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.

November 22, 2017 - 0 Comments

Thanksgiving is Upon Us… We Gather Together

“As Charlie Brown says, “It seems Thanksgiving is upon us.”

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This was originally posted November 26th 2013. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we share again.

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This November [2013] we’ve had the release of The Peanuts Movie. While it commemorates the 65th anniversary of the comic strip and 50th anniversary of the TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas, it is this time of year that we turn to the perennial favorite, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. It’s the tenth prime-time animated TV special based on Charles M. Schulz’ popular comic strip Peanuts and originally aired on the CBS network on November 20, 1973.

The music of Vince Guaraldi is very much associated with the Charlie Brown television specials; and the Thanksgiving holiday is paired with food, especially turkey (why else would Sally question the expectation of Turkey Cards?), charity, football, turkey trots, the Macy’s Day parade, and the anticipation of Black Friday. While the nature of some of these is … well … evolving, it seems Thanksgiving is not a holiday that is associated with an encompassing soundtrack as some others are. (The why is an area for further exploration).

Yes, we have a few iconic works to point to such as Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant, which is based on a Thanksgiving Day true-life incident, and Guaraldi’s Thanksgiving Theme, but the repertoire outside of the Christian hymnal is not that big. This is one of my favorite holidays, and in my humble opinion, it would be wonderful to expand the Holiday’s repertoire. Composers take note … a bit of a challenge here.

Meanwhile … brief background as Linus aroused some curiosity. Thanksgiving is the first declared national holiday about giving thanks. While there had been various proclamations for Thanksgiving observances throughout our early nationhood, the annual tradition began in 1863. After some serious solicitation from Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Ladies Magazine and Godey’s Lady’s Book, President Abraham Lincoln was spurred on by the Union victory at Gettysburg and proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be observed every year on the fourth Thursday of November.

So, in the words of Charlie Brown, it seems Thanksgiving is upon us. And as I turn to my own musical collection and that which is at my fingertips via my digital devices in search of Thanksgiving holiday music and an anthem, I return to the hymnal with the stalwart We Gather Together. ***

640px-Half_Moon_in_HudsonAn interesting read by Melanie Kirkpatrick about this Thanksgiving hymn can be found in her Wall Street Journal article (2005), “A Hymn’s Long Journey Home.” For those of us who call the shores of the Hudson River home, especially here in New York’s Capital Region, the hymn is perhaps particularly captivating as the Dutch settlers brought this 17th-century Dutch song and simple folk melody with them to the New World.

While giving thanks, Hudson Sounds extends warm hopes and safe travel wishes for all gathering together to share the bonds of family and joy of friendship. We are blessed to share our nationhood, freedoms, and the fortitude to survive our very turbulent times.

Happy Thanksgiving!

*** It is without a doubt I have missed existing compositions that are representative of this American holiday, yet long recognized universal theme. Please share your favorites via twitter @HudsonSounds, by e-mail, or by posting your comments here.

 

November 16, 2017 - 0 Comments

Musical Conversations with Maria Zemantauski and Alturas Duo at Gardner Farm Inn

AlturasDuo_MariaZ6:30 pm • Saturday, November 18th 2017
Gardner Farm Inn • Troy NY

Gustav Mahler has been quoted as saying ““In its beginnings, music was merely chamber music, meant to be listened to in a small space by a small audience.” As a lover of all things chamber music…yes, even the string quartet… I question the use of the word  “merely.” But then again, Mahler did have some pretty big stuff going on. I prefer to go along with celebrated biographer Catherine Drinker Bowen’s take on chamber music… as “a conversation among friends.”

With Thanksgiving around the corner and the winter months ahead, this weekend seems like a good time to embrace friendships—old and new—and great music. This is exactly what one will find in Troy this weekend when the Gardner Farm Inn hosts a flavorful evening of Spanish and South American sounds and edibles that is bound to delight just about anyone.

On Saturday evening, in the parlor of the Gardner Farm Inn, there is a special performance entitled “Strumming from A to Z” featuring the virtuosic sounds of guitarist Scott Hill and charango player Carlos Boltes of the Alturas Duo with music of the South American folk and oral tradition as well as contemporary classical, and regional favorite Maria Zemantauski, widely acclaimed nylon-string guitarist and composer whose style is heavily influenced by Spanish classical and flamenco music and dance. With guitars and other plucked string instruments, one can explore the worlds of South American and flamenco strumming. A buffet dinner designed to complement the South American and Spanish musical delights will follow the performance so audience and performers can top off the evening socializing with one another… rekindling old friendships and making new ones. After an incredibly intense and crazy week, an engaging evening of intimate music, good friendship with a delicious meal seems like a great way to warm the soul.

Should you wish to learn more about this musical soirée, click here or call John Hughes at the Gardner Farm Inn at (917) 509-5110 as reservations are required.

Happy musicking this weekend!

November 10, 2017 - 0 Comments

Opera & Politics … A Close Encounters Conversation with Mitchell Cohen

Politics-of-Opera3:00 pm • Sunday, November 12th 2017
Saint James Place • Great Barrington, MA

Another election day in America has passed. An off-year election year, but local and state elections can offer much and are just as important in a variety of ways as those for national issues and posts. With this in mind, it’s perhaps fitting to point our attention to the Hudson Hall’s production of the opera The Mother of Us All by Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein, which chronicles the life of Susan B. Anthony through her fight for women’s suffrage in the United States as the center point of the story. Now, rumor has it the performances are all sold out, but … if you’re interested in attending, contact Hudson Hall to be sure.

Another timely event is Close Encounters With Music’s engaging “Conversations With …” series as part of its 2017-18 season. The one taking place this Sunday in Great Barrington is a conversation with author and scholar Mitchell Cohen, who has recently written a book entitled The Politics of Opera—A History from Monteverdi to Mozart (Princeton Press). Mitchell Cohen is professor of political science at Baruch College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and editor emeritus of Dissent magazine. His books include Zion and State and The Wager of Lucien Goldmann (Princeton). His writing has appeared in such publications as The New York Times and the Times Literary Supplement.

In his book, Cohen combines his academic expertise in political science and lifelong interest in the spectacle of opera to take readers on an intriguing journey into the entwined development of opera and politics, from the Renaissance through the turn of the nineteenth century. For Sunday’s “Conversations With…” Mitchell Cohen will explore the political dimensions of libretti and ideological elements of opera, which absorbs and mirrors currents of the day in dramatic dress-up. The questions you may hear posed may include:

  • What political backdrops have shaped opera?
  • How has opera conveyed the political ideas of its times?
  • To what extent do operas express the political and cultural ideas of their age?
  • How do story lines, harmonies and musical motifs reflect the composer’s view of the changing relations among art, politics, and society?

Cohen, as in his book, will likely delve into European history and thought and an array of music by such greats as Lully, Rameau, and Mozart to reveal how politics—through story lines, symbols, harmonies, and musical motifs—have “played an operatic role both robust and sotto voce.”

After taking in Cohen’s investigation into the intersections of music and the state, you may never hear opera the same again!

We’ll wish you happy musicking for the weekend and leave you with the little opera and political tidbit that emerged this past summer in the video below.

Click here for contact info for tickets.

November 3, 2017 - 0 Comments

Piano By Nature Presents Intimate Sophistication at Historic Hand House

SophisticatedLadies_PBN7:00 pm • Saturday, November 4th 2017
3:00 pm • Sunday, November 5th 2017
Historic Hand House, Elizabethtown, NY

It can’t go without saying that if you’re in the immediate Capital Region on Saturday, you’ll want to check out the first Empire State Youth Orchestra‘s (ESYO) concert of the 2017-18 season which has the Youth Orchestra teaming up with pianist Jeffrey Biegel to perform the New York premiere of the newest composition from legendary musical satirist P.D.Q. Bach (1807-1742). Entitled, The Simply Grand Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, the piece was commissioned by ESYO and orchestras around the nation and features Peter Schickele’s characteristic laugh-out-loud humor and inventive playing. Rumor has it… there may even be an appearance by P.D.Q. himself! click here for concert details.

But, as you probably are aware by now, that I have a thing for new music and unusual repertoire showcased alongside the well-tested and familiar. And like to feature the working women in music. This is most certainly what you’ll find up north closer to where the Hudson River begins. The Piano By Nature (PBN) concert series nestled in the Adirondacks turn 10 this season. Spearheaded by Artistic Director pianist Rose Chancler, they continue their decade of intimate concert presentation in the parlor of the Historic Hand House in Elizabethtown as only they can… with a program that includes a collaboration of incredible artists and unique instruments. A kind of art-music jam with some of the brightest and best professional, regional musicians from previous PBN concerts.

This program, entitled “Sophisticated Ladies” features the wonderful talents of New Russia violist Patricia McCarty, Chazy trombonist Lori Salimando-Porter, Boston-based cellist Julia Lichten, and Westport pianist Rose Chancler. The program will include an eclectic mix of composers, eras, and styles including some known and some lesser-known works:

  • Ludwig van Beethoven — With Two Eyeglasses Obligato, WoO.32
  • John Hawkins — Shadows for Viola, Trombone and Piano
  • Robert Schumann — Three Fantasy Pieces for ‘cello and Piano, Op. 73
  • Vincent Persichetti — Serenade No. 6, Op. 44 for trombone, viola and ‘cello
  • Astor Piazzolla — Oblivion for trombone, ‘cello and piano
  • Rebecca Clarke — Untitled for viola and piano
  • Reynaldo HahnSolioque et Forlane for viola and piano
  • Michael DavisMission Red for trombone and tape
  • Duke EllingtonSophisticated Lady

If you’re up north … I hope you’ll get take in this terrific program! Piano By Nature is presenting two concerts:  one Saturday evening at 7:00 pm and one Sunday afternoon at 3:00 pm. Tickets ($15 per adult / $5 for 15-and-under) can be purchased at the door.

Regardless of where you are … Happy Musicking this weekend!

October 26, 2017 - 0 Comments

Albany Pro Musica Features Ola Gjeilo and American String Quartet

Ola Gjeilo_AmericanStringQuartet3:00 pm • Sunday, October 29th 2017
Troy Savings Bank Music Hall • Troy, NY

This weekend begins with the Frobenius Organ Concert featuring Jillian Gardner on Friday evening in Saratoga where you can also catch the Saratoga Chamber Players playing around on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, albeit for different age groups. On Saturday evening, with just a quick drive to the Berkshires, you’ll find the Crescendo Vocal Ensemble giving their nod the legacy of Martin Luther—his own revolutionary music and words in settings of German Renaissance and Baroque motets, choruses and chorales. On Sunday afternoon, you can jump forward a few centuries to the choral world of the contemporary Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo with Albany Pro Musica at The Troy Savings Bank Music Hall.

Albany Pro Musica‘s (APM) Artist Series opens the acclaimed choral ensemble’s 37th season with an evocative concert featuring Gjeilo’s music who is currently serving as APM’s Composer-In-Residence. Ola Gjeilo, as pianist, will be joining the chorus for the performance. The concert program entitled “Across the Vast, Eternal Sky” draws upon one of the titles that have given Gjeilo his international fame and cinematic signature sound.

In addition to featuring Albany Pro Musica a cappella with Gjeilo’s work, the venerable American String Quartet [Peter Winograd and Laurie Carney, violin; Daniel Avshalomov, viola; and Wolfram Koessel, 'cello] joins pianist Gjeilo and the chorus after performing one of their signature Beethoven masterworks.

The full program is to include:

  • Ola GjeiloPrelude, The Spheres, and Northern Lights (a cappella)
  • Ola GjeiloUbi Caritas (chorus with piano improvisation by Oja Gjielo)
  • Ludwig van Beethoven — String Quartet No. 11 in F Minor,  Op. 95 (“Serioso”)
  • Ola GjeiloDark Night of the Soul (piano quintet with chorus)
  • Ola Gjeilothe ground (piano quintet with chorus)
  • Ola GjeiloSacred Heart (chorus with string quartet)
  • Ola GjeiloAcross the Vast, Eternal Sky (piano quintet with chorus)
  • Ola GjeiloLuminous night of the soul (piano quintet with chorus)

If one is not familiar with the work of Ola Gjeilo, this is a great introduction to his choral music as Albany Pro Musica, with Artistic Director José Daniel Flores-Caraballo at the helm, literally provides a full immersion. As Paul Lamar writes in his program notes, “There is an arc to the program. We begin with three a cappella pieces, continue with one with piano accompaniment, introduce the string quartet, and then, in the second half, show off the combined forces. By the end of the concert you should be familiar with Gjeilo’s musical intentions….”

The program also highlights how Gjeilo views the role of the piano in his choral writing by providing two book-end examples in the second half of the program:

Dark Night and Luminous Night of the Soul are influenced by a wish to feature the piano more heavily in choral music, not as generic, unassuming accompaniment, but as an equal partner to the choir, aided and supported by the string quartet. Though most of all, I just wanted to attempt to find ways to compose lush, warm, symphonic-sounding music, while still only scoring for five instruments, in addition to the choir.” —Ola Gjeilo, composer

This is of particular interest to me as I work with a two duos that include piano and continually battle the balancing the piano’s role to maintain that “equal partnership” one wants to maintain in chamber music vs. “accompaniment.” Thus, the importance of the term “collaborative pianist” vs. “accompanist.”

If you would like to learn more about Ola Giello and the program, take a listen to two interviews with the composer and José Daniel Flores-Caraballo. The first is with WMHT’s classical music host Rob Brown speaking with Ola Gjeilo (click here to listen via WMHT), and the second is WAMC’s host of The Roundtable, Joe Donahue, talking with both Gjeilo and Flores-Caraballo (click here to take a listen via WAMC). Both are quite interesting.

And, if that’s not enough to inspire you to attend Albany Pro Musica’s concert on Sunday, take a listen to one of my favorites below … Dark Night of the Soul.  Hope you enjoy, and I hope you can go. Regardless… Happy Musicking this weekend!