PEOPLES’ SYMPHONY CONCERT SERIES CELEBRATES 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF PRESENTING CONCERTS AT WASHINGTON IRVING HIGH SCHOOL WITH NEW INITIATIVES INCLUDING NAMING DOVER STRING QUARTET FIRST RESIDENT ENSEMBLE; BY OFFERING A NEW UNLIMITED STUDENT SEASON PASS FOR ONLY $25; AND INSTITUTING A PROGRAM TO COMMISSION NEW WORKS, SPONSORED BY THE ALEXANDER SCHNEIDER FOUNDATION

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PEOPLES’ SYMPHONY CONCERT SERIES CELEBRATES 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF PRESENTING CONCERTS AT WASHINGTON IRVING HIGH SCHOOL WITH NEW INITIATIVES INCLUDING NAMING DOVER STRING QUARTET FIRST RESIDENT ENSEMBLE; BY OFFERING A NEW UNLIMITED STUDENT SEASON PASS FOR ONLY $25; AND INSTITUTING A PROGRAM TO COMMISSION NEW WORKS, SPONSORED BY THE ALEXANDER SCHNEIDER FOUNDATION

 

100th Anniversary of Peoples’ Symphony Concerts at High School near Union Square

Celebrating 100 years of concerts at one venue is a feat that few organizations can claim, but New York’s oldest series – Peoples’ Symphony Concerts – is doing just that this season. Founded in 1900 by conductor Franz X, Arens  “to bring the best music to students and workers for minimum prices,” – tickets were just 5 cents on subscription that first year – PSC started presenting Saturday evening performances at Washington Irving High School (one block from Union Square) in 1914, a year after the School opened.

 

By one of those wondrous happenstances, the school sits on the site where once stood the National Conservatory of Music, of which Dvorak was Director from 1892-1895.  So, it seems totally appropriate that, over the years, most of the world’s greatest concert artists and ensembles have played in the PSC series there. Among the legendary artists who shared their music with Peoples’ Symphony Concerts audiences were pianists Arrau, Barrere, DeLarrocha, Fleisher, Horszowski, Kapell, Landowska, Rosenthal, Wittgenstein, R. Serkin; violinists Enesco, Francescatti, Milstein, Morini, A. Schneider, Stern, Szigeti, Thibaud, Zimbalist; as well as cellist Feuermann, dancer Martha Graham, and such ensembles as the Amadeus, Alban Berg, Budapest, Flonzaly, Guarneri, Kolisch and Stradivarius String Quartets.  In more recent times and early in their careers, the series introduced to its audience artists including Andsnes, Ax, Barenboim,  Bell,  Biss, Bronfman, Denk, Galway, Goode, Kavakos, Kremer, Lang Lang, Laredo, Lupu,  Ma, Perahia, Perlman, Schiff, Serkin, Shaham, Stoltzman, Von Stade, Zukerman, and the world’s foremost chamber ensembles and chamber orchestras. (A partial list of artists who have appeared in the series can be found in the “About” section at www.pscny.org).

 

New Unlimited Student Season Pass for Only $25 – First Resident Ensemble & Commissioning Program Announced

To mark the centenary of its performances at Washington Irving High School, Peoples’ Symphony Concerts is reaching back to its roots and original mission with a number of new initiatives -1) a new Unlimited Student Season Pass for $25; 2) specially-priced tickets for union members and their families; 3) tickets for students in the schools receiving instruments from the recent WQXR instrument drive;  4) the appointment of the first resident ensemble in the 115-year history of the organization; 5) and the establishment of a program to commission new works.

 

In addition to offering New Yorkers on a budget the chance to hear major artists and exciting new faces for half the price of a movie (as little as $7.00 per ticket with a six-concert subscription), PSC is offering, for the first time, an Unlimited Student Season Pass for $ 25.  Students, 35 or younger, with proper ID, will be able to attend any or all of the series’ 18 weekend concerts for the price of what one concert ticket might cost elsewhere in the City.

 

PSC is also offering union members and their families specially-priced single tickets at $10 each, the same price extended to guests of Student Pass ticket-holders

 

For other New Yorkers on a budget, a six-concert subscription to one of the three series can be had for as little as $42  for the Saturday night performances at Washington Irving HS and for $44 for the 6 Sunday afternoons at historic Town Hall on West 43rd Street.  To order tickets and for information on artists (with videos) and programswww.pscny.org.

 

Frank Salomon, Manager of the series for forty-three seasons, announced that, in further recognition of this special anniversary, Peoples’ Symphony Concerts has named the Dover String Quartet as the series’ first resident ensemble for a term of three seasons. The residency will involve activities in partner schools, whose students will then be invited to come to the Quartet’s performances in the series – one in 2015-16 and two in both 2016-17 and 2017-18, one of which will be with a guest artist.

 

“I first heard the Dover Quartet in 2010 (actually, they were called the Old City Quartet, at that time), when they made their New York debut in The Schneider Concerts at The New School, with which I have been involved since 1959.  They were just out of Curtis and I was very taken by their wonderful musicality.  When the Juilliard Quartet had to cancel their PSC concert later that season, we asked them to step in and they were a big hit with our audience. Last March, they returned on a program with Leon Fleisher and convinced us that we wanted to have an on-going relationship with them.”

 

Responding to the news of their appointment, violist Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt, wrote:

 

“We could not be more thrilled or more honored to be PSC’s first Quartet-in-Residence. The opportunity to be a part of this iconic cultural institution is incredibly meaningful to us. We are ecstatic to have the opportunity to develop a relationship not only with new audiences, but also with audiences who have gotten to know some of our most influential mentors and idols as staple artists on this very series, from the Guarneri Quartet to Leon Fleisher, to our musical extended family from Marlboro. We truly can’t wait!” 

 

Salomon also stated that a program is being established to commission new works for artists appearing in the series, thanks to a grant from the Alexander Schneider Foundation.  Schneider, the noted conductor and violinist, had a fifty-year association with the series appearing first with the Budapest String Quartet, starting in the 1930s, and later, in ensembles that he created with such young artists as Murray Perahia and Peter Serkin.  Schneider was also Vice-President of the Fromm Music Foundation, which has been a major force in commissioning and supporting new music.

 

2014-15 Season – Established Artists & Rising Stars

The 2014-2015 season, planned by Salomon and Associate Manager David Himmelheber, opens on Saturday, October 18th with a Musicians from Marlboro program including works of Kurtag, Debussy and Beethoven performed by seven artists from the noted Vermont retreat, and closes with a recital of Debussy, Rameau and Chopin by pianist Emanuel Ax on May 9.  In between, there is the traditional mix of starry names – Serkin, Biss, Upshaw, Juilliard, Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson together with some of the most talked-about young artists and ensembles from around the world.  Some concerts are available only on subscription. A full schedule for the season can be found at www.pscny.org.

 

“To my colleague David and me, it seemed that the best way to celebrate a 100th Anniversary and to honor the artists who make it all possible by playing for a fraction of their normal fees,  was to find  new and meaningful ways to renew our mission within a 21st century context..  We wanted to reach out to those for whom the concerts are intended – students and others on a tight budget – and to also reaffirm our commitment to provide exceptional young artists and ensembles with the opportunity of playing in New York for a large and appreciative audience.  The Alexander Schneider Foundation is also allowing us to provide those artists with stimulating new works by living composers.”

 

Forthcoming Concerts

 

Musicians from Marlboro (available on subscription only)

When: Saturday, October 18 – 8pm
Where: Washington Irving High School
The Program:

Kurtág: Officium breve in memoriam Andreæ Szervánszky, Op. 28
Svervánszky: Trio for Flute, Violin and Viola
Debussy: Sonata for flute, viola and harp, L. 137
Beethoven: String Quintet in C Major, Op. 29

 

Peter Serkin, piano (only NY recital)
When: Saturday, October 25 – 8pm
Where: Washington Irving High School
The Program:

Josquin /Wourinen: Ave Christe
Sweelinck: Capriccio
John Bull: Ut,re,mi,fa,sol,la
John Bull: A Gigge
Nielsen: Theme with Variations, Op.40
Dowland: Pavana Lachrymae (set by William Byrd)
Byrd: La Volta
Mozart: Rondo in A Minor, K.511
Schoenberg: Suite,Op.25

 

 

Miriam Fried, violin and Jonathan Biss, piano

When: Saturday, November 1 – 8pm

Where: Washington Irving High School
The Program:

Brahms: Sonata in A Major, op. 100
Bartok: Sonata no. 2
Beethoven: Sonata in G major, op. 96

 

Yevgeny Kutik, violin
When: Saturday, November 15 – 8pm
Where: Washington Irving High School

The Program:
Bloch: ‘Baal Shem’ Suite
Franck: Sonata in A Major for Violin and Piano
Rubinstein: Romance ‘Night’
Prokofiev: Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 80
Eshpai: Hungarian Tunes (selected)

 

Juilliard String Quartet
When:
 Saturday, December 13 – 8pm
Where: Washington Irving High School

The Program:
Beethoven: String Quartet in F major, Op. 135
Schubert: Quartet in D minor D. 810, “Death and the Maiden”

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