Havana Lyceum Orchestra – Opening Concert 2017

José Antonio Méndez Padrón, Founding Music Director,

Simone Dinnerstein, piano :

Carlos Fariñas
, (1934-202), Punto y Tonadas (1980-81)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, (1756-1791), Piano Concerto No.21 in C Major, K. 467 (1765) ‘Elvira Madigan’
I. Allegro maestoso
II. Andante
III. Allegro vivace assai
Simone Dinnerstein, piano


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, (1756-1791), Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488 (1786)
I. Allegro
II. Adagio
III. Allegro assai
Simone Dinnerstein, piano

Aaron Copland, (1900-1990), Appalachian Spring (1944)

The performance of the Havana Lyceum Orchestra has been made possible by a generous grant from Judith E. Naumburg.**

WQXR HOST: Jeff Spurgeon

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This program is all about the joy of friendship and the possibility of communication between cultures and across time.

I spent my formative years studying in New York City with Dr. Solomon Mikowsky, a native Cuban who had emigrated to America in the 1950s. Cuba was a huge part of his life and it held such mystery for me.  Four years ago, at Solomon’s invitation, I finally visited. Imagine my joy on finding an ideal musical friendship with the young musicians of the Havana Lyceum Orchestra.

The two Mozart piano concertos that are at the core of this concert provide multiple opportunities for the expression of this friendship. They are among Mozart’s most ecstatically beautiful concertos, full of soaring melodies, but the most gorgeous moments are in the intricate dialogues between the piano, strings and woodwinds. This is also very spare music, which can move from light to dark with the change of a single tone.  Every note counts, as much in the timpani as in the piano, and this music can only live fully when each musician is listening to everyone around them.

Bookending the program are works by Fariñas and Copland. When we think of Copland we think of Appalachian Spring with its familiar mix of American folk music and the western art music tradition, but his enthusiasm for local rhythms and harmonies extended beyond the US. In 1941, Copland spent time visiting Cuba as a cultural ambassador and was captivated by traditional Cuban music, which he incorporated in the vibrant Danzon Cubano.

Carlos Fariñas was a Cuban composer who spent time studying with Copland at Tanglewood in the 1950’s.  Punto y Tonadas (Point and Tones, composed 1980-81), written for string orchestra, unmistakably evokes both the rhythm and melodies of Cuba and the influence of Copland’s open style. It is uplifting music, an overture that invites us to listen.

What is the thread running through the program?  An aesthetic that emphasizes singing melodic lines, a sense of optimism and the joy of musical dialogue woven through each. It is a perfect analog to the relationship between this particular pianist and this particular conductor and orchestra.
Simone Dinnerstein, April 2017

Simone Dinnerstein
Simone Dinnerstein is one of the most acclaimed pianists of her generation – called “an artist of true expressive force” by the Washington Post and “a throwback to such high priestesses of music as Wanda Landowska and Myra Hess” by Slate. The New York-based pianist gained an international following with the remarkable success of her recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which she independently raised the funds to record. Released in 2007 on Telarc, it ranked No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Classical Chart in its first week of sales and was named to many “Best of 2007” lists, including those of The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and The New Yorker.

Dinnerstein’s performance schedule has taken her around the world since her acclaimed New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall in 2005, to venues including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Vienna Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Sydney Opera House, Seoul Arts Center and London’s Wigmore Hall; festivals that include the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart Festival, the Aspen, Verbier and Ravinia festivals; and performances with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Berlin, RAI National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra a Sinfonica Brasileira and the Tokyo Symphony.  She was a student of Solomon Mikowsky, Maria Curcio and Peter Serkin and was an Astral Artist.

This season, Dinnerstein will release her new album, Mozart in Havana, recorded with the Havana Lyceum Orchestra. The Orchestra will join her on tour in June, making their U.S. debut. Later this season, Dinnerstein will begin touring the premiere of a new concerto for piano and string orchestra written for her by Philip Glass. Also, in the fall of 2017, Dinnerstein will premiere and begin touring her collaboration with choreographer Pam Tanowitz, New Work for Goldberg Variations. Arriving on the 10th anniversary of Dinnerstein’s acclaimed recording, the work is a setting for piano and a septet of dancers.

José Antonio Méndez Padrón
José Antonio Méndez Padrón is the founding music director of the Havana Lyceum Orchestra. He has toured Canada, Spain, France, Austria, the U.S., Ecuador and Nicaragua, and five of his albums have received Cubadisco prizes in the past decade. Since 2011 he has been deputy director of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Padrón is a graduate of the University of the Arts in Havana, Cuba, where he specialized in choral direction under María Felicia Pérez and orchestra direction under Jorge López Marín. He has taken advanced classes with important musical directors such as Jorge Rotter, Thomas Hengelbrock, Shalev Ad El and the master Ronald Zollman. In 2011, he studied at the Mozarteum University’s Summer Academy with Peter Gülke and the soloists of Salzburg Chamber Orchestra.

Havana Lyceum Orchestra
Cuba’s Havana Lyceum Orchestra was founded in 2009 in collaboration with the Lyceum Mozartiano de La Habana, an institution co-founded by the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation in Austria. It brings together students, recent graduates and professors from the University of the Arts, the National School of Music and the Amadeo Roldán Conservatory.

The Havana Lyceum Orchestra has quickly established itself as a central element of Cuba’s musical life. The Orchestra has performed extensively in Cuba and abroad to widespread critical acclaim. In 2015 the orchestra performed at Salzburg’s annual Mozart Week in collaboration with the celebrated Cuban flutist Niurka González for the first time ever in Europe. It records regularly in Cuba and has won a series of Cubadisco prizes for its work.

Simone Dinnerstein and Havana Lyceum Orchestra Perform Mozart at Naumburg Bandshell

Pianist Simone Dinnerstein. (Lisa Marie Mazzucco/Courtesy of the artist)

It wouldn’t be summer in New York without WQXR’s live broadcasts from the historic Naumburg Bandshell in the heart of Central Park. This summer’s series kicked on June 13, with the Havana Lyceum Orchestra and pianist Simone Dinnerstein performing a program of Mozart bookended by Carlos Fariñas and Aaron Copland.

Ensemble LPR – Opening Concert 2016

Ensemble LPR, featuring Vasko Dukovski on clarinet, performs works by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Aaron Copland, Julia Wolfe, and Charles Ives.

Our 111th year of free concerts at the historic Naumburg Bandshell (directions). No tickets issued– 1,200 seats provided on a first come first serve basis. Benches around concert ground also available. The concert is weather dependent– no rain dates, no rain location. Thank you to our donors who generously support our series.

WQXR will broadcast every concert in this series live on 105.9 FM and via live stream on their website.

Program Details

Ensemble LPR

David Handler, Artistic Director

Vasko Dukovski, clarinet

Ralph Vaughan Williams, (1872-1958), Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910)

Aaron Copland, (1900-90), Concerto for Clarinet, Strings and Harp (1947-49)

I. Slowly and expressively – Cadenza
II. Rather fast

Vasko Dukovski, clarinet


Julia Wolfe, (1958-), Cruel Sister (2004)

Charles Ives (1874-1954), The Unanswered Question (Revised Version ca. 1934)

**This performance by Ensemble LPR has been made possible by a generous grant from the MacDonald Peterson Foundation.**

WQXR HOST: Jeff Spurgeon

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Ensemble LPR

Named after and headquartered at the acclaimed New York City venue Le Poisson Rouge, Ensemble LPR is an assemblage of New York’s finest musicians. The group personifies the venue’s commitment to aesthetic diversity and artistic excellence.

Ensemble LPR performs an eclectic spectrum of music—from works by the finest living composers, to compelling interpretations of the standard repertoire—and collaborates with distinguished artists from classical and non-classical backgrounds: Timo Andres, Simone Dinnerstein, San Fermin, Daniel Hope, Taka Kigawa, Jennifer Koh, Mica Levi, David Longstreth (of Dirty Projectors), John Lurie, Ursula Oppens, Max Richter, André de Ridder, Christopher Rountree and Fred Sherry, to name a few.

In January of last year Ensemble LPR made its Deutsche Grammophon debut with Follow, Poet, featuring the music of Mohammed Fairouz and the words of Seamus Heaney and John F. Kennedy. Ensemble LPR’s acclaimed Central Park perormance followed in June, part of the 110th Anniversary of the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts.

In 2008 Le Poisson Rouge changed the classical music landscape, creating a new environment in which to experience art music. In doing so, Le Poisson Rouge expanded classical music listenership. The New York Times has heralded Le Poisson Rouge as “[a] forward-thinking venue that seeks to showcase disparate musical styles under one roof” and “[the] coolest place to hear contemporary music.” The Los Angeles Times raves, “[The] place isn’t merely cool…the venue is a downright musical marvel.” Le Poisson Rouge Co-Founder David Handler brings this same ethos to Ensemble LPR, of which he is Founding Executive & Artistic Director.

Julia Wolfe

For more information on Julia Wolfe, the composer of Cruel Sister [2004], who won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in music, see either the Pulitzer Prize or the Composer’s own websites.


Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis is based on a hymn by Tallis published in 1567 in the Metrical Psalter. The melody sets the text, “Why fumeth in sight: the Gentiles spite, in fury raging stout?” and is written in the Phrygian mode (the scale you hear if you play the white keys on the piano starting on the note “E”). Three and a half centuries later, when asked to write a new piece for the Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester Cathedral, Vaughan Williams took this theme for inspiration. Opening with five of what Vaughan Williams called “magic chords” the theme is introduced in its entirety shortly thereafter in the lower strings. The score calls for three groups – a large string orchestra, a smaller and separate string orchestra and a solo string quartet – that perform together and separately as they echo and respond to one another. The open voicing (spacing of the notes harmonically) characteristic of English music, as well as the antiphonal writing are inherently suited to expansive spaces – once the Gloucester Cathedral, now the Naumburg Bandshell.

 In 1947, renowned jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman commissioned Aaron Copland to compose a work for him. “I made no demands on what Copland should write. He had completely free rein, except that I should have a two-year exclusivity on playing the work”, said Goodman. The result was Copland’s Clarinet Concerto, a two-movement work connected by a through-composed cadenza. The first movement is considered one of the composer’s most lyrical and melodious creations; the second is noticeably inspired by North American jazz and Brazilian popular styles, punctuated by a glissando or jazz “smear” at the end.

Cruel Sister is a stirring and fantastic Old English ballad. The tale is of two sisters — one bright as the sun, and the other cold and dark. One day, so that she can have the love of a young man who has come courting, the dark sister pushes the bright sister into the sea. Two minstrels find the dead sister washed up on the shore and shape her breastbone into a fine harp strung with her yellow hair. They come to play at the cold dark sister’s wedding. As the sound of the harp reaches the bride’s ears, the ballad concludes “and surely now her tears will flow.” While my piece references no words and quotes no music from the original tune, it does follow the dramatic arc of the ballad — the music reflecting an argument that builds, a body floating on the sea, the mad harp. —  Julia Wolfe

Charles Ives’ The Unanswered Question, despite its brevity, is one of the most remarkable and progressive works of the twentieth century. It deals with the metaphysical through what the composer called a “cosmic landscape”, consisting (like the Vaughan Williams) of three instrument groups. Above the “silence of the druids” – represented by an ethereal, barely audible suspension of strings (unaffected, unheeded) – the solo trumpet asks seven times “the perennial question of existence”, responded to by the wind quartet only six times, each with greater agitation. The question left unanswered is of course a question unto itself. While there is a precedent for the use of off-stage music, experimentation with spatial parameters, even the assignment of characters or dialogue to instruments, doing so in an un-staged concert work in order to express an abstract concept such as this makes the piece, in some ways, the first philosophical music.

Program Notes by David Handler

The Knights


The Knights
“If we are to talk about the future of classical music in America, sooner or later the Knights will come up” (The Los Angeles Times)

Eric Jacobsen, conductor

Matt Herskowitz, piano
Steve Reich (1936)
Duet (1993)

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Airs and Dances

Matt Herskowitz
World Premiere (2012)
Matt Herskowitz, piano

Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)
La création du monde, Op. 81a (1922-23)

The Chaos before Creation
The slowly lifting darkness, the creation of trees, plants, insects, birds and beasts,
Man and woman created
The desire of man and woman
The man and woman kiss (Coda)


Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Quiet City (1941)

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Symphony No. 8, ‘Le Soir’

Allegro molto
Andante in C major
Menuetto & Trio
La tempesta: Presto

Midge Woolsey of WQXR – Host

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The Naumburg Orchestra (Charles Olivieri-Munroe, Conductor)


The Naumburg Orchestra
Charles Olivieri-Munroe, conductor
John Edward Kelly, saxophone

* * *

Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Waltz from Billy the Kid

Philip Glass (b. 1937)
John Edward Kelly, soloist

Jacques Ibert (1890-1962)
Concertino da Camera for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra
John Edward Kelly, soloist

Karel Husa (b. 1921)
Élégie et Rondeau for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra
John Edward Kelly, soloist

Antonín Dvorák (1841-1904)
Czech Suite in D Major, Op. 39

Jacques Ibert

Relaxing Under the Dome, Awaiting Financial Angels

“Most of the 600 folding chairs were taken and the nearby benches filled, but the concert had a much more intimate feel than the Great Lawn extravaganzas. Best of all, the crowd showed a genuine interest in listening. It helped that Carlos Miguel Prieto, who leads orchestras in Xalapa, Mexico, and Huntsville, Ala., offered an ambitious and engaging program of works from North and South America, including music by Ives, Copland, Barber and Bernstein but also fascinating selections by Alberto Ginastera and Silvestre Revueltas.”

— Jeremy Eichler, The New York Times
July 14, 2005
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The Naumburg Orchestra (Carlos Miguel Prieto, Conductor)


The Naumburg Orchestra
Carlos Miguel Prieto, conductor
Susanna Phillips, soprano

* * *

Charles Ives (1874-1954)
Ragtime Dances

Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983)
Variaciones Concertantes

Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Three Latin American Sketches

Silvestre Revueltas (1899-1940)
Homenaje a Garcia Lorca

Samuel Barber (1910-1981)
Knoxville, Summer of 1915

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
On the Town, Three Dance Episodes

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The Naumburg Orchestra (Christoph Campestrini, Conductor)


The Naumburg Orchestra
Christoph Campestrini, conductor
Charles Neidich, clarinet
Vadim Gluzman, violin
* * *
Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)  Le Creation du Monde
Aaron Copland (1900-1990), Clarinet Concerto
Charles Neidich, soloist
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) Ragtime 
Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)  Serenade for Violin and Orchestra
Vadim Gluzman, soloist

The Empire Brass


The Empire Brass
Rolf Smedvig, Trumpet
Marc Reese, Trumpet
Michelle Perry, French Horn
Mark Hetzler, Trombone
Kenneth Amis, Tuba
Steve Wilkes, Drums

* * *

Tylman Susato (ca.1500-ca.1652)
Basse Dance Bergeret

Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Morning dance / Troika

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
Concerto in G Major

Antonín Dvorák (1841-1904)
Slavonic Dance No.1 Op.46

Peter Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Dance Russe

Manuel de Falla (1876-1946)
Ritual Fire Dance

Wolfgang A .Mozart (1756-1791)
Rondo Alla Turka

Traditional Irish (14th Century)
Kesh Jig

Anthony Holborne (1560-1602)

Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751)
Introduction and Allegro


Aaron Copland (1900-1954)
Empire Brass – Simple Gifts, Traditional

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)
Somewhere, from West Side Story

Meredith Willson (1902-1984)
76 Trombones, from The Music Man

George Gershwin (1898-1937)
Piano Prelude No. 2

Traditional / Herbert L. Clarke (1867-1945) / Smedvig
Carnival of Venice

George Gerswin (1898-1937)
Summertime, from Porgy and Bess

Duke Ellington (1899-1974)
It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing

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Additional Information

The Empire Brass enjoys an international reputation as North America’s finest brass ensemble, renowned for its brilliant virtuosity and the unparalleled diversity of its repertoire. The six musicians, all of whom have held leading positions with major American orchestras, perform over 100 concerts a year. In addition to playing across the United States, the Empire Brass has toured the Far East thirteen times and performs regularly in Europe – twice in Rome within the past eighteen months. The Empire Brass has played to standing-room crowds in the former Soviet Union where its concerts were broadcast on television. The ensemble has performed with major symphony orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony and Zurich’s Tönhalle Orchester. They regularly visits leading summer festivals including Ravinia, Tanglewood, Caramoor, Saratoga and Chautauqua. Their discography is considerable and their best selling records on the Telarc label have introduced an even larger worldwide audience to the excitement of brass music ranging from Bach and Handel to jazz and Broadway. The Empire Brass is the first brass ensemble to win the Walter W. Naumburg International Competition in 1976.