1. #MusicMonday: Is this the sound of genius? Behold the Andalusian Cadence. Never heard of it? Perhaps, but you sure have heard it! It’s a simple sequence of four notes—in the key of A major, it would be A, G, F, E—and it’s been used from the Renaissance to Rihanna, with Beethoven, Mozart, the Beatles, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan and Green Day in between. Listen to 50 different examples of Andalusian Cadence from our friends at WNYC Radio. Is that genius? We think so. #thatsgenius

    #MusicMonday: Is this the sound of genius?

    Behold the Andalusian Cadence. Never heard of it? Perhaps, but you sure have heard it! It’s a simple sequence of four notes—in the key of A major, it would be A, G, F, E—and it’s been used from the Renaissance to Rihanna, with Beethoven, Mozart, the Beatles, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan and Green Day in between.

    Listen to 50 different examples of Andalusian Cadence from our friends at WNYC Radio.

    Is that genius? We think so. #thatsgenius

  2. The Brentano String Quartet and Vijay Iyer give the world premiere of Time, Place, Action for Da Camera of Houston, Feb 15, 2014. Photo from @theeastenders.

    A new piece takes flight at 92Y

    Grammy-nominated composer-pianist Vijay Iyer comes to 92Y this Saturday to give the New York premiere of his new work, Time, Place, Action, for Piano and Strings, with the Brentano String Quartet. The music is inspired in part by the improvisation dance form, “flocking,” where a group takes its collective cue from a leader, like birds in migration.

    Yet throughout the piece, Iyer notes that performers may add their own dynamic, rhythm and energy through interpretation, making each performance thoroughly unique. Check out this exclusive preview of the score of Time, Space, Action, and be sure to join us Saturday to see and hear what “flocking” is all about!

  3. Rosalyn Tureck performing Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in A minor BWV 895, from 1962.

    Tomorrow, Dec 14, is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great Bach pianist and authority Rosalyn Tureck. Dec 14 is also the recital of Sharon Isbin at 92Y, dedicated to Tureck, Ms. Isbin’s friend, mentor and scholarly collaborator. She wrote this tribute.

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  4. Performing at the White House is a career highlight for any artist. For guitarist Sharon Isbin, it came November 9, 2009, with President and Mrs. Obama in the audience.
Ms. Isbin performed two works that she’ll also play at her 92Y recital this Saturday night: Albéniz’ iconic Asturias and Barios Mangore’s Waltz in D major, Op. 8, No. 4.
BTW: the piano in the background is the White House 1938 Steinway with gilt American eagle supports, designed with help from Franklin Roosevelt.

    Performing at the White House is a career highlight for any artist. For guitarist Sharon Isbin, it came November 9, 2009, with President and Mrs. Obama in the audience.

    Ms. Isbin performed two works that she’ll also play at her 92Y recital this Saturday night: Albéniz’ iconic Asturias and Barios Mangore’s Waltz in D major, Op. 8, No. 4.

    BTW: the piano in the background is the White House 1938 Steinway with gilt American eagle supports, designed with help from Franklin Roosevelt.

  5. How does an artist create a recital program? On Tue, Dec 3, Chinese guitarist Xuefei Yang will give the second concert in the new 92Y at SubCulture series. She’s written an introduction to her program explaining her selections and her feelings towards the music.
My program takes you on a musical journey from the 1600s through 2013, and across Europe, South America and Asia. Along the way I will showcase three pieces that are considered 20th century masterworks for the instrument and give the world premiere of a piece from my homeland China.
The first half features the music of Benjamin Britten and Schubert. The year 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the British composer Benjamin Britten. He wrote just one piece for solo guitar, Nocturnal after John Dowland, for the British guitarist Julian Bream. It is based on the theme of sleep, and dreams. It is one of the most important pieces written for the instrument. I love this piece and want to play it for you in this centenary year.
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Britten’s Courtly Dances are from his opera Gloriana, set almost 500 years ago in the Royal Court of Queen Elizabeth I. In this anniversary year, I have transcribed the full set of dances for solo guitar. At first, I thought a couple of the dances were impossible to play, but I finally figured them out. So I hope you will agree with me that they work on the instrument and are a worthy addition to the guitar repertoire.
I always include a Romantic piece in my program, and this time I chose one of my all-time favourite Romantic composers, Franz Schubert whose music speaks to me directly. I have selected six of his songs, and I owe a debt of gratitude to the 19th century guitarist/composer Johann Kasper Mertz for these beautiful arrangements.
I will start the second half with the USA premiere of a piece (commissioned for me by Wigmore Hall in London) from the USA-based Chinese composer Chen Yi. I am very excited about this piece as it is the first I have received from a Chinese composer. It is based a Chinese folk-style called Shuo Chang which typically uses drums, singing and speaking to present a musical drama. This piece presents all these elements as a monodrama on a single guitar. I hope you will enjoy the sounds, colours and textures of this piece.
For the final two pieces of the second half, I chose two of the masterworks from the 20th century guitar repertoire. William Walton was a British composer who wrote these Five Bagatelles for Julian Bream. Although “Bagatelle” means a short, light piece, these are technically challenging to play. The pieces carry some of the warmth of the Italy, where Walton spent many years of his life.
The final piece is by Alberto Ginastera and written for Brazilian guitarist Carlos Barbosa Lima. His Sonata in four movements showcases and deconstructs the sounds, ambiance and rhythms of his native Argentina, ending in a frenzied and exciting finale to close the concert.

    How does an artist create a recital program? On Tue, Dec 3, Chinese guitarist Xuefei Yang will give the second concert in the new 92Y at SubCulture series. She’s written an introduction to her program explaining her selections and her feelings towards the music.

    My program takes you on a musical journey from the 1600s through 2013, and across Europe, South America and Asia. Along the way I will showcase three pieces that are considered 20th century masterworks for the instrument and give the world premiere of a piece from my homeland China.

    The first half features the music of Benjamin Britten and Schubert. The year 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the British composer Benjamin Britten. He wrote just one piece for solo guitar, Nocturnal after John Dowland, for the British guitarist Julian Bream. It is based on the theme of sleep, and dreams. It is one of the most important pieces written for the instrument. I love this piece and want to play it for you in this centenary year.

    Read More

  6. “200 years after their genesis, Beethoven’s quartets still hold tons of exciting questions for us.”
So says Rainer Schmidt, second violinist of the Hagen Quartet, in a Q&A with 92Y about the Quartet’s first complete Beethoven string quartet cycle in North America, currently underway. In its review of the Quartet’s first concert on Nov 7, The New York Times raved, “in the rich history of Beethoven cycles, this shapes up as a standout.”
The cycle continues Thu 14, Sat 16, & Sun 17.

    “200 years after their genesis, Beethoven’s quartets still hold tons of exciting questions for us.”

    So says Rainer Schmidt, second violinist of the Hagen Quartet, in a Q&A with 92Y about the Quartet’s first complete Beethoven string quartet cycle in North America, currently underway. In its review of the Quartet’s first concert on Nov 7, The New York Times raved, “in the rich history of Beethoven cycles, this shapes up as a standout.”

    The cycle continues Thu 14, Sat 16, & Sun 17.

  7. We visited pianist Jonathan Biss in his home for talk about Beethoven Sonatas, how he came to play the piano, and the pleasure of performing with his mother.

    Listen to Biss and his mother Miriam Fried, “a glorious combination,” perform at 92Y on Nov 2.

  8. In 1987 Andrés Segovia presented two guitars to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for its Musical Instruments Collection: his 1912 Ramirez and 1937 Hauser. He began his career with the Ramirez, but it was with the Hauser that he defined a “classical guitar” sound and established his instrument as a major force in classical music.

    92Y’s Benjamin Verdery sits down with the curators of the Musical Instruments Collections—J. Kenneth Moore and Jayson Kerr Dobney—in front of the case containing the Segovia Guitars to discuss Segovia, the instruments, and his lasting legacy.

    The conversation was a prelude to 92Y’s “An American Tribute to Segovia,” a concert on Oct 26, 2013, led by Verdery and featuring Eliot Fisk, Oscar Ghiglia, Christopher Parkening and others.

  9. Guitar legend Andrés Segovia played at 92nd Street Y twice, on February 27, 1938 and March 10, 1980. This rare recording, released for the first time today, features the 1980 concert which was scheduled on short notice after an unexpected cancellation by the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.

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  10. Y Beethoven? This is Why Beethoven, according to Shai Wosner, Orli Shaham, Julien Labro, Jonathan Biss, Benjamin Hochman and Jenny Lin.

    “It’s not been possible to be a composer since 1827,” Biss told us, “without having something to say about Beethoven, like it or not.”

    We want to hear from you, too. Tell us, Why Beethoven? We’ll feature your comments on our Tumblr and Twitter, using the hashtag #YBeethoven.

    The brilliant Hagen Quartet brings the complete Beethoven cycle to 92Y in November.