“THANK YOU” TO OUR GREAT PERFORMERS

Performers from the series, “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell.”

The first six shows of the series “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie to the Cell” were a great success and Seunghee Lee (Sunny) and I are looking forward to the final show of our first season….December 13, titled, “From Carnegie to the Cell.” For tickets and info click here

We’ve worked with and we thank the incredibly talented musicians who performed in the series over the past year: Jiin Yang, Wayne Weng, Matt Baker, Elizabeth Tasch, Clare Maloney, Nicole Zuraitis, Yuri Juarez, Renato Diz, Brandon Ilaw, Mitch Lyon, Ken Kubota, Jonathan Ong, Abby Rojansky, Jonathan Dormand, Dorothy Ro, Pablo Cafici, Emily Daggett Smith, Brendan Spelt, JP Jofre, Michael Katz and Luke Fleming.  

 

FROM CARNEGIE HALL TO THE CELL


Which performances stand out in Carnegie Hall’s storied history? Which famous musicians, singers  and speakers have presented there? What great works have been debuted in one of the most revered music halls in the world? Join Baron Fenwick/piano, Jiin Yang/violin, Clare Maloney/vocals, Robert Anthony Mack/vocals/ theatrical and historian Charles R. Hale at NYC’s Cell Theatre to find out. 

Friday, December 13, 7:30pm. (Please note that the date has changed from the original date of 12/6 to the new date, 12/13.)

For tickets and information CLICK HERE

“FROM BOWS TO BEATS” with EMPIRE WILD at THE CELL…A CHARLES R. HALE PRODUCTIONS/MUSICA SOLIS EVENT

Empire Wild: Brandon Ilaw, Mitch Lyon and Ken Kubota

Charles R Hale Productions and Musical Solis are proud to present their next show in the series “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall the The Cell,” Friday, October 13 at The Cell Theatre in the Chelsea section of Manhattan.  “From Bows to Beats” will feature Empire Wild and its members, cellists Mitch Lyon and Ken Kubota and multi-instrumentalist Brandon Ilaw. The three Juilliard graduates teamed up in 2018 after discovering a shared interest in musical styles far afield from their classical training.  Through original songwriting and imaginative covers they bring virtuosic technique to far reaching genres as well as a passion for musical exploration. 

We had a chance to meet and listen to Empire Wild back in March when they performed at our “sneak preview” of our upcoming shows. They were fabulously exciting and they are enormously gifted musicians.  Not only will you hear great music but you’ll also get an inside look at how young classically trained musicians like these are changing the way we experience music in the modern digital age. 

For tickets, which are $20, and information CLICK HERE

The Cell is located at 338 West 23rd St in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. 

“CONNECTING THE MASTERS” at the CELL REVIEW by VINCENT NAUHEIMER

CONNECTING THE MASTERS

Review written by 

Vinnie Nauheimer

 

In the musical “The Music Man,” professor Harold Hill only promised music. In the sixth installment of the series Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell, co-producer Charles R. Hale promised music…but he and Jiin Yang/violin and Wayne Weng/piano put together a wonderful evening of music and storytelling, an evening that was at once both enchanting and educational.

Co-producers Seunghee (Sunny) Lee and Charles R. Hale with Jiin Yang and Wayne Weng

The evening’s theme centered on classical music, however, the intent was to demonstrate how classical music has influenced and been influenced by different artistic genre, i.e. literature, cinema, poetry, jazz, rock, hip hop and more.  Charles added a special touch, weaving music and history—through spoken word and beautifully timed audio video—and in doing so “Connecting the Masters.”

The show opened with the Toys’ 1966 pop hit “Lover’s Concerto.” The melody, which was originally attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, was written by a Bach student, Christian Petzold.  Jiin and Wayne followed with a delightful performance of Petzold’s Minuet in G Major, leaving no doubt of “Lover’s Concerto’s” roots.

When Charles suggested that Radio Head, Sweet Box and even Leo Tolstoy were connected to classical music, audible sounds of wonder arose from the audience. Expounding on this connection, Jiin and Wayne played Bach’s “Air on G String” followed by Sweetbox’s European hip hop hit, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” It was obvious from the opening that Sweetbox’s background music originated with Bach.  

Continuing with the night’s theme, Charles related that the song “Tonight We Love,” a 1941 hit song by Tony Martin, came directly from Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1 and Frank Sinatra’s 1945 hit “Full Moon and Empty Arms,” directly from Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 2.  Wayne followed with the very popular main themes from both Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff’s works. Charles presented a recording of another post war song by Perry Como called “Till the End of Time,” which was based on Chopin’s Heroic Polonaise. One of the highlights of the evening was Wayne’s stirring performance of this Chopin work. 

The evening moved from classical music’s influence on pop tunes to the influence of literature on classical music. Perhaps the author whose works have most influenced classical music is William Shakespeare. One of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, “Romeo and Juliet,” has spawned several beautiful musical pieces, including a ballet by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev. Jiin and Wayne performed an emotionally  charged work from the ballet, which is commonly referred to as “Montagues and Capulets.”

Charles’ compelling narration continued. He related how one of the members of the band Radio Head wrote the song “Exit Music” for a 1996 film version of “Romeo and Juliet.”  The audience listened to the opening lines of the song, performed by Radio Head, and then Charles read the remaining lines of the song, creating an interesting and compelling  juxtaposition of music and the spoken word.  

How are jazz, pop and classical music connected? Charles suggested that George Gershwin must have been very familiar with Maurice Ravel’s Violin Sonata when he, Gershwin, wrote “Summertime,” a jazz standard. Jiin and Wayne then performed Ravel’s Violin Sonata, an evocative and bluesy piece for violin and piano. It was quickly evident that Gershwin was likely influenced by Ravel’s work.

Jiin Yang/violin, Wayne Weng/piano and Charles R. Hale/narrator

The penultimate section of the evening featured classical music and cinema. Music from two films, Dangerous Moonlight and Schindler’s List were presented…an audio version of “Warsaw Concerto” from Dangerous Moonlight, followed by Jiin and Wayne’s performance of the main theme from Schindler’s list. The classical music/cinema section closed out with Jiin’s magnificent solo of a caprice from John Corigliano’s film “Red Violin.”

All good things must end and after Charles read a segment from Leo Tolstoy’s “Kreutzer Sonata,” a passionate story of lust, marriage and music, Jiin and Wayne presented a bravura performance of the “Presto” from Beethoven’s “Kreutzer Sonata.”

Many thanks to Seunhee Lee (Sunny) and Charles R. Hale for producing this magnificent show and for the entire series. With each performance exceeding the previous one, we can only wait for the next one in the state of anticipation. Next up, Empire Wild, October 18, 7:30pm at The Cell. For tickets and information CLICK HERE 

Photos by Vera Maura.

CONNECTING THE MASTERS: JIIN YANG, WAYNE WENG and CHARLES R. HALE

Connecting the Masters: How are Beethoven, Bach, Chopin and Shakespeare connected to  RadioHead, SweetBox, Perry Como and Tolstoy?  

Ji in Yang and Wayne Weng

Come listen to Ji in Yang/violin, Wayne Weng/piano and Charles R. Hale/narrator illustrate how classical music has influenced and been influenced by the arts including cinema, poetry, literature, jazz, pop music and hip hop.  You might be surprised by the connections!

Charles R. Hale

Grand entertainment, mixed with a dose of history…a recipe for a most enjoyable experience.

For TICKETS, which are $20, and additional information CLICK HERE

Nancy Manocherian’s the cell presents a Charles R. Hale Productions/Musica Solis Series

“CLASSICALLY EXPOSED:  FROM CARNEGIE HALL TO THE CELL”

September 27:  Ji in Yang and Wayne Weng, “Connecting the Masters.”

The cell is located at 338 West 23rd St in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. 

CLASSICALLY EXPOSED: FROM OPERA to POP…NICOLE ZURAITIS & CLARE MALONEY by VINNIE NAUHEIMER

“From Opera to Pop”

by

Vinnie Nauheimer

Could Charles R. Hale and Seunghee Lee (Sunny), the producers of the series “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell,”  have imagined that they would create an event as mesmerizing as Thursday’s, when they booked Clare Maloney and Nicole Zuraitis to perform “Classically Exposed: From Opera to Pop” at The Cell.  The dictionary defines mesmerizing as: “holding the attention of (someone) to the exclusion of all else or so as to transfix them” and to mesmerize, you need just the right ingredients….these two performers provided that perfect mix.

Matt Baker, Nicole Zuraitis and Clare Maloney

Both Nicole and Clare were classically trained in opera, but each has found her niche in other musical fields: Clare’s focus is on pop, rock and folk music, while Nicole’s is jazz, for which she was nominated for a Grammy earlier this year. Their singing, humor and interaction with the audience–and each other–made for a magnificent evening.

Both women describe themselves as “recovering opera singers” so it was no surprise that they opened the program with an operatic burst, “O Sole Mio,” accompanied by pianist Matt Baker with Clare adding a unique touch…an electric guitar.  (As a side note, Clare mentioned she would prefer singing opera while playing the guitar. Interesting choice and consistent with Clare’s musical direction.)  “O Sole Mio” was an interesting way to open the show, since it had all the qualities of a “show-stopping-tune.”  There was, however, no stopping these two fabulous singers. The pace only picked up.

Matt Baker

In keeping with one of the show’s underlying themes–opera’s influence on pop music–Clare sang “It’s Now or Never,” a song popularized by Elvis Presley in 1960 and taken directly from “O Sole Mio.” Clare was followed by Nicole, who performed a splendored rendition of a 1930’s Larry Clinton song, “My Reverie.” Clinton wrote the lyrics, but the music is based on an 1890 piano piece composed by Claude Debussy. After Pianist Matt Baker was introduced he performed Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” which was enhanced by Nicole’s vocalizations. A musical masterpiece.

Enrico Caruso was arguably the greatest tenor—Pavarotti’s fans might think differently—but certainly one of the greatest. Clare honored this great singer with the song “Caruso,” written by Lucio Dalla in 1986. The song has been covered by many including Lara Fabian, who inspired Clare’s stirring interpretation of the tune.  

Clare and Nicole then introduced singer Elizabeth Tasch who sang a clever rendition of “Summertime” from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Singing the song in full operatic voice, complete with amusing theatrical expressions, she created a humorous montage, switching effortlessly between “Summertime” and a number of popular songs.

Matt Baker, Nicole Zuraitis and Clare Maloney

Nicole and Clare followed with one of the most famous duets in the operatic repertoire and one of the evening’s many highlights, the “Flower Duet” from Leo Delibes’ “Lakme.”  The evening was moving into high gear.

Clare then chose to honor two women who had a great influence on her and for whom opera was an inspiration early in their careers, Joan Baez and Linda Ronstadt. Clare began the tribute with a song that Baez sang at Woodstock, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” beautifully sweeping into Ronstadt’s “Blue Bayou.”

Returning to the theme of opera’s influence on popular song, Nicole, with Matt’s accompaniament, performed “Stranger in Paradise,” from the 1953 show Kismet. The melody is taken directly from Alexander Borodin’s opera Prince Igor and known as “Polovtsian Dances.”

The program closed in grand fashion with Clare, Nicole, Matt and Elizabeth reprising “Summertime.”

It was an exceptional night of song, musical innovation and interaction between the performers and the audience. Thank you, Charles and Sunny for producing the series “Classically Exposed From Carnegie Hall to the Cell.” Last night created a new bar for this series.

Matt Baker, Nicole Zuraitis, Charles R. Hale, Clare Maloney, Elizabeth Tasch and Seunghee Lee (Sunny)

Photos by Vera Maura and Tom Myles. 

 

‘CLASSICALLY EXPOSED” at THE CELL with RENATO DIZ and YURI JUAREZ, APRIL 26

Charles R. Hale Productions and Musical Solis present guitarist Yuri Juarez and pianist Renato Diz performing “From Classical to Jazz,” timeless works from the classical repertoire, rearranged for piano and guitar with improvisation sections (Jazz!), as was popular during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

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Nancy Manocherian’s the cell presents a Charles R. Hale Productions/Musical Solis Series”

“CLASSICALLY EXPOSED:  FROM CARNEGIE HALL TO THE CELL”

April 26:  Yuri Juarez and Renato Diz: “From Classical to Jazz”

 

“The cell” is located at 338 West 23rd St in the Chelsea section of Manhattan

VERA MAURA’S PHOTOS: “CLASSICALLY EXPOSED: CARNEGIE HALL to THE CELL”

Vera Maura’s photos, “Classically Exposed: Carnegie Hall to The Cell.”  A Charles R Hale Productions/Musica Solis presentation. 

Michael Katz and Luke Fleming

 

Michael Katz and Seunghee Lee

 

JP Jofre and Michael Katz

 

Emily Daggett Smith

Brendan Speltz

Pablo Cafici, Emily Daggett Smith, Brendan Speltz, JP Jofre, Michael Katz, Luke Fleming and Seunghee Lee

 

Emily Daggett Smith, Brendan Speltz, Seunghee Lee, Michael Katz and Luke Fleming

CLASSICALLY EXPOSED: FROM CARNEGIE HALL to THE CELL by VINCENT NAUHEIMER

“Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell” 

Opening Night 

by Vinnie Nauheimer

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Photos by Vera Maura 

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 “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell” opened at The Cell this past Wednesday. There could be no greater example of synergy—the interaction or cooperation of one or more elements that produces an outcome greater than its individual components. Who cannot imagine the difference between an unaccompanied operatic aria or piano solo, as opposed to the richness of the same works performed with a full orchestra? When Charles R. Hale and Seunghee Lee (Sunny) got together to collaborate on and produce “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell” you knew the outcome would be synergetic magic. These two share a number of traits: a love of music, storytelling and a strong desire to help young artists achieve their goals. The results of their collaboration were evident throughout the evening.

Manhattan Chamber Players with Clarinetist Seunghee Lee

The program was a rich mixture of classical and contemporary music. In the first half of the program, Lee, accompanied by the Manhattan Chamber Players, beautifully presented three works for clarinet and string quartet. The first work performed was the first movement of Mozart’s “Quintet for Clarinet and Strings,” a historically significant work—it was Mozart’s first quintet for clarinet and string quartet. The piece debuted in 1789 and set the bar for composers to follow. The quintet played the piece with a vibrancy and vitality that I believe would have been worthy of the composer’s praise. Judging by the reaction of the SRO audience, they too would agree.

Michael Katz and Luke Fleming

The next work was Brahms’ “Quintet for Clarinet and String Quartet,” yet another classic. Luke Fleming, the artistic director of the Manhattan Chamber Players, gave a brief history of the piece noting that Brahms was so taken with Richard Mühlfeld’s clarinet performances, that Brahms, who was in a compositional slump at the time, was once again able to compose music. He began to focus on works for clarinet and strings. Fleming quipped that most great composers had only written chamber music for string quartets…until they heard a virtuoso clarinetist. The melodious sounds of the first movement were masterfully interlaced throughout the work by this very fine ensemble.

JP Jofre

The final piece of the first segment was the fourth movement of Weber’s “Clarinet Quintet.” Weber, known as the father of romantic opera, like Brahms, befriended a magnificent clarinet virtuoso, Heinrich Baermann and, as they say, the rest is history. The main difference between Weber’s quintet and the above pieces is that the clarinet has center stage in Weber’s work with the quintet supplying the accompaniment rather than equal roles for each.  Sunny was certainly up to the task, brilliantly taking the lead required by this piece, exhibiting the full range of her abilities.

 All three pieces ended in a burst of spontaneous applause both, I believe, for the musicians’ virtuosic performances and the composers’ compositions.

The second half of the show focused on contemporary sounds, which were performed by the Manhattan Chamber Players and Lee, as well as two additional performers,  bandoneonist JP Jofre and pianist Pablo Cafici.

Brendan Speltz and Emily Daggett Smith

Jofre composed the first piece “Tangodromo” with a definitive tango sound, while merging traditional classical instrumentation with a Latin beat. Although adding a piano to a clarinet may not be unusual, Jofre’s new and fresh music allowed the musicians an opportunity to showcase their varied talents in a piece that was “spicy” and full of Latin flavor. Kudos to all the artists for stepping out of what might be a classical musician’s comfort zone to help create a new and exciting piece of music.

The second piece, another example of musical synergy, was the first and second movements of JP’s “Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bandoneon.” Jofre and Lee stated that the work has an additional  movement that they are currently writing. If the third movement is as good as the first and second, this piece is a short way from a classic. Marvelous work and a wonderful performance.

Seunghee Lee, JP Jofre, Charles R. Hale and Luke Fleming

The evening ended with another work composed by Jofre, “Primavera.” The work showcased modern rhythm and sounds with classical undertones. A brilliant performance. 

As an audience participant, I say, “Hat’s off to all for providing a wonderful, joyous evening of music.” If the opening night of “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell,” is an indication of the shows to come, last evening’s performance portends well for the series’ subscribers as well as those who can land a ticket.

All photos by Vera Maura

To PURCHASE TICKETS for: “CLASSICALLY EXPOSED: FROM CARNEGIE HALL to THE CELL”

“Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to The Cell,” beginning on March 27. Tickets for each of the series’ shows will be $20. You can click on the link of an individual event for tickets:  

March 27:  Season Opener…Seunghee Lee and the Manhattan Chamber Players with special guest, JP Jofre. Works by Mozart, Weber, Brahms and Jofre 

April 26:  Yuri Juarez and Renato Diz: “From Classical to Jazz”

May 10:  Verona Quartet “An Outstanding Ensemble…” New York Times

June 28:  Clare Maloney and Nicole Zuraitis: “From Opera to Pop”

September 27:  Ji in and Wayne Weng, “From Classical to Pop to Hip Hop.”

October 18:  Empire Wild “From Bows to Beats

December 6:  “From Carnegie to ‘the cell with narration by Charles R. Hale and live music, featuring historical Carnegie Hall performances