Press Release: Eroica Trio Opens Music in Midtown Fall Season

Music in Midtown -- the popular free lunchtime chamber concert series at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York -- opens its Fall 2008 season on Thursday, September 18, with the Eroica Trio playing works by George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, and contemporary composer Mark O’Connor.  Presented in the Graduate Center’s Elebash Recital Hall at 365 Fifth Avenue (between 34th and 35th Streets), the series will continue with the CUNY Piano Quartet on October 2; tenor Robert White accompanied by piano trio on October 16; the Ying Quartet on October 30; the Mendelssohn String Quartet on November 13; and the Philharmonic Quintet of New York on December 4.  All programs are on Thursdays, from 1 to 2 pm.

Although admission is free, reservations are required. To reserve, visit and click the “e-VENT online reservation” icon next to the program listing, or call 212-817-8215.

The Programs

September 18: Eroica Trio
Porgy and Bess Fantasy ……… George Gershwin (1898–1937)
Piano Trio no. 1, “Poets and Prophets” (2004) ……… Mark O’Connor (b. 1961)
West Side Story Suite ……… Leonard Bernstein (1918–90)

October 2:
CUNY Piano Quartet
Piano Quartet in E flat major, op. 47 ……… Robert Schumann (1810–56)
October 16: Robert White, Tenor, Sings Beethoven and Weber Songs with Piano Trio
October 30: Ying Quartet
“Musical Dim Sum”
The Talking Fiddle ……… Chen Yi (b. 1953)
Pizzicato for String Quartet ……… Vivian Fung (b. 1975)
Gobi Gloria ……… Lei Liang (b. 1972)
String Quartet in G minor, op. 10 ……… Claude Debussy (1862–1918)

November 13:
Mendelssohn String Quartet
Quartet in D major, op. 20 no. 4 ……… Franz Josef Haydn (1732–1809)
Quartet in F minor, op. 80 ……… Felix Mendelssohn (1809–47)

December 4: Philharmonic Quintet of New York
Quintet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, and Horn, op. 43 ……… Carl Nielsen (1865–1931)
Woodwind Quintet, La Nouvelle OrlĂ©ans ……… Lalo Schifrin (b. 1932)
Wind Quintet no. 3 ……… David Maslanka (b. 1943)

The Artists

The all-female Eroica Trio -- Erika Nickrenz (piano), Susie Park (violin), and Sara Sant’Ambrogio (cello) -- made its highly successful Lincoln Center debut after winning the prestigious Naumburg Chamber Music Award in 1991. Among the world’s most sought-after chamber music ensembles, it has been showcased at Carnegie Hall and has appeared with the Chicago Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, and with major European orchestras.  The hallmark of the trio’s performances, as described by The Wall Street Journal, is “technical flair, raw, driven energy and high spirits.” Its seven critically lauded recordings for Angel/EMI Classics Records have garnered multiple Grammy nominations.

Robert White -- singing works by Beethoven and the Romantic composer Carl Maria von Weber -- is perhaps best known for his artistic versatility. His recitals have ranged from Medieval and Renaissance songs to 20th-century premieres of works by Hindemith, Menotti, Schuller, Babbitt, and Corigliano. White’s opera performances have spanned a repertoire from Mozart’s Don Giovanni to Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov.  And his recordings (with such colleagues as Yo-Yo Ma, Samuel Sanders, Placido Domingo, William Bolcolm, and Graham Johnson) range from Beethoven to Poulenc to Richard Rodgers. He has the unique distinction of having sung for six U.S. Presidents -- Truman, Kennedy, Carter, Ford, Reagan, and Clinton.

The piano trio that will accompany White in the song recital features Mark Peskanov, violinist, president, and artistic/ executive director of Bargemusic; pianist Norman Carey, director of the D.M.A. (Doctor of Musical Arts) Performance Program at the Graduate Center; cellist Iris Jortner, who has performed throughout the world; and flutist Roberta Michel, whose performance credits include Carnegie Hall, among other venues.

Ying Quartet -- a family affair of musical siblings, Timothy and Janet (violins), Phillip (viola), David (cello) -- is in its second decade as a ground-breaking chamber ensemble. It regularly performs in the world’s most important concert halls, from Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House, and is a major presence on the music festival circuit with summer residencies and engagements at Aspen, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Caramoor, and elsewhere.  The Yings are also the quartet-in-residence at the Eastman School of Music, where they teach in the string department. Through a project called LifeMusic, created to expand the string-quartet repertoire, the Yings have commissioned works from both established and emerging composers. Their collaboration with the Turtle Island Quartet, “Four + 4,” which merges the classic string quartet tradition with jazz and other American vernacular styles, won a Grammy Award in 2005. Their most recent recording, “Dim Sum,” a Telarc release, fuses the sound of a Western string quartet with traditional Chinese music in works by Chinese-American composers.  Three of those works will be performed at Elebash.

The Mendelssohn String Quartet comprises four musicians who are consummate soloists in their own right: Marian Fried (violin), Nicholas Mann (violin), Daniel Panner (viola), and Marcy Rosen (cello).  Together, as one of the world’s most distinguished chamber ensembles, they have established an adventurous reputation for their performances not just of the classical and Romantic repertoire, but of challenging new music. The quartet has toured extensively, giving concerts at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, among other major venues. It has also been a frequent performer at the Ravinia, Aspen, Mostly Mozart, and Saratoga music festivals, and for nine years was the Blodgett Artists in Residence at Harvard University. The quartet’s recordings include the music of Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schoenberg, Weber, Gershwin, George Antheil, Ernst Toch, and Walter Piston.

The Philharmonic Quintet of New York, also known as the “PQNY,” was launched in 2001 by five key members of the New York Philharmonic’s wind section: Mark Nuccio (clarinet), Sherry Sylar (oboe), Erik Ralske (horn), Judith LeClair (bassoon), and Robert Langevin (flute). Since then they have toured in Asia, Europe, and North America, serving at times as a “musical ambassador” for the orchestra. In 2004 the quintet also helped inaugurate a new chamber music series at the 92nd Street “Y” in Manhattan. Noted for its particularly infectious performances, the PQNY offers “serious fun” as much as virtuosity. Besides their careers as concert artists, all five players are on the faculties of one or more of these schools: the CUNY Graduate Center, the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, or the Mannes College of Music.

Music in Midtown performances feature renowned faculty from the Graduate Center’s doctoral program in music, outstanding professional musicians selected from among the program's doctoral students, and special guest artists. Some concerts are followed by master classes.  Music in Midtown is directed by Norman Carey, professor of music and director of the D.M.A. (Doctor of Musical Arts) Performance Program at the Graduate Center.

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York (CUNY). An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the school offers more than thirty doctoral programs, as well as a number of master’s programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world’s leading scholars in their respective fields, and its alumni hold major positions in industry and government, as well as in academia. The Graduate Center is also home to twenty-nine interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns.  Located in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, the Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City’s intellectual and cultural life with its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events. Further information on the Graduate Center and its programs can be found at

Submitted on: SEP 1, 2008

Category: Press Room