Music Market Part III: Takemitsu, Faure, Thompson, Rachmaninov

Thanks so much for coming tonight to support the Rochester arts community! It means so much to me and Ben to play for you in our first musical home. We've prepared a program of music this afternoon that is particularly meaningful to us, and we're really excited to work with wonderful, local artists and businesses outside at intermission. 

Ben Hopkins, piano

Annie Jacobs-Perkins, cello

Program

2:00 doors open to the public

2:30-1st half

 

Joel Thompson (b. 1988)

My Dungeon Shook: Three American Preludes (2020)

 

Tōru Takemitsu (1930-1996)

Orion (1984)

Gabriel Fauré (1885-1924)

Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1 in D minor, Op. 109 (1919)

3:20- outdoor intermission featuring local artists and artisans Adele Anderson, Rachel Mills, Nancy Guilfoyle of Geology Rocks, Rachel Coutant of Impassioned Art Studios, Lisa Goff of Eusi Sanaa Art, Chloe Smith of 490 Farmers, Bold and Gritty Coffee, and Donuts Delite. Read more about them below!

4:20- 2nd half

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)

Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor, Op. 19 (1901)

Program Notes and Quotes

Joel Thompson (b. 1988)

My Dungeon Shook: Three American Preludes (2020)

I. Totentanz (Dance of death)

II. Lacrimosa (Weeping)

III. L'homme angenouillé (The kneeling man)

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“Neither I nor time nor history will ever forgive [my country and my countrymen], that they have destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not want to know it.”

-James Baldwin, "My Dungeon Shook"

Click here for Baldwin's entire essay 

Photo from Joel Thompson's Soundcloud page

A note from Ben about commissioning My Dungeon Shook: Three American Preludes: 

I first met Joel Thompson in 2017, when we were both students at the Aspen Music Festival. Through our collaboration on some of his art songs, he introduced me to a choral work he had written called “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed.” The piece sets to music the last words of seven unarmed black men killed in America in recent years. It’s an almost indescribably powerful work, and it was one of the musical experiences that led me to the idea for my dissertation. Amid my research, I reached out to Joel about commissioning a piece of political music on any theme of his choice. We initially discussed a second set of “Prison Songs” to follow a cycle he wrote based on poetry from incarcerated people, but then the summer of 2020 took the piece in a different direction. “My Dungeon Shook” is Joel’s deeply personal reaction to and protest of the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. Before I even had the final draft, Jacob Blake was shot by police in Wisconsin. The three preludes reflect anguish, anger, despair, sorrow, and Joel’s complex feelings, as a black man, about America—ending with a biting reharmonization of the national anthem that holds space for disappointment, heartbreak, and hope. Last year, just a week before the premiere of "My Dungeon Shook," a grand jury declined to bring charges against the police officers who killed Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. Joel wrote: 

 

"For so long, I have believed in the experiment of American democracy. Inspired by the loving patriotism of Douglass, King, Chisholm, and Baldwin, I believed that the dissonant friction between our professed values and our reality would eventually resolve into a most sonorous harmony. I believed that the conscience of America would awaken and see its rot and surrender to grace.

Now, I know that, in your eyes, the neighbors' wall was worth more than the life of Breonna Taylor. I know that it is easier for you to find excuses to justify her death than to seek accountability for the theft of a beautiful, precious, just-blooming life. I know that all-consuming violent rage is not the answer, but, America, you keep asking, “What happens when we perpetuate the physical, mental, and emotional torture, murder, and dehumanization of Black people over generations while claiming to be the architects of liberty for all?” Well, what do you think?

You want the sweet, sweet sound of the blues, America. You want us to dance and sing despite your treachery. You want an Amber Guyger hug. You want us to cling to the divine nature of forgiveness while you wallow in a pit of unrepentant hate. You want us to rise from the ashes of this gaslit furnace yet stay burning so we can keep you warm.

No. You will hold space for my indignation as I hold space for your soul-sickness every day. America, I can’t keep begging you to yield to your own humanity while you’re addicted to the honeyed ambrosia of supremacy. Make me believe in you again."

Gabriel Fauré (1885-1924)

Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1 in D minor, Op. 109 (1919)

I. Allegro

II. Andante

III. Finale-Allegro commodo

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“The desire of non-existent things, maybe; that is the realm of music.” 

-Gabriel Fauré in a letter to his wife, September 11th 1906

The first movement theme from Fauré's first cello sonata comes from his opera Penelope, telling the tale of Odysseus and Penelope's suitors.

 

     Now stripping back his rags Odysseus master of craft and battle

     vaulted onto the great threshold, gripping his bow and quiver

     bristling arrows, and poured his flashing shafts before him,

     loose at his feet, and thundered out to all the suitors:

     "Look--your crucial test is finished, now, at last!

     But another target's left that no one's hit before--

     we'll see if can hit it--Apollo give me glory!"

-from The Odyssey, Book 22 "Slaughter in the Hall"

Painting by John Singer Sargent, courtesy of the Met Museum

Tōru Takemitsu (1930-1996)

Orion (1984)

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Orion for cello and piano is an outgrowth if Takemitsu’s earlier piece for orchestra, Orion and Pleiades. Takemitsu uses number symbolism to represent the three stars in Orion’s belt.

This summer [1962], walking through the fields of Hokkaido, I could not help thinking that my own thoughts have come to resemble the sidewalks of a city: rigid and calculated. Standing there in a field with an uninterrupted view for forty kilometers, I thought that the city, because of its very nature, would some day be outmoded and abandoned as a passing phenomenon…

A lifestyle out of balance with nature is frightening. As long as we live, we aspire to harmonize with nature. It is this harmony in which the arts originate and to which they will eventually return. Harmony, or balance, in this sense does not mean regulation or control by ready-made rules. It is beyond functionalism. I believe what we call “expression” in art is really discovery, by one’s own mode, of something new in this world...I have never doubted that the love of art is the love of unreality.

Although I think constantly about the relationship of music to nature, for me music does not exist to describe natural scenery...I cannot conceive of nature and human beings as opposing elements, but prefer to emphasize living harmoniously, which I like to call naturalness...In my own creation naturalness is nothing but relating to reality. It is from the boiling pot of reality that art is born. 

Toru Takemitsu, from “Nature and Music”

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943)

Sonata for Cello and Piano in G minor, Op. 19 (1901)

I. Lento-allegro moderato

II. Allegro scherzando

III. Andante

IV. Allegro mosso

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Photo from The Guardian

"I am a ghost forever wandering the world."

-Sergei Rachmaninoff

"Rachmaninoff was made of steel and gold: steel in his arms, gold in his heart. I can never think of this majestic being without tears in my eyes, for I not only admired him as an artist, but I loved him as a man." 

-Joseph Hofmann

"Rachmaninov is undoubtedly the greatest pianist I have ever heard. He had an irresistible, compelling eloquence, which came from his sound and the depth of feeling he conveyed. His face looked like a Buddhist mask, but what came out of the piano was both intoxicating and upsetting. I kept alive in me the memory of his playing, his presence on the stage, this incredible combination of power and speed, like a tiger. What came out of the piano was gold, and made your heart melt."

-Eugene Istomin

About the Musicians

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Benjamin Hopkins has performed recitals and concertos across Europe and North America, including recent debuts at the Festival de Luis Vega in Asturias, Spain and New York City’s Merkin Hall.  He recently graduated with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the University of British Columbia, where he was a member of the prestigious Public Scholars Initiative and was chosen to perform concertos with the UBC Symphony Orchestra in an unprecedented three consecutive seasons.  He holds three degrees from the USC Thornton School of Music, where the faculty twice chose him as the school’s Outstanding Graduate.  Dr. Hopkins’ past teachers include Corey Hamm, Lucinda Carver, Julian Martin, and Brian Preston and he has played in masterclasses with renowned pianists including Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Vadym Kholodenko, Anton Nel, Yong-Hi Moon, Paul Lewis, and Menahem Pressler. 

Dr. Hopkins is a two-time prize winner at the National Federation of Music Clubs Young Artist Auditions and won Grand Prize at the inaugural Silverman Piano Competition.  Other honors include first prizes at the Thousand Islands International Piano Competition, the Susan Torres Award, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Young Artists Auditions, and selection as a finalist at the Kosciuszko International Chopin Competition and Seattle International Piano Competition. In recent summers he has held fellowships at the Gijon International Piano Festival, Festival del Lago (Mexico), and the Aspen Music Festival and School. 

A consummate chamber musician and collaborator, Dr. Hopkins has performed with musicians from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Takacs Quartet, Zaffre Quartet, and Vancouver Island Symphony.  Constantly exploring new realms of musical collaboration, he has premiered chamber music by Balinese gamelan musician Dewa Alit and commissioned solo piano works by composers Joel Thompson, Peter S. Shin, and Kimberly Osberg.

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     Praised for “hypnotic lyricism, causing listeners to forget where they were for a moment” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker), “eras[ing] all kinds of boundaries” (USC Thornton School of Music), and a “sonorous” sound (San Diego Story), cellist Annie Jacobs-Perkins takes inspiration from composer and architect Iannis Xenakis’s idea of the “artist conceptor:” an artist knowledgeable enough in the liberal arts and sciences to find ways of bringing them together in new forms. Quickly becoming known for championing music of her time, Annie’s work with composers Brett Dean, Jörg Widmann, Timo Andres, Stratis Minakakis, Jeffrey Mumford, and David Plylar has been some of the most rewarding of her career.

     Annie is principal cellist of the Phoenix Chamber Orchestra, an organization in Boston committed to performing works by underrepresented composers in non-traditional venues. As cellist of the Woodstock Duo, in 2015 Annie won the Gluck Fellowship, resulting in over twenty performances in hospitals, transitional housing units, homeless shelters, nursing homes, libraries, schools, and prisons. 

     Annie is a member of the Callisto Piano Trio, the youngest group ever to medal in the senior division of the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition. She performed as principal cellist, chamber musician, and soloist in venues such as The Library of Congress, Het Concertgebouw, Jordan Hall, La Jolla Music Society, Yellow Barn Festival, Ravinia Festival's Bennett Gordon Hall, and Carnegie Hall. 

    In June of 2021, Annie was artist-in-residence at NPR’s Performance Today. She has also won the New England Conservatory Concerto Competition, Thornton School’s Solo Bach Competition, Hennings-Fischer Young Artist Competition, and numerous awards in her hometown of Rochester, NY. 

       Annie held the Laurence Lesser Presidential Scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she completed her Master of Music and Graduate Diploma. She completed her Bachelor of Music at USC’s Thornton School of Music, where she was a 2018 Outstanding Graduate and Trustee Scholar. Influential teachers include Ralph Kirshbaum, Kathleen Murphy Kemp, Laurence Lesser, Guy Fishman, David Geringas, Geoff Dyer, and Thomas Gustafson. She will begin studies at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin in the fall of 2021 with Troels Svane.

About the Artists

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Rachel Mills is a Rochester, New York based cello instructor, performer, and artist. She believes that the arts are a powerful means to cross bridges and connect people of different ages, backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs. As a performing and visual artist, Mills’ goal is the same: to bring out the depth of emotion in a piece in a way that connects with an audience. After her own struggles with depression, much of her visual art is centered around the feelings and experiences that come with a mental illness. She aims to share her art, both performing and visual, to advocate for mental health awareness and connect with those who suffer from an illness, letting them know they are not alone.

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My name is Rachel Coutant, my pronouns are she/they, and my brand is Impassioned Art. I’m a photographer, graphic designer, Photoshop manipulator, and inspirational writer. At these shows, I'm specifically showcasing my surreal photography. My goal as an artist and human is to create spaces in which people feel safe and empowered to be; spaces of vulnerability that allow people to celebrate themselves, be inspired, explore their spectrum of emotions, and grow.

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Chloe Smith (she/her) grew up in Scottsville and studied Illustration at RIT. Since 2014 she has worked as a local artist & muralist with a passion for beautifying the community she lives in. She started 490 Farmers in 2017 as a side project and effort to build community, and feels so blessed to have seen it come to fruition and to have found her tribe in the process. She loves Rochester, vegetables, animals, being outdoors, and traveling.

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Lisa L Goff grew up in Detroit, Michigan. She met her LATE-husband, Eric, while they were serving in the US Army. In 2010, they moved from Detroit to Rochester, NY (Eric’s hometown). Lisa enjoys traveling and listening to music, especially Gospel, Jazz and R & B. 

In 2018, Lisa noticed the lack of affordable Black artwork available in the area. Because of her passion for Black history, she decided to launch a home-based business in celebration of the African Diaspora. 

Eusi Sanaa mission is to recognize the contributions and experiences of African-Americans, Afro-Carribeans and Afro-Latin Americans through positive images that uplift and inspire.  Their cultural diversity greatly impacts our society.

She met with the City of Rochester Kiva staff in July and received a start-up loan in October.

 

Eusi Sanaa (Translation “Black Art”) fills an important missing piece in Rochester’s art market. Beautiful quality, UNFRAMED artwork prints by various artists have been sold at local venues including: Quality Inn, The City of Rochester Public Market and International Market Plaza, Rochester Auditorium, Radisson Hotel, Riverside Hotel, University of Rochester, The Strasenburgh Planetarium, Legacy Drama House, The Baobab Cultural Center, and WOC Art.

Vendor participation includes a partnership with: Rochester City School District, Trillium Health, Interdenominational Health Ministry Coalition, Unity N.E. Block Association and Action for A Better Community, Be Unique Events...; Co., CarkiGlobal Inc. Empowerment Conference, Beyond This Moment Conference 2019, and more. 

Eusi Sanaa joined the Women Of Color New York (WOCNY) and their Grand Opening was on Saturday, August 7, 2021. The classy boutique is located at 539 South Ave Rochester, NY 14620. Charlie Style New York owner Connie Marple and eight other women entrepreneurs provide products and services which feature: Beauty, Wellness, Fashion, Design, Gifts and a Desert Bar/Bistro.

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Geology Rocks started at the end of 2019. I (Nancy Guilfoyle) am a retired musician. When I retired, I felt like I had lost my identity. My kids were grown and I was no longer the orchestra director. Who was I?  I decided to think about what I loved as a child.I loved science. So I started collecting rocks again. Winters in Arizona and summers in New York have given me a mountain of rocks and crystals. I have been transforming my rocks into jewelry and sculptures. What makes my product somewhat unique is that I collect all the rocks, slab them, shape and polish them and turn them into craft art. A perfect blend of art and science.

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Adele Anderson is a painter who formerly taught anthropology and cultural studies, selected art historical topics, and independent interdisciplinary arts studies with SUNY Empire State College. Anderson holds the MFA and PhD degrees in art and in social anthropology from the University at Buffalo, with previous art studies from Grinnell College and the University of Iowa. Recent primary media and subjects include figure drawing and abstract painting with subjects after nature. Visit my studio by appointment at 1441 East Avenue, 3rd floor south.

Ten-minute tours of Adele's studio -- here on the 3rd floor of the Academy -- available during intermission today (max 4 persons per tour, see the three start times and signup list next to the elevator). Note: Tour does require climbing one flight of stairs beyond the second floor.

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When we launched Bold and Gritty, we made a conscious effort to do something that builds a legacy. That commitment goes beyond the coffee that we roast and the merchandise that we sell. It is how we go about our daily lives. The Bold and Gritty life is built on the small things that no one sees. The personal challenges and wins that create an indelible impression on the world around us. The stories that we share with each other, and the culture that we embrace. We are a Black-owned coffee-focused lifestyle brand founded in Rochester, New York. 

Gavin Jenkins and Nick Trombley are the masterminds behind New City Café’s approach to community building from the inside out. New City opened four years ago as an outgrowth of the 441 Ministries Teen Mentoring Program. As the teenagers in this program grew older, it became clear that there was an urgent need in the community for employment opportunities – so New City hired them to run the café. They pride themselves in sourcing great coffee, roasting it excellently, and training exceptional staff – all while operating with ridiculously thin profit margins so that prices can be accessible to neighbors.