January 2020


The Modus Opera Orchestra, Artistic Director and Conductor, Justin Bischof, after a Brilliant Debut, Carries On with Great Choral Works of the Renaissance

Following the brilliant success of their inaugural concert on November 23rd of last year, the Modus Opera Orchestra, Justin Bischof, Artistic Director and Conductor, will present a choral concert including two classics of the Mass literature, Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli and Byrd's Mass Four Voices, along with premieres of three works by Dr. Bischof on February 1, 2020 at 7:30pm. This makes this group rather unique in New York, in that it offers a cappella chorus performances by its 16-person choir in addition to orchestral concerts and works for chorus and orchestra. This concert was an inauguration of an organization formed by the merger of two pre-existing groups, the Modus Opera and the Canadian Chamber Orchestra of New York City.

Alexander Kobrin, pianist, in Beethoven, Schumann, and Brahms at Zankel Hall

Yamaha Artist Services take exemplary care of their protégés, and these include pianists at different stages of their careers and of many different inclinations. In Alexander Kobrin they have a pianist of the highest technical accomplishment who follows his own unique path in interpretation. Assistant Professor of Piano at the Eastman School of Music, he was trained in his native Russia at the Gnessins Special Music School and Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory with professors Tatiana Zelikman and Lev Naumov. He has achieved an outstanding record in international piano competitions, winning a gold medal at the Twelfth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. His numerous successes in competitions also include top prizes at the Busoni International Piano Competition (First Prize), Hamamatsu International Piano Competition (Top Prize), Scottish International Piano Competition in Glasgow (First Prize).

Bach Two Ways: the Bethlehem Christmas Concert with Handel and Bach and a WA Concert with Webern and Bach

The Bethlehem Bach Choir and their many different spheres of activity are all about J. S. Bach, but other related composers, some of whom are internationally renowned and some still in high school, are also allowed to come in. Outside of this special community, even during the time between the end of his career and the Bach renaissance of the second quarter of the 19th century, Bach was never totally forgotten. His magnetism drew in Mozart, Beethoven and others, as well as post-renaissance composers like Brahms and Bruckner...on to the 20th century in Busoni and the composers of the Second Viennese School. A little fast driving enabled me to experience both an old tradition reaching back before Mendelssohn, as well as a newer one, in which Bach could be partnered with Anton Webern—this at one of Charles Neidich and Ayako Oshima's marvelous  WA Concerts.

A Politically Correct Mikado (with a Dash of Keystone Kops)

This production hews to the original Gilbert & Sullivan work in many ways but takes great care not to offend as did the 2015  production which the company pulled. Instead of being transported to the fictional town of Titipu, typically introduced as the curtain rises by the men’s chorus singing If You Want to Know Who We Are, often complete with snapping fans, this version opens with a prologue in the D’Oyly Carte Company’s headquarters. The scene reveals Messrs. G. and S. with producer Richard D’Oyly Carte mulling over what will follow their current hit, Princess Ida. Inspired by interest in things Japanese, a craze that swept London in the mid-1850s, Gilbert (David Auxier who also plays Pish-Tush), sustains a minor head injury and, as though in a dream, conceives the operetta that follows.
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