Runnicles at the Grand Teton Music Festival. Mr. Connelly is also widely respected as a scholar and performer of historical instruments, appearing in the U.S. and Europe on 18th- and 19th-century pianos by Walther, Rosenberger, Graf, Pleyel, Bösendorfer, and Streicher. He has for 13 years been a member of the renowned ensemble Context; and his recent recordings with that group—of music by Robert Schumann and Prince Louis Ferdinand—have received exuberant praise.