New York Philomusica



Continued Review of the C.O.R.E.* Repertory:
Classics of the Past and Present
*Composers of Recognized Eminence

19th Annual Summer Winds Concert in Rockland County, NY

Special Presentations Available for Booking

On Thursday, October 21, at 8 p.m., New York Philomusica opens its 2004-2005 season with the first of five chamber music concerts at New York’s Merkin Concert Hall. Four additional Thursday performances at 8 p.m. are scheduled for December 16, January 20, March 10, and May 12.

Expanding last year’s applauded survey of the C.O.R.E. repertory (Composers of Recognized Eminence) to include three centuries of the most important composers, the New York Philomusica’s 33rd season is one of blockbuster performances of classics new and old. In an effort to present favorite works from all time periods, the ensemble this year continues its review of all the chamber music every informed listener should hear.

With his usual vision and creativity, Artistic Director A. Robert Johnson has put together a season with something for everyone. Johnson’s goal over the past three decades has been to create an inspiring experience for the ensemble’s audiences. Through innovative programming, special tour presentations, and world-class musicians, the New York Philomusica continues to amaze and inspire. Adding new dimension to this year’s programming are works for voice, modern-day classics, and great works of such historic composers as Beethoven and Mozart, performed by some of the best musicians in New York.

Through the use of pre-concert lectures with participating artists or scholars, detailed program notes mailed to subscribers prior to each concert, and considered programming that causes audiences to rethink even the most familiar pieces, the group continues to be unique among ensembles in both musical quality and artistic vision. This character dates back to the formation of the ensemble, when in the inaugural concert the group performed Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, which at the time had not yet been recognized as a classic, and the group then produced the first American recording of the work. Messiaen’s masterpiece headlines the closing concert of the current season. The ensemble’s vision and dedication to presenting the best compositions and performers continues to this day.

No matter what you are looking for, you can find it in New York Philomusica’s 2004-05 season. For your favorite works, or for something you might never have heard before; for musicians known around the world, and for those who will be soon, look no farther than the New York Philomusica.

2004-2005 Performance Overview

Pre-season free outdoor Summer Winds Concert in Rockland County – August 29.

Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time returns to the ensemble that first gave the work its American voice.

Celebrated works of great composers both past and present – some of the greatest works of Schubert, Mozart, Haydn and Hummel, alongside those of Britten and Berkeley.

The voice is reintroduced as chamber instrument by soprano Judith Bettina, who makes her solo debut with the ensemble this year, singing works of Debussy and Shostakovich.

Offering two special presentations, a Mozart Sesquibicentennial program and Kurt Vonnegut’s Story of a Soldier, set to the music of Igor Stravinsky.

Featured Artists

The chamber ensemble, under the artistic direction of founder A. Robert Johnson, will include the following participating artists for the season: Judith Bettina, soprano; Karl Kraber, flute; Gerard Reuter, oboe; Paquito D’Rivera, clarinet; A. Robert Johnson, horn; Rieko Aizawa, piano; Jerome Lowenthal, piano; Ju-Young Baek, violin; Jesse Mills, violin; Naoko Tanaka, violin; Maurycy Banaszek, viola; Junah Chung, viola; Richard O’Neill, viola; Gregory Hesselink, ’cello; and Gail Kruvand, contrabass.

Concerts at Merkin Concert Hall

The five-concert series at Merkin Concert Hall, Abraham Goodman House (129 West 67th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam), opens Thursday, October 21, at 8 p.m. The series continues on the following Thursdays: December 16, 2004, and January 20, March 10, and May 12, 2005. All concerts begin at 8 p.m. Each performance is preceded at 7:30 p.m. by a “Meet-the-Artists” talk; concertgoers are also invited to attend an informal reception following each performance.

Concerts in Rockland County

In addition to its appearances at Merkin Concert Hall, New York Philomusica presents its 26th subscription season of Saturday concerts at 8 p.m. at the Nauraushaun Presbyterian Church in Pearl River, New York. Artists and programming are identical to the Merkin concert series. Pearl River concert dates are October 16 and December 11, 2004, and January 15, March 5, and May 7, 2005.

Summer Winds in Rockland County

The ensemble presented a pre-season concert in Tappan, NY, on August 29, celebrating the New York Philomusica’s relationship with the area through its 19th annual free outdoor Summer Winds Concert. Played by a subset of the ensemble known as “Johnson’s Bobcats,” the concert surveyed the evolution of the waltz over the centuries.

Special Presentations

This year New York Philomusica is offering two special presentations, available for booking as touring concerts.

The Sesquibicentennial Program
Between February 11 and 18, 2006, New York Philomusica offers a program that celebrates the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. It will feature two renowned soloists: Robert Levin*, piano, and Andrew Clark, horn. The program surveys popular masterworks by the great composer and a few that have been rarely heard, including one resurrected by the unique scholarly gifts of pianist-scholar Levin.
*Performed February 11 – 14 by Rieko Aizawa.

Kurt Vonnegut’s Story of a Soldier
Set to the music of Igor Stravinsky’s classic L’Histoire du soldat

One of the 20th Century’s acknowledged literary masters, Kurt Vonnegut’s account of life as a combat soldier in World War II, recounts the tale of Private Eddie Slovak, the only American soldier to be executed for desertion since the Civil War. Employing 4 actors and set to the WWI-inspired music of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat, the piece is a searing look at soldiering during any war, using Slovak’s story as an apt underlay to the tragedy inherent in war.

Obtaining Tickets

Tickets for the five-concert subscription season in New York City are $140 ($120 for senior citizens). Single tickets are $35 ($30 for seniors). Student tickets are 50% off regular price ticket. Further student discounts available through participating schools. To purchase tickets, visit the Merkin Concert Hall Box Office, Abraham Goodman House, 129 West 67th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam; or call 212-501-3330. Tickets are also available by calling New York Philomusica at 212-580-9933. Information is also available on the ensemble’s website:

2004-2005 Programming Highlights

OCTOBER 21, 2004:

The 33rd season opens with a trio of works for strings. Surveying incredibly emotive music ranging from one of the fathers of modern composition, Joseph Haydn, to contemporary composer Michael Berkeley, the season kicks off by contrasting the depth of emotion in the music of three highly-respected composers with widely varying styles.

With Jesse Mills and Naoko Tanaka, violins; Junah Chung and Richard O’Neill, violas; Gregory Hesselink, ’cello.

DECEMBER 16, 2004:

In December the New York Philomusica combines the elegance of Mozart, the flamboyance of his student Hummel, and the consummate artistry of the Romantic Brahms. The selected pieces are known for their exceptional beauty and dazzling difficulty, and they are played exquisitely by the ensemble’s gifted artists.

Pianist Rieko Aizawa is joined in this concert by Karl Kraber, flute; Gerard Reuter, oboe; A. Robert Johnson, horn; Jesse Mills, violin; Maurycy Banaszek, viola; Gregory Hesselink, ’cello; and Gail Kruvand, contrabass.

JANUARY 20, 2005:

In January the New York Philomusica brings back an instrument heard infrequently on its programs – the human voice. Soprano Judith Bettina performs romances of Debussy and Shostakovich. Jerome Lowenthal, a seasoned pianist who has performed with the best ensembles around the world, joins Bettina for this tribute to 20th Century Romanticism.

Soprano Judith Bettina and pianist Jerome Lowenthal are joined by Jesse Mills, violin; and Gregory Hesselink, ’cello.

MARCH 10, 2005:

Many people consider the string quartet to be the purest form of expression in music. In March, New York Philomusica explores that form through the celebrated last works of two masters: Schubert’s string quartet, No. 15 in G, and Britten’s String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94.

This concert will be performed by Ju-Young Baek, and Jesse Mills, violins; Junah Chung, viola; and Gregory Hesselink, ’cello.

MAY 12, 2005:

THE QUARTET FOR THE END OF TIME: A New York Philomusica Discovery
A highlight of the season is the final concert, featuring Messiaen’s masterpiece, the Quartet for the End of Time. New York Philomusica was one of the first ensembles to discover and perform this piece over thirty years ago, producing the first American recording of the work. The quartet is now universally regarded as a modern classic. One of Beethoven’s most popular trios, the “Archduke” Piano Trio, complements the Messiaen perfectly.

Pianist Rieko Aizawa and clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera are joined by Ju-Young Baek, violin; and Gregory Hesselink, ’cello.

New York Philomusica Chamber Ensemble

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 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

For press tickets, photographs, season brochures, or further press information, please contact:

Kim Stanford, 917-697-7588, or Tali Chitaiad, 212-580-9933.


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