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New Sounds® Live at Merkin Hall

On Thursday, February 7 at 8 PM, New Sounds® Live welcomes jazz pianist and composer Uri Caine to the Merkin Hall stage. Known for his re-interpretations of various composers and styles, Caine here tackles J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations filtering the masterwork through his own lens and spinning out a unique theme and variations. Caine has been praised as "knowing when to bend his beautiful borrowings and when to leave them be"(The Guardian). Dick Connette and Sonya Cohen are also "connoisseurs" of musical tradition. Performing together as "Last Forever," Connette and Cohen plunder the public domain in search of American folk music and other popular traditions to fuel their inspiration creating work that is at once hauntingly familiar and brand new. The Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center presents this performance in association with WNYC Radio. Hosted by WNYC Radio’s John Schaefer, this edition of New Sounds® Live will be broadcast live from the Merkin Hall stage on WNYC Radio (93.9 FM).

Merkin Concert Hall is located at 129 W. 67th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam. Single tickets to this event are $20. A 2-concert subscription is $32 (the second concert is on Thursday, April 11 at 8 PM with a Bang on a Can and Nora York and Ensemble). All tickets are available at the Box Office or by calling (212) 501-3330.

About Uri Caine

Uri Caine was born in Philadelphia and began studying piano there with Bernard Peiffer. He began playing in bands led by Philly Joe Jones, Hank Mobley, Johnny Coles, Mickey Roker, Odean Pope, Jymmie Merritt and Grover Washington. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and studied music composition with George Rochberg and George Crumb. While in school, he played with many of the visiting musicians including Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Benny Golson, Phil Woods, Donald Byrd, J. J. Johnson, Stanley Turrentine and Lester Bowie.

Since moving to New York City, Caine has recorded nine albums as a leader. His first two CDs, Sphere Music (JMT/ Polygram 1993) and Toys (JMT/Polygram 1995) paid homage to the great jazz pianists Thelonious Monk and Herbie Hancock. His third CD, Urlicht/Primal Light (Winter & Winter 1996), featured arrangements of the music of Gustav Mahler and won the international ‘‘Composer’s Hut" award for Best Mahler CD of 1997. Wagner in Venezia (Winter & Winter 1997), Blue Wail (Winter & Winter 1998) and Gustav Mahler in Toblach (Winter & Winter 1998) followed. In 1999 he released The Sidewalks of New York (Winter & Winter), a tribute to early Tin Pan Alley and, more recently, a version of Schumann’s Dichterliebe song cycle with Love Fugue (Winter & Winter 2000) and a new version of The Goldberg Variations (Winter & Winter 2000). A regular performer in several jazz groups and at major festivals, Caine also composed a ballet for the Vienna Volksoper, which premiered in June 2000.

About Last Forever

Last Forever is the creation of Dick Connette, a composer who has found an original and personal voice in a vocabulary of American traditional music. Out of fiddle tunes and field hollers, by way of Bo Diddley, Samuel Beckett and Steve Reich, Last Forever takes a new musical approach to the simplicity, clarity and eccentric beauty of American folk and popular music and storytelling traditions. By writing for a core ensemble of violin, spinet, hammer dulcimer and harmonium, supplemented by strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion, Connette evokes the traditional instrumental palette, while extending its timbral range. Last Forever’s 12 songs reflect the wide range of Connette’s interests, from his cover of Bo Diddley’s "Nursery Rhyme" to his treatment of Leadbelly’s field holler, "Ain’t Going Down to the Well No More". For his own work, he has drawn inspiration from the Sacred Harp tradition his affection for pop production and his background in New York’s downtown music scene.

Sonya Cohen grew up in Putnam Valley, New York, where her home was a regular stopover for folk and revival musicians. As the daughter of the New Lost City Ramblers’ John Cohen, and then granddaughter of composer Ruth Crawford Seeger and musicologist Charles Seeger, she was surrounded by an abundance of musical influences and opportunities. While attending college at Wesleyan, Sonya began her studies of South Indian Canatic singing, which she later continued in India. She has also studied and performed Russian and Bulgarian village songs with Ethel Raim. Sonya sang with members of the Seeger family at the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and on two of their recordings, Animal Folk Songs for Children, and American Folk Songs for Christmas. She was featured on Gary Lucas’ CD, Bad Boys of the Arctic, and sang with Jeb Loy Nichols on his CD, Lovers Knot. For the last ten years Sonya has been the voice of Last Forever.

About Merkin Concert Hall

Merkin Concert Hall is a division of the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center, which also includes the Lucy Moses School for Music and Dance and the Special Music School of America. A not-for-profit organization founded in 1952, the Kaufman Center occupies is own facility, the award-winning Abraham Goodman House, located in the heart of Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Through its three divisions, the Center is an unsurpassed cultural resource where people of all ages experience the joy of artistic creation, expression and appreciation.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Uri Caine and Last Forever
  • Subtitle: Jazz Pianist Uri Caine Revisits Bach’s Goldbergs and Last Forever Re-thinks American Folk
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