New York Philomusica


Works of Mozart, Hummel, and Brahms

Thursday, December 16, 2004 at 8PM - Merkin Concert Hall

The New York Philomusica Chamber Ensemble will perform the second concert of its 33rd season under the artistic direction of A. Robert Johnson on Thursday, December 16, 2004, at 8:00 p.m., in Merkin Concert Hall, Abraham Goodman House (129 West 67th Street), in New York City.

Expanding upon its review of the C.O.R.E. repertory, in December New York Philomusica presents works of elegance, artistry and flair, both dramatically expressive and technically impressive. The evening will include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Trio in G, K. 564, Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s Septet in D Minor, Op. 74, and Johannes Brahms’ Piano Trio No. 1 in B, Op. 8. Featured artists in this program are Rieko Aizawa, piano; Karl Kraber, flute; Gerard Reuter, oboe; A. Robert Johnson, horn; Jesse Mills, violin; Maurycy Banaszek, viola; Gregory Hesselink, ’cello; and Gail Kruvand, contrabass. There will be a Meet-the-Artists interview preceding the concert at 7:30 p.m., conducted by Mr. Johnson. A reception for the audience and artists follows the performance.

After surveying three centuries of music in October, this month the New York Philomusica focuses on the transition from the Classical style to the Romantic, with some of the most dazzling, difficult, and definitive pieces of the era. From the exquisite elegance of Mozart evolves the stunning flair of his student Hummel, which leads ultimately to the rise of the artist as hero, introduced by the quintessential Romantic, Brahms. A study in the beginnings of Romanticism, this concert will both touch the audience with beauty and impress with skill.

The evening opens with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Piano Trio in G, K. 564, a choice appealing to audiences for its simple, pure melody and the range of sentiments expressed. Beginning with a soothing, pastoral tone, the trio soon moves to a dramatic climax, exemplifying the familiar elegance and clarity of the Classical trio and the expert writing of Mozart.

Mozart’s student, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, took the grace of Mozart’s classicism and added to it a more modern display of technical prowess. Aside from the lush mixture of strings and winds and the added grandeur of the larger ensemble, the piano part of Hummel’s still-beloved Septet in D Minor, Op. 74, is devilishly difficult. Few pianists have both the technical ability and the range of dramatic expression to play this septet effectively. Pianist Robert Levin helped make this piece a smashing success with New York audiences when New York Philomusica first performed the work in 1980. This season, pianist Rieko Aizawa returns to the ensemble as the sparkling centerpiece of all three of the works on this program, expertly channeling the flamboyance and drama of Hummel’s great septet.

Arriving at the height of Romanticism by the end of the evening, the concert concludes with Johannes Brahms’ Piano Trio No. 1 in B, Op. 8. This early work was in fact the first of Brahms’ music to be heard in the United States, and its theme continues to be one of his most memorable. Brahms elevates the performer to the status of “hero,” mixing the unique internal passions of the musician with the subtle drama of the composition. This trio, with its quietly touching ending, provides a longingly romantic conclusion to the December concert.

This concert will be a challenge to the performers and a delight to the audience. In three passionate pieces with sizzling piano parts, audiences will be treated to examples of elegance, artistry and flair ranging from classical to romantic and performed by some of the most talented musicians in the area.

Upcoming New York City concerts: NNew York Philomusica will present five concerts at Merkin Hall this season. The remaining concerts will be held on the following Thursdays: January 20, March 10, and May 12, 2005. Program details and subscription information can be found at New York Philomusica holds an additional annual concert series in Rockland County at the Nauraushaun Presbyterian Church, 51 Sickletown Road, Pearl River, NY. December 16th’s program will be performed in Rockland County on the preceding Saturday, December 11, at 8 p.m. For more information, call Orangetown Friends of Philomusica at (845) 359-5660.

NEW YORK PHILOMUSICA was founded in 1971 by A. Robert Johnson to provide a new and comprehensive model of presenting chamber music to the public, which has since been adopted by many chamber ensembles. The group helped pioneer the modern residency through its 1973 seven-week residency at Dartmouth College, followed by its New York City Metropolitan Subscription Concerts in all five boroughs (1975-1979) and New York State Capitol Region Residency (1979-1981). Always a breeding ground for the finest musicians, the ensemble has fostered the talent of such artists as Tim Eddy, Kim Kashkashian, David Jolley, David Krakauer, Robert Levin, Todd Phillips, and Bill Purvis early in their careers. The ensemble has performed concerts and master classes on three continents and been broadcast on radio and television. The centerpiece of all the ensemble’s activities is its annual concert series in New York City’s Merkin Concert Hall. Praised by critics worldwide, the ensemble’s range of programming includes its 1993 World Premiere of Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale, with a new text by Kurt Vonnegut, the 1992 and 2002 premieres of works commissioned from John Harbison, the 1999 American premiere of Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4, for piano and string quintet, and numerous collaborations with renowned jazz pianist, the late Sir Roland Hanna. New York Philomusica has provided sustained exposure to the music of three composers—Iain Hamilton, Jacob Druckman, and John Harbison—through its Featured Composer program.

The first American ensemble to record Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, New York Philomusica is the first group ever to record the entire Mozart Divertimento catalogue. The Divertimento recordings were originally released by VoxBox Productions in 1975 and were followed by a release of Mozart Wind Serenades. Both titles were reissued in October 2002—with updated, comprehensive liner notes by New York Philomusica’s Artist Laureate, Mozart scholar Robert Levin—on the ensemble’s own label, New York Philomusica Records, established in 1992. Following a new release in April 2004, George and Joseph in Paris, featuring Robert Levin on piano, New York Philomusica Records now has 16 titles, available online at or through the New York Philomusica at

TICKET PRICES for December 16th are $35 ($30 seniors). Student tickets 50% off regular ticket price. Further student discounts available through participating schools. Group discounts are also available. For information or tickets, call New York Philomusica at (212) 580-9933, or visit

For press tickets, photographs, or further information, please contact:
Kim Stanford, 917-697-7588, or Tali Chitaiad, 212-580-9933

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