• Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010

    Brad Mehldau Featured All Season as First Jazz Musician To Hold Carnegie Hall Composer’s Chair




    Zankel Hall Programs Include New York Premieres of Mehldau’s Highway Rider,
    the Newly Expanded Love Songs, and the World Premiere of a New Work

    Featured Performers Include Scott Yoo and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra,
    Mezzo-Soprano Anne Sofie von Otter and Jazz Artists Joshua Redman,
    Chris Potter, Sam Sadigursky, Joris Roelofs, Jeff Ballard,
    Matt Chamberlain, and Larry Grenadier


    Brad Mehldau, one of the foremost jazz pianists of his generation, begins his season-long Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair residency at Carnegie Hall this November, and continues with performances from January through March 2011. Mehldau is the first jazz artist to be appointed to the Debs Composer’s Chair since Carnegie Hall established the position in 1995.

    Mehldau’s musical personality forms a dichotomy. He is first and foremost an improviser, and greatly cherishes the surprise and wonder that can occur from a spontaneous musical idea that is expressed directly, in real time. But he also has a deep fascination for the formal architecture of music, and it informs everything he plays. In his most inspired playing, the actual structure of his musical thought serves as an expressive device. He brings these elements to the stage of Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall throughout his residency in formats ranging from solo recital to quintet with chamber orchestra. The series of concerts features two New York premieres and a world premiere work by the pianist and composer, as well as music by two up-and-coming composers who Mehldau champions. In addition, Mehldau performs varied programs that mix classical repertoire with pop and jazz standards.

    Mehldau’s residency features performances by musicians that have been his long-time colleagues, including saxophonists Joshua Redman, Chris Potter, Sam Sadigusky and Joris Roelofs; drummers Jeff Ballard and Matt Chamberlain, and bassist Larry Grenadier; as well as those that represent newer collaborations including mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter as well as conductor Scott Yoo and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.

    2010-2011 Carnegie Hall Presentations Featuring Music by Brad Mehldau:  

    November 9: Brad Mehldau’s Highway Rider
    On Tuesday, November 9 at 8:30 p.m., Brad Mehldau’s acclaimed new work Highway Rider makes its New York premiere on the stage of Zankel Hall. Mehldau is joined in performance by The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra conducted by Scott Yoo, saxophonist Joshua Redman, percussionists Jeff Ballard and Matt Chamberlain, and bassist Larry Grenadier. In a special pre-concert performance , The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra will perform Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony in F Major in Zankel Hall at 7:30 p.m.

    Although Mehldau is best known as a jazz composer and improviser, he has written several long-form compositions and songs, including an orchestral piece for the Orchestre National d’Île-de-France and two Carnegie Hall commissions. Highway Rider marks Mehldau’s continuing exploration of the format. The work was released as a two-disc record by Nonesuch in March 2010. Mehldau notes, “I waited for a while to make a record like Highway Rider because the interaction between the given order of music written with a high degree of specificity for a larger ensemble and the space allotted for the improvising soloist presents specific challenges that I finally felt ready to surmount only now.”

    He continues, “In the wordless abstract narrative of music, the motif is central to the work in the same way a theme is central to a novel. It is with us throughout the piece and becomes lodged in our memory; the meaning of it changes as the music unfolds, yet its identity does not change. For Highway Rider, I strived for a marriage between the non-arbitrary and the arbitrary—between this strong motific identity expressed in the written material and the more spontaneous expression afforded by the improvised material.”

    January 26: Brad Mehldau Solo Recital
    On Wednesday, January 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall, Mehldau performs a solo recital that explores the dichotomy that makes up his musical personality—an improviser with a deep fascination for the formal architecture of classical music. This program features Mehldau’s original works for solo piano interspersed with the classical works of Bach, Brahms, and Fauré that have inspired him over the years.

    February 19: Anne Sofie von Otter and Brad Mehldau
    On Saturday, February 19 at 7:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall, Mehldau will reunite with acclaimed mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter for the New York premiere of a newly expanded version of his song cycle Love Songs. The expanded version of this work was commissioned by Carnegie Hall, following the original’s premiere in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage in the spring of 2009 that comprised three poems by early 20th-century American poet Sara Teasdale, book-ended by poems from Philip Larkin and e. e. cummings. Of the original work, Mehldau noted, “Poems about love can invoke the celebration of love or the pain of love…and my approach was to frame the five songs here with a painful poem at the beginning and the end of the set, and position the more sunny Teasdale poems in the middle. This seemed right: We love and are loved with immediacy, but if that love is unable to bloom, as in Philip Larkin’s 'We Met at the End of the Party,' or threatened, as in e. e. cummings 'it may not always be so; and I say' then pain takes its place." The initial commission of Love Songs led to more performances and a continued collaboration between the two musicians culminating in a recording they made for the French label Naïve in Stockholm. The recording of select French, American, English, and Swedish songs they have performed together will be released in late 2010.

    In addition to this newly expanded work, Mehldau and von Otter will perform traditional lieder and standards by composers including Brahms, Fauré, Ferré, Sibelius, and Strauss as well as songwriters John Lennon and Paul McCartney among others.

    March 5–6: Professional Training Workshop at (Le) Poisson Rouge
    As part of his residency at Carnegie Hall, Mehldau leads two intensive, private master classes on Saturday, March 5, and Sunday, March 6 at 12:00 p.m. at (Le) Poisson Rouge that explore improvisation and creative collaboration for solo pianists and jazz piano trios. The master classes are open to jazz music students only. For more information on how to register as a composer/pianist or piano trio, interested students may email ptw@carnegiehall.org for an application. The application deadline is October 15. Students interested in auditing the workshops may email their school name and instrument to ptw@carnegiehall.org to request tickets. This program is presented by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute in partnership with (Le) Poisson Rouge.

    March 11: Piano Power
    Brad Mehldau concludes his residency with a program entitled Piano Power on Friday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m., featuring the world premiere of an as yet untitled new work by him—co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall—for two pianos, six winds, and percussion. Also on the program are duo piano works by two young American composers—Patrick Zimmerli and Timothy Andres. Zimmerli’s Modern Music consists of pieces that make up the contemporary classical music canon—by Reich, Pärt, Glass, Gorecki, Strauss, Ornette Coleman, and others—in new jazz arrangements that incorporate the element of improvisation. Andres’s Shy and Mighty, the recording of which was released earlier this year by Nonesuch, comprises 10 interrelated duo piano pieces in its entirety. Selections from these larger works will be performed here. Joining Mehldau for this final performance are saxophonists Chris Potter, Joshua Redman, Joris Roelofs, and Sam Sadigursky, with additional artists to be announced.

    Immediately prior to this performance, each of the composers represented on this program—Mehldau, Andres, and Zimmerli—will join Carnegie Hall’s Director of Artistic Planning Jeremy Geffen for a pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall.

    About Brad Mehldau
    Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau has recorded and performed extensively since the early 1990s. Mehldau’s most consistent output over the years has taken place in the trio format. Starting in 1996, his group released a series of five records on Warner Bros. entitled The Art of the Trio. Mehldau also has a solo piano recording entitled Elegiac Cycle, and a record called Places that includes both solo piano and trio songs. Elegiac Cycle and Places might be called “concept” albums—they are made up exclusively of original material and have central themes that hover over the compositions. Other Mehldau recordings include Largo—a collaborative effort with the innovative musician and producer Jon Brion, and Anything Goes—a trio outing with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy.

    His first record for Nonesuch, Brad Mehldau Live in Tokyo, was released in September 2004. After ten years with Rossy playing in Mehldau’s regular trio, drummer Jeff Ballard joined the band in 2005. The label released its first album from the Brad Mehldau Trio—Day is Done—in September 2005. An exciting double live trio recording entitled Brad Mehldau Trio Live was released in March 2008 to critical acclaim. In March 2010 Nonesuch released a double-disc of original work entitled Highway Rider, the highly anticipated follow up to Largo. The album is Mehldau’s second collaboration with renowned producer Jon Brion and features performances by Mehldau’s trio—drummer Jeff Ballard and bassist Larry Grenadier—as well as percussionist Matt Chamberlain, saxophonist Joshua Redman, and a chamber orchestra led by Dan Coleman.

    Mehldau has performed around the world at a steady pace since the mid-1990s with his trio and as a solo pianist. His performances convey a wide range of expression, often showcasing an intellectual rigor to the continuous process of abstraction that may take place on a given tune, and a certain density of information. Mehldau favors juxtaposing extremes. He has attracted a sizeable following over the years, one that has grown to expect a singular, intense experience in his performance.

    In addition to his trio and solo projects, Mehldau has worked with a number of great jazz musicians, including a rewarding gig with saxophonist Joshua Redman’s band for two years, recordings and concerts with Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, and Lee Konitz, and recording as a sideman with the likes of Michael Brecker, Wayne Shorter, John Scofield, and Charles Lloyd. For more than a decade, he has collaborated with several musicians and peers whom he respects greatly, including the guitarists Peter Bernstein and Kurt Rosenwinkel and tenor saxophonist Mark Turner. Mehldau also has played on a number of recordings outside of the jazz idiom, like Willie Nelson’s Teatro and singer-songwriter Joe Henry’s Scar. His music has appeared in several movies, including Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut and Wim Wender’s Million Dollar Hotel. He also composed an original soundtrack for the French film, Ma Femme Est Une Actrice. Mehldau composed two works commissioned by Carnegie Hall for voice and piano, The Blue Estuaries and The Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, which were performed in the spring of 2005 with the acclaimed classical soprano, Renee Fleming. These songs were recorded with Fleming and released in 2006 on the Love Sublime record. Simultaneously, Nonesuch released an album of Mehldau’s jazz compositions for trio entitled House on Hill. In March 2007 Mehldau debuted the piano concerto The Brady Bunch Variations for piano and orchestra at Theatre du Chatelet in Paris with Orchestre national d'Ile-de-France.

    Mehldau was appointed as curator of an annual four-concert jazz series at London's prestigious Wigmore Hall during its 2009–2010 and 2010–2011 seasons, with Mehldau appearing in at least two of the four annual concerts.

    About the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall
    Carnegie Hall’s Composer’s Chair was inaugurated in 1995, inviting composer appointees to collaborate with Carnegie Hall on creative aspects of the Hall’s activities. In 1999, the position was renamed for trustee and chairman emeritus Richard Debs and his wife, Barbara, in honor of their longstanding commitment to Carnegie Hall and its artistic goals. Beginning in the 2007–2008 season, the Debs Composer’s Chair was reconfigured as a one-year position. Previous holders of the Carnegie Hall Composer’s Chair are Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (1995–1999), Pierre Boulez (1999–2003), John Adams (2003–2007), Thomas Adès (2007–2008), Elliott Carter (2008–2009), and Louis Andriessen (2009–2010).

    Program Information for Carnegie Hall Debs Composer’s Chair Brad Mehldau

    Tuesday, November 9 at 8:30 p.m.
    Zankel Hall

    The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
    Scott Yoo, Conductor
    Brad Mehldau, Piano
    Joshua Redman, Saxophone
    Jeff Ballard, Percussion
    Matt Chamberlain, Percussion
    Larry Grenadier, Bass

    BRAD MEHLDAU Highway Rider (NY Premiere)

    7:30 p.m. pre-concert performance with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
    SHOSTAKOVICH (arr. Barshai) Chamber Symphony in F Major, Op. 73a (arrangement of the String Quartet No. 3)

    Tickets: $48, $56

    Wednesday, January 26 at 7:30 p.m.
    Zankel Hall
    , Piano

    Brad Mehldau plays his own compositions interspersed with works by Bach, Brahms, and Fauré.

    Tickets: $46, $54

    Saturday, February 19 at 7:30 p.m.
    Zankel Hall
    , Mezzo-Soprano
    , Piano

    An evening of vocal works from lieder to jazz standards, with songs by Brahms, Fauré, Ferré, Lennon and McCartney, Sibelius, Strauss, and others, plus the New York premiere of Mehldau’s expanded Love Songs (commissioned by Carnegie Hall).

    Tickets: $46, $54

    Saturday, March 5 at 12:00 p.m.
    Sunday, March 6 at 12:00 p.m.
    (Le) Poisson Rouge

    Professional Training Workshops are made possible, in part, by Mr. and Mrs. Nicola Bulgari and The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.

    The Weill Music Institute's programs are made available to a nationwide audience, in part, by the US Department of Education and by an endowment grant from the Citi Foundation.

    Presented by the Weill Music Institute in partnership with (Le) Poisson Rouge.

    Please note that this event is for registered jazz students only and is not open to the public.

    Friday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m.
    Zankel Hall

    Brad Mehldau, Piano
    Chris Potter, Saxophone and Woodwinds
    Joshua Redman, Saxophone
    Sam Sadigursky, Saxophone and Woodwinds
    Joris Roelofs, Saxophone
    Additional artists to be announced


    TIMOTHY ANDRES Selections from Shy and Mighty
    BRAD MEHLDAU New Work (World Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)

    Pre-concert talk starts at 6:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall with Brad Mehldau, Timothy Andres and Patrick Zimmerli in conversation with Jeremy Geffen, Director of Artistic Planning, Carnegie Hall.

    This concert is made possible, in part, by the A.L. and Jennie L. Luria Foundation.

    Tickets: $46, $54

    Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall. 

    Ticket Information
    Tickets are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.

    For more information on this and other discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit carnegiehall.org/discounts.



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