A Tribute to the late Sir Roland Hanna



Thursday, January 23, 2002 at 8PM - Merkin Concert Hall

The New York Philomusica Chamber Ensemble will perform the third concert of its 31st season under the artistic direction of A. Robert Johnson-a tribute to the late jazz pianist and composer Sir Roland Hanna. The centerpiece of the program is the WORLD PREMIERE of Hanna’s arrangement for chamber ensemble of Duke Ellington’s piano concerto, New World A-Comin’, for solo piano, flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, 2 violins, viola, ’cello, bass, and drums. Hanna was to have performed but, with his untimely death, the concert will instead be dedicated to his memory and will be played by his former student, Jeb Patton.

Johannes Brahms provides another highlight with the Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115, for clarinet, 2 violins, viola, and ’cello, featuring Joseph Rabbai, a founding member of the ensemble whose eloquent musicianship and burnished tone informed its performances and recordings during the 1970's and ‘80's. The program opens with Haydn’s Divertimento in E, HobXV:34, for piano, violin and ’cello, and includes the U.S. PREMIERE of Michael Berkeley’s Chamber Symphony, for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, piano, violin, viola, ’cello and bass. The performers are Jeb Patton, piano; Susan Rotholz, flute; Gerard Reuter, oboe; Richard Goldsmith, clarinet/bass clarinet, Joseph Rabbai, clarinet; A. Robert Johnson, horn; Deborah Buck, Patrick Wood, violins; Ah Ling Neu, viola; Gregory Hesselink, ’cello; Gail Kruvand, bass, and Eddie Locke, drums.

The concert will take place on Thursday, January 23, 2002 at 8:00 p.m., in Merkin Concert Hall, Abraham Goodman House (129 West 67th Street) in New York City. It will be preceded by a Meet-the-Artists interview at 7:30 p.m., conducted by A. Robert Johnson with colleagues of Sir Roland discussing aspects of the similarities and differences in the worlds of classical and jazz music. A reception follows the performance.

Duke Ellington’s piano concerto, New World A-Comin’, dates from 1943. It expresses both Ellington’s deep spirituality and his advocacy of improved civil rights. Sir Roland was to have performed his arrangement, as well as the Haydn and Berkeley works, but his untimely death has intervened. His role as pianist will now be filled, on his recommendation, by his former student, Jeb Patton. The ensemble is dedicating the concert to Sir Roland’s memory out of love for his art, and for him as a great friend over many years, and as a musician who contributed significantly to America’s musical heritage in the realms of both classical and jazz music.

Joseph Rabbai, a founding member of New York Philomusica and currently principal clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, returns to the ensemble in a series of three programs that put his wonderful musicianship on display. He starts, no less, with one of the most revered pieces of the repertory for clarinet, the Brahms Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115. Rabbai’s long association with the New York Philomusica began with its inaugural concerts in 1971, with the performance and recording on the Vox label of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, the first American recording of a piece destined to become a classic. Mr. Rabbai is significant in the entire Mozart repertoire recorded on NY Philomusica Records.

New York Philomusica brings its New York audience the U.S. PREMIERE of the 1980 Chamber Symphony of Michael Berkeley, who is widely known and well regarded in the U.K. Scored for small ensemble, Chamber Symphony employs a mixture of classical and jazz traditions. The purely classical, and impish, Divertimento in E, Hob XV:34 of Joseph Haydn, opens the concert.

Upcoming New York City concerts include an artist showcase on March 20, and another Iain Hamilton Retrospective concert on May 8, all at Merkin Concert Hall at 8 p.m. New York Philomusica holds an additional annual concert series in Rockland County at the Nauraushaun Presbyterian Church, 51 Sickletown Road, Pearl River, NY. January 23rd’s program will be performed in Rockland County on the preceding Saturday, January 18th, at 8 p.m. For more information, call Orangetown Friends of Philomusica at (845) 359-5660.

NEW YORK PHILOMUSICA was founded in 1971 by A. Robert Johnson to provide a new and comprehensive model of presenting chamber music to the public, which has since been adopted by many chamber ensembles. The group helped pioneer the modern residency through its 1973 seven-week residency at Dartmouth College, followed by its New York City Metropolitan Subscription Concerts in all five boroughs (1975 - 1979) and New York State Capitol Region Residency(1979-1981). Always a breeding ground for the finest musicians, the ensemble has fostered the talent of such artists as Tim Eddy, Kim Kashkashian, David Jolley, David Krakauer, Robert Levin, Todd Phillips, and Bill Purvis early in their careers. The ensemble has performed concerts and master classes on three continents and been broadcast on radio and television. The centerpiece of all the ensemble’s activities is its annual concert series in New York City’s Merkin Concert Hall. Praised by critics worldwide, the ensemble’s range of programming includes its 1993 World Premiere of Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale with a new text by Kurt Vonnegut, the 1992 and 2002 premieres of works commissioned from John Harbison, the 1999 American premiere of Beethoven’s Concerto No. 4, for piano and string quintet, and numerous collaborations with renowned jazz pianist Sir Roland Hanna. New York Philomusica has provided sustained exposure to the music of three composers-Iain Hamilton, Jacob Druckman, and John Harbison-through its composer-in-residence program, the Featured Composer, created at the ensemble’s inception. The first American ensemble to record Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time, New York Philomusica is the only group ever to record the entire Mozart Divertimento catalogue. The Divertimento recordings were originally released by VoxBox Productions in 1975 and were followed by a release of Mozart Wind Serenades. Both titles were reissued in October 2002-with updated, comprehensive liner notes by New York Philomusica’s Artist Laureate, Mozart scholar Robert Levin-by the ensemble’s own label New York Philomusica Records. New York Philomusica Records now has 14 titles. TICKET PRICES for January 23rd are $25, $16 seniors/students, and $10 for groups of 10 or more. For information or tickets, call New York Philomusica at (212) 580-9933.

For press tickets, photographs, or further press information, please contact: Lori Diffendaffer or Kim Stanford at 212-580-9933

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: New York Philomusica Chamber Ensemble
  • Event Date: 1/23/2003
  • Subtitle: World Premiere arrangement of Duke Ellington piano concerto
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