JANUARY 2014

Happy 2014! May health, friendship, music and food enrich your life. Especially music.

Our year starts on January 22nd with a concert exploring Classical Music in the 21st Century. It showcases some of our greatest assets: works commissioned for the Dranoff by Grammy, Academy Award, Pulitzer Prize and Emmy winning composers.

Duo Yamamoto, after winning the gold medal in the 12th Dranoff competition, will play the music of Gabriela Lena Frank, William Bolcom, Shelton Berg, Robert Xavier Rodriguez. Yuka and Ayaka will also introduce us to the works of two of their personal favorite contemporary composers, Takashi Yosimatsu and Alice Yee- Ho.

The following day, the Dranoff and The Betsy Hotel co-present a panel discussion, led by Carson Kievman, with William Bolcom, Shelton Berg and Robert Xavier Rodriguez on the very theme of the concert.

Please find out about details in our EVENTS page.

When I look at the concert program, I think of a cookbook from the 80's I recently came across. The author wrote about how his youth in Louisiana formed his core tastes; a favorite meal was red beans with rice and sausage. When he later moved to the Northeast, he began discovering "exotic" ingredients that were just then arriving in our cities with the fresh waves of immigrants each bringing their own history to the table. Over time, exotic ingredients became quotidian. Americans, the author observes, are accustomed to fundamental diversity. We assimilate international influences into familiar recipes - just like his childhood dish: "Cuban black beans spiked with rum [replaced red beans], rice had become couscous, the country sausage was now a mix of German .... wursts and ...Italian sausages." (Lee Bailey's City Food)

Cooking is synthesis; ingredients react to become a new sum total; our senses create a secondary layer of experience. The emotional reactions and memories are a third part to this chemistry.

The January 22nd concert program is quite reflective of the observation by Lee Bailey's. In fact, it is the program of social synthesis:

Latin American Dance and American ragtime join their rhythmic energy in Tango. Creole roots and Venezuelan Valse, the collision of Bach and Samba in syncopated dance, Peruvian country tunes spun together by virtuosic fingers. A Hongkong born Canadian composer using images of the British Lord Byron as the inspiration for her celebration of beauty. How would birds hear "our" music of Stravinsky, Messiaen and Ligetti? The age old question "which life is the better lived "is examined by a jazz composer/arranger in the form of a conversation between two biblical characters.

We live in a time and place where we can partake of readily available unusual ingredients and synthesize them into our own brilliant stew.

It is a great time to discover wonderful new music. Come hear it and meet its creators. See you on January 22 and on the 23rd!

Warm regards,

Gabriele Fiorentino

 
 

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