Thursday, APR 12, 7.30pm

ITALIAN ACADEMY                                     TICKETS $45


Counterpoint had been a constant preoccupation throughout J.S. Bach’s life and ‘The Art of Fugue’, one of his last works, was the culmination of this lifetime obsession. It has long been supposed that the composers death interrupted its completion, yet recently other possibilities and theories have been suggested.


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The Endellion String Quartet

Illustrated talk by David Waterman

October 26

Haydn String Quartet in G major, Op. 54 No. 1

Beethoven String Quartet No. 12 in E flat major, Op. 127

Schubert Quartettsatz in C minor, D703

This concert, featuring three exceptional works for string quartet, will explore the extent to which Haydn, Beethoven and Schubert, whose lives overlapped in Vienna at the turn of the nineteenth century, were kindred spirits. Schubert’s Quartettsatz, the first movement of an unfinished quartet, contains an achingly beautiful melody set off by an underlying sense of fear and tragedy. By contrast, Haydn’s G major Quartet, Op. 54 No. 1 reveals its composer at his most good-natured and genial, while also embracing a slow movement of searching profundity. Beethoven’s Op. 127 is a work of radiance and lyricism whose second-movement variations encompass everything from playfulness to prayer.


Ignat Solzhenitsyn piano

Mark Steinberg violin

Ariel Quartet

Illustrated talk by Ignat Solzhenitsyn

Thursday, November 16, 7.30pm

Italian Academy 1161 Amsterdam Avenue, NY 10027

Beethoven Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op. 47 Kreutzer Sonata

Tchaikovsky String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11 (2nd movement)

Janáček String Quartet No. 1 Kreutzer Sonata

Beethoven’s ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata for violin and piano (dedicated to French violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer, though he never performed it) is the centerpiece of Tolstoy’s disturbing novella The Kreutzer Sonata, in which the writer expresses his controversial views on marriage and sexuality.


His work in turn inspired Janáček’s intense and feverish First String Quartet, whose musical narrative seems to mirror the unfolding marital tragedy of the novella, and whose third movement is modelled on the second theme of Beethoven’s ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata.


Join us as we explore some unique connections between music and literature, and witness music become, in Tolstoy’s words, ‘a shorthand of feelings’.


Ying Quartet

Joseph Anderer horn

William Short bassoon

Alexander Bedenko clarinet

Brendan Kane double bass

Illustrated talk by Misha Donat


Thursday, December 14 , 7.30pm

Bohemian Hall  321 East 73rd St, New York

Schubert Octet in F Major D.803 Op. 166

No piece by Schubert pays clearer homage to his greatest contemporary, Beethoven, than his Octet – one of his most irresistibly exuberant chamber works.


It was commissioned by Count Ferdinand Troyer, amateur clarinetist and chief steward to Beethoven’s pupil and patron

Archduke Rudolph of Austria. Troyer wanted a piece modeled on Beethoven’s Septet, Op. 20, and Schubert duly scored his music for an almost identical ensemble.


He also mirrored Beethoven’s six-movement scheme – even prefacing each of the outer movements with a slow introduction. And as in the Beethoven, the work’s centerpiece is a set of variations.


This being Schubert, the variation theme comes from one of his vocal compositions: a duet in a Singspiel he had composed at the age of eighteen.


Wednesday, February 7 , 7.30pm

Bohemian Hall, 321 East 73rd Street

Taneyev Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 30

Arensky Second String Quartet No. 2 in A minor


Blazing stars such as Tchaikovsky risk eclipsing less sensational talents, but these more modest figures can have their moments of greatness too. Anton Arensky’s Quartet, composed in memory of Tchaikovsky, is for an ensemble of single violin, viola and two cellos, giving the sound a haunting dark richness.


Quotations from Orthodox chants and from Tchaikovsky’s song ‘Legend’ suggest a prayer for the composer’s soul, but the outcome is joyous and celebratory. Tchaikovsky’s pupil Sergei Taneyev is sometimes called ‘the Russian Brahms’.


He cherished Classicism and intricate counterpoint and set his face against populist emotionalism. His Piano Quintet is powerful and purposeful, however, and its sense of heroic determination is ultimately very moving.


Thursday, April 12, 7.30pm

Italian Academy 1161 Amsterdam Avenue

Bach The Art of Fugue

Counterpoint had been a constant preoccupation throughout J.S. Bach’s life and The Art of Fugue, one of his last works, was the culmination of this lifetime obsession. It has long been supposed that the composer’s death interrupted its completion, yet recently other possibilities and theories have been suggested.


Richard Boothby presents an illustrated performance with his group Fretwork – whose celebrated recording of this remarkable work is their best-selling album – and discusses some of the music’s most intriguing features.


The evening will conclude with an analysis of the final fugue, and a performance of a possible reconstruction of its missing final bars.


Vsevolod Dvorkin piano

Sergey Antonov cello

Illustrated talk by Stephen Johnson


Thursday, April 19 , 7.30pm

Italian Academy 1161 Amsterdam Avenue

Bach Cello Suite No.1 in G major

Mendelssohn Cello Sonata No.2 in D major

Liszt Piano Sonata in B minor

For over two centuries, Weimar endured as a capital for music composition and performance. From J S Bach's works in the 18th Century, to Richard Strauss' operas of the 1920s, the city has inspired and shaped western music from era to era.


In this presentation we explore the effect Weimar has had on some of the great talents that have called it home over the centuries.

Sherezade Panthaki soprano

Four Nations Ensemble

Illustrated talk by Tav Holmes

Thursday, May 17 , 7.30pm

Italian Academy 1161 Amsterdam Avenue

François Couperin

Jean-Marie Leclair

Jean-Philippe Rameau

Georg Philipp Telemann

François Devienne

Out of the dark final years of the reign of Louis XIV came a new style of art characterized by freshness, elegance and sensuality. While Versailles was draped in the heavy fabrics of guilt and failure, penance and penitence, Antoine Watteau was breaking with tradition, creating the new genre of the fête galante. His delicate brushstrokes and mastery of color and nuance are echoed in the music of his contemporary François Couperin. As art  historian Tav Holmes guides us through the unique, idealized world of Watteau, Boucher and Fragonard, the Four Nations Ensemble and soprano Sherezade Panthaki will perform works of equally evocative beauty by Couperin, Rameau, Clérambault and Leclair.