A FREE CONCERT CELEBRATING PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING COMPOSERS AT JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ON JUNE 5, AND FREE CHAMBER MUSIC PERFORMANCES
AT BRYANT PARK AND BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK, MAY 16 – JUNE 9
New York, NY, April 28, 2022 — The American Symphony Orchestra (ASO) continues its 60th anniversary season on Sunday, June 5 with American Masters, a free symphonic concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center featuring the world premiere of Roberto Sierra’s newly commissioned Concerto for Electric Violin performed by acclaimed electric violinist Tracy Silverman. The program will also offer works by three Pulitzer Prize-winning composers: Melinda Wagner, Richard Wernick, and Shulamit Ran.
Leon Botstein will provide musical context for the concert program in a lively, 30-minute Conductor’s Notes Q&A session beginning one hour before the performance, also free to all ticketholders. The discussion is an animated learning opportunity for both new concertgoers and music connoisseurs alike.
From May 16 to June 9, the ASO offers free chamber music performances at Manhattan’s Bryant Park and at Brooklyn Bridge Park as part of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy Sounds at Sunset series. These five concerts have been curated by ASO musicians who will perform music ranging from French impressionist composers and Italian works spanning four centuries to Afro-Cuban Batá drumming, as well as a tribute to iconic American jazz composers. Featured artists include ASO percussionist, educator, and composer Javier Diaz, award-winning multi-instrumentalist Alexa Tarantino, accomplished trombonist Dion Tucker and Grammy-nominated Imani Winds’ oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz. Music-lovers will find a limited number of first-come, first-served chairs set up near the Bryant Park Fountain Terrace in front of the stage and at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 3 Greenway Terrace to enjoy an after-work respite with live music. All chamber concerts last for one hour.
The ASO’s next symphonic concert is presented in a special collaboration with the Bard Music Festival at Carnegie Hall on July 15 and features the U.S. premiere of Sergei Taneyev’s final work, At the Reading of a Psalm. Conceived as a massive statement of Russian Orthodox faith at the onset of WWI, this large-scale cantata for full orchestra, double chorus, and vocal soloists showcases the dramatic effect of Taneyev’s contrapuntal mastery. This concert, initially scheduled for January 28, was postponed due to the Omicron variant.
Sunday, June 5, 2022, 8 pm
Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street
Conductor’s Notes Q&A 7 pm
Tracy Silverman, violin
Matthew Lipman, viola
Tara Helen O’Connor, flute
Roberto Sierra: Ficciones, Concerto for Electric Violin and Orchestra (2022) World Premiere
Melinda Wagner: Concerto for Flute, Strings, and Percussion (1999 Pulitzer Prize)
Richard Wernick: Viola Concerto (“Do Not Go Gentle…”)
Shulamit Ran: Symphony (1991 Pulitzer Prize)
In line with the ASO’s long history of championing American artists, this concert offers a trio of American Pulitzer Prize-winning living composers including Melinda Wagner and two of her mentors, Richard Wernick and Shulamit Ran. Philadelphia-born Melinda Wagner’s Concerto for Flute, Strings, and Percussion is distinguished for its well-crafted flute solo. Boston native Richard Wernick’s Viola Concerto—written for violist Walter Trampler and Leon Botstein (who conducted the 1987 premiere)—alludes to the well-known Dylan Thomas poem “Do not go gentle into that good night.” Shulamit Ran’s Symphony, commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra, also won the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award the same year as her 1991 Pulitzer. Highlighting the program is the world premiere of Roberto Sierra’s Concerto for Electric Violin, commissioned by the ASO, which presents a mixture of Sierra’s Latin-influenced ideas and modern compositional techniques through the voice of the electric violin, performed by the renowned electric violinist Tracy Silverman.
The ASO is offering free admission to this performance as a gift to New York music lovers. Tickets are free but required, available at americansymphony.org beginning on May 5. Processing fees will apply. Ticket holders will need to comply with the venue’s health and safety requirements, which can be found here.
BRYANT PARK CHAMBER MUSIC PERFORMANCES
String Quartet – Celebrating Fête de la Musique
Monday, May 16, 2022, 5:30 pm
Bryant Park Fountain Terrace
In celebration of 40 years of Fête de la Musique, which started in France and is now celebrated around the world, a string quartet of ASO musicians performs works by French composers including Debussy and Ravel in honor of France’s inspiring example.
Percussion Ensemble – Chants, Songs and Rhythms from The Americas
Tuesday, May 17, 2022, 5:30 pm
Bryant Park Fountain Terrace
This percussion ensemble combines Afro-Cuban Batá drumming and poetry with the sounds of contemporary chamber percussion, featuring Grammy-nominated Imani Winds’ oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz in compositions by percussionist and composer Javier Diaz.
Jazz Ensemble – ASO Salutes America’s Jazz Royalty
Monday, May 23 & Tuesday May 24, 2022, 5:30 pm
A truly American genre, the ASO presents this jazz ensemble as a salute to America’s jazz royalty: New Jersey-native jazz pianist, organist, and composer Count Basie, considered one of the all-time greatest bandleaders; singer and jazz pianist Nat King Cole, the first Black American to host a TV variety show; and Duke Ellington, whose totally original musical style used a unique blend of both classical and jazz compositional techniques that combined improvisation with written works.
Tickets: The chamber performances are free, no RSVP needed. A limited number of first-come, first-served chairs will be set up near the Bryant Park Fountain Terrace in front of the stage.
BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK CHAMBER MUSIC PERFORMANCE
String Quartet – Italian Expressiveness and Expressionists
Thursday, June 9, 2022, 6 pm
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 3 Greenway Terrace
A string quartet of ASO musicians performs a program that spans four centuries, from Isabella Leonarda, a 17th century Ursuline Nun, to the 20th century expressionist and avant-garde composer, Niccolò Castiglioni. The finale of the concert will feature the soaring melodies and filigreed lines of the 19th century bel canto master, Gaetano Donizetti.
Tickets: Free but advanced RSVP is encouraged and can be completed here. Walk-ups will be accommodated as space allows. Safety protocols and guidelines for Brooklyn Bridge Park are detailed here. For more information, visit brooklynbridgepark.org.
American Symphony Orchestra
Now in its 60th season, the American Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski with the mission of providing music within the means of everyone. Music Director Leon Botstein expanded that mission when he joined the ASO in 1992, creating thematic concerts that explore music from the perspective of the visual arts, literature, religion, and history, and reviving rarely performed works that audiences would otherwise never have a chance to hear performed live.
The ASO’s signature programming includes its Vanguard Series, which presents concerts of rare orchestral repertoire, and various other events dedicated to enriching and reflecting the diverse perspectives of American culture. During the summer months, the ASO is the orchestra-in-residence at Bard’s SummerScape, performs at the Bard Music Festival, and offers chamber music performances throughout the New York City area.
As part of its commitment to expanding the standard orchestral repertoire, the ASO has released recordings on the Telarc, New World, Bridge, Koch, and Vanguard labels, and live performances are also available for digital streaming. In many cases, these are the only existing recordings of some of the forgotten works that have been restored through ASO performances.
For more information, please visit americansymphony.org.
Leon Botstein has been music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra since 1992. He is also music director of The Orchestra Now, an innovative training orchestra composed of top musicians from around the world. He is co-artistic director of Bard SummerScape and the Bard Music Festival, which take place at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College, where he has been president since 1975. He is also conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he served as music director from 2003–11. In 2018, he assumed artistic directorship of Campus Grafenegg and Grafenegg Academy in Austria. Mr. Botstein also has an active career as a guest conductor with orchestras around the globe, and has made numerous recordings, as well as being a prolific author and music historian. He is the recipient of numerous honors for his contributions to the music industry. In 2019, The New York Times named Leon Botstein a “champion of overlooked works…who has tirelessly worked to bring to light worthy scores by neglected composers.” More info online at LeonBotstein.com.
These programs are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
The ASO’s Vanguard Series is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.