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RECONCILIATION AND RELIEF The Aeolus Quartet

Sunday, October 4, 2020 5 PM Presented online


MESSAGE FROM THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

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elcome, friends, to a new season of great music with Musica Viva NY!

The idea of using “Reconciliation and Relief” as the title of this program came to me from T. S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets,” a set of poems inspired by Beethoven’s A minor quartet. Beethoven wrote this particular work during and after recovering from a life-threatening and long-lasting illness. This composition “might come to oneself as the fruit of reconciliation and relief after immense suffering,” the poet writes. This is a program, I thought, that would encapsulate our times quite well and that would also pay homage to Beethoven in the 250th anniversary of his birth. Little did I know then that, by this point, we would still be immersed in the pandemic and that our first concert of the season would not be performed for a live audience! I am deeply grateful to the members of the Aeolus Quartet for suggesting a program that captures the essence of what I had originally envisioned. In a season of recalibration, adaptation, challenges, and uncertainty, the resilience performers have shown during one of the darkest times in our memory is simply inspiring. Performers are reinventing themselves and, with great courage and imagination, are keeping music alive. We know music is too important to give up. We know that, as people are forced to isolate, music is needed now more than ever before. We also know that, once the pandemic is over, music will be the great healer and will help us achieve “reconciliation and relief after immense suffering.” — Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez

MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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want to extend my gratitude to everyone taking part in this concert: the Aeolus Quartet, Apo Hsu, our fearless staff, board, and volunteers, and of course, you, our supporters and audience. The adaptability and flexibility we have all had to acquire and deploy in the past six months continues to amaze me in its magnitude. We are all learning new things to be able to function in these times: new technologies, new paradigms for programming and performance, and above all a new collective consciousness about how people of color, particularly Black and Indigenous people, as well as other marginalized groups experience our industry at all levels; and how we can move forward on a better, equitable path. We had an opportunity to look at our programs in re-imagining them for the digital stage, and I’m glad that Aeolus Quartet suggested Florence Price’s quartet. So many works by women and people of color lie in obscurity, as Price’s did until their revival by champions like Apo Hsu and her colleagues. How many more historically important figures and masterful compositions will we “discover” with a commitment to look beyond the established canon, kept immutable for so many centuries? I’ve been grateful for the process of unlearning and reconfiguration, aided as we are by this age of information, where it is possible to share knowledge and trace history more easily than ever. As we embark upon this season together, which will contain many new experiences and unexpected challenges and joys, I am grateful that above all we at Musica Viva NY have upheld our deeply-felt commitment to community, through the shared experience of transcendent music and our continued gatherings. Our connection to each other is what brings us through sadness and adversity, and I have never been as convinced of that as I am now. Thank you for being with us, for staying the course, and for helping ensure we will be here as a gathering space for music, for many seasons to come. — Danielle Buonaiuto, Executive Director —2—


Sunday, October 4, 2020 5pm Presented online

RECONCILIATION AND RELIEF The Aeolus Quartet Aeolus Quartet Nicholas Tavani, Rachel Shapiro, violins Caitlin Lynch, viola Alan Richardson, cello Presented by Musica Viva NY Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, Artistic Director

Program J.S. BACH (1685-1750). . . . . . . . . . Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut, BWV 334 FLORENCE PRICE (1887-1953). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . String Quartet in G Major I. Allegro II. Andante Moderato - Allegretto J.S. BACH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . O wir armen Sunder, BWV 407 BEN JOHNSTON (1926-2019). . . . . . . . . String Quartet No 4, “Amazing Grace” J.S. BACH. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Wo soll ich fliehen hin, BWV 148.6 BEETHOVEN (1770-1827). . . String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 95 “Serioso” I. Allegro con brio II. Allegretto ma non troppo III. Allegro assai vivace ma serioso IV. Larghetto espressivo - Allegretto agitato - Allegro

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ABOUT THE PROGRAM Reconciliation and Relief Composer Ludwig van Beethoven was born in 1770, and the classical music industry, ever anxious for a hook, was in the midst of commemorating this 250th anniversary when Covid-19 derailed the global celebrations. The cynical among us wondered why volubly celebrate an oft-celebrated composer, who, while great, hardly lacked for untrammeled attention, birth year or not. And yet, there is something to taking a second (or third or hundredth look) at this composer, especially through the lens offered here, a chance not to just hear his music but to hear this austere lion of the Great Metanarrative of Western Musical History’s place in it all. So, justly, rather than celebrate one composer directly, the Aeolus Quartet offers, in a concert entitled Reconciliation and Relief, a fanning out from Beethoven to a Beethovenian notion of reuse—what one composer does with source material not their own, especially material drawn from local folk traditions. How do artists react? How do they recontextualize? How do they make something their own? “Not Brook but Ocean should be his name,” Beethoven was to have said about Johann Sebastian Bach (whose name in fact means “brook” in German), a vast, non-navigable totality. Of course such talk is hyperbole—Bach, like Beethoven, was a person, albeit a fiendishly gifted one—but when it comes to the “Three B’s” hyperbole is commonplace. But it can safely be claimed that when one goes to learn the Western Canon, one customarily begins at this pinnacle: “Study Bach,” Brahms is to have said, “there you will find everything.” It may be of some surprise that Bach did not write the melody for “Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut” (BWV 334) but rather made his piece from a Lutheran hymnal tune (which was common practice pre-copyright) with text and music most likely by Bartholomäus Ringwaldt, a German pastor and poet. The text invoked is standard penitent-before-Him fare (“Lord Jesus Christ, you highest good, you source of all mercy, see how in my spirit I am burdened with sorrows,” and the music in a somber minor key. The text to “O wir armen Sünder!” (BWV 407) is equally prostrate—“Harpless sinners are we! our offence is great!”—but here Bach, harmonizing a chorale by Martin Luther himself, opts for a gentle major key. The third and final interwoven Bach chorale “Wo soll ich fliehen hin” (BWV 148.6) (which translates to the all-too-meaningful query “Where shall I flee”) is Bach’s minor key take on a tune by the German scholar and composer Bartholomäus Gesius. “If,” writes Alex Ross in The New Yorker, “we are going to treat music as a full-fledged art form—and, surprisingly often, we don’t—we need to be open to the bewildering richness of everything that has been written during the past thousand years. To reduce music history to a pageant of masters is, at bottom, lazy. We stick with the known in order to avoid the hard work of exploring the unknown.” He is of course addressing —4—


ABOUT THE PROGRAM what can only be described as a craze that developed around the consequential “rediscovery” (meaning the unearthing of a tranche of manuscripts in a to-be-renovated house) of the spectacular composer Florence Price. And while her 1932 Symphony in E Minor garnered the lion’s share of the attention—with good cause—her chamber music, evidenced by this 1929 String Quartet in G Major, is as capable, gorgeously wrought, and imbued with as much spirit as any early 20th-century tonal work written. The work is cast in two movements (among the most challenging possible formal design) beginning with a rapturous Allegro and closing with a plangent, folk-song-soaked Andante Moderato; Allegretto. To call Ben Johnston (1926-2019) an avant-garde composer does not quite do him or his legacy justice, as his String Quartet No. 4 “Amazing Grace” bears out. He cut his compositional teeth working alongside lions of the Downtown New York experimental set like John Cage, and is the heir apparent to Harry Partch—capacious influence, original and unusual tunings, deep, Emersonian American-ness—especially in this quartet which pays homage, in a tumult of fashions, to that famous British-scribed but American-owned hymn. The kaleidoscopic, single-movement work approaches the source material with a wild, unpredictable set of techniques, never straying far but always journeying forward. And then we come to the destination, the composer who needs little introduction: Ludwig Van Beethoven, and his String Quartet No.11 in F minor, Op. 95, dubbed “Serioso.” If Beethoven’s work can be neatly divided into three periods, this is the latest of the middle quartets, one of the shortest of his sixteen, and kind of an object lesson in the transition from the Beethoven of the “Rassumovsky” quartets—reliant, like Florence Price and Ben Johnston would be, on folk materials, leaning away from the “classical” music of his more youthful period— to the wild, experimental, center-cannot-hold composer of the late works. It is cast in four movements, as was convention, but there is no slow movement, just slow sections, predictive of his later cashing out of the Mozart-Haydn formal designs for more expansive, less confined narratives. —Daniel Felsenfeld

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MEET THE ARTISTS

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ith performances acclaimed for both “high-octane” excitement (Strad) and “dusky lyricism” (The New York Times), the Aeolus Quartet has been awarded prizes at nearly every major competition in the United States and performed across the globe with showings “worthy of a major-league quartet” (Dallas Morning News). Formed in 2008, the Quartet is comprised of violinists Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violist Caitlin Lynch, and cellist Alan Richardson. Mark Satola of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes, “The quartet has a rich and warm tone combined with precise ensemble playing (that managed also to come across as fluid and natural), and an impressive musical intelligence guided every technical and dramatic turn.” The Aeolus Quartet has performed in venues ranging from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series to Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, to Dupont Underground, a subterranean streetcar station in DC’s Dupont Circle. They were the 2013-2015 Graduate Resident String Quartet at the Juilliard School and are currently Quartet-in-Residence at Musica Viva NY. In addition to extensive touring throughout the United States, the Quartet has recently been featured on “Inside Chamber Music” presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, at the Artosphere Festival hosted by the Walton Arts Center, and in the New York City premiere of chamber opera “Ellen West” at the Prototype Festival. The Aeolus Quartet has released two critically acclaimed albums of classical and contemporary works through the Longhorn/Naxos label which are available on iTunes, Amazon, and major retailers worldwide. Part of an ongoing series entitled Many-Sided Music, these albums promote the diversity and breadth of works by American composers. The Quartet has performed across North America, Europe, and Asia in venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Reinberger Recital Hall at Severance Hall, The Library of Congress, Renwick Gallery, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center. In addition, the quartet was recently featured on the hit Netflix show The Defenders. The Aeolus Quartet has been fortunate to collaborate with many of today’s leading artists, including Renee Fleming, Ida Kavafian, Joel Krosnick, Peter Wiley, Michael Tree, and Paul Neubauer. They studied extensively with the Juilliard, Guarneri, St. Lawrence, Cavani, and Miró Quartets. Other mentors include Peter Salaff, Donald Weilerstein, Itzhak Perlman, and Mark Steinberg. Members of the Quartet hold degrees from the Juilliard School, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the University of Maryland, and the University of Texas at Austin.

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he generates electricity from the podium in two directions: into the orchestra and into the audience.” —The Oregonian

Apo Ching-Hsin Hsu began her tenure as orchestra director at National Taiwan Normal University in the fall of 2003. In the summers since 2000, she has served as a guest faculty member of the Conductor’s Institute at Bard College in New York. Hsu previously served as music director and conductor —6—


MEET THE ARTISTS of the Springfield Symphony in Missouri; artistic director of the Women’s Philharmonic in San Francisco; and music director and conductor of the Oregon Mozart Players in Eugene, Oregon, after completing a three-year tenure as Affiliate Artist/NEA Assistant Conductor of the Oregon Symphony. In September 2001, Avon Women in Concert presented Ms. Hsu on tour in Brazil with the Women’s Philharmonic, performing an all-bossa nova program featuring works of the Brazilian poet Vinícius de Moraes. In spring 2000, producer Debbie Allen included Hsu and the Women’s Philharmonic in a series titled “Cool Women,” which was broadcast on U.S. cable television through the 2000–2001 season. Ms. Hsu and the Women’s Philharmonic recorded a CD featuring the symphonic music of African American composer Florence Price, which was released on the Koch International Classics label. Ms. Hsu has served on the faculties of the American Symphony Orchestra League Conducting Workshops, National Youth Orchestra Festival 2000, Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute 2002 and 2004, 2007 All State Orchestra in New Mexico, and 2009 All State Orchestra in Colorado. She has been a music review panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and Meet the Composer, and serves as a member of the Evaluation Committee at the CKS Center in Taipei.

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steemed conductor and pianist Dr. Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez was named Artistic Director of Musica Viva NY and Director of Music of the historic Unitarian Church of All Souls in Manhattan in 2015. He is also CoFounder of the New Orchestra of Washington and Artistic Director of the Victoria Bach Festival. He has earned accolades from The Washington Post as a conductor “with the incisive clarity of someone born to the idiom,” as well as praise from The New York Times for leading “a stirring performance” of Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem. At a concert commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the WWI Armistice (featuring the world premiere of Joseph Turrin’s cantata And Crimson Roses Once Again Be Fair) Oberon’s Grove wrote: “Maestro Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez drew rich, warm sounds from the musicians” in “a beautiful and deeply moving program.” He is featured in El mundo en las manos/Creadores mexicanos en el extranjero (The World in Their Hands/Creative Mexicans Abroad), a book by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs honoring Mexican nationals who are leading figures in diverse artistic fields. He is the recipient of a 2016 Shenandoah Conservatory Alumni of Excellence Award for his exemplary contribution to his profession, national level of prominence, and exceptional integrity. He resides in New York City and Washington, D.C.

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ounded in 1977, Musica Viva NY is a chamber choir of thirty professionals and highly skilled volunteers, based in Manhattan’s historic All Souls Church. Its mission is to bring world-class music to a widening community through its annual concert series, community engagement programs, and an ambitious artistic vision. Under the baton of Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez since 2015, Musica Viva NY has been praised by The New York Times as an “excellent chorus.” Musica Viva NY has toured in France (2004), Germany (2006) and Italy (2012). —7—


SAVE THE DATES FOR THE REST OF THE MUSICA VIVA NY 2020-2021 SEASON

November 15, 2020 at 5pm

Bachmaninoff: Spirituality and Beauty in Bach and Rachmaninoff

February 28, 2021 at 5pm

May 16, 2021 at 5pm

Female Voices and the Arc of Life

Misericordia: Barber, Britten, MacMillan

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MUSICA VIVA NY Staff Artistic

Administrative

Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez Conductor and Artistic Director Trent Johnson Assistant Director of Music

Danielle Buonaiuto Executive Director Bryan McNamara Administrator and Production Manager Dinah Nissen, Esq. Marketing Director Barbara de Bellis Librarian Hannah Nacheman Digital Marketing Consultant

Board of Directors Melanie Niemiec President Bill Bechman Vice President Winnie Olsen Secretary

Lisa O’Brien, Esq. Treasurer Constance Beavon Shu-Wie Chen Dinah Nissen, Esq. Harold Norris

Kate Phillips David Rockefeller, Jr. Thomas Simpson

Advisory Board Seymour Bernstein Laurel Blossom Renée Fleming

Galen Guengerich Susan Jolles Walter Klauss Artistic Director Emeritus

Jean-Louis Petit Bruce Saylor

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for photos, videos, and more facebook.com/musicavivany

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@musicavivany


MUSICA VIVA NY PATRON SUPPORT LEVELS FOR OUR 2020-21 SEASON

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ecome a Patron of Musica Viva NY today! We need your generous contributions to support the outstanding concerts and outreach programming of the Musica Viva NY choir and instrumentalists. There is a level for every budget, and you will enjoy special benefits as a measure of our thanks. Your contribution can be made as a one-time gift, or on a recurring basis.

PATRON LEVELS APPASSIONATO $10,000 and above ⚫ Up to four Musica Viva NY soloists will perform at your private event in the NYC area ⚫ Invitation to a dinner featuring a special performance by the Artistic Director ⚫ Invitation to special Patron reception ⚫ Six complimentary season subscriptions ⚫ Reserved seating CON FUOCO $5,000 to $9,999 ⚫ A Musica Viva NY soloist will perform at your private event in the NYC area ⚫ Invitation to a dinner featuring a special performance by the Artistic Director ⚫ Invitation to special Patron reception ⚫ Five complimentary season subscriptions ⚫ Reserved seating

CON BRIO $3,000 to $4,999 ⚫ Invitation to a dinner featuring a special performance by the Artistic Director ⚫ Invitation to special Patron reception ⚫ Three complimentary season subscriptions ⚫ Reserved seating RISOLUTO $1,000 to $2,999 ⚫ Invitation to special Patron reception ⚫ Three complimentary season subscriptions ⚫ Reserved seating ESPRESSIVO $500 to $999 ⚫ Invitation to special Patron reception ⚫ Two complimentary season subscriptions ⚫ Preferred seating CANTABILE $100 to $499 ⚫ Invitation to special Patron reception ⚫ Preferred seating DOLCE $25 to $99 ⚫ Acknowledgment in program at all levels — 10 —


MUSICA VIVA NY PATRONS 2020-21

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e are deeply grateful to our Patrons listed below for their support of our 2019-2020 season. Thank you for joining us! Your support for our outstanding Musica Viva NY artists, our high-caliber, innovative choral and chamber music performances, and our educational outreach is vital and essential. Kate Phillips Epp Sonin Karen Steele Deborah Taylor

Corporate and Foundation Support Gunleif Jacobsen and Thomas Simpson Charitable Fund The Ida & William Rosenthal Foundation

Cantabile $100 - $499

Appassionato $10,000 and above Susan & David Rockefeller, Jr. Melanie & David Niemiec

Con Fuoco $5,000 to $9,999 Jennifer Shotwell Tom Simpson Brenda Walker & Peter Swords

Con Brio $3,000 to $4,999 Catherine & Robert Brawer Shu-Wie Chen Dinah Nissen & Elizabeth Apelles Madonna K. Starr, in memory of Evelynn C. Gioiella Susan Witter

Risoluto $1,000 - $2,999 Constance Beavon Bill Bechman & Tom Garlock Stillman Brown & Meg Raftis Lisa & Richard Cashin Grace Cho & Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez George Dorsey Patricia T. Hayot & Ricardo A. Mestres Jr. Pamela Healey Kell Julliard and Harold Norris Winnie Olsen

Espressivo $500 - $999 Lynne & Richard Allen Jean & Shawn Bartels Barbara de Bellis, In Memory of Greta Minsky Heli & Tom Blum Robin Bossert Dixie Goss & Dan Cryer Lois Gaeta, In Memory of David Remember Baker Rev. Richard Leonard Carri Lyon, In Honor of Dinah Nissen

Sylvia Agostini Mark Barth, In Honor of Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez Michelle M. Boston Anne Brewer Judy Chang Sandra Lotz Fisher Joan Flesch, In Memory of Inez Miller June Freemanzon Mary Gundermann Barbara Hosein, In Honor of Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez Michele Rodin Jawin Peggy Kampmeier & Ed Harsh Carol Kirkman Margaret MacCary James Moskin Gayle S. Sanders Hanan Watson Jerilyn Watson Doug Wingo

Dolce $25 - $99. Shellie Bailkin Louise Barbrack Lindsey Blackhurst Danielle Buonaiuto Elizabeth Clancy, In Memory of Betty Clancy Catherine Corkill Ivana Edwards Christine Foland Millie & John Liebmann, Jr. Alexis G. & Ravi J. Lila G. McFarlin Bryan McNamara Tara McNamara Miriam Michel Pam Ondracek Andrew Troup

This list reflects gifts received from June 1, 2020 to September 21, 2020. — 11 —


SUPPORT MUSICA VIVA NY We are seeking to raise $100k through our VIVA LA MUSICA campaign to support our programming and our community engagement activities. To make a donation visit musicaviva. org/support-us or click here.

Match challenge - your donation to support our virtual concert costs will be matched up to $1500. As you know, both this concert and our November concerts are being presented virtually due to the public health crisis. Virtual events are complex. We need software and professional video editors and recording engineers to create the best possible listening experience. Two of our generous donors have committed $1500 to give us that extra push to make sure our virtual events are the best they can be - if you can help us MATCH that amount for a total of $3000. Click here to make a gift that will be matched.

To find out more about other ways to support Musica Viva NY (including employer matching, volunteering, and monthly giving) please contact our Executive Director at dbuonaiuto@musicaviva.org.

SPONSOR MUSICA VIVA NY There are many opportunities to play a role in bringing Musica Viva NY’s season to life as a sponsor, including: ⚫ Underwriting a concert ⚫ Underwriting the appearance of a professional singer or orchestra member ⚫ Underwriting an appearance by the Aeolus Quartet ⚫ Underwriting an intimate post-concert reception with the artists

Naming opportunities are available for sponsors. Contact Danielle Buonaiuto, Executive Director at dbuonaiuto@musicaviva.org. — 12 —


Musica Viva NY is extremely grateful for the following help with its 2020-21 season from:

All Souls Unitarian Church (www.AllSoulsNYC.org) for Musica Viva NY’s meeting, rehearsal, performance, and reception spaces as well as for the facilities and events staff who help make all productions run smoothly

Greater than One (www.greaterthanone.com) for Musica Viva NY’s website and publicity design

Heart & Soul Fund, Inc. for its longtime support of our outreach programming

Chamber Music Society of Detroit for its generous assistance with the Aeolus Quartet’s recording of this concert

Musica Viva NY 1157 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10075

212 794 3646 info@musicaviva.org

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Musica Viva NY: Reconciliation and Relief Program Booklet  

Concert Program Booklet Sunday, October 4, 2020 5pm Presented online RECONCILIATION AND RELIEF The Aeolus Quartet Nicholas Tavani, Rachel...

Musica Viva NY: Reconciliation and Relief Program Booklet  

Concert Program Booklet Sunday, October 4, 2020 5pm Presented online RECONCILIATION AND RELIEF The Aeolus Quartet Nicholas Tavani, Rachel...

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