Concerts held in Victor Borge Hall – named in honor of the legendary Danish entertainer and in recognition of his generosity to Scandinavia House – are supported in part by The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, The Louise and Karl Andrén Fund for Musical Performance, The Victor Borge Hall Endowment Fund, and The Dunard Fund.
Thursday, October 30, 8 pm
$15 ($10 ASF Members) | #IcelandArt
For the past three summers, NYC-based ensemble Decoda has been the Ensemble-in-Residence at the Við Djúpið Music Festival in Ísafjörður, Iceland. This concert presents a program of new music and recent compositions from the festival, including Daníel Bjarnason’s Bow to String (2010), Benjamin Britten’s Phantasy Quartet (1932), Dear and Blackbirds by Ellis Ludwig Leone (2014), Grunnavík by Halldór Smárason (2011), and Anton Svanberg’s Quartet (2011).
Decoda is a chamber ensemble comprised of virtuoso musicians, entrepreneurs, and passionate advocates of the arts. Based in New York City, Decoda creates innovative performances and engaging projects with partners around the world. The ensemble features Meena Bhasin, viola; Owen Dalby, violin; James Austin Smith, oboe; and former ASF Fellow Sæunn Þorsteinsdóttir, cello.
The artists of Decoda have a background of shared training and experience as fellows in the two-year program known as Ensemble ACJW – The Academy, a program of Carnegie Hall, the Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. Since its inception in 2011, Decoda's residencies have reached audiences in schools, hospitals, and prisons, as well as in renowned concert halls across the globe.
Recent travels have taken Decoda to Abu Dhabi, Iceland, Japan, Mexico, Germany, Hong Kong, and Switzerland, and in the 2013-14 season, Decoda will present residencies in the United Kingdom and Denmark, along with return engagements in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
While in residence at the Við Djúpið Music Festival, they presented concerts, master classes, and seminars, as well as worked with young composers chosen through an international competition, who wrote new works specifically for the group. During the festival, the chosen composers worked on these pieces with Decoda, along with Icelandic composer Daníel Bjarnason, culminating each year in a concert premiering these works on Icelandic National Radio.
Decoda is the resident ensemble at Greenwich House Music School in NYC’s historic West Village and its first season included engagements at the Mainly Mozart Festival (San Diego), Bay Chamber Concerts (Maine), Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Germany), Chelsea Music Festival (NYC), Carnegie Kids @ Suntory Hall (Tokyo), Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Festival (UAE), Við Djúpið Festival (Iceland), Programa de Educación Musical Fomento Cultural Banamex & Carnegie Hall (Mexico), and the Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase. Since 2011, Decoda has participated in Carnegie Hall's Musical Connections Program, undertaking creative projects at Sing Sing Correctional Facility, Beth Abraham Hospital, and Valley Lodge Shelter.
Decoda’s NYC offerings this season include a four-concert series at Trinity Wall Street, the Bulgarian Concert Evenings, the Kosciuszko Foundation, Lyrica Chamber Music Series, DROM, and a debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition to return engagements in Abu Dhabi and Mexico, new international partnerships bring Decoda to Copenhagen to collaborate with the Danish String Quartet, as well as to the United Kingdom for residencies at the Southbank Centre, the Barbican, the Guildhall School of Music, and in Cornwall.
Decoda was recently awarded grants from Chamber Music America and the Hootie and the Blowfish Foundation for an extended residency in Camden, South Carolina, presenting Interactive Performances at eleven middle and high schools and a creative songwriting workshop with members of the Better Living Incentive Community at Lee Correctional Institute.
Supported in part by Icelandic Music Export and The American Scandinavian Society of New York.
See also ICELAND: Artists Respond to Place in EXHIBITIONS section.
Tuesday, November 18, 6 – 8 pm
Free | #IcelandArt
The 3rd Floor Gallery is open late with extended hours once a month. Enjoy new Nordic music, grab a refreshment, and explore the current exhibition ICELAND: Artists Respond to Place after hours, while socializing with other art enthusiasts.
Norwegian electro-pop musician Sandra Kolstad will do a short performance at the October installment of Art Afterhours.
About Sandra Kolstad
Sandra Kolstad combines her passion for acoustic and electronic elements in an experimental musical universe, full of playfulness and imagination. Her highly visual performances seduce the audience and open up a world, where firm electronic beats, dreamy vocals and vivid instrumentals, challenge both ear and eye.
From a young age Kolstad has been devoted to music. She started out as a classical piano student in Norway, but soon her main focus became composing music herself. After having traveled around countries like Cuba, India, and Mongolia, Kolstad moved to Berlin in 2009 and started working on her own songs, establishing her musical identity.
In Berlin she began to work with electronic music, electronic hardware, and synths. Soon she discovered a sound she could identify with - a sound that is experimental, yet danceable, and invites the listener into her sparkling and extravagant reality. Focusing on exploring the live potential of her music, Kolstad's performances are visually stimulating, just like her video and photo shoots.
Her debut album CRUX and her sophomore album (Nothing Lasts) Forever have won much acclaim both in Norway and internationally, and consequently Kolstad has been touring Europe, the U.K., Russia, Canada, and the U.S., also performing at Roskilde Festival and Øya Festival among others.
Sandra Kolstad’s third album Zero Gravity State of Mind will be released on October 6, 2014.
See also ICELAND: Artists Respond to Place in EXHIBITIONS section.
Thursday, November 20, 8 pm
To mark the U.S. launch of the international arts publication Music & Literature Magazine, Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho presents a concert with musical guests devoted to exploring and celebrating her marvelous and expansive career. The evening also honors the volume’s other featured artists – Chinese writer Can Xue and Norwegian author Stig Sæterbakken.
Acclaimed flutist and longtime collaborator Camilla Hoitenga, violinist Aliisa Barrière, and other musical guests join Saariaho to perform the composer’s Laconisme de l’aile for solo flute (1982), Nocturne for solo violin (1994), and other chamber music, including a world premiere. Readings and presentations by Taylor Davis-Van Atta, publisher of Music & Literature Magazine, and several prestigious writers accompany the musical performances.
About Kaija Saariaho
Kaija Saariaho (b. 1952, Helsinki) is today one of the world’s most significant contemporary composers. She studied at the Sibelius Academy with pioneering modernist Paavo Heininen and, with Magnus Lindberg and others, Saariaho founded the progressive “Ears Open” group. She continued her studies in Freiburg, with Brian Ferneyhough and Klaus Huber, at the Darmstadt summer courses, and, from 1982, at the IRCAM research institute in Paris. Her studies and research at IRCAM have had a major influence on her music and her characteristically luxuriant and mysterious textures are often created by combining live music and electronics.
Saariaho has written for many of the world’s finest musicians, including the Kronos Quartet; violinist Gidon Kremer; cellist Anssi Karttunen; and soprano Dawn Upshaw. Her work has also been commissioned by world-renowned ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Orchestre de Paris; the Berlin Philharmonic; and the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
She has also received several internationally distinguished awards, including the Grawemeyer Prize (2003); the Nemmers Prize in Music Composition (2007); the Wihuri Sibelius Prize (2009); and the Léonie Sonning Music Prize (2011). In 2013 Saariaho was awarded the Polar Music Prize. In 2015 she will be the judge of the Toru Takemitsu Composition Award.
Saariaho has primarily lived in Paris since 1982.
Co-presented by Music & Literature Magazine and in collaboration with the Consulate General of Finland in New York and the Royal Norwegian Consulate General, New York.
Sunday, December 14, 4 pm
Bass Patrick Guetti, recipient of the ASF Birgit Nilsson Award (2014), presents an afternoon of music by W.A. Mozart, Franz Schubert, Giuseppe Verdi, and Richard Strauss, in addition to a variety of festive holiday classics. The concert concludes with a traditional Saint Lucia procession.
About the ASF Birgit Nilsson Award
The ASF Birgit Nilsson Award was established in 1988 on the occasion of the 350th anniversary of New Sweden, the first Swedish settlement in the U.S. It was endowed through the proceeds of a gala concert in April 1988, honoring Ms. Nilsson, the legendary Swedish soprano. Previous recipients of the award include Sydney Mancasola, Christine Goerke, Earle Patriarco, Alan Held, and Ben Heppner.
About Patrick Guetti
A New Jersey native, Patrick Guetti received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at The Catholic University of America. Guetti received the ASF Birgit Nilsson Award at the 2014 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
He has appeared at Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) as Tom in Un Ballo in Maschera; the title role of Don Quixote; Prince Gremin and Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin; Don Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia; Arkel in Pelléas et Mélisande; and Crespel and Wilhelm in Les Contes d’Hoffmann. He has also sung José Tripaldi in Osvaldo Golivjov’s Ainadamar with Opera Philadelphia; the Commendatore in Don Giovanni in Martina Arroyo’s Prelude to Performance program; Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with the Bel Cantanti Opera Summer Festival and with The Catholic University of America. During the summers of 2013 and 2014 he was an Apprentice Artist with the Santa Fe Opera, and he is scheduled to sing the role of Fifth Jew in Salome at The Dallas Opera, fall 2014.
Thursday, February 19, 2015, 8 pm
$20 ($15 ASF Members)
Finnish composer Sampo Haapamäki makes his New York recital debut with a concert of works presenting his chamber music, including Logo for violin and live electronics (2013); Connection for string quartet (2007); Haljennut for vocalist and string trio (2004); Highway for flute and piano (2002); Wide for clarinet, piano, violin, viola, and cello (2001); and Avenue for alto saxophone and piano (2000).
About Sampo Haapamäki
Sampo Haapamäki (b. 1979, Finland) holds a Masters in Music from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and obtained his Ph.D. in Musical Arts from Columbia University in 2012. He took part in an annual composition and music technology course at IRCAM - Centre Pompidou in Paris. Haapamäki composes chamber music, vocal music, electronic music, concertos, and orchestral music. He was the Tapiola Sinfonietta's Composer-in-Residence for the 2011-12 season.
An international prize-winning composer, Haapamäki has received numerous awards, including the Gaudeamus International Composers Award (2004); the International Society of Contemporary Music – Young Composer Award (2005); and the Teosto Prize (2006).
This concert is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation. Co-presented with the Finlandia Foundation, New York Metropolitan Chapter and supported by the Hilppa Roby Fund for Finnish Cultural and Educational Programs.
Thursday, November 13, 8 pm – Series continues spring 2015
$25 ($20 ASF Members)
To hear Ludwig van Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas in their entirety is perhaps one of the most incredible musical journeys one can embark on. After more than ten years of preparation and for his fifth season of Music on Park Avenue, Swedish pianist and artistic director Per Tengstrand plays the sonatas in their chronological order.
This fall Tengstrand continues the musical journey of Beethoven’s sonatas he began in the spring, describing to audiences – through music and words – how the young, confident virtuoso developed into the celebrated composer of the Pathétique and Moonlight sonatas and later a deaf master in his final years.
Tengstrand also hosts pre-concert talks 45 minutes prior to the start of each concert.
A concert with two short sonatas, both full of charm and humor: Piano Sonata No. 9 in E Major, Op. 14, No. 1 (1798) and Piano Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 14, No. 2 (1798-99). Tengstrand finishes the evening with Piano Sonata No. 11 in B-flat Major, Op. 22 (1799-1800), the longest of the sonatas after the “Hammerklavier” – Piano Sonata No. 29 in B-flat Major, Op. 106 (1817-18), and the last, crowning achievement of the early period before Beethoven started to experiment more with his music.
About Per Tengstrand
Per Tengstrand (b. 1968, Växjö) is a Swedish pianist and artistic director of Music on Park Avenue: Evenings with Pianist Per Tengstrand at Scandinavia House. He began playing the piano at six years old and entered the Malmö Academy of Music at age 16, studying under Hans Pålsson. In 1985 Tengstrand was accepted at the Conservatoire de Paris in the class of Dominique Merlet. He continued private studies with Dominique Weber and Romuald Sztern to prepare for international piano competitions.
Tengstrand has received numerous honors and awards, including First Prize at the 1997 Cleveland International Piano Competition. He was named a laureate of the Geneva Competition (1996) and a laureate of the Paris International Long-Thibaud Competition (1996). Tengstrand was the recipient of the 1997 Anders Wall Foundation Scholarship and was awarded the 1999 Musician Award by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee. While at the Conservatoire de Paris, Tengstrand received the Premier Prix, Premier Nommé, and the Prix Spécial du Jury and was awarded the Prix de Virtuosité at the Geneva Conservatory. In 2005 he was decorated with the “Litteris et Artibus” Medal by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden for outstanding service to the arts.
Recent career highlights include performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major during Neeme Järvi’s final subscription concerts with the New Jersey Philharmonic; performances with the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap; the Residentie der Leonard Slatkin; and the Madison Symphony Orchestra, under Edo de Waart. Tengstrand is also in the process of performing and recording the complete cycle of Beethoven sonatas for his Mindfeel label.
His 2014-15 concert season includes engagements with Norddeutsche Radio Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig; the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva, Switzerland; and the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra.
Tengstrand makes his home in Princeton, New Jersey with his wife and collaborator, pianist Sha-shan Sun. They comprise the Tengstrand-Sun Piano Duo, which has enjoyed great success following their first prize at the 2003 Murray Dranoff International Two-Piano Competition. The duo has released three CDs on the Mindfeel label, and he has recorded a solo CD for ProPiano of Alexander Glazunov’s The Seasons (1900) and his Konzertwalzer (a world premiere).
The 2014 Music on Park Avenue concert series is supported in part by a generous grant from Christina Lang Assael and The Assael Foundation and a grant from The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.
Thursdays @ 8 pm, January 22, March 12, & May 7, 2015
$25 ($20 ASF Members), Series pass: $60 ($45 ASF Members)
Internationally acclaimed pianist Jeffrey Siegel returns for his eighth season of Keyboard Conversations® at Scandinavia House. Each evening is comprised of informal commentary on the music and its composers, a full performance of each work, and concludes with a short Q & A session. The accessible format enriches audience understanding of classical music for the newcomer and seasoned listener alike.
In dulci jubilo (BWV 729), J.S. Bach’s exhilarating chorale prelude; Robert Schumann’s exuberant Novelletten, Op. 21, No. 2 in D major (1838); the vivacious Waltz in A-flat major, Op. 42 (1840) by Frédéric Chopin; Frühlingsrauschen, Op. 32, No. 3 (Rustle of Spring) (1896) by Norwegian composer Christian Sinding; Festpræludium (1900) by Danish master Carl Nielsen; Finnish composer Selim Palmgren’s May Night (No. 4) from Spring, Op. 27 (1906-07); and Sergei Rachmaninoff's stupendous transcription of Fritz Kreisler's beloved Liebesfreud from Three Old Viennese Melodies (1905).
Featuring J.S. Bach’s joyful Toccata in D major, BWV 912 (1710); the Beethoven’s genial Piano Sonata No. 24 in F-sharp major, Op. 78 (1809) and the humorous 7 Variations on “God Save the King,” in C Major, W00 78; and Brahms’ lilting 16 Waltzes, Op. 39 (1865), moving 3 Intermezzi, Op. 117 (1892), and the virtuoso Variations on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 35 (1863), based on the famous Caprice No. 24 in A minor by Niccolò Paganini.
Due to his gift for writing beautiful melodies, Edvard Grieg was nicknamed “the Chopin of the North.” Hear his invigorating 4 Norwegian Dances, Op. 35 (1880), the charming Lyric Pieces, Op. 12 (1866-67), and the soulful Ballade in the Form of Variations on a Norwegian Folksong in G minor, Op. 24 (1876), and Frédéric Chopin's invigorating Polish dance the Mazurka, the fervent Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23 (1835-36), and the Grande polonaise brillante in E-flat major, Op. 22 (1831).
Keyboard Conversations® with Jeffrey Siegel: Concerts with Lively Commentary is made possible in part by a grant from The Evelyn Sharp Foundation.
Ongoing, 5 – 10 pm (Last seating @ 9 pm)
$41 per person ($36 ASF Members)
Pairing top-notch Scandinavian cinema and music with fine Nordic cuisine, Smörgås Chef @ Scandinavia House continues its popular Dinner & a Concert prix-fixe 2-course dinner menu. Available from 5 to10 pm (the last seating is at 9 pm), this ongoing offer features a selection of favorite dishes including herb-roasted chicken, cured gravlaks and Swedish meatballs, and include one admission to that evening’s concert.