Posts Tagged “Zaimont”

“WIZARDS” This Thursday at Carnegie

I’ll be in NY for a day this Thursday, March 8th when my solo piano piece WIZARDS – Three Magic Masters gets its formal New York premiere at the New York Recital Debut of acclaimed Korean pianist Young-Ah Tak. The concert, 8:00 PM at Weill Recital Hall/Carnegie Hall, is presented by the Korea Music Foundation.

—- I’m always surprised at the pieces that catch on. Especially the piano pieces, which have different ‘flavors’ of appeal, some reaching pianists who are more poetic, others pianists who are more power-forward players. WIZARDS wraps both aspects into its compact length – and Young-Ah Tak (no stranger to the S21 community!) is a competition winner who enjoys all sides of what the piece proposes. (She’s played it on many recitals already.)

Young-Ah has had considerable international exposure. Her collaborative New York debut was at Alice Tully Hall with the Juilliard Symphony, and she has appeared at the Kennedy Center, Jordan Hall in Boston, Ravinia Festival, Music@Menlo, the Wharton Center in Michigan, Banff Centre for the Arts, and at major concert halls in her native Korea. She was recently named a Steinway artist, has already recorded on Albany and a current solo disc for MSR Classics, and is assistant professor of piano at Southeastern University in Florida.

(Quite a few players have ‘chimed’ with WIZARDS. Its 2nd recording is just out, and within the past 5 months has been done – by a number of pianists – several times in Florida, in Georgia, in the Chicago area, in Mississippi, in various South American cities, and elsewhere. )

The interesting March 8th program also includes Leon Kirchner’s Piano Sonata No.1 (1948), Muzio Clementi’s Sonata in B-flat Major, Op.24 No.2, the Schubert/Liszt Zwei Lieder Transcriptions and Schubert’s Sonata in C Minor, D. 958.

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This performance follows one day after the University of Minnesota’s Symphonic Band led by Jerry Luckhardt presents my “Israeli Rhapsody”, a big-framed 2007 piece with good history so far (selected 2 years back for Collegiate Honor Bands in both Virginia and MN).

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Side-note on Style

Our local Maricopa Music Circle is now planning its Winter Recital. One of the pieces violinist Zhenenyeva Ehrbright and I plan to perform is a Nocturne by Medtner. Meeting his Three Nocturnes was a total treat for me – he is the real deal.
Pianists are the ones who may know Nicolay Medtner the best. His many solo Sonatas and the Concerti are legendary for pianists who care to go just one step past the tried and true. (This was his own instrument, after all, and he writes for it so the music will always sound and also feel right under the hand.) But he’s in the shadows to the public at large, bearing the ‘stigma’ of forever being thought unfashionable. (A bit like Dukas – also an educator as well as composer, and tireless editor of his own music.)
He’s a transitional figure in Russian music (dying in England in the 1950s – !), who sounds at times hints at the harmonic formulations of Scriabin or Rachmaninoff, with touches of Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky. But the music has soul, and an abundance of elegance and thought in the crafting, so that its shapes beautifully fulfill the length of their statement – they never natter, prolong, or bore. That’s an accomplishment.
I’m positive we pay too much attention to the “fashionable-ness” of any artwork. – If a piece or a picture is quite au courant, that seems to go a long way in how we evaluate it. Being on a current wavelength can in the moment make up for a work’s actually being thin, or rather uninspired, or just plain poor.
But the test of time is significant. Magnificent art is, in part, art that is durable. It speaks meaningfully to different audiences over various eras. The further away from the composer’s lifetime we are, the truer the test of the music: It then becomes possible to consider the work primarily on its own terms, on its individual premise, divorced from any fashion of the moment.

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A bit of nice news —

My recent 2011 Navona CD “Eternal Evolution” is on FANFARE magazine’s Want List for 2011 ( Nov./Dec. issue). The expanded CD includes 4 of my chamber pieces in wonderful performances by the Harlem Quartet and Awadagin Pratt.

(The magazine’s current Sept./Oct. issue carries an interview with me, plus two reviews of this disc and of my Naxos orchestra disc of 2010.)

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String-forward folks in the New York area might like to know that my String Quartet ‘The Figure’ is programmed next Sunday at the Summergarden concert at The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden of the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. The exciting program will also include the New York premieres of Louis Andriessen’s Facing Death and Carson Cooman’s Four Aphoristic Inventions, Tombeau-Aria and Estampie,and the Western Hemisphere premiere of Jiří Kadeřábek’s Barefoot Boy! Performers will be members of The New Juilliard Ensemble – David Fulmer, violin, Rebekah Durham, violin, Jennifer Chang, viola and Avery Waite, cello.The July 24th 8:00 PM program is free and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

My two-movement String Quartet ‘The Figure’ was written in 2007 and has since been recorded for a Navona CD of my more recent chamber music for strings and piano by the Harlem Quartet (the premiering ensemble), with pianist Awadagin Pratt.

I consider the Quartet to be a very representative piece, so I’ll be in New York for a quick weekend visit .
            — If you get to the concert, let’s say hello in person!

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Between mid-October 2010 and late March 2011 three CDs of my music in various genres have been recorded and a fourth disc is planned for late June. These will come out in separate issues, each on a distinct label: Naxos, Navona, and MSR (the June and March sessions together forming a 2-disc survey).

The Navona disc is first to be out (formal release on April 26th). It features the Harlem Quartet and Awadagin Pratt performing chamber music for strings and piano, titled “Eternal Evolution”. It was recorded in December — in bitter cold, between snow storms — at the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase. (A great space, this is the fourth CD of my music captured in that hall.) Adam Abeshouse is producer/engineer.

The recording sessions were terrific and the performances are exemplary – I wanted to let loose quite amazing musicians within my sound-world, and see what resulted. Plus the disc is for me a first: an expanded CD, which when played through a computer will also scroll the scores for two of the pieces, show additional photos, and display program notes and bios more detailed than the norm while including large score extracts within the discussion.

“Eternal Evolution” was designed with two goals in mind:
- as a showcase for the performers (featuring the energetic and lyric Harlem Quartet both as ensemble and as individual players, and Awadagin in repertoire not normally associated with his very expressive, visceral playing) ;
- as a platform primarily for more recent music, notably String Quartet “The Figure”.

This is my first string quartet, written in mid-2007, at age 61. (I waited until I had something particular to say in that medium — just as with my first piano concerto, Concerto for Piano and Wind Orchestra ‘Solar Traveller’, written at age 65.) When a medium has been so completely and imaginatively explored by composers who came before, the composer now should be sure that the music in her head is distinct and urgent enough to be a warranted addition to rep.

[ = I also chuckle at the thought I “out-Brahms”ed Johannes. His first symphony was written at age 40; mine didn’t appear until I was 50. Between teaching and serving the needs of hordes of students along with family, I’m a prime instance of “late bloomer”. ]

Other pieces on “Eternal Evolution” are ZONES – Piano Trio No. 2, Serenade (for piano trio), and the virtuosic viola solo, Astral … a mirror life on the astral plane …


ETERNAL EVOLUTION. front panelsJudith Zaimont's Newest CD

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