In the days following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, 50 years ago today, Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic performed Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” on national television. Bernstein later gave a speech memorializing Kennedy and responding the violence that took place: “We musicians, like everyone else, are numb with sorrow at this murder, and with rage at the senselessness of the crime. But this sorrow and rage will not inflame us to seek retribution; rather they will inflame our art. Our music will never again be quite the same. This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before. And with each note we will honor the spirit of John Kennedy, commemorate his courage, and reaffirm his faith in the Triumph of the Mind.” The full text of Bernstein’s speech can be found here. Bernstein dedicated his next work, his Kaddish Symphony, in memory of President Kennedy.
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of celebrated British composer Benjamin Britten. Concerts are taking place all over the world, including here at Lincoln Center. Tonight (and through Saturday), you can see Alan Gilbert lead the New York Philharmonic in two works: the rarely performed Spring Symphony and his Serenade. Tomorrow, catch a marathon of the complete string quartets by Britten at a 7:30pm concert by Chamber Music New York at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center. Looking for more Britten? Next month, Rob Kapliow leads a special "What Makes It Great" event devoted to Britten’s celebrated holiday choral work “A Ceremony of Carols” on December 9. If you want to learn more about Britten, visit the official centenary website here.
Basya Schechter: Songs of Wonder
Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 7:30pm
Target Free Thursdays
David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center
Frieda and Roy Furman Stage
A musical tribute to Abraham Joshua Heschel
Basya Schechter of Pharaoh’s Daughter presents her settings of the transcendent Yiddish poetry of the revered Jewish philosopher and civil rights activist, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. Basya is inventive, ethereal and powerful in her contemporary arrangements complete with string section, piano, percussion, harmonies and video translation projections by David Tirosh. The combination of Basya’s majestic voice, Heschel’s powerful poetry, and some of the finest musicians in the NYC Downtown carries us through a moving performance.
Blending a psychedelic sensibility and a pan-Mediterranean sensuality, Basya Schechter leads her band through swirling Hasidic chants, Mizrachi and Sephardi folk-rock, and spiritual stylings filtered through percussion, flute, strings and electronica. Her sound has been cultivated by her Hasidic music background and a series of trips to the Middle East, Africa, Israel, Egypt, Central Africa, Turkey, Kurdistan and Greece.
This past weekend, a dream team of opera singers (Stephanie Blythe, Joyce DiDonato, Renée Fleming, Matthew Polenzani, Susan Graham, Eric Owens,2013 Tucker Award Winner Isabel Leonard, among others) came together at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center to honor the centenary of the great American operatic tenor Richard Tucker. Missed it? Fear not! Live From Lincoln Center will broadcast this one-night only event on January 10 on PBS stations nationwide (though check your local listings). Read more here. (Photo: James Estrin/The New York Times)
What would it be like to listen to a string quartet in complete darkness? Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas tackled that concept in his String Quartet No. 3, “In The Dark,” which true to its name, will be performed by memory in total darkness by the JACK Quartet tomorrow night at Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival. Read this article by Alex Ross of The New Yorker to learn more about Haas’s quartet and why the composer likes the concept of heightened awareness. (Illustration by Chad Hagen/The New Yorker).
November 15, 1965: “Le Guichet,” a metal sculpture created by famed artist Alexander Calder in 1963, is dedicated and on display at the plaza entrance to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. This gift was made possible by Mr. and Mrs. Howard Lipman. Pictured: Calder with a scale model of his famous sculpture, courtesy Lincoln Center Archives