High expectations might be justified for a forthcoming Sunday afternoon performance of voice and piano, which will take place at the Tenri Cultural Institute on June 20 at 3 pm. 24-year-old pianist Michael Brofman, at the beginning of a very promising musical career, will accompany mezzo-soprano Emily Howard, whose voice has been called nothing less than “extraordinarily beautiful”.
The concert’s program grew out of the idea of juxtaposing a contemporary composer’s work with similar pieces from classical repertoire. Michael Rose of Brooklyn is that contemporary composer whose songs will be paired with some quintessential romantic Schubert songs, like “Der Tod und das Mädchen”, “Gretchen am Spinnrad” and “Wanderer’s Nachtlied”, as well as repertoire by composers G. Crumb, H. Wolf and H. Duparc. The pairing of traditional art songs with Rose’s contemporary pieces is largely based on subject matter and overall mood.
The ’Rosiad’ event will pay tribute to the famous ‘Schubertiades’ held in the 19th century, when Schubert’s friends and supporters used to get together in a salon setting, playing his music for each other.
The effect of combining some very well known works with Michael Rose’s compositions promises to be illuminating our understanding of song.
Duparc’s “Au Pays ou se fait la guerre” will be followed by Rose’s “The generous Enemy” for a short set of war-themed songs. Crumb’s “The Sleeper” provides a natural fit with Rose’s “13 ways of looking at a Blackbird”; according to Michael Bronfman, both pieces are set in a thoroughly atonal but accessible style, utilizing extended techniques in the piano accompaniment throughout.
Even before graduating High School, pianist Michael Brofman performed at some prestigious New York City events and venues, such as Barge Music and Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. A student of famed Gyorgy Sandor, he continued his studies at Northwestern University with James Giles. He received the Director’s Award for his chamber music endeavors with the New York Symphony, and the Frida A. Pick Award for Piano Studies, featuring a performance on Chicago’s classical radio station, performing works by Lukas Foss.
A frequent performer of new music, he has collaborated with composers Michael Klingbeil, Michael Rose and Mohammed Fairouz. As a vocal accompanist, he has worked with Christine Moore, Emily Howard and Amy van Roekel. While continuing his studies with Robert Durso, Michael is also part of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music’s faculty, teaching piano and chamber music.
Mezzo-soprano Emily Howard, known for her vocal versatility and razor-sharp musicianship, has proudly premiered many operatic roles and song cycles by contemporary New York composers.
In 2004 she performed the role of ‘Blues Queen Bee’ in Sorrel Hays’ ‘The Bee Opera’, a role that took her to Europe in 2007. Howard is featured on two recent recordings: ‘Works of Michael Rose, 2001-2005’ and ‘The Chamber Music of Jim Lahti’. On the latter recording she is presented as a soloist with the critically acclaimed Omni Ensemble. Her last few years have been extremely productive, with performances of Schoenberg’s demanding masterpiece “Pierrot Lunaire” and the role of “Schwertleite” in “Die Walküre” at the Metropolitan Opera, her Carnegie Hall debut as the alto soloist in Mozart’s “Coronation Mass” with the New England Symphony, and New York City Center’s “Mikado” with the New York Gilbert and Sullivan players – all performances which have attracted rave reviews for this “most vocally impressive” performer (Theater Mania).
For other upcoming concerts, incl. performances with Ensemble Youkali, which she founded in 2007, go to her website http:// www.ensembleyoukali.com
Composer Michael Rose has seen his works performed by many soloists and ensembles across the US, Europe and Asia, such as Eight Blackbird, Richmond County Orchestra, and the Momenta String Quartet. His Opera “Ugetsu” is currently in development with ‘American Opera Projects’.
A Brooklyn Conservatory faculty member as well, he has been an active force behind the “Composers and the Voice” series, which originated around the inaugural season of ‘American Opera Projects’.
He was also part of forming the “South Oxford Six” collective, an independent group of Brooklyn musicians devoted to the performance of new music.
For more information about Michael Rose and South Oxford Six please go to: http://www.southoxfordsix.org/WhoWeAre.html
The three artists started collaborating in 2008, when they performed a set of works by composer Michael Rose under the sponsorship of the ‘American Opera Projects’.
June 20, 2010, at 3 PM
Tenri Cultural Institute
43A, West 13th Street
For reservations call 917-507-6258