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The North/South Chamber Orchestra
April 24, 2017 @ 8:00 pm
On Monday evening April 24, the Grammy-nominated North/South Chamber Orchestra under the direction of its founder Max Lifchitz, welcomes spring with a free-admission concert featuring four inviting and invigorating works by composers from Peru and the US.
The program -- postponed from the original March 14 date because of the winterstorm Stella -- will introduce two works especially written for the occasion: Premonitions by New York-based Andrew Thomas and Octatonic Dances by the young Peruvian composer Gonzalo Garrido-Lecca. The recently departed Elizabeth Bell will be remembered with a performance of her Concertino for Chamber Orchestra, a work first performed by the ensemble in 2014. Max Lifchitz's Yellow Ribbons No. 40 will round off the evening.
When & where
Monday April 24, 2017 @ 8pm
Christ & St Stephen's Church, 120 West 69th Street
Since its inception in 1980, the North/South Consonance, Inc. has brought to the attention of the New York City public over 1,000 works by composers hailing from the Americas and elsewhere representing a wide spectrum of aesthetic views. Its activities are made possible in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; Women's Philharmonic Advocacy; the Music Performance Trust Fund; and the generosity of numerous individual donors.
Elizabeth Bell (1928-2016) attended Wellesley College and The Juilliard School where she studied with Vittorio Giannini and Peter Mennin. Described by the American Record Guide as “one of our country’s leading composers” and by Fanfare Magazine as “a fine composer whose instrumental music is particularly striking,”her works for voice, solo instruments, chamber ensembles and orchestra have been performed throughout the US and abroad.
Her Concertino for Chamber Orchestra is in three contrasting movements. Its musical language balances urban harmonic constructs with a well-defined sense of shape and direction. A recording of this work made in the presence of the composer is scheduled for release in the near future.
Gonzalo Garrido-Lecca incorporates in his style elements of Andean music blending the rich tradition of South American folk music with the latest trends of contemporary concert music. In addition to writing music for dance, theater and film, he has taught at the Music School of the Pontificia Universidad Católica in his native city of Lima, Peru.
Originally written as a framework for dancers and choreographers the concert version of Octatonic Dances follows the design of a three-movement symphony. The works' title points to the fact that the eight-note scale appears profusely throughout the piece and that the instrumentation of the score involves eight musicians.
Active as composer, pianist and conductor, Max Lifchitz has appeared on concert stages throughout Latin America, Europe and the US. Trained at Juiliiard and Harvard, Lifchitz was awarded the first prize in the 1976 Gaudeamus Competition held in Holland. His creative endeavors have earned the support of the ASCAP, Ford and Guggenheim Foundations.
His Yellow Ribbons No. 40 belongs to an ongoing series of compositions written as homage to the former American hostages in Iran. These compositions represent a personal way of celebrating the artistic and political freedom so often taken for granted in the West. The tragic events that befell New York City on September 11, 2001 convinced the composer that returning to work on this series begun in the early 1980’s was both appropriate and worthwhile. The work is in four movements: Distant Fanfare, Waging Peace, Days of Wrath and Reveries. It was written during the month of January 2005 to mark North/South Consonance’s 25th season.
Andrew Thomas studied with Karel Husa at Cornell University; with Nadia Boulanger in Paris; and with Luciano Berio, Elliot Carter, and Otto Luening at Juilliard. He has taught composition at the Pre-College Division of Juilliard School since 1970, directing the Division from 1994 to 2006. A much-sought-after pedagogue, he has lectured in Hong Kong, Guangzhou, the Guangxi Arts College in Nanning. Also active as pianist and conductor, has appeared in Seoul, South Korea, at the helm of the Prime Symphony Orchestra, the Suwon Philharmonic, and the Korean Symphony Orchestra.
Howard Kessler -- the composer's husband and artistic associate -- writes that Thomas' recently completed Premonitions "pays homage to the Latin music the composer secretly cherished as a teenager. The first movement evokes the tango, the second the bossa nova, and the third uses rhythms of the mambo and the rhumba. There is no percussion in the score, but the ensemble plays traditional Spanish rhythms, and Afro-Cuban drumming patterns. So, the entire band becomes a percussion ensemble."