Posts Tagged “Stewart Pollens”

The Music of the Spheres Society welcomes back the acclaimed pianist Sara Davis Buechner for a program of music by and associated with famed violinist Efrem Zimbalist and his son, actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.Sara Davis BuechnerThe concert will take place at Christ & St. Stephen’s Church near Lincoln Center. The Society’s artistic director, violinist Stephanie Chase, is also featured. The esteemed musical instrument expert Stewart Pollens will give a pre-concert talk at 7:30 PM, included in concert admission, on “The Violin and Bad Science.”

Efrem Zimbalist (1890-1985) was among the premiere violinists of the early 20th century. At 12 he became a student of the world renowned teacher Leopold Auer, and made successful debuts with major orchestras – including the Berlin Philharmonic and London Symphony – before his early 20’s. His first wife was a world-famous soprano, Alma Gluck, with whom he made a number of recordings.  An avid music arranger, Zimbalist added violin parts to a number of songs and was a champion of “early” music, often using his own arrangements of works in his recitals, in addition to composing original music for violin and piano.  In 1928 he began teaching violin at the esteemed Curtis Institute and was its director between 1941 and 1968.

Although remembered today for his acting roles, especially in television’s “77 Sunset Strip” and “The F.B.I.,” his son Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (1918-2014) also studied music seriously as a youth. He had already encountered success as an actor and producer on Broadway when the death of his first wife , from cancer at only 30, led him to retreat from acting. His father was then director of the Curtis Institute and encouraged Efrem Jr. to join him at Curtis in Philadelphia, where for a few years Efrem Jr. took on duties that at one point included Dean of Students. It was during this period of recovery that he composed his violin sonata – a work that his father featured on his own retirement recital in 1964.

This concert features rarely heard music either composed or arranged by both Efrems – including the virtuosic Fantasy on music by Rimsky-Korsakov – plus a favorite concert work for Efrem Sr., the Violin Sonata in D Minor by Johannes Brahms.

Selections from “Impressions for Piano” – Efrem Zimbalist, Sr.
Sonata for Violin and Piano – Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
Fantasy from “Le Coq d’Or” – Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, arr. by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
Sonata No. 3, Op. 108 – Johannes Brahms

DATE: Friday, March 20, 2015; 8:15 PM
Christ & St. Stephen’s Church
120 West 69th Street, New York City
ADMISSION: $30, students and seniors: $20.  Advance tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets,

Sara Davis Buechner is praised on four continents as a musician of “intelligence, integrity and all-encompassing technical prowess” (New York Times) and “thoughtful artistry in the full service of music” (Washington Post). Ms. Buechner has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s prominent orchestras – including New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Saint Louis, San Francisco, and Montréal – and enjoys wide success throughout Asia, where she tours annually.

“One of the violin greats of our era” (Newhouse News), Stephanie Chase enjoys an international career with concert performances in twenty-five countries. As soloist, Ms. Chase has appeared with over 170 orchestras worldwide, among them the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, London Symphony, American Classical Orchestra, National Symphony (Mexico), Hanover Band, San Francisco Symphony, and Hong Kong Philharmonic.

Stewart Pollens

“The Violin and Bad Science” by Stewart Pollens

In recent years, scientists have attempted to discover the “secrets” of Stradivari and other important musical instruments makers. In a number of studies, faulty scientific methods and dubious experimental techniques have been employed; in others, legitimate double-blind evaluations of tonal qualities, acoustical measurements and dendrochronology have yielded results that have been misrepresented or fancifully interpreted.

Stewart Pollens is the former conservator of musical instruments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1974-2006) and the author of books including “The Early Pianoforte,” “Stradivari,” and the forthcoming “The Manual of Musical Instrument Conservation,” all published by Cambridge University Press.

The Music of the Spheres Society is now in its 14th year of “exploring the links between music, philosophy and the sciences” (New Yorker). Inspired by the Neo-Platonic academies of 16th and 17th-century Italy, which combined discourse with musical presentations, it was co-founded by Artistic Director Stephanie Chase with the mission of promoting classical music through innovative chamber music concerts and pre-concert lectures which illuminate music’s historical, philosophical and scientific foundations, in order to give greater context for music to the average audience member.  For more information about the Society, visit

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Poet Emily Dickinson

Listen to an excerpt from “At last, to be identified!” in version for soprano and piano.

A note from Artistic Director Stephanie Chase: Please join us for a concert that explores new and recently-discovered music composed between 1800 and 2012.

We will feature the premiere of “At last, to be identified!” – with poetry by Emily Dickinson in a new chamber music setting by the American composer Richard Pearson Thomas (born 1957) – along with works by Mendelssohn and Paganini that were first published in 1953 and 2009, respectively. The Piano Trio No. 2 by Camille Saint-Saëns concludes the program and is a work that I “discovered” only last year and want to share with you.

Violinist Stephanie Chase will be joined by cellist James Wilson, pianist Todd Crow, and soprano Hope Hudson.

The concert will take place at Christ & St. Stephen’s Church, located at 120 West 69th Street, New York, NY and will begin at approximately 8:15 pm. Admission is at the door: $30, $15 student/seniors, requested contribution, cash or check only. Please note that the doors open at 7:15 pm.

Pre-concert talk at 7:30 by Stewart Pollens (included in concert admission): Casino Paganini

For more information, please visit

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