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Three Programs for Europe - October 2005

1. J.S. Bach: The Goldberg Variations

Michael Arnowitt is well-known for his interpretations of the music of Bach. He has performed the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I in its entirety in concerts in New York City and Boston, and has played keyboard concertos of Bach with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Kiev Chamber Orchestra. Louis Moyse, the internationally-known flutist and composer now in his 90’s well known for his powerful Bach performances, says: “During my long musical career, I have met few really great artists in the various disciplines of the field and I am very pleased to name Michael Arnowitt, pianist and musician as one of them. He expresses his art on the highest level. I have great respect for his interpretations and his way to communicate to any audience his feelings through his love for music.”

2. A Program of Contemporary American Music

Michael Arnowitt performs major piano compositions by American composers spanning the past 35 years, including two sets of pieces with a European connection, Allen Anderson’s “Drawn from Life” and Eric Lyon’s “Six European Lullabies.” Other works on the program are Martin Boykan’s “Fantasy-Sonata,” Robert Helps’ “Quartet for Piano,” in which the 88 keys of the piano are divided into four equal groups of 22 keys each, Larry Polansky’s “Suite from Lonesome Road,” based on Ruth Crawford’s four-part harmonization of an American folksong, and George Crumb’s recent “Eine Kleine Mitternachtmusik (A Little Midnight Music),” a set of theme and variations on Thelonius Monk’s atmospheric jazz ballad, ’Round Midnight. A new composition by Dennis Báthory-Kitsz, “Syrens of the Collective Unconscious,” will be premiered on this program.

If it is preferred that the concert not be entirely music by American composers, Michael Arnowitt can substitute for some of the above pieces Olivier Messiaen’s “La Bouscarle” from Catalogue d’oiseaux, and/or selections from Gyorgy Ligeti’s Etudes for Piano, Books I and II.

To see a detailed program, please click here.

3. Water Music with Marjorie Ryerson, writer & photographer

Marjorie Ryerson’s remarkable new book Water Music contains her photographs of water interspersed with writings about water by sixty-six outstanding musicians of today from across the musical spectrum. The musicians in the book include such world-class artists as Bobby McFerrin, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Midori, Dave Brubeck, Mark O’Connor, Taj Mahal, Renée Fleming, Sarah Chang, Pete Seeger, Brad Mehldau, Carol Maillard (of Sweet Honey In The Rock), Evelyn Glennie, and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. These musicians contributed a beautiful collection of memoirs, poems, anecdotes, song lyrics, and thought-pieces about the magic of water and its inspiration on their lives and their music.

In this special live performance of the concept behind Water Music, Michael Arnowitt performs water-related piano music in alternation with Marjorie Ryerson reading selections from her book. Some of the musical highlights of the program include Debussy’s “Reflections in the Water,” Ravel’s “The Fountain,” Chopin’s “Barcarolle” (a boat-song), Frederic Rzewski’s “Down by the Riverside,” and improvisations on jazz numbers such as Jimmy Van Heusen’s “Here’s That Rainy Day,” Tommy Flanagan’s “Sea Changes,” Brad Mehldau’s arrangement of Nick Drake’s “River Man,” and one of Michael Arnowitt’s own jazz compositions. Projections of Marjorie Ryerson’s water photographs provide a visual backdrop for the readings and music performances.

Marjorie Ryerson’s book Water Music has been hailed as a fresh, new approach to raising societal awareness of the important water issues facing us today. Royalties from sales of the book are donated to a special fund established by the United Nations Foundation for projects to improve the natural health of bodies of water and to help provide clean drinking water to families around the world.

To see a detailed program, please click here.