Latest Posts From Liz Friedman

avatar A closet piano and trumpet player, Liz Friedman engages in an entrepreneurial career in the business of music and artist management, working with primarily young classical and jazz performers and composers. Liz has worked in theatre, opera and dance, with classical and jazz musicians, and for several regional performing arts centers and ensembles including, The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Proctors, Glimmerglass Opera, and Albany Pro Musica and the Four Nations Ensemble. Liz has negotiated artist contracts, settled ticket sales for touring shows, procured foreign work permits, fulfilled chauffeur duties, did grocery shopping to fulfill contract riders, and cleaned toilets for audiences and artists alike. Believing that at the heart of every rewarding professional music career is the entrepreneurial spirit and drive, Liz is the founder of Green Room Artist Development, LLC. While her musical tastes are quite eclectic, she has an ongoing passion for early music, big bands, and contemporary classical. Liz has a BA in Theatre Production Management from Binghamton University, an MBA from the University of Albany, and a Masters Certificate in Artist Management from Berklee College of Music. She is a member of Chamber Music America, the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association, Upstate Independent (Film), and the Freelancers Union.

February 7, 2018 - 0 Comments

Musicians of Ma’alwyck, Capital Trio join forces to perform Price and Dvořák

Florence B. Price - Florence Beatrice Smith Price University of Arkansas7:30 pm • Thursday, February 8th 2018
University at Albany Performing Arts Center • Albany, NY

7:00 pm • Friday, February 9th 2018
Carl B. Taylor Auditorium at Schenectady County Community College • Schenectady, NY

In this cold and snowy week, the Musicians of Ma’alwyck continues its 2017-18 concert activity by collaborating with the Capital Trio timed appropriately for Black History Month. Entitled “Sweet Power,” the program features Florence Beatrice Price’s 5 Negro Folk Songs in Counterpoint and a Piano Quintet of Antonín Dvořák. There is a preview program at the University at Albany on Thursday evening (rescheduled from Wednesday due to the snow storm) and a full program on Friday evening at Schenectady County Community College.

In all likelihood, fans of symphonic music and chamber music are familiar with Dvořák with his ever-popular Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” and Piano Trio No. 4, “Dumky.” But it’s my guess that not many are aware of the American composer Florence Beatrice Price (1887-1953). Not surprising as she was not white nor male at the time she was writing music. Or as Alex Ross framed it in his recent article for The New Yorker, “The Rediscovery of Florence Price,” (5-Feb-2018):

The reasons for the shocking neglect of Price’s legacy are not hard to find. In a 1943 letter to the conductor Serge Koussevitzky, she introduced herself thus: ‘My dear Dr. Koussevitzky, To begin with I have two handicaps—those of sex and race. I am a woman; and I have some Negro blood in my veins.” She plainly saw these factors as obstacles to her career, because she then spoke of Koussevitzky ‘knowing the worst.’”

I encourage you to read Ross’ article (click here) as it is not only an informative and good read, it points to a serious programming flaw of many organizations that continues to perpetuate the lack of attention to many composers of merit. But that’s another larger topic for another time….

Here’s a quickie intro to the award-winning pianist and composer, Florence Beatrice Price. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas on April 9th 1887, Price gave her first piano performance at the age of four. She went on to attend the New England Conservatory of Music, graduating in 1906 at age 19 with degrees in organ performance and musical education. She eventually settled in Chicago where her award-winning “Symphony in E Minor” was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. She was the first African-American woman to have her work performed by a major symphony, and this help pave the way for more of her work to be commissioned by orchestras both domestically and abroad. Luminaries such as Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price sang her compositions as well. It may be of interest that in the infamous April 9th concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, Marian Anderson sang one of Price’s songs as the closing work on the program. At the time of her death, Florence B. Price had become a major contributor to classical music. She died in Chicago on June 3rd 1953.

We’ll keep an eye and ear out for you, but it is my understanding that PBS will be airing James Greeson’s hour-long documentary entitled The Caged Bird: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price on Friday, March 30th. Here’s the opening three minute section of the documentary.

In the Musicians of Ma’alwyck and Capital Trio collaboration, Price’s string quartet, 5 Negro Folk Songs in Counterpoint, sets familiar spirituals into classical style, including “Calvary,” “Oh My Darling Clementine,”  “Momma’s Little Baby,” “Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” The program fittingly pairs a piano quintet by Dvořák as he was a champion of the music of his homeland, Bohemia, and one who encouraged Americans to find their voice in their musical roots of spirituals, folk songs, and Native American melodies. On the Friday night concert at Schenectady Community College, the program will open with the whimsical Intermezzo for string trio of Zoltán Kodály, who was also an advocate for the music of his native Hungary as well as the developer of an important system of music education. The performers for this program include violinists Hilary Cumming and Ann-Marie Barker Schwartz, violist Andrew Snow, cellist Petia Kassarova and pianist Duncan Cumming.

In case you missed it last Friday, click here to take a listen to WMHT’s Rob Brown and violinist Ann-Marie Barker Schwartz talking about the program. And despite all the newly fallen snow, it is my hope you’ll be able to dig out and catch one of these two concerts if not both. Happy musicking this weekend!


January 26, 2018 - 0 Comments

Beethoven to Bartók with Saratoga Chamber Players Jill Levy & Margaret Kampmeier

Margaret Kampmeier & Jill Levy3:00 pm • Sunday, January 28th 2018
Filene Hall, Skidmore College • Saratoga Springs

While it’s a quiet weekend in the neighborhood this weekend, we’ll point you to the Saratoga Chamber Players first concert of 2018 that takes place on the Skidmore campus this Sunday afternoon.

Exemplifying the intimacy we cherish in chamber music, the performance of sonatas featuring the violin takes place in Filene Recital Hall. The program presents violinist Jill Levy and pianist Margaret Kampmeier and is to include:

  • Ludwig van Beethoven — Sonata No. 8 in G Major, Op. 30, No.3
  • Olivier Messiaen— Thème et variations
  • Béla Bartók — Violin Rhapsody No. 1, Sz. 87
  • Sir Edward Elgar — Violin Sonata in E minor, Op. 82

Many of us are familiar with Jill Levy as the concertmaster of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, but she is the long-standing Artistic Director of the Saratoga Chamber Players and also a long-time member of the Sherman Chamber Ensemble based in Connecticut. Pianist Margaret Kampmeier has a varied career as soloist, collaborative artist and educator and has appeared many times with the Saratoga Chamber Players as well as the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic Ensembles, Kronos Quartet, Sherman Chamber Ensemble, Richardson Chamber Players, and Peter Schickele. Sunday’s concert promises to deliver some wonderful playing as Levy and Kampmeier bring that intimate interplay that comes from working together over the course of a least a decade.

Tickets range from $15 to $20, can be purchased at the door, online, or by calling (518) 584-1427. Here’s a little something to warm you up in the anticipation of Sunday’s concert.

Happy musicking this weekend!

January 18, 2018 - 0 Comments

Opera & Jazz, Side By Side: Puccini & Bechet, 23Arts Initiative & Catskill Jazz Factory

Puccini - Bechet7:00 pm • Friday, January 19th 2018
Mountain Top Library • Tannersville, NY

I recently attended the annual Chamber Music America conference in New York City.
By far, it is my favorite conference of the year as it is more than a networking or transactional oriented gathering. It is a meeting of music lovers, who happen to do business together, that stimulates the sharing of ideas and issues which flourish through not just presentation, but engaged discussion, and is more often than not carried forward by way of correspondence after we have all scattered and gone back to our various places. This year, a session that caught my eye (and I attended) was entitled “Re-Examining the Classical-Jazz Divide.” The discussion centered around two questions important to not only concert presenters, but to educators and performers as well … and ultimately placed in context in terms of the audience as it is the audience that gives reason for presenters and performers to come together to share the music. The questions posed and discussed are:

  • What do classical and jazz idioms stand to gain by being defined as two separate art forms?
  • What would be gained by being unified?

While the conversation was lively, I observed that the majority of the people in the room were performers rather than presenters. This is interesting as the presenters are, in essence, the gatekeepers for the consumers of music, the audience. In all fairness, there were a few presenters (administrators and board members), notably a representative from The Kennedy Center who sat on the panel leading the discussion. It became quite clear as the conversation was carried out that “the need” to categorize and compartmentalize music and present accordingly comes from a somewhat rigid retail marketing viewpoint (think genre record bins, drop-down menus, etc.) rather than embracing what the music actually offers performers and audience members … the glories and pitfalls of a shared experience of making music whether it is “classical” or “jazz” or magical blends of both or being able to present the genres side-by-side.

It is with this backdrop that I am delighted to see 23Arts Initiative and the Catskill Jazz Factory are coming together to present Aaron Johnson—a multi-instrumentalist and scholar of jazz history and culture—leading a performance and talk about where the parallel dimensions of opera and jazz collide. With a condensed chamber group featuring operatic vocals, piano, clarinet, and soprano saxophone, Johnson defines, examines and explores the parallels between Italian composer Giacomo Puccini’s bel canto operatic tradition and the sublime sounds of Sidney Bechet’s New Orleans.

While Hudson Sounds readers probably are familiar with Puccini (1858-1924), you may not be as aware of Sidney Bechet (1897-1959), one of New Orleans’ jazz pioneers who contributed to making jazz America’s art music. Bechet originally made his mark as a clarinetist, and at one point while in Europe caught the attention of Ernest Ansermet, the noted Swiss Conductor who conducted the music for the Ballet Russa, and subsequently wrote in a Swiss musical journal, “The extraordinary clarinet virtuoso Bechet is an artist of genius!” Eventually Bechet became even better known as a virtuoso of the soprano saxophone. Although Bechet grew up in New Orleans, played some in Chicago and New York City, much of the latter part of his life was spent in France where he passed away in 1959. As a composer, many of his works stem from his love of France, including the infamous Petite Fleur, Rue des Champs Elysees, and Si tous vois ma mere. Other Bechet compositions one might be familiar with are Chant in the Night, Blues in the Air, Bechet’s Fantasy, and his ode to his Brooklyn home, Quincy Street Stomp. (click here for more info on Bechet).

Now.. getting back to Friday evening’s concert at the Mountain Top Library in Tannersville… when making an inquiry to 23Arts about what we might expect from the program, here’s the response from Aaron Johnson:

When one considers Sidney Bechet’s New Orleans, the faint tinkle of ragtime pianists, exuberance of brass bands and images of steamboats are conjured. Bechet’s jubilant, soaring soprano saxophone and clarinet are certainly the product of this environment, but are equally indebted to the bel canto tradition (the 19th century Italian school of singing). A Creole, Bechet’s doting mother Josephine ushered him to the Opera as a small child and one could imagine a young Sidney becoming enraptured by Edison cylinder recordings of his lifelong hero, Enrico Caruso. Through his study of the clarinet with master Lorenzo Tio Jr (whose methods almost single-handly shaped the New Orleans clarinet tradition), Bechet co-opted a singer’s vibrato (which to this day is unusual to the instrument) and phrased his melodies in a larger-than-life manner that was pointedly influenced by the great Italian tenors. Our programmatic suite of arias by Giaocomo Puccini and selections by Bechet aim to explore this aspect of the Jazz Legend’s artistry with hope of connecting the threads of aesthetic continuity between opera and jazz.”

As a scholar, Aaron Johnson has lectured, given talks and moderated panels regarding the state of jazz, its history, identity, culture and function at notable institutions such as New York University, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The National Jazz Museum of Harlem and the College of William and Mary. As a performer, he has appeared in concerts and jazz club settings as a sideman to notable Jazz artists and rising stars such as Jonathan Batiste, Connie Crothers, Bruce Harris, Michael Mwenso, James Langton’s NY All Star Big Band and The Jimmy Halperin Quartet as well as leading his Quintet with Trumpeter Benny Benack III at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center. In 2009 and 2014, Aaron produced historically accurate recreations of Benny Goodman’s Orchestra (2009, Oregon) and Charlie Parker with Strings (2014, NYC). Operatic soprano Faylotte Crayton-Dover and pianist Steven Feifke join Johnson who will be playing clarinet and saxophone. Among the selections to be performed are:

      • Giacomo Puccini —“O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi
      • Sidney BechetPetite fleur
      • Giacomo Puccini — “Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore” from Tosca
      • Sidney BechetA moi d’payer

If this whets your curiosity and you are able to go*, you might be interested to know that Hudson-Chatham Tannersville Winery on Main Street is offering an exclusive pre-concert Happy Hour from 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm as well as a post-concert hangout following the performance. A tasting menu will be available as well as complimentary cheese & crackers for attendees. Sounds pretty excellent.

Happy musicking this weekend!

* Admission is by a suggested donation of $10 | More info: (518) 589-5707

January 12, 2018 - 0 Comments

Schenectady Symphony Highlights Number One with Green, Bizet, and David Keen’s Film & Score

David Keen | Boof Margerine3:00 pm • Sunday, January 14th 2018
Proctors Theater • Schenectady, NY

After attending the Chamber Music America annual conference this past week, all things chamber music are swirling around the mind. But, as performers’ careers are part of the conference conversations, the musician’s “portfolio” and need for diversification in today’s world is also front and center. Mix in love of music and film, and naturally the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra’s concert on Sunday jumps out as the weekend’s performance of interest.

This Sunday, with Maestro Charles Schneider on the podium, the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra continues it’s 2017-18 season. The concert program includes:

  • Edward Green — Symphony No. 1
  • George Bizet — Symphony No. 1
  • David KeenThe Adventures of Boof Margarine

At first glance the program seems to be all about first symphonies with Edward Green’s Symphony No. 1 and Bizet’s Symphony No. 1, but add in David Keen’s homage to the comedies of the golden era of silent film, the program takes a different twist. While it seems a bit unclear whether or not The Adventures of Boof Margarine is Keen’s first silent film with orchestra score, the composer and filmmaker has an interesting back story with connections to the region.

David Keen grew up in Niskayuna, was exposed to classical music by is parents, and is an alumnus of Niskayuna High School and the Empire State Youth Orchestra for which he was the concert master for three years. While in high school, he also performed with the Schenectady Symphony Orchestra. Following musical studies at Purchase, Keen based himself in New York City and pursued a professional freelance career as a classical violinist and bass-player performing with a variety of ensembles and performers all over the country and the world. Keen also began to branch out into other creative worlds with his progressive rock group Baba Yaga and with his interest in silent film. In Baba Yaga, he sang lead and played guitar and violin. Baba Yaga recorded a self-titled album in 2011, and in 2013 they wrote the intro theme music for “Hobbit Week” on the Stephen Colbert Show. Between gigs, Keen delved into film and his love of Carl Stalling, the American composer and arranger for music in animated films. Through self-study, hard work, and the vast resources online, as well as direct help of some top cinematographers, filmmakers and writers along the way, Keen began noticing the things he loves most in life, humor, tragedy, and the mystery of our human feelings and relationships were expressed in cinema. He then began to develop this weekend’s star character, Boof Margarine, through short clips.

While Boof Margarine began as a joke—little miniatures from the life of a character out of the Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy that Dave dreamed up while taking breaks from studying cinematography, or after a long day working as a musician—it became a pastime. Each episode was designed to last 30 seconds or so, a tongue-in-cheek hat-tip to the bygone era. Eventually this pastime led to partnering with actor and filmmaker Rob Buchwald to create a full-length episode of Boof Margarine with original music. Rob created and portrays Boof’s live-in gal Mabel. The original intent was to retain the brevity non-story form of the short clips, but Buchwald insisted on doing a nice little funny story. The result is The Adventures of Boof Margarine highlighting the sights and sounds of vaudeville, which the Schenectady Symphony will be performing the original score and film in a venue that was once a regular hub for silent films and vaudevillian entertainment.

It’s nice to see the Schenectady Symphony showcasing the work of a composer with ties to the region… and to learn how Keen’s early training launched what is an interesting and creative career. Hope you get to take in what, no doubt, will be an engaging program on Sunday afternoon. Tickets range from $12 to $20 and rumor has those who are 18 and younger can attend at no charge when accompanied by an adult with a paid ticket. Tickets are available through the Proctors box office.

Happy musicking this weekend!


January 7, 2018 - 0 Comments

Lilac 94 Creates “Harp Commotion” for Music Hall’s Music at Noon Concert

Lilac94-GerrySzymanskiNoon • Tuesday, January 9th 2018
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall • Troy, NY

This Tuesday, the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall’s 2017-18 Music at Noon series continues with a performance by the contemporary harp duo Lilac 94. Since 1988, on the second Tuesday of each month, The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall’s free Music at Noon concert series has highlighted the work of exceptional regional musicians with a diverse mix of musical styles.

Harpists Kathryn Sloat and Christina Brier make up Lilac 94. They began playing together in their first semester as masters students at the Eastman School of Music and formed Lilac 94 just before their graduation in May 2013. Their name reflects the duo’s origins in Rochester, New York—the lilac is the flower of the city—and there are a total of 94 strings between their two harps. Kathryn Sloat, “whose harp playing evoked the angels” (Brooklyn Discovery), is known for her work in opera and contemporary chamber music. Kate, a Capital Region native and alum of the Empire State Youth Orchestra, is now based in New York City and keeps quite busy free-lancing and teaching (most recently at Crane School of Music). When not performing and touring with Lilac 94, Christina Brier serves as Principal Harpist of the Carolina Philharmonic and Wilmington Symphony and maintains a teaching studio in Wilmington, North Carolina.

With a program entitled “Harp Commotion,” Lilac 94 presents numerous percussive works for harp duo which will have the harpists hitting their soundboards, slapping their strings, and in general, making a ruckus.

  • Carlos Salzedo — “Tango” from Suite of Eight Dances
  • Carlos Salzedo Pentacle [Steel --- Serenade --- Felines --- Catacombs --- Pantomime]
  • George Gershwin, arr. Stanley Chaloupka  — excerpt from a Suite from Porgy and Bess
  • Rebecca Larkin The Juniper Tree
  • Daniel MorelKC Blue
  • Bernard AndrèsParvis

The program opens with famed and influential harp composer Carlos Salzedo’s Pentacle, a landmark suite for harp duo in which Salzedo pioneered many of the extended techniques and percussive sounds that harpists use today. Up-and-coming composer Rebecca Larkin uses many of these same techniques to tell the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale “The Juniper Tree.” Because percussion plays an integral rhythmic role in jazz, the program includes jazzy favorites such as “Summertime” and “I got plenty of nuthin’” from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, as well as a jazzy new composition KC Blue, which was commissioned by Lilac 94. The program concludes with Bernard Andrès’ Parvis, a beloved standard of the contemporary harp duo.

If you have the opportunity to take bring your lunch to The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on Tuesday, you’ll have a sonic adventure and experience some great musicking. Hope you can go!