Downton Abbey Star Featured
in Exclusive Chicago Production of
ADMISSION: ONE SHILLING

December 3rd, 2012 by Peter McDowell No comments »
January 29, 2013
7:00 pm

Devised by Nigel Hess and presented by the International Music Foundation, Admission: One Shilling is a unique, one-night-only theatrical evening that tells the extraordinary story of Myra Hess and her famous World War II National Gallery concerts. This production starring Downton Abbey actress (Mrs. Patmore) Lesley Nicol and pianist Inna Faliks will take place at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets (maximum 4 tickets per request) are free of charge and may be obtained by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to International Music Foundation, 30 East Adams Street, Suite 1206, Chicago, IL 60603.  Ticket requests must be post-marked after January 7, 2013.  Requests post-marked before January 8 will be discarded.

In Dame Myra’s own words – compiled by her great-nephew, composer Nigel Hess – and with piano music by Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Schumann and Chopin, we hear how the ‘great adventure’ of these 1600 lunchtime concerts in the National Gallery began, and how it continued on a daily basis for 6 years, even while bombs rained down on London. It is fitting that the US premiere of this work should take place in Chicago, a city which continues to honor the memory of Dame Myra Hess with the weekly Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts presented every Wednesday of the year at the Chicago Cultural Center by the International Music Foundation. This performance is made possible through the generous lead sponsorship of BMO Harris Bank, with major additional support from the English Speaking Union and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.

Actress Lesley Nicol spent her formative years in a small town in Lancashire. Daughter of a Scottish GP and a Welsh actress, she discovered early on that accents and being funny were very useful at school, and compensated for fairly shocking results in any subject other than English and Drama. When she was studying for ‘A’ levels in Manchester, she discovered the Library Theatre – became besotted – and gently nagged them, until they employed her at £1 a week. She then spent 3 years at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in the early 70’s and has been acting ever since. Lesley has enjoyed a hugely diverse career, and this continues to this day. She started her musical career in Jesus Christ Superstar – the first production! – sang her way round the theatres of Great Britain, then found herself in the West End for 3 years playing Rosie in Mamma Mia and Kath Casey in Our House. Her television career has encompassed drama and comedy. Perhaps one of Lesley’s strengths is the ability to make you laugh, and also to move you. When she was in Mamma Mia, fellow actress Anne Reid said to her – ‘You have learnt to put your arms around an audience’. She plays Mrs. Patmore in ITV’s hugely successful Downton Abbey written by Julian Fellowes and co-starring Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville.  Lesley’s film career is small but beautifully formed – the multi-award winning UK feature East is East, and the sequel West is West which was released in 2011.

Pianist Inna Faliks has set herself apart in thousands of performances as a sincere, communicative and direct performer whose virtuosity, power and risk taking serve the depth, intelligence and poetry of her interpretations. Inna’s command of standard solo and concerto repertoire is highlighted by her love of rare and new music, and interdisciplinary and audience-involving programs and lectures. These include her award winning Music/Words, where she alternates music with readings by contemporary poets, her program of piano music of the poet Boris Pasternak (on MSR Classics Sound of Verse, which drew comparisons to Argerich and Cliburn), 13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg – new variations on Bach’s Aria , music of women composers, and many other programs. She makes sure to present programs that include both beloved crowd pleasers and music that is new and challenging, creating an adventurous, moving and involving experience for the audience. She is a musical omnivore. Faliks debuted as a teenager with the Chicago Symphony and at the Gilmore Festival to rave reviews, and has been exciting and moving audiences worldwide since then.

Nigel Hess, the creator of Admission: One Shilling and the great-nephew of Dame Myra Hess, works extensively as a composer and conductor in television, theatre and film.  He has composed numerous scores for both American and British television productions, including A Woman of Substance, Vanity Fair, Campion, Maigret, Dangerfield, Just William, Wycliffe, Ballykissangel and New Tricks.  He has received the Ivor Novello award twice for Best TV Theme (Hetty Wainthropp Investigates and Testament), and is well-known to Classic FM listeners for his film soundtrack to Ladies in Lavender. Nigel has written many scores for Royal Shakespeare Company productions, and was awarded the New York Drama Desk Award for ‘Outstanding Music in a Play’ for Much Ado About Nothing and Cyrano de Bergerac on Broadway.  His recent work at Shakespeare’s Globe includes the scores for The Merry Wives of Windsor, Romeo and Juliet and Henry VIII.  Nigel has also composed much concert music, most recently his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales.

The International Music Foundation has presented the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts under the magnificent Tiffany stained-glass dome in the Chicago Cultural Center’s Preston Bradley Hall every Wednesday at 12:15 p.m. since 1977.  The concerts are broadcast live over WFMT Radio (98.7FM) locally, and are streamed globally over www.wfmt.com. The concerts are an important showcase for local, national, and international emerging classical artists, and follow in the tradition of Dame Myra Hess, one of the most eminent pianists of the 20th century, whose assistance to young musicians was a constant during her career.

Inesa Sinkevych: The Piano Music of Schubert

December 1st, 2012 by Peter McDowell No comments »
December 1, 2012toDecember 31, 2012

New York City based Ukrainian-born pianist Inesa Sinkevych announces the release of The Piano Music of Schubert. This CD, available on iTunes and Amazon.com, explores some of Schubert’s lesser-known piano works.

Although Franz Schubert’s output for solo piano was extensive, only a surprisingly small portion of Schubert’s piano output has become familiar to most audiences.  In addition to 11 complete piano sonatas, he produced numerous shorter works -impromptus, musical moments, fantasies, variations, sonata movements, and more than fifty opuses of dance forms, including écossaises, ländler and waltzes. With this recording of works from between 1818-1828, pianist Inesa Sinkevych seeks to shine new light on both better-known works alongside less frequently heard gems.  The CD includes the charming 12 German Dances, D.790; the Hungarian Melody, D.817, a “tamed” Magyar dance; the F Minor Impromptu, D.935, combining Hungarian flavor with the increased expression of the mature Schubert; the Adagio in E Major, D.612, with a simple enchanting melody from the 21-year-old composer; and the A Major Sonata, D. 959, the second of three last sonatas which Schubert composed shortly before his death.

According to pianist Inesa Sinkevych: “I have always felt a special affinity to the simplicity, openness, and beauty of Schubert’s music.  Its profound sincerity and earnestness captivate my heart and mind, and urge me to explore his compositions further and further. My colleagues and audiences alike have remarked that the special connection I feel for Schubert’s music translates in my performances. This repertoire allows me to express myself in profound and complete ways, while I contribute to the continuing revival of Franz Schubert’s piano music.”

A laureate of the 12th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, Ukrainian-born pianist Inesa Sinkevych has also won first prizes in the Maria Canals International Piano Competition in Barcelona and at the Concurso Internacional de Piano Premio “Jaén” in Spain, as well as awards in the Minnesota International Yamaha Piano-e-Competition, the Vianna da Motta and the Porto international competitions in Portugal, the Casagrande International Competition in Italy, the Panama International Competition and the the Cidade del Ferrol and the Spanish Composers competitions in Spain. Inesa Sinkevych has been praised for her “intense, thrilling and sophisticated playing” (General-Anzeiger, Germany) and her “rich cantabile” (Ritmo, Spain). As soloist she has appeared with the Israel Philharmonic, the Minnesota Symphony, the Gulbenkian Orchestra of Lisbon, the Gran Canaria Philharmonic of Spain, the Porto Symphony of Portugal and the Tenerife Symphony of the Canary Islands. She has performed as recitalist, chamber player and orchestral soloist at the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, the Purcell Room in London’s Royal Festival Hall, the Minnesota’s Orchestra Hall, the Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, the Hong Kong City Hall and the Great Hall of the Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon. She has also performed at international summer festivals in France and Spain. Recent performances include appearances at Merkin Concert Hall in New York, Bar Harbor Music Festival, Dame Myra Hess Concert Series in Chicago and a tour of China that included performances in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenyang and Guangzhou. Inesa Sinkevych began her piano studies at the Kharkov Special Music School in her native Ukraine with Victor Makarov and later studied with Alexander Volkov at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. A scholarship from the America–Israel Cultural Foundation enabled her to further her studies with Solomon Mikowsky in the United States, where she received her Master of Music degree at the Chicago College of Performing Arts and her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Manhattan School of Music. Ms. Sinkevych has been a member of the piano faculty at the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division since 2008. She has been recently appointed as Associate Teacher of Solomon Mikowsky at the school’s College Division.

Pianist Inna Faliks Plays Beethoven, Schumann, Shchedrin, and Ljova

November 24th, 2012 by helen No comments »
December 2, 2012
4:00 pm
4:00 pm
Pianist Inna Faliks will appear in the Brooklyn Public Library’s free Classical Interludes Series,on Sunday, December 2, 2012, 4 pm at the Central Library, Dweck Center, Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn. The mixed program will include works by Beethoven, Schumann, Shchedrin, and Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin.  For more information, visit www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/events/culture-arts/ or call 718-638-1531.
Program will include:
Shchedrin Basso Ostinato
Beethoven Polonaise in C op 89
Beethoven Sonata op 111 in c minor
Ljova “Sirota”, written for Inna Faliks in 2011
Schumann Davidsbundlertanze op. 6
Pianist Inna Faliks has set herself apart in thousands of performances as a sincere, communicative and direct performer whose virtuosity, power and risk taking serve the depth, intelligence and poetry of her interpretations. Inna’s command of standard solo and concerto repertoire is highlighted by her love of rare and new music, and interdisciplinary and audience-involving programs and lectures. These include her award winning Music/Words, where she alternates music with readings by contemporary poets, her program of piano music of the poet Boris Pasternak (on MSR Classics Sound of Verse, which drew comparisons to Argerich and Cliburn), 13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg – new variations on Bach’s Aria , music of women composers, and many other programs. She makes sure to present programs that include both beloved crowd pleasers and music that is new and challenging, creating an adventurous, moving and involving experience for the audience. She is a musical omnivore. Faliks debuted as a teenager with the Chicago Symphony and at the Gilmore Festival to rave reviews, and has been exciting and moving audiences worldwide since then.
Children under the age of 6 will not be admitted. This series is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

28th Annual Music Festival in Honor of Confucius

November 19th, 2012 by helen No comments »
December 2, 2012
3:00 pm


Chicago’s Chinese Fine Arts Society presents the winners of the 28th Annual Music Festival in Honor of Confucius in concert. Program highlights include pieces from the music festival’s Chinese repertoire and “Romance of Hsia and Ch’in” for cello and piano by Chen Yi. The concert will take place on December 2 at 3 pm in Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 East Washington Street. Admission is free.

The Music Festival in Honor of Confucius introduces participants to the rich heritage of Chinese music through competitions and scholarships. Every fall, hundreds of young musicians perform Chinese music selected from the required repertoire, as well as a western piece of their choosing, for a panel of judges. The top scoring performers in each age category play in the annual Winners Concert at prestigious Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center. Alumni of this popular program have gone on to attend music conservatories, and many have developed successful professional music careers.

2012 First Place Winners: Jack Boettcher, cello; Derek Chung, piano; Kimiko Darcy, piano; Kai Dizon, cello; Vivian Jin, piano; Masha Lakisova, violin; Sophia Li, piano; Christi Park, violin; Linda Wang, violin; Hannah White, violin; Yerin Yang, piano; Josiah Yoo, cello; Ganev-Kaler Duo.


Pianist Jenny Q Chai “Dissects” Marco Stroppa

November 19th, 2012 by helen No comments »
December 3, 2012
7:30 pm

Recently compared to pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and David Greilsammer by New York Times reviewers Anthony Tommasini and Vivien Schweitzer in reviews of her appearances at New York’s Carnegie Hall and Le Poisson Rouge, pianist Jenny Q Chai presents her lecture-recital “Dissecting Stroppa” – An Analysis of “Innige Cavatina” from Miniature Estrose by Marco Stroppa — on Monday Dec. 3rd, 7:30 PM, at Miller Hall, Manhattan School of Music, 120 Claremont Avenue, in New York City. Tel: 212 749 2802. Free Admission.

In this groundbreaking performance mixing academics with theater, Chai, wearing a doctor’s lab coat, will “dissect Stroppa” and in particular, his recent work, “Innige Cavatina” from the collection Miniature Estrose. Chai met the composer Marco Stroppa in Darmstadt, Germany five years ago, and she was immediately enthralled by his music. The two kept in touch musically, and Stroppa introduced Chai to Pierre-Laurent Aimard, with whom she has studied for two years. This lecture-recital is taking place as part of Jenny Q Chai’s D.M.A. thesis and dissertation on Stroppa.

For her debut at Zankel Hall, pianist Jenny Q Chai was praised by the New York Times’ Anthony Tommasini for her “resourceful technique and sensitivity” as well as playing that is “admirable for its refinement and directness.” Of her performance at the Keys to the Future Festival, Zachary Woolfe wrote, also in the New York Times: “Jenny Q Chai opened the concert playing two of Ligeti’s Études with rich tone and rhythmic clarity; especially strong was her “Cordes à vide.” Chai is an active pianist specializing in contemporary music, and in addition to Carnegie Hall, Jenny has played at New York venues such as Roulette, Symphony Space, the Stone and recently made her Chicago debut playing Schumann’s Kreisleriana at the Dame Myra Hess Series. Recipient of the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust’s 2011 Pianist/Composer Commissioning Project, first prize winner of the Keys to the Future Contemporary Solo Piano Festival, and recipient of the DAAD Arts and Performance award in 2010, Chai has premiered, most notably, Life Sketches and Five Pieces (for Jenny Q Chai) by Nils Vigeland, Intimate Rejection by Ashley Fu-Tsun Wang, Messiaen’s Canteyodjaya (China premiere) and Marco Stroppa’s Innige Cavatina (US premiere). Chai has also premiered “Marriage (Mile 58) Section F” from The Road by Frederick Rzewski in Ghent, Belgium, where she was given the Logos Award for the best performance of 2008. Chai played the first contemporary solo piano concert in China this June at the National Performing Arts Center in Beijing; and she recently had the privilege of introducing the concept of prepared piano to a Chinese audience, with the world premiere of Mallet Dance by John Slover, in Shanghai Concert Hall. She has recently lectured at NYU, Manhattan School of Music, and in Shanghai at Fu Dan University and at FaceArt Music InterNations.

Composer, researcher and professor, Marco Stroppa was born in Verona, Italy, and has composed for both acoustical instruments and new media. His repertoire includes works for concerts, one music drama, two radio operas and various special projects. He often groups several works around large cycles exploring specific compositional projects, such as a series of concertos for instrument and a spatialized orchestra or ensemble inspired by poems of W.B. Yeats, a book of Miniature Estrose, seven pieces for solo piano, a cycle of works for solo instrument and chamber electronic music inspired by poems of e. e. cummings, and two string quartets. He has worked as a composer and researcher, and teacher at IRCAM (where he was selected by Pierre Boulez to be the director of Musical Research starting in 1987), and he founded the composition and computer music workshop at the International Bartók Festival in Szombathély, Hungary. He taught composition at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris and Lyon and since 1999 he has been full professor of composition and computer music at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart. He studied at the Conservatories of Verona, Milan and Venice and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship. Among Stroppa’s significant pedagogical contributions is a masterclass in composition and interpretation with pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris in 1988.