Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Friends of Music's 26th Season -- 2012 Concert Schedule Announced

Robin Ward, saxophone and Dan Chien, piano play to a
packed house before the City of the Hills Chorus performed
at the Holiday Concert on Dec. 4.
What a tumultuous year it has been--internationally, nationally and locally--from political and economic upheaval to incredible natural disasters around the globe. In our area many folks suffered terrible losses from the flooding at the end of August. Sometimes it seemed our little concert series was the island of calm in our stormy sea and we were fortunate to hear some truly amazing performances.

We have more glorious music in store for the coming year, and we hope you will join with us once again to enjoy the performances and the company of your friends, neighbors and visitors. As usual the concerts are on Sundays at 3PM at the Frank W Cyr Center in Stamford, NY. From April through November these dates are the third Sunday of the month while the Holiday concert in December is on the first Sunday.

There may be changes to the following schedule in the event of illness or other disaster (let's hope we are spared in 2012!) so please check here or on our Web site at for possible updates. We wish you and all your loved ones a wonderful New Year's celebration and we'll see you in April!

Friends of Music 26th Season – 2012 Concert Schedule*

April 15             Select Artists from the Metropolitan Opera’s
                           Lindemann Young Artist Development Program

May 20              The Allant Trio
                           Graduate Students from the Juilliard School:
                           Alina Lim, cello; Beth Hyo Kyoung Nam, piano and
                           Anna Jihyun Park, violin

June 17              Piano Trio with Clovis Nicolas, bass
                           Around the World with Jazz Standards

July 15               Duo Prism
                           Rieko Aizawa, piano and Jesse Mills, violin

August 19          Serio Divertimenti (Serious Fun)
                           Lisa Arkis, flute; Monte Morgenstern, clarinet;
                           Peter Prosser, cello and Susan Sobolewski, piano

September 16   Yoni Levyatov, piano and Katie Thomas, violin

October 21        Bryant Park Quartet
                           Anna Elashvili and Ben Russell, violin;
                           Adam Meyer, viola and Tomoko Fujita, cello      

November 18    Justin Kolb, piano
                           Liszt and the Barefoot Carmelite

December 2       Holiday Concert

* Subject to change; please check
   or for updates.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

City of the Hills Chorus Performs Annual Holiday Concert, Sunday Dec 4th at 3PM

City of the Hills Chorus
Seated left to right: Terry Hait, Jan McGrath, Elaine Mattice, Flora Beth Cunningham (director), Linda Allen, Sue Dana-LeViness, and Joy Sanders.
2nd row: Joanne Burdick, Liz Moeller, Mary Johnson-Butler, and Jo Melmer.
3rd row: Pat Ashe, Donna Fornito, Carole Wood, and Kathy Polley.
4th row: Chris Hughes, Bettie Bennett, and Connie Herzig.
5th row: Karen Adolfsen and Dorcas Ross. Absent from picture: Kate Brooker Milano.

Another season has come and almost gone, but this one was extra-special: our 25th Anniversary, our Silver Jubilee. Bittersweet to see it pass but we have our annual Holiday Concert to cheer us up, this year featuring the City of the Hills Chorus -- Oneonta being the city in this case. A fabulous close to an amazing year of music, their performance will start the Holiday season in a harmonious and fun-filled key.

A chapter of the Sweet Adelines International, this group of women sing a capella in four-part harmony in the American folk tradition known as barbershop style. They will perform holiday carols and perhaps a contemporary song or two (I saw something about "California Dreamin'" though I have not been given the final program yet) interspersed with sing-a-long carols for optional audience participation. To learn more about the group please see their Web site at

I had forgotten how sweet and infectious this style of singing is until I saw The Music Man the other week on WNYC-PBS television from Syracuse. Throughout the film a group of 4 men who called themselves the Buffalo Bills wanders the streets of the fictitious River City, Iowa breaking into song whenever prompted by the notorious Professor Harold Hill, musical con man. I defy anyone to resist smiling at their rendition of "Lida Rose" or "Goodnight Ladies." I know many a Delaware County senior citizen who jumps - to the extent they are able to - at any chance to hear barbershop-style singing, so make a senior citizen happy and bring them to this concert.

Robin Ward, saxophone
And lest we get too sentimental we are starting a new tradition at this final concert for 2011, something we hope will become a regular feature: we will hear a brief performance at the beginning of the concert by a local music student. December 4 we will hear from Robin Ward, saxophone. Ms. Ward is a high school Senior and is in the process of auditioning for college admission in her chosen field of music education. She will be accompanied on piano by Dan Chien.

After playing a year of clarinet Robin Ward began playing tenor saxophone in sixth grade under the direction of Gary LiCalzi of the South Kortright Central School.  Since then she has participated in All-county band and chorus and was selected to play in the area All-state band. Last summer she began playing in the rock band Electric Evolver, performing in Albany, Stamford and Lake Placid. She now studies saxophone privately with Christine Cummings of Hartwick College and plays in the Hartwick Jazz Ensemble. Robin has applied to several colleges including Ithaca, Gordon, SUNY Fredonia, and Mansfield.

How wonderful to hear this talented young woman and give her a local boost as she prepares to enter the professional music world! We hope you will join us for some wonderful music of the season and for great food and good company, too, on Sunday December 4th at 3PM at the Cyr Center in Stamford.

Thank you as always to all of our donors and especially to the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation for making this concert and our entire series possible! We also thank the O'Connor Foundation for their recent disbursement of their generous grant to us, which we were able to fully match. THANK YOU to all who contributed!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks

Ismail Lumanovski, Alexandra Joan and
Vasko Dukovski wait before the concert begins.
In the United States we just celebrated what is unofficially our favorite holiday: Thanksgiving. With no particular religious association and with little of the commercialism associated with many other holidays, it is a day when most Americans - whether newcomers or liflong residents - focus on enjoying time and good food with family and loved ones. For at least one day many of us try to adopt an attitude of gratitude, as the saying goes and without question we have much to be thankful for. As imperfect as our Union is, for most of us we would be hard pressed to find a better place to live. As for the most unfortunate among us whose numbers grow daily during these days of the Great Recession, many of us care deeply for you and for your struggles though that may be little consolation.
Here in Stamford we also give thanks for great musical performances like the one we experienced this past Sunday from the Grneta Ensemble. I am criticized sometimes (rightfully so) for hyperbole, but though it seems impossible I believe our artists keep getting better and better. In a year of outstanding performances this last concert was so amazing, dare I say the best one yet. A number of people in the audience told me they hesitated to come, thinking "Two clarinets? How interesting could that be?" but they were without exception so glad they had ventured out to hear the incredible artistry of the Grneta Ensemble. I imagine many who did not attend stayed away because of a similar misconception and you really missed something grand!

The Grneta Ensemble warming up on Sunday afternoon.
I am not a musician and am not capable of making a critique of any consequence. I can only note what I experienced and what others in attendance relayed to me. Vasko Dukovski and Ismail Lumanovski on clarinet and Alexandra Joan at the Steinway enchanted us, charmed us, knocked our musical socks off with their artistry, their energy, their sheer talent. After a perfectly balmy and lovely late November day and nearly two hours of amazing music, the audience leapt to its feet in a tremendous ovation to be rewarded with an encore in the tradition of Klezmer music, folk with jazz overtones that would have had us all dancing in the aisles were we a little less shy. The music stayed with me for at least another 24 hours, replaying in my head.

We are waiting anxiously for the prosmised recording and Vasko, do let us know when it is available! You three have many friends in these hills who want something to hold us over until your next appearance at the Cyr Center, which we hope will be soon. You inspired a young local musician who was reported to have said after hearing you and Ismail perform "If I'd known clarinet could sound like that I would never have switched to the saxophone!" By the way, Mr. Dukovski told us that "grneta" is an old Macedonian word for an instrument that may have been a clarinet or one that certainly was clarinet-like.

I posted this second photo of the young musicians in their casual clothing to remind us all that while they are young professionals, they are young; friendly, approachable people with extreme dedication to their art and a great desire to share that art with us, much to our delight. Such a long day for the people who come to perform here, too, mostly from the New York City area: three and a half hours by car each way, depending on traffic and weather. After decades of daily practice for long hours each day, they come for relatively little money to a place that is very unlikely to enhance their careers for a small group of people who nonetheless are truly thankful for the opportunity to hear such fine performances. Thank you, musical artists young and not so young, for sharing your gifts with us.

We also give thanks to the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation and now to the O'Connor Foundation as well, to your founders and your heirs and your trustees for the funding that make these concerts possible. How especially appropriate in this new gilded age, of greed beyond measure and financial robber barons to note the example of these families in dedicating a sizeable chunk of their fortunes to enhancing the quality of life for the community at large in perpetuity. We give thanks to our many individual donors whose gifts may not be as sizeable in dollars and cents but whose importance could not be any greater; without your support we would have no reason to exist.

Thank you! THANK YOU.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Grneta Ensemble at the Cyr Center Sunday November 20th at 3PM

Vasko Dukovski, Alexandra Joan and
Ismail Lumanovski of The Grneta Ensemble

Friends of Music invites you to a performance by a trio of first-rate musicians on Sunday November 20 at 3PM at the Cyr Center in Stamford. The Grneta Ensemble includes Vasko Dukovski and Ismail Lumanovski, clarinets and Alexandra Joan, piano. Mr. Dukovski and Ms. Joan were part of the quartet that so impressed our audience with an inspired program designed by Vasko in our first performance by graduate students from Juilliard in May, 2009.

1st Prize winners of the Arriaga Chamber Music Competition in 2010 and praised for “the strength and intelligence of their playing” (, the members of The Grneta Ensemble have been enchanting audiences with their temperament, virtuosity and original concert programs. Initially comprised of clarinetists Vasko Dukovski and Ismail Lumanovski , the group became a trio in 2008, welcoming pianist Alexandra Joan and forming a unique combination of instruments.

All three are Juilliard graduates, prize winners in international music competitions and have been coached by Charles Neidich and Ayako Oshima and by Jerome Lowenthal at the Juilliard School. Sharing an Eastern European background, these young musicians create engaging and unusual recital programs mostly inspired by folk elements and improvisation, bringing the popular to classical. Their repertoire includes works from the romantic era (Mendelssohn, Ponchielli) as well as original arrangements of instrumental music from the Balkans.

Committed to preserving and continuing the clarinet duo tradition, The Grneta Ensemble has revived and performed many forgotten works as well as made many arrangements for its instrumentation. In addition the ensemble has inspired and commissioned multiple new works such as “The Macedonian Bloody Wedding” by Nicholas Csicsko, inspired by and based on the first Macedonian play with the same title, as well as “Grneta Variations” by Gerald Cohen.

For more information visit their Web site at and if you are at all hesitating about attending the concert in Stamford, visit the “watch” page to see and hear a recording of them performing via YouTube. It will convince you they are easily worth the effort of coming to the Cyr Center!

Please read more about the individual artists at the end of this post. The program for Sunday, November 20 is as follows:

The Grneta Ensemble

Vasko Dukovski, clarinet
Ismail Lumanovski, clarinet
Alexandra Joan, piano

Eastern Madness - With Western Touch

Felix Mendelssohn, Concert Piece No. 1 Op. 113

Gerald Cohen, Grneta Variations *

Amarillo Ponchielli, Il Convegno

---------- Short Intermission---------

Bela Bartok, Romanian Dances Arr. By Grneta Ensemble

Gerald Cohen, Hebrew Songs *

Mohammed Fairouz, Ughniat Mariam+

Ante Grgin, Hameum Suite

*Composed for Grneta Ensemble +Premiered by Grneta Duo

Vasko Dukovski, Clarinet/Basset Horn
With his virtuosity and mellow sound, the Macedonian-born clarinetist Vasko Dukovski has mesmerized audiences throughout The United States, Europe and Asia. Mr. Dukovski is a winner of numerous competition prizes and awards including: First Prize at the International Woodwind Competition in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria; Special Prize at the Jeunnese Musicales Clarinet Competition in Bucharest, Romania; 2nd Prize at the National Clarinet Competition and 3rd Prize at the National Chamber Music Competition in Macedonia and at the first Andreas Makris Clarinet Competition in Fort Collins, Colorado; Fine Arts Award from the Interlochen Arts Academy and Honors Award from the Eubie Blake Foundation in New York.

Mr. Dukovski is a great champion of contemporary music and has premiered over one hundred works and collaborated with many established composers of our time, among them John Corigliano, John Adams, Helmut Lachenmann, Yehudi Wyner and Gunther Schuller. He is a member of the Grneta Ensemble, Future In REverse F.I. RE, Mimesis Ensemble, Bloo Moon Ensemble and Ensemble 212, and regularly performs with the Argento Ensemble, Talea Ensemble and Either/Or Ensemble.

As an orchestral player, Vasko Dukovski has played under the batons of many important conductors of our time such as Maestro James Conlon, Michael Tillson Thomas, Yves Abel, David Atherton, Otto-Werner Mueller, Diego Mason, Anne Manson and Thomas Wilkins amongst others. Furthermore, Mr. Dukovski is the principal clarinetist of the Manhattan Symphonie Orchestra, The Garden State Philharmonic and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra.

Vasko Dukovski was born in Ohrid, the Republic of Macedonia and began his clarinet studies at the age of nine. He made his first solo appearance at the age of ten, and in January of 2006 he made his New York debut with the New Juilliard Ensemble performing the world premiere of the Triple Clarinet Concerto by Guus Jansen.  Mr. Dukovski holds Bachelor of Music and Master of Music Degrees from the Juilliard School as a student of Charles Neidich and Ayako Oshima.

Ismail Lumanovski, Clarinet
The young award-winning Macedonian and Turkish clarinetist Ismail Lumanovski has enchanted audiences with his enthusiasm and virtuosity, combining the spirit of folk music with the discipline of Classical music.

To date one of his career highlights is the New York début in 2008 of the Carter Clarinet Concerto with musicians from New Juilliard Ensemble and Lucerne Festival Academy with Maestro Boulez conducting. Mr. Lumanovski’s United States debut took place in 2002 with his performance of Weber’s First Clarinet Concerto with the World Youth Symphony Orchestra in Interlochen, Michigan and his first appearance as soloist with the Macedonian Philharmonic was at the age of 13, playing the Weber Concertino.

Ismail Lumanovski is the winner of numerous competitions including 1st prize of the 23rd, 24th and 25th Clarinet Competition of Macedonia, The Juilliard Clarinet Concerto Competition, the International Young Artist Competition in Bulgaria, the National Folk Music Competition in Macedonia and 2nd prize in the Andreas Makris Clarinet Competition in Colorado. In addition Mr. Lumanovski received the “Fine Arts Award” twice at the Interlochen Arts Academy.

Born in Bitola, Macedonia, Ismail Lumanovski started playing the clarinet at age nine, attending primary school and high school in his city of birth. He holds a Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees from the Juilliard School as a student of Charles Neidich and Ayako Oshima.

Alexandra Joan, Piano
French-Romanian pianist Alexandra Joan is an active soloist and avid chamber music musician. A regular performer in Europe, she has appeared in Germany, Switzerland, France and also in Israel and Montenegro. She made her chamber music debut in New York in 2007 at Alice Tully Hall, and most recently made her Carnegie Hall solo debut presented by the Lagesse Foundation. She also performed at David Dubal’s lecture series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and at the New York Society for Ethical Culture. Along with the masterpieces of the 18th, 19th and 20th century, Alexandra Joan performs new music frequently and is also an advocate of the music of George Enesco.

Ms. Joan’s appearances in international Festivals have included Roque d’Antheron International Piano Festival in France, Guebwiller, Colmar International Festival (Vladimir Spivakov), Oberstdorf Festival in Germany and other prestigious festivals and concert series in France. Ms. Joan has performed as soloist with “La Follia” Chamber Orchestra, The Montbeliard Orchestra, The Mulhouse Symphony Orchestra in France and The Orchestra of Radio and Television in Montenegro.

Her solo and chamber music performances have been featured on Radio France, Radio Suisse Romande (Switzerland), on Montenegro Television and WQXR in New York.
Ms. Joan has been a recipient of several important awards in France. She has received the “Vocation Prize” from the Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet Foundation in 2005 and the ADAMI Grant in 2006 and 2007 to study in the United States. In 2001, she won the 3rd Prize at the Andorra International Piano Competition.

Born in 1984, Ms. Joan began her studies at the Colmar Conservatory with Rena Shereshevskaya and gave her first public performance at the age of six. In 2004 she completed her Bachelor of Music Degree at the Paris Conservatory under the tutelage of Brigitte Engerer. She worked with artists such as Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Itamar Golan, Vladimir Krainev, Vera Gornastaeva, Staffan Scheja, Pnina Salzman and Emanuel Krasovsky.

A recipient of the Florence Gould Scholarship, Alexandra Joan recently graduated from the Juilliard School of Music where she completed her Graduate Diploma as a student of Jerome Lowenthal.

All Friends of Music are invited to this marvelous performance at the Cyr Center on West Main Street in Stamford at 3PM on Sunday November 20th. We are ever grateful to all of our donors and especially to the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation for making this concert -- and our entire series -- possible and affordable to all. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Liszt Bicentennial Celebration Concert, Sunday October 16 at 3PM

Eva Lisa Kovalik, piano
Johana Arnold, soprano and Kim Paterson, piano

A concert featuring the music of Hungarian composer Franz Liszt in celebration of the bicentennial of his birth continues the 25th Anniversary Season of Friends of Music at 3PM on Sunday, October 16th at the Cyr Center in Stamford. The first half of the program includes solo piano works performed by Friends of Music founder Eva Lisa Kovalik. The second half consists of lieder (songs) sung by soprano Johana Arnold with piano accompaniment by Kim Paterson.

During his lifetime Liszt was renowned as a virtuosic pianist; as a conductor, teacher, benefactor and a prolific composer he is widely acknowledged as among the most important and influential people in the modern development of classical music. Given his legendary popularity as a performer, Liszt might be called one of the first “superstars.” His dramatic personal life and unusually successful career make for fascinating reading.

We perhaps know Liszt best as a composer of original works for piano, and Mrs. Kovalik’s performance will remind us of why this is so. He also composed about six dozen songs with piano accompaniment which today are seldom heard; on October 16 we will have the rare opportunity to hear a lovely selection performed by Ms. Arnold and Mr. Paterson.

The program for October 16 will be [Author's Note: first half updated 10/12/11 as per Lisa Kovalik. The exact sequence cannot be confirmed.]:

Franz Liszt Bicentennial Celebration
Eva Lisa Kovalik, piano
Johana Arnold, soprano and Kim Paterson, piano

All works composed by Franz Liszt (October 22, 1811 – July 31, 1886)

The first half of the program will be performed by Eva Lisa Kovalik and her student Julie Lee

I.   Widmung (“Dedication”) (Op. 25, No. 1), S.566, R.249 after Robert Schumann, published 1848. Performed by Julie Lee.

II.   Les jeux d’eau à la Villa d’Este (“The Fountains of the Villa d’Este”)  (1877)
From Années de pèlerinage (“Years of Pilgrimage,” 3 Suites for solo piano);
Troisième année (“Third Year”) published 1883

III.  Liebesträume (Notturni, “Dreams of Love”) [probably No. 3] published 1850

IV.  Tarantella  (1859)
From Venezia e Napoli (“Venice and Naples”) supplement to the “Second Year” published 1861


The second half of the program will be performed by Johana Arnold and Kim Paterson

Im Rhein, im schoenen Strome  (1841)                       Heinrich Heine
Die Lorelei  (1841)                                                   Heine
Es muss ein Wunderbares sein  (1839?)                     Oskar von Redwitz
Der Fischerknabe  (1835 or 1845)                             Friedrich von Schiller

S’il est un charmant gazon  (1841-42)                        Victor Hugo
Oh! Quand je dors  (1841-42)                                    Hugo

Die drei Zigeuner  (1860)                                          Nikolaus Lenau
In Liebeslust   (1857)                                                Hoffmann von Fallersleben
Wanderers Nachtlied  (1848)                                     Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Der du von dem Himmel bist  (1844)                         Goethe

Eva Lisa Kovalik, pianist, was born in Budapest, Hungary. Her musical studies began at the age of six at the Franz Liszt Academy, first in the junior department, later as a student in the famed class of Lajos Hernadi. During her studies she won many awards and scholarships and received her Artist Diploma in 1956.

The same year she immigrated to the West, continuing her studies at McGill University in Montreal, receiving a B.M. Degree. While at McGill she performed extensively throughout Canada and had a performing contract with the Canadian Broadcasting Company. In 1964 she received a dual scholarship for Post Graduate Studies from the British and Canada Councils to study in England, focusing on 16th Century English keyboard music, while studying with Lili Kraus. That year she performed in Holland, Sweden and England.

Back in North America, she became a graduate student and teaching fellow at the Juilliard School of Music while working at Columbia University on her Master’s Degree, receiving it in 1974. Her teaching fellowship at Juilliard led to an appointment to the faculty of the Evening Division, where she continues to teach today.

In 1997, Mrs. Kovalik was invited to Warsaw, Poland for lecture recitals on the music of Béla Bartók. While there, she was asked to write a book on teaching and performing the Mikrokosmos. She plans to return to Poland for the presentation of her work and further lecture-recitals.

Mrs. Kovalik regularly gives solo and chamber music recitals. She has twice been featured soloist with the Catskill Symphony Orchestra in Oneonta. In the mid-1980’s, she was the catalyst for the birth of Friends of Music, which incorporated in 1986. We are pleased and honored to hear her performance today, and thank her for her vision which has brought such wonderful music to us here in Stamford for all these years.

Johana Arnold, soprano, enjoys a versatile career in recital, chamber music, opera, oratorio and theater.  A former member of the Ensemble for Early Music and Western Wind Vocal Ensemble, she has sung with Steve Reich and Musicians, the Phillip Glass Ensemble, Meredith Monk, St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble and the Mark Morris Dance Ensemble.  Venues include Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and BAM in New York, and the Kennedy Center, National Cathedral, and Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. where Ms Arnold is a frequent guest artist with Hesperus and the Folger Consort.  Oratorio experience spans works by Bach, Beethoven, Haydn, Brahms, Mozart, Rossini, Gounod, Rutter and Tom Johnson. 

Ms Arnold is an artist-in-residence at Hartwick College, and appears frequently with the Catskill Choral Society and the Catskill Symphony Orchestra.  She is a veteran of Orpheus Theater and has appeared in several productions with the Franklin Stage Company.  She has recorded for Musical Heritage, Nonesuch, Bard and Western Wind.  Johana is currently working on recording the songs of Charles Ives. This past summer she took the part of the Nurse in Seneca's Trojan Women. Johana Arnold and Kim Paterson met at Tanglewood. They are married and live in the Catskill area.

Kim Paterson is an adjunct instructor of piano at both Hartwick College and at SUNY Oneonta, and has often been music director for stage shows at both schools, most recently the SUNY Oneonta  production of Batboy in the spring of 2010. Mr Paterson has also been music director for Orpheus Theater, Catskill Theater Works, the West Kortright Center Shakespeare program and the Franklin Stage Company.

Mr Paterson is a graduate of SUNY Purchase, and spent three summers as a Tanglewood fellow. He moved to this area to grow mushrooms, and from 1983-1992 he ran a company called Kemp Hill Mushrooms, which produced oyster mushrooms and other exotic produce for restaurants in New York City. However, beginning in 1992, music gradually took over his life, and he now only hunts for wild mushrooms as avocation. He is very busy as a collaborative pianist in the Oneonta area. He also plays with the Catskill Symphony, and is organist at First Presbyterian Church, Oneonta.

Please join us at the Cyr Center in Stamford on October 16th for this fabulous performance and commemorate the birth of a great composer, performer and teacher of classical music. As always, we thank all of our donors and especially the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation for making these concerts possible.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

CONFIRMED! Jazz at the Cyr Center 3:00 PM today, September 18th

In case someone is looking here for any last-minute updates, the musicians are on their way and we have a secure route for them. It's a bit longer than the usual route and these hard-working young men have at least a 12-hour work day today. I hope we'll have a great turnout to show our appreciation!

One note: given our cold temperatures the last two nights, and since the Cyr Center is no longer occupied by business tenants, I think it may be a bit chilly in the building today. We do not have control of the thermostat, so I suggest you bring a sweater or a jacket, just in case. They've been working this week on replacing the windows, those lovely - but leaky - old windows. I'm not sure if it's just the ones in the ballroom or if it was the entire building. We'll find out this afternoon. It just cost me $700 to fill up my oil tank, and I can only imagine (shudder! Gasp!) what it costs to heat the Cyr Center.

See you soon...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Jazz from Juilliard at the Cyr Center on Sunday September 18th

 Blues, Ballads and Bossas
     Clovis Nicolas, upright bass                   David Lantz, piano                       Lucas Pino, Saxophone

Carmen Intorre, drums
 Mother Nature has been stirring things up big time around here lately (to put it mildly), and with all the contemplation recently about the horrific events of 10 years ago it seems nothing will ever be the same again. Perhaps we can move beyond the tragedies of past and present and explore some opportunities for positive change. This concert for Friends of Music is exactly that: for the very first time in our 25-year history, we will hear a Jazz performance by some amazingly talented young men through the auspices of the Juilliard School in New York City.

This is not a turning away from the classical chamber music we have heard at the Cyr Center for the past quarter century, but rather an aknowledgment of our changing demographics and of the longevity and the influence of American Jazz -- now a tradition in its own right -- in music worldwide. In consideration of this being our initiation into the more contemporary music scene, the theme of this concert will be "Blues, Ballads and Bossas:"  nothing too radical for our classically-attuned ears.

Lucas Pino, saxophone, started his life in music at the age of 10, selecting the alto saxophone as his instrument. Immediately inspired by the music of John Coltrane, Lucas spent his formative years relentlessly listening to records, and switched to tenor saxophone at age 12. After being selected for numerous honors during high school, including a DownBeat Magazine award as “Best Instrumental soloist” (2005), Lucas attended the Brubeck Institute as one of five fellows. This ensemble regularly performed in venues across the United States and abroad, studied with jazz masters and spent time learning and performing with Dave Brubeck. 

In 2007, Mr. Pino moved to New York City to complete his undergraduate degree at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. During his time at the New School, Lucas studied privately with Chris Cheek, graduating with “Academic Honors.” In 2009 Lucas attended the Juilliard School and was awarded the Irene Diamond Graduate Fellowship. He studied saxophone with Ron Blake during his tenure at the Juilliard School and completed his Masters in Music in 2011. Lucas Pino continues to live in New York City and although he has a rigorous touring schedule, can be seen performing around the city with various groups.

David Lantz, piano, of Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, started music lessons at the age of 4. A multi-instrumentalist, he has studied piano, sax, guitar and violin. Since the age of 9, David studied with a number of jazz musicians including David Liebman and Phil Markowitz who live in the Stroudsburg area. For 4 years as a member of a select area high school jazz band that plays at the COTA (Celebration of the Arts) Jazz Festival in Delaware Water Gap, Mr. Lantz played guitar and piano, and as a senior he composed and arranged a big band chart. David played his first gig at age 14 and has since been a regular feature at the Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, playing with George Young, David Liebman and Phil Woods. As a senior in high school, David was selected to play piano at the Pennsylvania Governor’s Awards for the Arts where Phil Woods was an honoree.       

Mr. Lantz has played in the COTA Jazz Festival and the Scranton Jazz Festival with his own group as well as in many other venues. For 2 years, David was selected as the Pennsylvania All-State jazz band pianist and has won two ASCAP Young Jazz Composer’s awards. In addition he won a Down Beat student music award for jazz performance. As a graduating high school senior, he was awarded the Louis Armstrong Award and COTA scholarship. David Lantz is currently a student at The Juilliard School where he is a jazz studies major, piano being his instrument.

After learning piano as a child, Clovis Nicolas, upright bass, dedicated himself to music when he first picked up the upright bass as a teenager. He went on to study at the Conservatoire of Avignon (France) with Mr. Joseph Fabre, one of the most notable instructors in France. He soon gained a solid reputation for his precise and tasteful bass playing and started working in his early twenties with artists like Peter King, Ted Curson and Laurent de Wilde.

After graduating from Conservatoire of Marseilles in 1996, Clovis moved to Paris where he established himself as a first call musician. During this time, he performed and recorded alongside artists such as Belmondo, Baptiste Trotignon, Brad Mehldau, Michelle Hendricks, Stefano Di Battista, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Aldo Romano. He participated in more than fifteen critically acclaimed recordings, including Belmondo's Hymne au Soleil which won three Jazz Grammy Awards in 2004 and Baptiste Trotignon's Sightseeing which received Best Album of the Year 2001 from Jazzman Magazine.

Mr. Nicolas moved to New York in 2002 and has since shared the stage in numerous venues (Jazz Standard, Smalls, 55 Bar, Kennedy Center, Smoke, Jazz Gallery) with some of today's most prominent jazz musicians, including Grant Stewart, Harry Allen, Benny Powell, Curtis Fuller, Branford Marsalis, James Williams, Peter Bernstein, Joe Magnarelli, Sacha Perry, Sachal Vasandani, Simon Shaheen and Dan Nimmer. He is featured on Josh Brown’s recording The Feeling of Jazz, as well as on new alto sensation Dmitry Baevsky’s Some Other Spring featuring legendary guitarist Joe Cohn. He is currently studying with jazz master Ron Carter at the Juilliard School in New York.

Born in Buffalo, NY, Carmen Intorre, drums, developed an early interest in music and began playing drums at age five.  A graduate of the Institute for Jazz Studies at The Juilliard School, he has performed and recorded with numerous musicians such as George Benson, Monty Alexander, Benny Golson, George Coleman, Bucky Piazzarelli, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Lew Tabackin, Larry Coryell, Bobby Watson, and many others.  Carmen co-produced and recorded on Joey DeFrancesco's latest CD, Never Can Say Goodbye: The Music of Michael Jackson, which received a 2011 Grammy Nomination in category of Best Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year.

Currently, Mr. Intorre performs with vocalist Hilary Kole, vibraphonist Joe Locke, and organist Pat Bianchi.  Carmen just completed recording his debut CD as a leader on Random Act Records.  The CD will feature performances by Joey DeFrancesco, John Hart, Pat Bianchi, Jon Irabagon, and Bob Belden, and is scheduled for release in August 2011.

Friends of Music of Stamford NY

Blues, Ballads and Bossas

Jazz Artists from the Juilliard School
Lucas Pino, saxophone
David Lantz, piano
Clovis Nicolas, upright bass
Carmen Intorre, drums

-Now's The Time

-Parker's Mood



-In a Sentimental Mood

-Chelsea Bridge

-Star Eyes

-How Insensitive


Please join us at 3PM on Sunday, September 18th at the Cyr Center in Stamford for our first ever Jazz concert!