Only at Merkin with Terrance McKnight: Ursula Oppens 75th Birthday Tribute*
*Not an AOP-Produced Event
Featuring the Cassatt String Quartet
Hosted by WQXR’s Terrance McKnight and showcasing some of the classical world’s most acclaimed and celebrated artists, these intimate evenings of insightful conversation and virtuosic performances will enlighten and inspire, deepening the audience’s understanding and appreciation of the music, the composers, and the artists’ creative process.
Three Works for Solo Piano, Written for Ms. Oppens
TOBIAS PICKER - Ursula (2018) World Premiere
ELLIOTT CARTER - Two Diversions (1999)
JOHN CORIGLIANO - Winging It, III 6/7/08
MAURICE RAVEL - String Quartet in F
LAURA KAMINSKY - Piano Quintet for Ursula World Premiere
Renowned pianist and five-time Grammy nominee Ursula Oppens performs solo piano works written for her by Elliott Carter, John Corigliano and Tobias Picker (World Premiere). The program also includes Ravel’s masterful, revolutionary String Quartet – his first and only string quartet – performed by the Cassatt String Quartet, one of the great ensembles of our age” (ConcertoNet).
Oppens and the Quartet will give the world premiere of a piano quintet by Laura Kaminsky, commissioned by the pianist for the occasion with production support from the Newburgh Institute for The Arts & Ideas. Cited in The Washington Post as “one of the top 35 female composers in classical music,” Laura Kaminsky’s music is “full of fire as well as ice, in an idiom that contrasts dissonance and violence with tonal beauty and meditative reflection…It is strong stuff” (American Record Guide).
Single tickets are $40 and a 3-concert subscription is $100; purchase here.
LAURA KAMINSKY CELEBRATES FRIENDSHIP WITH ONLY AT MERKIN PERFORMER URSULA OPPENS
"About my new Piano Quintet…it all comes to down to food, drink, and friendship. Ursula, my dear friend since the 1980s, when I presented her at The Town Hall for the premiere of Conlon Nancarrow’s Two Canons for Ursula, now celebrates her 75th birthday. Having had the distinct honor of eating borscht and drinking vodka with her in Russia when she premiered my Piano Concerto with the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic (under Maestro Jeffery Meyer), sharing a great after-meal with her following her New York premiere of my solo Fantasy at Bargemusic, it is only fitting that now we collaborate on a chamber work, the Piano Quintet, which she has generously commissioned (with the support of the Newburgh Institute For The Arts and Ideas). We are joined by my other friends in food, drink and music, The Cassatt String Quartet. With these four distinguished artists, I have shared many a lobster and glass of wine at their glorious Seal Bay Festival in Vinalhaven, ME, and, with Ursula, many great post-concert evenings at the Bar Thalia at Symphony Space, where the five of them first performed together. The new Piano Quintet, dedicated to Ursula on her birthday, will surely be followed by more good food and wine, and many years of devoted and delight-filled friendship. With gratitude to Amy Roberts Frawley and Terrance McKnight for inviting us to the stage at Merkin Concert Hall."