Julian Wachner and Ralf Yusuf Gawlick Present a Program of Premieres at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall on April 29

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Julian Wachner and Ralf Yusuf Gawlick Present a Program of Premieres at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall on April 29

Following up on the triumphant debut of The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and NOVUS NY early last year in Carnegie Hall—where they presented Ginastera’s epic Turbae ad passionem gregorianamTrinity Wall Street’s galvanizing Director of Music and the Arts, Julian Wachner, returns on April 29 to the more intimate setting of Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall for a program combining his own music with that of Boston composer Ralf Yusuf Gawlick. Wachner will present the New York premiere of his An October Garden, featuring the Washington Master Chorale Chamber Choir directed by Thomas Colohan, as well as an improvisatory piano piece showcasing his celebrated virtuosity as a practitioner of this now-neglected art form. Sharing the program are the world premiere of Gawlick’s Imagined Memories performed by Vienna’s celebrated Hugo Wolf Quartet, and the New York premiere of Gawlick’s At the still point of the turning world for solo cello, performed by Rafael Popper-Keizer.

An October Garden explores what Wachner calls “the inherent joy and drama of the life cycle.” Based on poems by Christina Rossetti observing the passage of the four seasons, the piece is set for chorus and chamber ensemble using a scoring reminiscent of Francis Poulenc: flute, clarinet, double bass, and piano. Wachner sets the text with a sparkling wit and an impressionistic sense of each season’s distinct character. Improvisations, by contrast, “celebrates the vitality of the creative impulse through the ephemeral,” and will be created in the moment. Wachner draws from the inspiration of his acclaimed performances in Trinity’s Lamentatio concerts of 2014, in which a 14th-century cadence might be juxtaposed with a 21st-century keyboard technique. Trinity’s Director of Music and the Arts is widely recognized for his skill in improvisation, which, though unusual now outside the context of jazz, was once central to a musician’s training. His technical palette ranges from aleatoricism to serialism, with a fundamental rhythmic drive and a thorough structural imagination. Wachner’s solo recital at the Spoleto Festival USA featured an improvised finale that inspired one reviewer to conclude: “This stupefying wizardry was the hit of the recital, and it had to be heard to be believed” (Post and Courier, SC). 

Julian Wachner, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and NOVUS NY at Carnegie Hall (photo: Leah Reddy)

Wachner and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street first collaborated with Ralf Yusuf Gawlick in 2014, when they gave the “sensational world premiere” (Boston Musical Intelligencer) of his Missa gentis humanæ at Boston College, recording it afterward for the Musica Omnia label. In the Weill concert, Rafael Popper-Keizer—principal cellist of both the Boston Philharmonic and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project—will play At the still point of the turning world. The composer describes still point as a meditation “on time and existence through the movement towards/around/away from the still point, the one end that is itself timeless.” Gawlick’s Imagined Memories, in which he “delves into dimensions of memory in an intimate musical memoir,” will be performed by the internationally acclaimed Hugo Wolf Quartet, Vienna’s preeminent string quartet. They are sponsored by the Alban Berg Foundation, with whose help they have performed their own concert series at the prestigious Vienna Konzerthaus for the last five seasons.

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Julian Wachner and Ralf Yusuf Gawlick at Weill Recital Hall

Friday, April 29, 8pm

New York, NY

Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall

WACHNER: An October Garden (NY premiere)

WACHNER: Improvisations

GAWLICK: Imagined Memories (world premiere)

GAWLICK: At the still point of the turning world for solo cello (NY premiere)

With Washington Master Chorale Chamber Choir / Thomas Colohan; Melissa Baker, flute; Eileen Mack, clarinet; Wen Yang, double bass; Julian Wachner, piano; Hugo Wolf Quartet; Rafael Popper-Keizer, cello

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