Flute/percussionist duo Conor Nelson and Ayano Kataoka will close the inaugural season of Music at First on May 28, 2010, at 7:30 pm. This special concert is held in celebration of the release of the Duo’s CD “Breaking Training” (New Focus Recordings). Music at First is a new music series held at First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn through May 2010. First Presbyterian Church is located in Brooklyn Heights at 124 Henry St. Directions are at www.fpcbrooklyn.org. There is a $10 suggested donation at the door with no advance reservations or ticket sales. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
This series, curated by Wil Smith (composer and organist at First Presbyterian), occurs monthly, featuring one performer or ensemble per evening. Smith describes Music at First as “a diverse mix of New York City’s best new music ensembles and performers, accessible to a wide audience of both community members and seasoned new music listeners.” Earlier performers in the series included Threefifty Duo, a “critic’s choice” (Time Out NY) performance by pianist Kathleen Supové, and cellist/vocalist/composer Jody Redhage and her band Fire in July.
Percussionist and marimbist Ayano Kataoka is known for her brilliant and dynamic technique, as well as the unique elegance and artistry she brings to her performances. A versatile performer, she regularly presents music of diverse genres and mediums. Last season, together with cellist Yo-Yo Ma at the American Museum of Natural History, Ms. Kataoka gave a world premiere of Bruce Adolphe’s Self Comes to Mind for cello and two percussionists, based on a text by neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, and featuring interactive video images of brain scans triggered by the live music performance. She also performed Leon Kirchner’s Flutings for Paula with Paula Robison in honor of Mr. Kirchner’s 90th birthday concert at New York’s Miller Theater and at the Gardner Museum in Boston. Kataoka was the first percussionist to be chosen for The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two, a three-season residency program for emerging artists offering high-profile performance opportunities.
Praised for his “long-breathed phrases and luscious tone” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Canadian flutist Conor Nelson is established as a leading flutist of his generation. Since his New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, he has appeared frequently as soloist and recitalist throughout the United States and abroad. Recent performances include engagements with the Minnesota Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Repertory Orchestra, the Philharmonia of Yale, the Manhattan School of Music Philharmona, the Stony Brook Symphony, the Oshawa-Durham Symphony Orchestra, the Brevard Repertory Orchestra, the Festival Wind Orchestra, the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Orchestra and at the Banff Centre. The only wind player to win the Grand Prize at the WAMSO Young Artist Competition, he recently won first prize at the William C. Byrd Young Artist Competition. In addition, he has received top prizes at the New York Flute Club Young Artist Competition and the Haynes International Flute Competition.
Involved in several exciting commissioning projects for their genre, the Conor and Ayano Duo has performed in Merkin Concert Hall, CAMI Hall, The Tokyo Opera City Hall, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Izumi Hall, and as guest artists for the Ottawa Flute Association in Canada. Their new CD, “Breaking Training”, features works by Dennis DeSantis, Roshanne Etezady, Gareth Farr, Naoko Hishinuma, Chan Ka Nin, and Teruyuki Noda.