A letter from Artistic Director Eli Spindel

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Dear Friends,

This past Saturday the SOB capped off a year of music-making with a concert at a beautiful new venue in Fort Greene. In the middle of a snowstorm, a wonderful, attentive audience came out to hear the kind of program that they’ve come to expect from us: an incredibly moving recent work by Brooklyn composer Jacob Cooper paired with a 1736 work by Pergolesi performed with the same spirit of excitement and discovery as if the composer were sitting in the audience.

Our events over the past year were each exciting and original in their own way: A Fourth of July fireworks performance in front of thousands at the Brooklyn Cyclones stadium; guest appearances by internationally renowned soloists Tito Muñoz and Charles Neidich in a concert that drew an audience of 350–our largest ever at St. Ann’s; an open-air performance of Terry Riley’s minimalist masterpiece In C in Fort Greene Park; the world premiere of Chris Cerrone‘s beautiful High Windows–an SOB commission; collaborations with the GHOSTLIGHT Chorus, the Toomai String Quintet, and the Brooklyn Art Song Society… We were busy in 2013.

The year ahead is shaping up to be just as exciting: In February we’ll be joined again by the GHOSTLIGHT Chorus to perform Handel’s epic Dixit Dominus. March brings our third annual String Theories concert with ISSUE Project Room when we’ll premiere four new works written specifically for the ensemble. And in May our excitement is twofold: we’re continuing to commission new works for orchestra, this time with composer Matt McBane, and we’re collaborating with the insanely talented students of Face the Music–a music program for kids that focuses exclusively on the work of living composers.

Your support is what makes all of these programs possible. We work hard to fulfill our mission of presenting smart, adventurous programs at a price that everyone can afford (usually $15 or less), but that also means that ticket income doesn’t pay all our bills. Your support opens doors for us to continue to grow in new and exciting directions.

All of us at the SOB warmly invite you to join our efforts in 2014 and beyond by making a tax-deductible donation this holiday season.

$20 helps us to keep ticket prices low for our community
$50 allows us to purchase targeted online marketing for one of our events
$100 rents us space for one rehearsal
$200 pays for an injury-prevention workshop for our players
$300 secures the performance rights for a 20th/21st century work under copyright
$400 pays a videographer to immortalize one of our concerts
$500 rents us the percussion instruments we need to play the really massive stuff
$1,000 allows us to play at a new, exciting venue
$2,000 helps to commission a new piece by an emerging composer
$5,000 funds a series of educational concerts in NYC schools
$10,000 pays for the creation of a studio album

As a musician-run, all-volunteer ensemble, we guarantee that every donation made to the SOB is invested in new, forward-thinking programming and exciting collaborations within Brooklyn. Every dollar helps magnify the contributions of our players, friends, and colleagues who believe in this young and talented ensemble.

Thank you for supporting the SOB; I hope you’ll help us continue to cultivate unique and accessible orchestral music in Brooklyn!

Happy Holidays,

Eli Spindel
Founder and Artistic Director

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A Tale of Two Goldbergs

This year we’re trying something a little bit new, and so our first concert of 2013 on January 20 will be a solo piano recital. The pianist, David Kaplan, has performed with us in the past, and will again in March, playing and conducting Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24. The idea is to give our audience and players a chance to hear Bach’s original Goldberg Variations—played by a top-notch pianist—a week before the orchestra will take on Dmitri Sitkovetsky’s excellent string orchestra arrangement.

Sitkovetsky’s arrangement takes the form of a concerto grosso, in which a small group of soloists is in constant dialogue with a larger body of strings. In our performance the solo parts will be covered by the members of the Toomai String Quintet, who begin a three-concert residency with the orchestra that will also include a collaborative chamber performance in mid-March and a concert of contemporary string works on June 8.

The concert on January 26 will also be performed without a conductor, which means I get to put down the baton and pick up my violin. It’s always a privilege to conduct such talented string players, and it’s equally rewarding to join in with them as an instrumentalist, as I did when we performed Haydn’s Farewell Symphony (audio) last December. For this concert I’ve assigned each orchestral player one variation from the set to take on the interpretive role that normally would fall to the conductor. So you won’t just be hearing Bach’s variations spun out from the bass line of his opening aria, but also variations of interpretation colored by each member’s unique character and musical intelligence.

You can buy tickets to these events at the door, or online here for the January 20 piano version and here for the January 26 orchestral arrangement. On either ticket page you’ll find an option to purchase tickets for both concerts together for $5 off the total price.

Hope to see you there!

– Eli Spindel, SOB Artistic Director

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No Shortage of Art in NYC this Saturday

Next Saturday, September 29, is a kickin’ day for the arts in New York City. And we’re not going to list all of things going on that night, because on Saturday night, you should be one place and one place only: at St. Ann’s Church with us, enjoying our fantastic concert as we bring new life to 5 rarely-played 20th and 21st-century pieces.

But there IS something going on next Saturday (besides our concert) that we feel is worth stopping by and supporting during the day. It’s called RUCKUS NYC, they’re in the midst of a very successful Kickstarter campaign, and the idea is nothing short of awesome. Check out these funny guys:

In case you can’t watch the video right now: RUCKUS is an all-day conference that brings together a bunch of informed artists and intelligent techies (including those rare few who have managed to be both, like RUCKUS organizers Kevin Clark, Zach Herchen, and Victoria Nece) to talk about how to cultivate your art and career in a digitally-centered age – something we are all striving to do successfully.

Make sure you check them out, go to some of their lectures during the day, support them on Kickstarter, (or all of the above) and then join the SOB for a concert and lively-per-usual post-concert reception that night! Sound like an enriching way to spend a Saturday? That’s because it is.

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THIS WEEK in the SOB Community and Family…

SPARKS OF LIFE VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

If you want to volunteer with Arielle for the Sparks of Life program at the Methodist Hospital in Park Slope, you can visit the program’s website.

SYLVANA JOYCE AND THE MOMENT KICKSTARTER

Sean-David Cunningham’s band is running a kickstarter campaign to fund their debut album. They’ve recently reached their $5k goal but you can still contribute. More information.

AMATEUR MUSIC PROJECT AT THE ORCHESTRA OF ST. LUKE’S

From Crystal Wei: This semester and year-long program includes rehearsals and coaching sessions (10 hours/semester) by Orchestra of St. Luke’s musicians, and culminates in a performance at The DiMenna Center for Classical Music. Tons of fun!!! More information.

CONCERTS


A Concert to Feed the Hungry
Wednesday, September 12 at 7:00pm at St. Ann and The Holy Trinity Church
Dan Blake, Andrea Spirn’s husband, sends along info about a concert he’s organizing:
Musicians often travel the world, but rarely have the chance to celebrate the universal human desire to help those in need. Joined by bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding, pianist Leo Genovese, percussionist Richie Barshay and singer/songwriter Margaret Glaspy, saxophonist Dan Blake will present an evening of music to raise money and awareness for the 3rd annual NYC “Walk to Feed the Hungry”, a 3.5 mile walk event produced by Buddhist Global Relief (BGR).
Funds raised form the “Concert to Feed the Hungry” will provide grants to BGR’s partner organizations. These organizations give vital food aid and promote greater food productivity in the communities where they operate, both locally and worldwide. One organization is the Brooklyn-based charity, “Added Value”, which helps Brooklyn youth to positively engage with their community through the operation of a socially responsible urban farming experience.

Schubert’s Last Year Part 1 — Friday, September 14, 8pm at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music
Friend of the SOB Mike Brofman’s Brooklyn Art Song Society is holding a season opener this Friday.
SOB members get in for $5.

Sunday, September 16, 4:30pm at Mannes College, Concert Hall, 150 West 85th St, New York, NY
SOB violinist Audrey Lo will be giving a recital featuring works by Brahms, Schubert, and Vitali.
Admission: FREE!!!

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The SOB in Fort Greene Park – What a Great Day!

The SOB had a wonderful concert this past Saturday, celebrating our orchestra’s 5-year anniversary (to the exact day) in Fort Greene Park. The entire day was full of fun and beautiful weather for everyone, continuing into the evening. In case you missed it, you can watch the video and read this flattering review from The New York Times’ The Local (which you should, by the way, because The Local is great), or you can get a quick recap here:

This was the 3rd annual free outdoor concert that the SOB performed in Fort Greene Park, and the 2nd year the Fort Greene Park Conservancy presented our music in this beautiful park. But this year, we had the added pleasure of kicking off our first ever collaboration with the Noel Pointer Foundation, where we were joined by young players for two of the four pieces on our concert. Seriously, playing with these inspiring young kids was awesome. Families and parents from all over Brooklyn came to enjoy the entire evening with us, starting with an instrument petting zoo for children and their families and concluding with a boisterous rendition of Beethoven’s fifth symphony. It was wonderful to see so many people from our unique borough come together to enjoy our music that day, and we are deeply humbled by the number of people that came to share their love of music and nature with us. Thanks to everyone. We can’t wait to do it again next year!

Check out some of these beautiful photos from our day in the park, taken by the SOB’s Larry Beckhardt: (or click here to see the whole album!)

Children and parents enjoying the instrument petting zoo before the concert
The String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, July 21, 2012

Young guests from the Noel Pointer Foundation sitting alongside concertmaster Mark Chung and the SOB violins
The String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, July 21, 2012

Noel Pointer Foundation conductor Jesse Henkensiefken conducting the SOB and young NPF players
The String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Fort Greene Park, Brooklyn, July 21, 2012

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The New York Arabic Orchestra, Cool Hunting, Upcoming Concerts, and more…

As we are approaching Easter and the not-so-distant 5 year anniversary of the founding of the String Orchestra of Brooklyn (which, by the way, is exactly on the day of our Parks Concert this July 21, so expect some celebrating afterwards), we thought we’d take a look at our immediate past, present, and future, and get excited about all three:

PAST
Our March 17 concert with ISSUE Project Room was a huge success! Our four composers wrote us engaging and genuine world premieres, ISSUE was wonderful to work with (no surprises there), we had a great turnout, and our players had a blast realizing these brand new works.

Also – in case you missed it, we got some great press from the online publication Cool Hunting, showing the SOB some love. (Side note: this article was written by friend of the SOB Max Gold – a multi-talented writer, screenwriter and director who founded Blind Hummingbird Productions, who recently just completed a short film titled Step One. From one group of artists to another: awesome job!)

PRESENT & FUTURE
Tonight marks the first rehearsal for our May 5 concert, chock-full of Beethoven with the handsome and talented David Kaplan on piano. Very exciting, make sure you come out to hear his dulcet tones next month.

Perhaps in the more immediate future, however, is the April 18 concert and fundraiser put on by our friends and some of our fellow SOBers out at the New York Arabic Orchestra. Proceeds from this concert will go towards the orchestra’s Expanded Outreach Program, YOUTH Workshops, and FALL US TOUR. Help this orchestra continue to play a valuable role in our NYC community by enjoying its excellent music for an excellent cause.

In the mean time – stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter pages to keep getting updates from the SOB about what’s new and fresh in our Brooklyn world and beyond!

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A look back at String Theories 2011

 

As we approach String Theories 2012, here’s a glimpse back at last year’s program… Enjoy!

 

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Sofya Melikyan with the Musica Bella Orchestra starting TOMORROW!

Friend of the SOB Sofya Melikyan, piano, is getting downright virtuosic with the Musica Bella Orchestra tomorrow during their Chamber Music/Recital Series, and then again on February 3 for what should be an excellent bit of musical bravado.

The Musica Bella Orchestra
Chamber Music / Recital Series
Sofya Melikyan, piano

Sunday, January 29, 2012, 3:00 p.m.
St. Thomas Aquinas Church, 249 Ninth Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn
directions
F & G trains to 4th Avenue, R train to 9th Street
Buses: B61, & 5th Avenue B63
Friday, February 3, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
St. John’s Lutheran Church, 81 Christopher Street, Manhattan
directions
B, D, F, M, A, C, E trains to West 4th Street
1 train to Christopher St./Sheridan Square / Bus: M8
Program:
Faure: Nocturne Op. 33, No. 1 & 2
Impromptu No. 3 in A-flat, Op. 34
Debussy: Ordine No. 8 from Preludes, Book II
Etude No.7 Pour les degrés chromatiques
Dutilleux: Choral with Variations
Schumann: Waldszenen Op. 82
Wagner-Liszt: Isolde’s Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde
Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 10
www.musicabella.com718-499-3031917-579-7535musicabella@mindspring.com
Phillip Gaskill, music director
Anahit Harutyunyan Gaskill, executive & artistic director

 

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Charles Ives Marathon TOMORROW

Want to be deeply entertained and filled with musical satisfaction?

Then definitely make sure not to miss friend of the SOB and pianist extraordinaire Michael Brofman at Galapagos Art Space for the Charles Ives Marathon Concert all day tomorrow!

http://galapagosartspace.com/event/charles-ives-marathon-concert

Galapagos Art Space is delighted to partner with the Brooklyn Art Song Society as it presents its most ambitious project to date: a marathon performance of Charles Ives complete songbook in one epic evening.

Charles Ives’ collection of 114 songs single-handedly defined American music in the 20th century when it was first published in 1921.  This is a rare opportunity to hear all four hours of this sometimes charming, sometimes profound, always innovative and fresh music.  Some of New York’s finest singers and pianists will be sharing the stage, including famed mezzo-soprano Mary Nessinger and world- renowned Ives interpreter Paul Sperry.

Audience members will be free to stop in for an hour or two for a drink and hear some of their favorite songs or brave all four hours of music for an unforgettable experience – nothing less than the largest art song project in recent memory.

$15 online / $20 at the door

 

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Bassist Morton Cahn at New York City Bar Association!

Guess what? Today is String Orchestra of Brooklyn’s beloved bassist Morton Cahn‘s birthday! Happy Birthday Mort!

To celebrate, he’s furiously practicing a very difficult sextet, and inviting all his friends to watch! Check out the performance tomorrow…

Friday Evening Chamber Music at New York City Bar Association
Friday, December 9, 2011 6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Among other pieces, Louise Moed and Thomas Frenke, violins, Rachel Teplow and Steve Salchow, volas, Kurt Behnke, cello, Morton Cahn, bass, playing a sextet by Julius Roentgen.

Event Location: 42 West 44th St. (bet. 5th & 6th Ave.)

Suggested donation of $10, payable at the door. For more information, please e-mail ChamberMusic@nycbar.org

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SOB Flutist Maureen Keenan at CULTUREFIX

Do you love flute? Do you love talent? Do you love swanky bars on the Lower East Side? Then you should definitely check out the SOB’s Flutist/Piccolo extraordinaire Maureen Keenan play at CultureFix this upcoming November 27th at 7:30 p.m.

9 Clinton Street  New York, NY 10002
(646) 863-7171
In the mean time, you can hear her this upcoming Saturday, November 19th at 8 PM during our Concert at St. Ann’s!
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New York Arabic Orchestra in Bryant Park

Get yourself to Bryant Park on Tuesday evening at 5:30 to support SOB violinist Marandi Hostetter, who will be performing with the New York Arabic Orchestra as part of Make Music New York, a daylong celebration of free music around the city. The concert will take place near the fountain on the corner of 41st St. and Avenue of the Americas.

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Sylvana Joyce and the Moment on the Bowery

Go see SOB giant Sean-David Cunningham tear it up gypsy-style at the Bowery Electric this Thursday at 8:30 with his band Sylvana Joyce and the Moment.

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reTransfigured Night

In case you missed the SOB’s epic string sextet concert last weekend at the Brooklyn Conservatory, the group that played Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht will be performing it again this coming Wednesday, April 20 at 8:00pm. The night is sponsored by Classical Revolution NYC and takes place at culturefix, 9 Clinton Street in the LES. No cover.

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Japan Earthquake Relief

In light of this week’s heart-wrenching events in Japan, the orchestra has decided to donate 100% of proceeds from our April 9 sextet concert to the Japan Society’s Earthquake Relief Fund. Click here to donate directly.

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SOB in TimeOut

The String Orchestra of Brooklyn/ISSUE Project Room String Theories concert was just listed as one of the “Top Five [Classical] Events This Week” by TimeOut NY.

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Nordic Lights

One World Symphony, who share a home at St. Ann’s with the SOB, are performing a concert tonight at 8:00pm featuring music from Scandanavia, including works by Grieg (the Piano Concerto), Sibelius, Saariaho, and Salonen. Many SOB members will be on stage in the string section! A second performance follows on Sunday in Manhattan.

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A Night of Sacred and Profane Music

SOB members Eric Cooper, Pedro Vizzarro Vallejos, Wayne Xia, and Audrey Lo, who with harpist Adan Vasquez make up La Camerata Washington Heights, perform on Sunday, March 20 at 7:00pm at Culture Fix in the Lower East Side. The program will feature Debussy’s Sacred and Profane Dances, as well as works by Bach, Beethoven, Villa-Lobos, Satie, and Grandjany. Grab a beer at the bar and then head into the gallery in the back for the performance.

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The new www.thesob.org

Welcome to the new website of the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, now featuring audio, video, an archive of past concerts, and much more! This space, the SOBlog, will feature news and announcements about the orchestra, activities of individual orchestra members, and other events of interest in and around Brooklyn. Subscribe to our RSS feed to keep up-to-date on everything that’s happening.

The new SOB site was designed by Molly Spindel Flomer at Spindel Studios and programmed by James Acklin at Acklin Design. We thank them for the beautiful design and implementation of the new site and all their hard work!

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