In-Studio with the Students Behind Open Note Pt. 1
Simone Dinnerstein: Hello, I'm Simone Dinnerstein sitting in for Bob Sherman. Tonight, we are in the studio with the talented musicians of the New York City student-led concert series, Open Note, here on the McGraw Family's Young Artists Showcase.
Tonight, on this edition of the McGraw Family's Young Artists Showcase generously underwritten since 1978 by the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Family Foundation, we are welcoming a group of feisty music students from The New School's Mannes School of Music into the studio. Partnering with Klavierhaus in Manhattan, and the Old Stone House in Brooklyn, this entrepreneurial collection of musicians have started their own concert series, Open Note. I've had the pleasure of being an advisor to the students as they make their way through the tangled web of concert presenting. There are so many interesting musicians involved in Open Note that we will be presenting two programs devoted to their music. Tonight. We will hear some of the student organizers as well as students who have performed on the series.
Let's begin the program with Israeli cellist, Tamar Sagiv. I first heard about Tamar when I was playing concerts last year with her teacher Matt Haimovitz. Matt talked about her creativity and versatility, and it's been wonderful to get the opportunity to hear Tamar numerous times through Open Note. Welcome, Tamar.
Tamar Sagiv: Hi Simone. Thank you so much for having me.
Simone Dinnerstein: Tell us a little bit about what you're going to play right now.
Tamar Sagiv: I'm going to start with the Sarabande from the second Cello Suite by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Simone Dinnerstein: Excellent. Can't wait to hear it.
MUSIC - Bach: Cello Suite No. 2 in D Minor, IV. Sarabande
Beautiful. That was Bach's Sarabande from the Cello Suite Number Two in D Minor, played by Tamar Sagiv. Now we are going to hear some more Bach, but this time on the piano by one of my own piano students, Efe Bagatur. Hailing from Istanbul, Efe had an unusually late start to his piano studies in his late teens, which really was only a few years ago since he's only 20. Let's listen to Efe perform Bach's Prelude and Fugue in G Major from the first book of his Well-Tempered Clavier.
MUSIC - Bach: Prelude and Fugue No. 15 in G Major, WTC Book 1, BWV 860
That was really wonderful counterpoint, coming out of Efe Bagatur playing Bach's Prelude and Fugue in G Major here in WQXR Studio. Efe, thank you for that wonderful performance.
Efe Bagatur: Thank you.
Simone Dinnerstein: Was it hard having your teacher watching you play?
Efe Bagatur: I'm used to it, but in some ways, I will never be used to it.
Simone Dinnerstein: Okay. Well, it was really great hearing you here. Thanks.
Efe Bagatur: Thank you.
Simone Dinnerstein: Continuing in the Bach mode, but switching gears to the 20th century, we are going to explore the music of American Composer George Rochberg who was a Mannes student himself. Pianist Georgi Lekov, a current student of Pavlina Dokovska and Vladimir Valjarevic at Mannes, will perform Nach Bach subtitled Fantasia for harpsichord, but let's have Georgi tell us a little more about this work and what we can expect. Hello.
Georgi Lekov: Thank you for the wonderful introduction. Nach Bach, as you said, in German means after Bach. And it's a fantasia for harpsichord originally written for that instrument by George Rochberg, commissioned by his friend Igor Kipnis in 1966. The manuscript at the time was designated only for the harpsichord. And later on, the score was revised in order to accommodate the piano, including dynamic markings, including pedaling and few passages that are supposed to be played on octave higher on the piano because of its range.
Simone Dinnerstein: And it includes some quotes of Bach in it.
Georgi Lekov: Yes. The quotes are from the Bach's Partita Number Six in E Minor.
Simone Dinnerstein: Yes. Very interesting. And he wrote it after suffering quite a loss, right?
Georgi Lekov: Yes. I think three years after his son died,
Simone Dinnerstein: his son passed away. At a young age, I believe.
Georgi Lekov: Yes.
Simone Dinnerstein: It was very tragic.
Georgi Lekov: 1963, I believe.
Simone Dinnerstein: Yeah. And, and before, before that, his style was very much a 12 tone, and then it really changed.
Georgi Lekov: Exactly. He abandoned it at, at the time. He thought that that's not the, the style's not enough for him to express his feelings. And later on, his music, I would classify it as almost like neo romantic. Mm-hmm. But definitely not surrealism.
Simone Dinnerstein: Almost like late Beethoven gone wild.
Georgi Lekov: Yeah. Yeah.
Simone Dinnerstein: Great. Well, I look forward to hearing you play it right now.
Georgi Lekov: Thank you.
Simone Dinnerstein: Here in the WQXR Studio.
MUSIC - Rochberg: Nach Bach
Fantastic. I don't think that the Bach E minor Partita will ever sound the same to me again after that. Um, that was Georgi Lekov in a dynamic performance of George Rochberg's Nach Bach. To finish off the first half of our concert, we will move back in time from Rochberg, but not quite as far back as Bach. Next, we will hear Scott Joplin's Bethena, A Concert Waltz.
I've always found this piece to be particularly poignant, but only recently read about the background surrounding its creation. Joplin suffered the terrible loss of his wife Freddie, only 10 weeks after their wedding in 1904. She was 20 years old and died of pneumonia. Joplin disappeared from the music scene, and Bethena was the first work that he published a year later. Now let us listen to Pianist Annie Wang perform it for us here in WQXR's studio.
MUSIC - Joplin: Bethena, A Concert Waltz
That was a very touching performance of Scott Joplin's Bethena, A Concert Waltz, played by Annie Wang. Thanks for coming here, Annie.
Annie Wang: Oh, thank you for having me.
Simone Dinnerstein: And, um, you're from Beijing and uh, what year are you in at Mannes?
Annie Wang: I'm second year undergrad.
Simone Dinnerstein: And tell, tell the listeners you have another interest other than piano. It's very unusual.
Annie Wang: Um, I don't, I wouldn't say it's unusual. It's just writing.
Simone Dinnerstein: Writing. But non-fiction writing in particular, right? Yes. So, you're doing, you're studying that at where, at the Lang School?
Annie Wang: Yes, I am. I'm actually a writing minor and thinking of double majoring, hopefully.
Simone Dinnerstein: Fantastic. And you write in English. So, do you also write in, in Mandarin?
Annie Wang: Man, I wish, but, um, it's just been very long and I'm getting very rusty, but I should try it.
Simone Dinnerstein: Okay. All right. Well, I look forward to reading some of your pieces in the future.
Annie Wang: Thank you.
Simone Dinnerstein: Thank you. You're listening to the McGraw Family's Young Artists Showcase on WQXR. I'm Simone Dinnerstein, and today we are listening to the musicians of the New York City student led concert series, Open Note. It's time for a quick break now. Then, I'll be back with more performances by these trailblazers here on the McGraw Family's Young Artists Showcase.
Welcome back. We are listening to musicians from Open Note, a concert series curated and performed by students at the Mannes School of Music. Next up is Californian flutist Olivia Chaikin, a student of Elizabeth Mann, who will perform a work by composer and member of the Mannes Composition faculty, Valerie Coleman. Hello, Olivia.
Olivia Chaikin: Hi. Thank you so much for having me.
Simone Dinnerstein: I'd love to hear a little bit about the piece you're about to play. Would you tell us a little bit about it?
Olivia Chaikin: Yes, of course. I'm going to be playing Valerie Coleman's Danza de la Mariposa. It is for solo flute, so without any accompaniment. It is a melodic tone poem that she wrote, and it is supposed to give a tour of South Africa is what she writes in her program notes and mainly tracking the migration path of butterflies.
Simone Dinnerstein: Okay, well looking forward to hearing it.
MUSIC - Coleman: Danza de la Mariposa
That was a very evocative performance of Valerie Coleman's Danza de la Mariposa, played by flutist Olivia Chaikin. Thank you, Olivia.
Olivia Chaikin: Thank you so much for having me.
Simone Dinnerstein: I noticed that you had some very interesting techniques in there. Were you singing While you were playing?
Olivia Chaikin: Yes. I was using my vocal cords to sing at one-point different notes while I was playing very different things.
Simone Dinnerstein: That sounds incredibly complicated.
Olivia Chaikin: Yes, it took a long time to learn, but it's very fun.
Simone Dinnerstein: Worth learning.
Olivia Chaikin: Yes.
Simone Dinnerstein: Thank you.
Olivia Chaikin: Thank you.
Simone Dinnerstein: Now we are going to hear another young Californian play, a little Beethoven. Pianist John Gibb, a student of Ursula Oppens, will perform the second movement of the Sonata Number 27 in E Minor Opus 90.
This movement shows the tenderest side of Beethoven, and it always brings back happy memories for me. When my son was a baby, we had a mobile in his crib that would play this beautiful melody. Let's listen to it now.
MUSIC - Beethoven: Piano Sonato No. 27 in E Minor, Op. 90, Movement II.
That was a truly beautiful performance of the second movement of Beethoven's Sonata, Opus 90, played by pianist John Gibb. John, thank you so much for playing that.
John Gibb: Thank you for having me.
Simone Dinnerstein: I know that you, you said you were performing it last year at school, is that correct?
John Gibb: Yeah.
Simone Dinnerstein: What year are you in?
John Gibb: I'm in my third year.
Simone Dinnerstein: Nice. And, um, have you played much Beethoven? I'm just curious.
John Gibb: I, yeah. It's sort of the period of Beethoven that I'm very, that I'm most fond of, especially Opus 92, sort of 110 or so.
Simone Dinnerstein: Oh, you don't go to 111's
John Gibb: and 111, but I'm,
Simone Dinnerstein: you stop at 110
John Gibb: to talk about 110's, you know? But um, yeah, so I, I just I eat everything up from that period. So just to be able to play that on the radio. You know, one of his most tender sonatas from his most tender period, in my view, quite a privilege.
Simone Dinnerstein: Wow. It was a privilege for us to listen to it. Thank you. And to wrap up the program, we will hear the wonderful young Connecticut clarinetist Taig Egan, a student of John Manasse. Taig is one of the organizers of Open Note, and I would love for him to share a little more about the series. Welcome Taig.
Taig Egan: Thank you for having me, Simone.
Simone Dinnerstein: Tell us a little bit about this series and how is it different than other series in New York City? Like how do you determine who's going to play the concerts?
Taig Egan: So, the thing about Open Note, and I think this has been mentioned, is that it's entirely student run. The way we determine who plays is very democratic. It's sort of like getting tickets to a Beyonce concert. There's a time that the signup sheet comes out and you have to be there, and you sign up. And a big part of the the organization is that we think it's important for students to decide when they feel that they're ready to perform, rather than, you know, having, having a green lit by a committee or or a faculty member. It’s, Open Note, is a place for students to decide they're ready and to share their music with their peers, their colleagues in the community.
Simone Dinnerstein: So, it's almost like an open mic in a way.
Taig Egan: Exactly, yes. And there was certainly that thought when we decided on that name.
Simone Dinnerstein: And you're completely outside of the school too, right? You're doing it outside in different venues.
Taig Egan: Absolutely.
Simone Dinnerstein: Wonderful. Um, and I know that there are 10 organizers that are part of it, and everybody has a different job. What, what's your job?
Taig Egan: I run the signup sheets. I make the little Google, Google things, and I also coordinate the performers who, uh, play at our Old Stone House venue.
Simone Dinnerstein: Great. Wonderful. Well, um, let's hear some music now. We're going to welcome back John Gibb to the piano, and he's going to join Taig in performing André Messager's Solo de Concours.
MUSIC - Messager: Solo de Concours
Wow, what a fiery end to a very beautiful piece. That was André Messager's Solo de Concours, performed by clarinetist Taig Egan with pianist John Gibb. Um, wonderful. And um, before we close tonight's program, Taig and John have a beautiful encore to send us off into the night. Debussy's The Girl with the Flaxen Hair.
MUSIC - Debussy: The Girl with the Flaxen Hair
Lovely. That was The Girl with the Flaxen Hair by Claude Debussy in a poetic performance by clarinetist Taig Egan and pianist John Gibb. Thank you so much, guys. Uh, I've, this is now the second time I've heard you play together. I heard you play the Bernstein Sonata together too, and you have a beautiful, um, chemistry, musical chemistry together. So, I hope to hear more together again in the future.
You've been listening to the young musicians of Open Note, a concert series curated and performed by students from the Mannes School of Music in partnership with Klavierhaus and the Old Stone House. That completes this week's edition of the McGraw Family's Young Artist Showcase, which is generously underwritten on WQXR by the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Family Foundation. Here's Terry McGraw with more.
Terry McGraw: Good evening, everyone. It's great to be with you, and it's always great being with the Young Artists Showcase and to hear these really wonderful and inspiring musicians as they continue to share their incredible gifts with us every week. I can't wait to hear the fabulous talent coming up on the showcase, and I am so pleased to be able to support the series all through its well over four decades on WQXR, and there's so much more to come.
Simone Dinnerstein: Thank you, Terry. Next week we'll be back with more performances from the Open Note musicians, including Debussy, Bellini, and an original composition by student Tamar Sagiv. Many thanks to WQXR program producers Eileen Delahunty, Max Fine, and Laura Boyman with production assistance by Maya Cassady.
Our session engineer is Irene Trudel and our generous program underwriter is the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Family Foundation. I'm Simone Dinnerstein. Goodnight.
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