The Arts in Conversation
REFLECTIONS ON MATISSE
Saturday, June 18th, 2022
The Church, Sag Harbor
The Nightmare of the White Elephant by Matisse
Did you know that Henri Matisse practiced the violin every day, because, in addition to loving music, he believed that his daily instrumental practice kept him in the best possible shape for painting?
Our program "Reflections on Matisse" opens with Michelle Ross performing an improvisation and Adagio from Bach’s first violin sonata, a piece that Matisse loved.
Then we will feature the world premiere of Reflections artistic director Bruce Wolosoff's new quartet
3 Fantasies on Charcoal Drawings by Matisse, scored for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano. Bruce will be joined by clarinetist Narek Arutyunian, violinist Michelle Ross, and cellist Clarice Jensen in this performance.
The program will close with a set of compositions and improvisations by west coast based composer-pianist Jeremy Siskind inspired by pieces from Matisse's beautiful Jazz series of collages.
Clarinetist Narek Arutyunian is an artist who “reaches passionate depths with seemingly effortless technical prowess and beguiling sensitivity” (The Washington Post). As soloist with orchestra, his performances include the Copland Clarinet Concerto with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Alice Tully Hall, Artie Shaw’s Concerto for Clarinet with The Boston Pops, the Mozart Concerto with Oregon’s Newport Symphony and New York’s St. Thomas Orchestra, appearances with Prague Radio Symphony, the Kaliningrad Philharmonic, the Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra, and a recording of the Weber Concertino for clarinet with the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra.
As First Prize Winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions, Narek was presented in debut recitals in New York at Merkin Concert Hall and in Washington, DC at the Kennedy Center. He has also performed at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall and the Morgan Library and Museum in New York, Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and for the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, Lied Center of Kansas, Buffalo Chamber Music Society, Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, Weis Center for the Performing Arts, and Arizona Friends of Chamber Music. This season, Narek will perform as soloist with the Riverside Symphony and in recital once again at Arizona Friends of Chamber Music.
Narek has performed extensively in Australia, Asia, and in Europe, including at the Musée du Louvre in Paris and the Palazzo del Principe in Genoa. He has appeared at the Tanglewood Music Festival, Marlboro Music Festival, Juilliard’s ChamberFest, the New York Festival of Song, Krzyzowa Music Festival in Poland, and Germany’s Usedomer Musikfestival. He has also performed as both a clarinetist and Klezmer soloist for the Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish off-Broadway production. In addition, Narek recently performed and spoke at the House of Representatives in Boston, Massachusetts for the 104th Anniversary Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.
Born in Armenia, Narek’s family moved to Moscow when he was three. As a teenager, he won First Prizes in the International Young Musicians Competition in Prague and the Musical Youth of the Planet Competition in Moscow. He graduated from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory as a student of Evgeny Petrov, received a Bachelor’s degree from The Juilliard School, where he worked with Charles Neidich, and then earned a Master’s Degree with Mr. Neidich at the Manhattan School of Music on a Leon Russianoff Memorial Scholarship.
Michelle Ross is a violinist, composer, and multi-instrumental improviser. A protege of Itzhak Perlman-turned-multidisciplinary artist, Michelle is known for her debut album, pop-up project and blog Discovering Bach: Complete Sonatas and Partitas of J.S. Bach. Michelle can most recently be heard featured on Movement 11’ of Jon Batiste’s GRAMMY winning Best Album of the Year: We Are. Passionate about expanding the bounds of contemporary music as both a creator and performer, Michelle is a member of Ensemble Échappé, a guest with International Contemporary Ensemble, co-curator of Lucerne Festival Forward and faculty at Lucerne Festival Contemporary. Michelle was recently the soloist in Arvo Pärt’s Fratres with James Blachly and EXO at the Met’s Temple of Dendur celebration of Arvo Pärt. Collaboration highlights also include Bach Double with Itzhak Perlman, Michael Tilson Thomas and San Francisco Symphony, guest concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and Mahler Chamber Orchestra, leading the LFCO with Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Teodor Currentzis at The Shed, and Musicians from Marlboro tours. Recent album releases also include her solo cello composition “The Whale Song,” for Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir, and her featured performances on Samuel Adler: Chamber and Instrumental Music. Michelle is the recipient of the 2012 Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund, and was recently Artist-in-Residence at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Michelle holds degrees from the Juilliard School and Columbia University.
Photo by Katya Wolosoff
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 recording of two cello sonatas for Avie Records with cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio of the Eroica Trio; a double concerto for violinist Michael Guttman and cellist Jing Zhao; and a commission for cellist Inbal Segev’s “20 for 2020” project. The 2019 release of his “Concerto for Cello and Orchestra,” performed by Sant’Ambrogio and Grzegorz Nowak with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, reached the Billboard Top 10 classical chart. Additional commissioners have included ETHEL, the Eroica Trio, the Montage Music Society, the Roswell Artists-in-Residence Program, and more. Additionally, Wolosoff collaborated with choreographer Ann Reinking on three ballets: The White City, A Light in the Dark, and Darkling, I Listen.
You can read his full biography and learn more at brucewolosoff.com.
Photo by Naoko Maeda
Clarice Jensen is a composer and cellist based in Brooklyn, NYC who graduated with a BM and MM from the Juilliard School. As a solo artist, Clarice has developed a distinctive compositional approach, improvising and layering her cello through shifting loops and a chain of electronic effects to open out and explore a series of rich, drone-based sound fields. Pulsing, visceral and full of color, her work is deeply immersive, marked by a wonderful sense of restraint and an almost hallucinatory clarity. Meditative yet with a sculptural sharpness and rigor that sets it apart from the swathe of New Age / DIY droners, she has forged a very elegant and precise vision.
Her music has been described by Self-Titled as “heavily processed, incredibly powerful neo-classical pieces that seem to come straight from another astral plane”; by Boomkat as “languorously void-touching ideas, scaling and sustaining a sublime tension”; whilst Bandcamp remarked upon “a kaleidoscope of pulsing movement rich in acoustic beating and charged with other psychoacoustic effects, constantly shifting in density and viscous timbre.”
Jensen’s striking debut album For This From That Will Be Filled was released in April 2018 on the Berlin-based label Miasmah and followed in September 2019 with the "Drone Studies" EP, a cassette release via Geographic North. Signing to FatCat’s 130701 imprint (Max Richter, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Hauschka, Dustin O’Halloran, etc.) in late Summer 2019, her sophomore album The experience of repetition as death was released April 2020. Naming it among the top 50 albums of 2020, NPR remarked "This collection of requiems for a dying mother ranks among the great ambient albums of the 21st century."
Jensen recently scored three feature films - Amber Sealey's No Man of God premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival; Takeshi Fukunaga's Ainu Mosir, premiered at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival; Fernanda Valadez's 2020 Sundance Film Festival award-winner Sin Señas Particulares (Identifying Features), for which Jensen was nominated for a 2021 Ariel Award for Best Original Music by the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences.
A versatile collaborator, Jensen has recorded and performed with a host of stellar artists including Jóhann Jóhannsson, Max Richter, Björk, Stars of the Lid, Dustin O’Halloran, Nico Muhly, Taylor Swift, Michael Stipe, the National and many others. In her role as the artistic director of ACME (the American Contemporary Music Ensemble), she has helped bring to life some of the most revered works of modern classical music, including pieces by Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Gavin Bryars, and more.
Pianist-composer JEREMY SISKIND is “a genuine visionary” (Indianapolis Star) who “seems to defy all boundaries” (JazzInk) with music “rich in texture and nuance” (Downbeat). A top finisher in several national and international jazz piano competitions, Siskind is a two-time laureate of the American Pianists Association and the winner of the Nottingham International Jazz Piano Competition. Since making his professional debut juxtaposing Debussy’s Etudes with jazz standards at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, Siskind has established himself as one of the nation’s most innovative and virtuosic modern pianists.
Siskind’s multifaceted career often finds him combining musical styles and breaking aesthetic norms. As the leader of “The Housewarming Project,” Siskind has not only created “a shining example of chamber jazz” (Downbeat) whose albums often land on critics’ “best of the year” lists. He’s also established himself as a pioneer of the in-home concert movement by presenting well over 100 in-home concerts in 26 states. In 2020, the Housewarming Project was a winner of a $30,000 grant from Chamber Music America's New Jazz Works program (supported by the Doris Duke Foundation).
On the 2020 duo album, Impressions of Debussy, Siskind explores Debussy’s Preludes through improvisation with saxophonist Andrew Rathbun. Similarly, his 2019 book-CD project, Perpetual Motion Etudes for Piano, blurs the line between classical, through-composed, piano etudes and jazz-based improvisations and invites other pianists to do the same through a beautifully self-published work that includes “Optional Improvisation Instructions” for each piece. Siskind has been experimenting with performing the pieces in collaboration with classical pianists, including Grammy-winner Angelin Chang, and through university residencies. Other projects include writing concert arrangements for rising star soprano Julia Bullock, composing the theme song for the 2017 Obie Awards, and serving as musical director for noted comediennes Lea DeLaria and Sandra Bernhard.
A highly-respected educator, Siskind has written 13 publications with Hal Leonard, including the landmark instructional books Jazz Band Pianist, Playing Solo Jazz Piano and First Lessons in Piano Improv. His self-published instructional book, Playing Solo Jazz Piano, which includes an introduction from jazz piano legend Fred Hersch, is generally one of the top 50 best-selling jazz books on Amazon.com. He currently teaches at California’s Fullerton College, chairs the National Conference for Keyboard Pedagogy’s “Creativity Track,” and spreads peace through music in places like Lebanon, Tunisia, and Thailand with the non-profit organization, Jazz Education Abroad. Jeremy Siskind is a Yamaha artist.