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Reflections Series International 2013-2014
Gil Morgenstern, violinist and artistic director
“Identities and Transformation”
Thursday, May 15 at 7:30pm
J.Y. Song, piano
Yousif Sheronik, percussion
Avenues: The World School
259 Tenth Avenue | NYC
$35 General Admission; $15 Students at
“a perfect demonstration of supreme ability”—New York Times
NEW YORK, NY— On Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 7:30pm, violinist and artistic director Gil Morgenstern will present the fourth and final concert of his acclaimed Reflections Series International 2013-2014 Season, celebrating the series’ inaugural year at Avenues: The World School (259 Tenth Ave). The program’s theme, as well as the works to be performed, is the result of an intensive collaboration between Morgenstern and Avenues tenth grade students, who are being asked to help shape a narrative by finding thematic links between various discrete academic subjects. Out of this unique partnership, and with the guidance of the school’s faculty and creative team, the program “Identities and Transformation” will be developed.
Seeking a broader understanding of what forms and transforms our personal and collective identities, Morgenstern intends to raise such questions as: What roles do history, culture, religion, the environment, gender and politics play in shaping or reshaping them? How does one negotiate personal identity in an age of globalization and its concurrent loss of privacy? Can we choose to transform ourselves or does our cultural memory remain at the core of who we are? And what are we to do when new values and cultural practices are imposed on us?
Morgenstern and the students will explore these questions and create a narrative using music and literature. Texts will range from Genesis to Walt Whitman, the Koran to Sir Edmund Hillary, and from Mao to Mayan fables. Music will include Sergei Prokofiev’s viscerally powerful Violin Sonata in f minor, the Peruvian rhythms of Gabriela Lena Frank, Enzo Rao’s Sicilian folk music and John Cage’s haunting Nocturne. Joining Mr. Morgenstern will be J.Y. Song, piano, Yousif Sheronik, percussion, and an actor TBA.
Reflections presents solo and chamber music along with works of different artistic disciplines, engaging its audiences in combinations of music, text and images. Through its unique contextualization of historical artistic styles and events of their time period, its innovative programming entertains and enlightens the 21st century audience. Using both existing and original works, and with the collaboration of a superb ensemble of creative and performing artists representing all art forms, Reflections programs present works that both reflect upon one another and invite the audience to reflect anew on universal themes.
The 2013-2014 season included four engaging concerts: “Bach, A Musical Mandala,” “Beauty Born of Terror,” “The Magic of Mendelssohn,” and finally, “Identities and Transformation.”
Reflections Series International is pleased to hold its 2013-2014 season at a new home adjacent to New York’s Highline Park, Avenues: The World School. Reflections’ relationship with Avenues is particularly appropriate, as the school seeks to integrate learning across subject areas in a globally aware setting. Avenue’s state of the art black box theater, designed by architecture firm Perkins Eastman and interior design firm Bonetti/Kozerski Studio, is the perfect setting for Reflections’ sophisticated but relaxed performances. Throughout the year, Gil Morgenstern will work with the students at Avenues on interdisciplinary projects both in and out of the classroom. www.avenues.org.
Of the series, Morgenstern says, “The 2013-2014 season marks the beginning of a new and exciting chapter in the Reflection’s Series growth. With established residencies both in the United States and Europe, the series has changed its name to Reflections Series International, and has a new, prestigious venue at Avenues: The World School. I can’t think of a better fit for Reflections’ engaging and innovative programming given our mutual commitment to curricular and programming diversity, an international presence, and interactive multi-disciplinary collaborations.”
About Gil Morgenstern: Acclaimed for his artistry and technical brilliance, violinist Gil Morgenstern is devoted to exploring and expanding the possibilities for inventive classical music programming. His vision is to present the audience with a more complete concert experience, meticulously curated from start to finish, by organically integrating music with other artistic disciplines in innovative and unexpected ways. The New York Times describes Mr. Morgenstern as a, “brilliant and musically curious artist.”
A violinist with a long history of performing in the world’s great concert halls, Mr. Morgenstern’s career has taken him to international venues including Wigmore Hall, London; Cultural Center Concert Hall, Hong Kong; the American Academy, Rome; Salone dei Cinquecento, Florence; El Teatro Sucre, Quito; Arts Centre and State Theatre, Melbourne, Australia. He has also toured the U.S. extensively, performing in recital and as guest soloist with many leading orchestras including the symphonies of St. Louis, Baltimore, Louisville, Indianapolis, Denver, Milwaukee, New Jersey and North Carolina. New York Times has hailed his playing as “a perfect demonstration of supreme ability;” “a rare poet of the violin” reported The South China Morning Post; “Morgenstern played a program that tested every part of a violinist’s equipment and he did it all beautifully,” wrote The Washington Post.
Mr. Morgenstern has also shared the stage with such eminent musicians as Philippe Entremont, Lynn Harrell, André-Michel Schub, Jeffrey Kahane, Sharon Isbin, and Heinz Holliger, and has collaborated with United States Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, and performance artist Laurie Anderson.
Mr. Morgenstern’s discography includes works by Beethoven, Fauré, Copland, Ravel, Kodaly, Sessions and the award-winning American composer George Tsontakis. His latest recording, 20th Century Duos for Violin and Cello, was the No. 1 classical CD for over a month on eMusic, the largest online store for independent music in the world, and was one of the top ten best selling classical music albums on Amazon.com. Of the CD The New York Times raved, “the music is terrific and the performances compelling on this surprisingly exciting and excellently engineered recording.” Mr. Morgenstern records for the MMC, Engine Company and Koch International Classics labels, and can regularly be heard on National Public Radio and classical music radio stations across the country.
Highlights of Mr. Morgenstern’s recent seasons include interdisciplinary performances with the Juilliard Dance Company at Lincoln Center and the Brooklyn Ballet; the premieres of staged versions of The Epic of Gilgamesh, Venus and Adonis with Claire Bloom and John Neville, and Samuel Beckett at 100 at New York City’s 92nd Street Y and at Harvard University. Mr. Morgenstern’s performance in the Nine Circles Chamber Theatre production of When Samson Met Delilah toured Holland to rave reviews and his recent appearance in Toronto was broadcast throughout Canada on CBC. He also appeared as violin soloist in U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky’s translation of Dante’s Inferno, which toured the country and was broadcast on PBS and NPR, for which it received a Peabody nomination. Mr. Morgenstern continues to tour the United States and Europe, and his highly acclaimed Reflections Series has recently been presented in London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Milan and Venice. Mr. Morgenstern lives in New York City. For more information, visit www.gilmorgenstern.com.
About J.Y. Song
Since her Lincoln Center recital debut and her nomination as Pro Musicis International Award winner, pianist J.Y. Song has been noted for her varied programming and idiosyncratic musical tastes. Her recordings on the Pro Piano label have received rave reviews in international publications. “Debussy Etudes” received a Diapason d’Or, and was designated a ‘Desert Island Selection’ by Gramophone’s International Piano Quarterly. Her recording of works by Jiang Wen Ye was the inspiration for Café Lumière, a film by Hou Hsiao-Hsien nominated for a Lion d’Or at the Venice Film Festival. The recipient of Juilliard’s Petscheck Award and the American Pianists Association’s Fellowship Award, J.Y. Song is currently on the piano faculty of Mannes College of Music. She holds a B.A. and B.S. from Stanford University, and a D.M.A. from The Juilliard School.
About Yousif Sheronick
Yousif Sheronick has performed around the globe to critical acclaim, genre hopping with leading artists in the classical, world, jazz and rock music arenas. The New York Times hails Sheronick for his “dazzling improvisations” and his “wizardry on a range of humble frame drums”. Of Lebanese descent, he is considered one of the world’s most versatile percussionists. Sheronick has collaborated with artists and composers such as Philip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma, Lark Quartet, Ethos Percussion Group, Branford Marsalis, Sonny Fortune, Evan Ziporyn, Derek Bermel, Kenji Bunch, and John Patitucci. Also in demand as an educator, Yousif teaches private lessons and classes at his home in New York and has conducted residencies and master classes at top universities including Manhattan School of Music and New York University, the Queensland Conservatorium and National University in Australia. “A testimony to his genius” raves Modern Drummer Magazine about Sheronick’s album Silk Thread, and Rhythm Magazine (UK) says his Riq Instructional DVD “is a must to uncover the mysteries of this ancient instrument.” Of Lebanese decent, Mr. Sheronick was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, IA. His first exposure to Arab music came from his mother singing over the drone of the vacuum cleaner. As with many first generation Americans there was a separation between the house (Arab) and the outside (American) world.
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