Shai Wosner Named 2020-23 Resident Artist of Peoples’ Symphony Concerts
Highlights of three-year residency to include world premieres of newly commissioned works by Derek Bermel, Anthony Cheung, John Harbison, Vijay Iyer, and Wang Lu; outdoor performance of Steve Reich’s Six Pianos; Wosner-curated Schubertiades; and more.
Pianist Shai Wosner commences his three-year term as Resident Artist of Peoples’ Symphony Concerts (PSC) on Sunday, November 15 at 2:00 p.m. ET, the opening concert of PSC’s virtual 120th anniversary season. This program serves as a passing of the baton from 2017–20 Resident Ensemble the Dover String Quartet to Mr. Wosner, who joins the ensemble in a performance of Dvořák’s Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major, Op. 81. He also performs Brahms’s Intermezzo Op. 116, No. 2.
Among the activities in which PSC Resident Artists and Ensembles engage are at least two performances per season during their residency, world premieres of new works specially commissioned for them, and outreach activities in public schools on the Fridays before each of their weekend concerts, to which students are invited to attend. With the transformation of PSC’s 2020–21 season into a series of virtual events (details of which may be found at pscny.org), the first year of Mr. Wosner’s residency takes a different shape. Beyond his opening night performance with the Dover String Quartet, he curates and performs in a two-concert Schubertiade on the weekend of the composer’s birthday (January 31). Described as a “Schubertian of unfaltering authority and character” by Gramophone, Mr. Wosner conceived these programs as part of a four-recital Schubert series that he is curating for the Bard College Conservatory of Music, where he is on faculty. As part of the PSC season, he also appears in concerts with the JACK Quartet, violinist Pinchas Zukerman, and cellist Amanda Forsyth, and hosts live, post-concert Q&As with PSC guest artists whenever possible.
Mr. Wosner said:
“I am absolutely thrilled to join Peoples’ Symphony Concerts as its Resident Artist going into the series’ 120th season. This quintessential NYC institution has been there through the Spanish flu and two World Wars, and I love everything it has stood for and can’t wait to be part of it as it continues—even through this crisis—to make music accessible to New Yorkers from all walks of life. Together, we’ll explore new programming and more ways to engage with our audiences, from students to seniors, and to cherish our being one, music-loving community.”
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, Mr. Wosner’s residency-opening recital this season was to have featured the world premiere of Variations on a Theme by FDR, a suite of five new PSC-commissioned works by Derek Bermel, Anthony Cheung, John Harbison, Vijay Iyer, and Wang Lu. The “theme” is a quote from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s address to the Daughters of the American Revolution: “Remember, remember always, that all of us… are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” Each contribution to this new collection is a “variation” on this theme, with each composer employing the story of a specific immigrant as inspiration. Beethoven used a similar idea to test his creative powers when he accepted Anton Diabelli’s invitation to write a variation on a simple C-major waltz, the proceeds from which were to support orphans and widows of the Napoleonic Wars. Mr. Wosner’s planned performance would have paired the world premiere of this new suite with Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations. This recital has been postponed until later in Mr. Wosner’s residency when an audience can gather to experience it in person. More details to come.
Also postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak were plans for an outdoor performance of Steve Reich’s Six Pianos, featuring Mr. Wosner and five fellow pianists, in downtown Manhattan. More information about this performance will be announced at a later date.
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