Reflections in Music is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring in new audiences of all ages and backgrounds to classical music, and to present our audiences with original, thought-provoking programming that might spark new ways of thinking about and engaging with the musical experience.
One way we seek to accomplish our mission is by presenting interdisciplinary programs of music interacting with other art forms.
For example, during the depths of the pandemic, we presented an online mini-festival, Reflections on Poetry and Inspiration, consisting of three programs. The first program, (Mostly) Music Inspired by Poetry, featured musicians, composers, artists, actors and dancers all performing work inspired by poetry. The second program was the opposite, with a slate of acclaimed poets, including poet laureate Robert Pinsky, responding to the work of three contemporary composers performing their own music. Our third program featured young musicians performing work inspired by poetry, providing a unique performing opportunity for these talented young musicians.
The enthusiastic response from our audience was gratifying. In fact, we found that this approach may have another welcome effect besides drawing people into music. As one of our viewers wrote us:
"Reflections could well have the effect that people (like me) who are immediately drawn into the music may be prompted into poetry or dance…"
Another way we seek to accomplish our mission is to present music as an expression of an idea. For example, our return to live concerts was last October, a concert entitled Music in Response to Climate Change, presenting the premieres of two cello sonatas written by our artistic director Bruce Wolosoff. Composed during the height of the pandemic, these sonatas offer two meditations on climate change and global crises. Requiem for the Planet is a four-movement work that considers the prospect of irrevocable loss, while Paradise Found was written as an affirmation of the preciousness of life. Joining the composer was world renowned cellist Sara Sant'Ambrogio, a Grammy-award winning cellist and founding member of the Eroica Trio.
Another way we seek to accomplish our mission is by combining music with discussion and teaching, in hopes of increasing the understanding and knowledge of the listener and suggesting new ways of hearing and understanding music. In this, we are fortunate that our artistic director brings the knowledge and experience of the composer as well as the interpretive skills of the pianist.
This winter we presented a live program by Mr Wolosoff on the music of Claude Debussy. During this performance, Mr. Wolosoff explained, described, speculated about and discussed each piece as he played sections of it, putting the music into the context of the culture and composing norms of the times when it was written, and followed each presentation with a performance of the entire piece.
After this concert, Mr. Wolosoff received a note from a mother who had attended the program with her young daughter, saying that her daughter asked to come to the next Reflections concert because she feels that "her third eye was opened" at the Debussy concert. She’s been listening over and over to The Sunken Cathedral.
Our next season will include a series of presentations by Mr. Wolosoff entitled "How to Listen,” in which he will teach people how to listen to music with an insider’s understanding of its basic elements.
Our live concerts have been very successful and have had sold out audiences. We have also presented many online programs, which began as a necessity during the pandemic. We will continue presenting programs online as we move forward, partly because they allow us to collaborate with other artists who may not easily assemble in one place, and also because they enable us to bring these programs to a wide and varied audience, including people who are new to music and the arts as well as those already immersed in the musical experience, which is such an important part of our mission.
For example The World is Still Beautiful was a recent on-line performance with a film of Mr Wolosoff's cello sonata Paradise Found from the live concert, along with music by saxophonist Hayes Greenfield, a performance by the New York City Ballet, art work by April Gornik, and the playing of a Franz Schubert piece by Mr Wolosoff.
When times are dark, the artists in a society remind us of the beauty of this world, and in so doing, give us hope for renewal.
BRUCE WOLOSOFF is a pianist and internationally performed composer of solo, chamber, and orchestral music. Lauded as “an authentic American voice” by critic Thomas Bohlert for his integration of classical, jazz, blues, and contemporary influences, Wolosoff often composes in response to visual art and through collaborations with leading artists across a variety of disciplines.
Recent projects include a Billboard Top 10 chart recording of two cello sonatas, Paradise Found and Requiem for the Planet, for Avie Records with cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio of the Eroica Trio; a double concerto for violinist Michael Guttman and cellist Jing Zhao; and Lacrymae for cellist Inbal Segev’s “20 for 2020” project.
Photo Credit: Jaime Lopez
Upon its release in 2019, the recording of Wolosoff’s “Concerto for Cello and Orchestra,” performed by Sant’Ambrogio and Grzegorz Nowak with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, also reached the Billboard Top 10 classical chart. Critic Jerry Dubins of Fanfare Magazine described the concerto as one of “compelling beauty” that “can be declared an instant masterpiece.” Wolosoff joined Ms. Sant’Ambrogio in another recording, for April, a work for cello and piano inspired by the charcoal drawings of April Gornik. In honor of the Roswell Artists-in-Residence Program’s 50th anniversary, Wolosoff was commissioned to write The Astronomer’s Key, a piano quartet informed by the artwork of Milton Resnick. The Eroica Trio commissioned The Loom, a piece inspired by watercolors by Eric Fischl. These last three pieces were recorded by the Montage Music Society for the 2019 album “Creating Music Inspired by Visual Art.”
Wolosoff collaborated with the late choreographer Ann Reinking on two ballets: The White City, and
A Light in the Dark. The White City, based on the novel by Erik Larsen and made in partnership with Thodos Dance Chicago, enjoyed a two-season tour around the country. The Chicago Sun-Times named it “Best Dance of 2011.” A Light in the Dark, inspired by the lives of Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan, was nominated for an Emmy Award in Outstanding Achievement for Arts Programming. The Chicago Sun-Times described the production as “a feast for the senses,” Dance Magazine as “masterful,” and the Chicago Stage Standard as having “the hallmarks of an instant classic.”
Born in New York City in 1955, Wolosoff played in a variety of rock bands as a teenager while pursuing studies in classical piano performance. During his early career as a freelance classical pianist, Wolosoff’s debut recital earned a glowing review from then-New York Times music critic Tim Page, who wrote that “Mr. Wolosoff is an artist with ideas. He combines keen musical insight with a prismatic sense of tonal color.” Wolosoff began receiving wider acclaim as a composer with the release of Songs Without Words on Naxos American Classics, a collection of 18 divertimenti performed by the Carpe Diem String Quartet.
Wolosoff earned a B.A. from Bard College and an M.M. from the New England Conservatory. He lives on Shelter Island with his wife, the artist Margaret Garrett.