Kaufman Music Center Announces 2022/23 Season


Kaufman Music Center Announces 2022/23 Season

Kaufman Music Center has announced its 2022/23 concert programs at Merkin Hall, along with the season’s groundbreaking Artists-in-Residence who will be featured on stage, in the classroom, and in the community: visionary pianist and composer Aaron Diehl; the Grammy-winning Harlem Quartet; and the acclaimed British vocal ensemble VOCES8. While occupying diverse spaces in the musical landscape, each of these artists seeks to forge new connections among current repertoire while building a new canon for the 21st century.

Along with their concert appearances, the Artists-in-Residence will engage with Kaufman Music Center students via coaching opportunities, masterclasses, and special projects. In doing so, they will join students and audiences across Kaufman Music Center’s thriving concert and education programs in re-imagining the future of music.

Tickets to Kaufman Music Center’s 2022/23 season go on sale on Monday, July 11, available at kaufmanmusiccenter.org.

Further details on this season’s Artists-in-Residence and concert series follow. An “At-a-Glance” overview of the season appears below.

At once temporal and ethereal, pianist and composer Aaron Diehl transforms the piano into an orchestral vessel in the spirit of beloved predecessors Ahmad Jamal, Erroll Garner and Jelly Roll Morton. This season, Diehl will perform music by J. S. Bach and Roland Hanna on the Piano Dialogues series at Merkin Hall, appear with violinist Curtis Stewart, Harlem Quartet, and Mazz Swift in Stewart’s Ecstatic Music program, coach Kaufman Music Center jazz musicians and chamber ensembles, and give masterclasses to Kaufman Music Center students, with special emphasis on the performance practice of Black composers.

“The singing of VOCES8 is impeccable in its quality of tone and balance,” writes Gramophone Magazine. “They bring a new dimension to the word ‘ensemble’ with meticulous timing and tuning.” This season, the British vocal ensemble will give three unique performances in Merkin Hall, including two concerts in Kaufman Music Center’s new Give Voice series and a Bridges series event featuring a range of composers from early Renaissance to contemporary. They will lead student workshops focused on composition and choral arranging, and give classes on vocal production and career paths in music and music education.

The Grammy-winning New York-based Harlem Quartet has been praised for its “panache” by The New York Times and hailed in the Cincinnati Enquirer for “bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent.” Previously featured in KMC’s What Makes It Great? series, Harlem Quartet will perform an exciting program of works by Fanny Mendelssohn, Aldo López-Gavilán, and more. They will join Artist-in-Residence Aaron Diehl and violinst Mazz Swift in an Ecstatic Music event envisioned by violinist/composer Curtis Stewart. They will also work closely with Kaufman Music Center students in masterclasses and side-by-side performances with students in Merkin Hall.


This season marks the debut of Give Voice, a series intended to amplify both human voices – star mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and VOCES8 – and diverse compositional voices, as in Harlem Quartet’s program of music by Fanny Mendelssohn, young Cuban composer Aldo López-Gavilán, and others (March 23).

Cooke’s recital features the New York premiere of her 2020 project how do I find you?, in which she commissioned seventeen composers under 40 to create pieces responding to the pandemic. The results are by turns earnest, abstract, mournful, and wryly humorous (May 25).

VOCES8 will present two programs on this series: Choral Dances, with dance-inspired repertoire by composers from William Byrd to Benjamin Britten to Nat King Cole to Van Morrison (October 13), and Lux Aeterna, with works on the theme of light by Felix Mendelssohn, Orlando Gibbons, Stephen Paulus, and others (February 14).

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Introduced last season, Kaufman Music Center’s Bridges series presents artists whose music surmounts conventional barriers of medium and style. Each Bridges concert features trailblazing performers alongside students from Kaufman Music Center and co-presenter Montclair State University’s John J. Cali School of Music.

This season, Bridges features a recital by Pulitzer Prize- and Grammy-winning composer/vocalist/violinist Caroline Shaw, who will delve into a program of recent and older works, on her own and with help from student performers from pre-teen to college age (February 11).

VOCES8 joins the series with a characteristically eclectic program titled Underneath the Stars, featuring music from England, Germany, the Nordic countries, and the US, spanning from the Renaissance to the present day (October 14).

The “completely engrossing, powerful, and elegant” (Washington Post) Cavani String Quartet will bring music by Shostakovich, jazz/rock/country/Hip-hop/classical violist Josh Henderson, and Felix Mendelssohn (November 5). The venturesome artist-led chamber collective Decoda will play music by Benjamin Horne, Joseph Jones, Stravinsky, and John Harbison (March 24).

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Wrote Steve Smith in The New Yorker, “No series has better instincts in fomenting post-genre alchemy than Ecstatic Music.”

Ecstatic Music opens with the rescheduled premiere by Imani Winds of Andy Akiho’s BeLoud, BeLoved, BeLonging, inspired by the sound of 2019 protests by immigrant detainees at the Metropolitan Detention Center and worksho
pped with incarcerated men at Rikers Island. The program also includes music by Mongo Santamaría (arranged by Valerie Coleman), Tania Léon, Nathalie Joachim, and Jason Moran (October 26).

Moor Mother, the stage name of songwriter, composer, vocalist and poet Camae Ayewa, premieres new music fusing jazz, blues, and soul (April 28). Joe Rainey, who blends Pow Wow singing with dynamic electronics, is joined by supergroup string ensemble Owls for a world premiere collaboration (February 3).

Singer/songwriter Haley Fohr, performing as Circuit des Yeux, teams up with the virtuosic, barrier-defying pianist Erika Dohi (May 11). William Tyler and Yasmin Williams, two guitarists who are taking a fresh look at folk-inspired playing styles, present a new collaborative work for themselves with chamber ensemble (March 22).

Multi-Grammy-nominated violinist-composer Curtis Stewart premieres new music with pianist Aaron Diehl, Harlem Quartet, and violin/vox/freestyle composition artist Mazz Swift (June 1).

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This highly popular series presents leading pianists in recital and conversation, responding to Merkin Hall’s fine acoustics and intimate atmosphere with memorable performances.

In The Pianists United: Rzewski in New York, an incredible lineup of pianists gathers to celebrate the work of one of the great keyboard composers of our time in a marathon day of three concerts. Artists include Anthony de Mare, Ursula Oppens, Lisa Moore, Conrad Tao, Mikael Darmanie, David Friend, Blair McMillen, Lisa Moore, Isabelle O’Connell, Kathleen Supové, Jed Distler, Ignacio Ojeda, Aron Kallay, Vicki Ray, and Rob Schwimmer (May 6 at 3 pm, 5:30 pm, and 8 pm).

Artist-in-Residence Aaron Diehl opens the series with works from two masterful composers who have each created sets of 24 preludes: J. S. Bach and Roland Hanna (November 18).

Shai Wosner and Gilles Vonsattel team up for 2×4: music for 2 pianos 4 hands, including pieces by Mozart, Schubert, Clara Schumann, Debussy, Brahms, and Ravel (April 27). David Kaplan presents a program titled Moments of Invention, spanning contemporary composers Christopher Cerrone, Anthony Cheung, and Andrea Casarrubios, along with Couperin, Janáček, Mozart, and Robert Schumann (March 16).

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A fresh take on the concert recital for the 21st century: exceptional artists perform classical repertoire from traditional to contemporary and tell their personal stories. Co-presented with Concert Artists Guild.

Flutist Adam W. Sadberry presents Musical Journalism – Continuing a Legacy through the Flute, inspired by the work of his late grandfather L. Alex Wilson, a hero of the Civil Rights movement. He’ll play works by Valerie Coleman, Fred Onovwerosuoke, and William Grant Still. With Artina McCain, piano and Ayo Jackson, dancer-choreographer (March 10).

In Emotional Landscapes, violinist Geneva Lewis, pianist Audrey Vardanega, and painter Katie Swatland join forces to create an immersive audiovisual experience of two masterpieces of the sonata repertoire: Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 10 and Robert Schumann’s Violin Sonata No. 2 (Oct. 20).

Cellist Gabriel Martins weaves his own original poetry through an evening of works by J. S. Bach, Chopin, Brahms, Saint-Saëns, Webern, Debussy, Shostakovich, and Kaija Saariaho, with an assist from pianist Wynona Wang (January 26). In Unfiltered, the rising Balourdet Quartet charts the evolution of the string quartet through pieces by Beethoven, Hugo Wolf, Felix Mendelssohn, and contemporary Canadian composer Karim Al-Zand (April 4).

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Tuesday Matinees has proven to be “a dependable incubator of burgeoning talent” (The New Yorker), with early-career appearances by artists such as Attacca Quartet, Tessa Lark, Julia Bullock, Randall Goosby, and many others.

Briana Elyse Hunter has been hailed by Opera News as “a mesmerizing mezzo-soprano with a fiery theatrical presence and dynamic vocalism.” Her recital will include selections by Julian de la Chica, Ravel, Duparc and Ricky Ian Gordon (December 6).

Double bassist Kebra-Seyoun Charles performs his own Dance Suite, a selection from Five Negro Spirituals arranged by Lawrence Brown, plus Bach’s fourth cello suite, an arrangement of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and contemporary composer John Hedges’ Prayer of Winds and Rain (January 17).

The Balourdet Quartet offers works by Brahms, Haydn, Debussy, and Rome Prize-winning composer Nina C. Young (October 11). Praised for her “sweet-toned playing” by The New York Times, Alice Ivy-Pemberton takes the stage with music by Bach, Messiaen,


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