The Cassatt String Quartet will perform at the Portrait Concert of Composer Gerald Cohen at the Jewish Theological Seminary
The acclaimed Cassatt String Quartet will perform in an in-person and online concert, Reaching for the Heavens: The Music of Composer Gerald Cohen, in the new auditorium of the Jewish Theological Seminary (3080 Broadway, New York, NY 10027), at 6 p.m. 3:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday evening, May 10, 2022. This concert, sponsored by the HL Miller Cantorial School, is part of the opening season of Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS).
With a long history of collaboration with Gerald Cohen, The Cassatts will perform Preludes and Debka, and Voyagers, a piece composed for the ensemble. Artists also featured in this concert also include Ilana Davidson, soprano; Heather Johnson, mezzo-soprano; Alexandra Joan, piano; Narek Arutyunian, clarinet; and Haim Avitsur, trombone.
The full program follows:
Gerald Cohen Sea of Reeds*
In the middle of alien corn*
Preludes and Debka
**Composed for the Cassatt String Quartet
General admission $20, discounted tickets for students, faculty, or JTS staff $10 can be purchased at the event website. $10 registration for the concert’s online stream can be purchased here. For more information, visit the JTS websiteand the Cassatt String Quartet website.
Acclaimed as one of America’s finest ensembles, the New York-based Cassatt String Quartet has performed around the world, with appearances at Alice Tully Hall and Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, New York; Tanglewood Musical Theatre; the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC; Theater des Champs-Élysées, Paris; Centro National de las Artes, Mexico City; Maeda Hall, Tokyo; and Beijing Central Conservatory. At the Library of Congress, the Cassatt performed on the library’s matching quartet of Stradivarius instruments.
Esteemed Music Critic Alex Ross named The Cassatt three times for its “Top 10 Classical Recordings” in The NewYorker, and the ensemble has been featured on NPR’s “Performance Today,” Boston’s WGBH, New York’s WQXR, and WNYC, CBC Canadian Radio, and on RadioFrance.
Cassatt’s numerous awards have come from the National Endowment for the Arts, USArtists International, Chamber Music America, CMA/ASCAP, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Meet the Composer, and Amphion, Copland, Fromm, and Alice M. Ditson Music Foundations. . Since 1995, the ensemble has been on the New York State Council on the Arts list of performing artists.
With a deep commitment to nurturing young musicians, the Cassatt has offered courses for composers and performers at the American Academy in Rome; the Toho School, Tokyo; Bowdoin International Music Festival; Colombia; Cornell; Princeton; Syracuse Universities and University of Pennsylvania. The quartet is in residence each year at the Seal Bay Festival of American Contemporary Chamber Music in Maine and at Cassatt in the Basin! in Texas.
As adept at classical masterpieces as they are at contemporary music, the Cassatt has collaborated with members of the Tokyo, Cleveland and Vermeer quartets, pianists Ursula Oppens and Marc-André Hamelin, clarinettist David Shifrin, flautist Ransom Wilson, the jazz pianist Fred Herschdidgeriedoo player Simon 7, Trisha Brown Dance Company and composers Louis Andriessen, Kaija Saariaho, Joan Tower and John Corigliano. Cassatt’s discography includes new quartets by Pulitzer Prize winner Steven Stucky; Daniel S. Godfrey, Guggenheim Fellow; and Sebastian Currier, winner of the Grawemeyer and Rome Prize.
Named in honor of the famous impressionist painter Mary Cassatt, the quartet is composed of Muneko Otani, violin; Jennifer Leshnower, violin; Rosemary Nelis, viola; and Gwen Krosnick, cello.
Gerald Cohen is an assistant professor at the HL Miller Cantorial School of JTS, on the faculty of Hebrew Union College, and served as cantor at Shaarei Tikvah (Scarsdale, New York) for 35 years. As a composer, he has been hailed for his “linguistic fluidity and melodic gift”, creating music that “reveals a very personal modernism that…offers great emotional rewards” (Gramophone Magazine).
Her opera, Steal a Pencil for Me, based on a true love story in a concentration camp, had its world premiere by Opera Colorado in January 2018; excerpts were presented at the Fort Worth Opera’s Frontiers Festival in 2016.
Cohen’s previous opera, Sarah and Hagar, based on the story from the book of Genesis, was performed in concert form. Cohen is a famous synagogue cantor and baritone; his background as a singer informs his dramatic and lyrical compositions. Cohen’s best-known work, his “glittering staging” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) of Psalm 23, received thousands of performances from synagogues and churches for Carnegie Hall and the Vatican. Recent chamber music works include Playing for our Lives and Voyagers; these compositions, composed for the Cassatt String Quartet, will be the centerpieces of an album of Cohen’s music to be released on Innova Recordings in 2022.
Recognition of Cohen’s body of work includes commissioning grants from Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the American Composers Forum, residencies such as those of Copland House, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo and the American Lyric Theatre, as well as the Max Wohlberg Award from the Cantors Assembly for Distinguished Achievement in Jewish Composition, and the Hallel V’Zimrah Award from the Zamir Choral Foundation. Cohen earned a BA in Music from Yale and an DMA in Music Composition from Columbia. His compositions have been published by Oxford University Press, G. Schirmer/AMP and Transcontinental Music.