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FALL 2015

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Please send an email to joan@kaufmanmusiccenter.org.

Photo above: SMS student Vian Wagatsuma performing in the Kaufman Music Center International Youth Piano Competition Winners Showcase Concert at Merkin Concert Hall in June.

SPECIAL MUSIC SCHOOL (K-8)

SMS was selected to receive a 2015 Blackboard Award as part of this year’s celebration of schools of excellence in NYC! Click here for details, and to watch principal Katherine Banucci-Smith's acceptance speech at the December 2 awards ceremony.

SMS Test Scores Rank #1 in NYC!
The test results are in! SMS 4th & 7th graders scored highest in NYC on the state math test, and 4th graders scored highest on the English test. Congratulations to all of our students, parents and faculty! Read more in DNAinfo. 

The Carnegie Corporation of New York has awarded SMS a grant of $200,000 for the 2015-16 school year. This grant arrives as Special Music School celebrates its 20th year and will help to expand SMS High School, advance the successful work of the K-8 division, and ensure that musically gifted students of all ages and backgrounds gain the tools, training and support needed to fulfill their potential.

The SMS Flute Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble (below) performed at the US Postal Service​'s first-day-of-issue ceremony for the new "Geometric Snowflakes" stamp at the New York Hilton Midtown Manhattan Hotel on Oct 23.

Claudius Betz (7th grade, piano student of Irina Nuzova) won Second Prize at the Rosario Marciano International Piano Competition in Vienna, Austria in Aug.

Santiago Del Curto (below with Paquito D'Rivera) (2nd grade, clarinet student of Liam Burke) performed with the Paquito D'Rivera Quintet as a special guest at the Montclair Jazz Festival in August. He performed "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Blues for Santi," written for Santiago by Paquito Rivera.

Simon Hagopian-Rogers (6th grade, violin student of Viktor Basis) received First Prize at the Vivo International Competition in New York and performed in the winners recital at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. Simon also won First Prize at the Cremona International Music Academy and Competition (Junior group) in Italy this summer.

Isaac Lageschulte (5th grade, violin student of Anna Faynberg) will dance the role of a soldier in the New York City Ballet’s Nutcracker this season.

Sophia Shao (2nd grade, piano student of Natela Mchedlishvili) won Second Prize in the Piano Competition at the Cremona International Music Academy and Competition in Italy this summer.

Tiffany Tsui (4th grade, violin student of Viktor Basis) participated in the Cremona International Music Academy and Competition (Junior division). For the second year, she is performing in New York City Ballet's Nutcracker this Fall (she's second from the right in the photo below) and has also been cast in the Metropolitan Opera's Les Pêcheurs de Perles (The Pearl Fishers), which opens on New Year's Eve.

Connor Tsui (8th grade, cello student of Vladimir Panteleyev) won First Prize as a 12-year-old in the Intermediate Division (ages 13-18) of the Cremona International Music Academy and Competition this summer. As a previous prize winner, he was soloist with the Festival Orchestra playing Vivaldi's Concerto in B minor RV 424. He is currently cast as a Page in Tannhauser by R. Wagner, and as the Shepherd in Tosca (below) at the Metropolitan Opera.

Vian Wagatsuma (below - 9th grade SMS alumna, piano student of Natela Mchedlishvili) won Second Prize in the Junior 2 Division of the Kaufman Music Center International Youth Piano Competition in June.
Click here to watch her performance of Liszt’s Venezia e Napoli: Tarantella at the Winners Showcase Concert at Merkin Concert Hall on June 23.

Watch SMS student Vian Wagatsuma perform at the 2015 Kaufman Music Center International Youth Piano Competition

Annaliese Wee (9th grade SMS alumna, piano student of Irina Morozova) will attend Trinity School beginning this fall. She feels well prepared by SMS and is grateful for her fantastic music and academic instructors.

Philina Zhang (3rd grade, piano student of Irina Morozova) won Second Prize in the Cremona International Music Academy and Competition (Junior group) in Italy this summer.

SPECIAL MUSIC SCHOOL HIGH SCHOOL

Jason Applebaum (10th grade, piano major) and his mom, Judy Kameny Applebaum, participated in a performance of Brahms’s Hungarian Dances for piano four hands at a benefit concert for earthquake relief in Nepal on June 5. They also managed to play duets on 16 of the 50 pianos placed on streets and sidewalks all over NYC by the arts nonprofit Sing for Hope in June.

Michelle David (11th grade, voice major) will have a new work premiered by Face the Music at the 2015 MATA Jr. Festival at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music on Nov 16.

Danielle Morelli (10th grade, voice major) attended the New York Summer Music Festival in Oneonta, NY in July. She received a special award recognizing her as an outstanding musician and was awarded a scholarship for next year’s festival.

LUCY MOSES SCHOOL

Elias Arman (13, piano student of Irina Nuzova) performed and participated in Master Classes at the Interharmony Festival in Italy in July.

Mia Bramel (15, piano student of Golda Tatz) won the 2015 Pauline Styler Award at the Piano Teachers Congress Competition in May and performed in a winners concert at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. She also received Honorable Mention at the 2015 International Virtuoso Competition in June

Abe Gold’s (14, YAP Honors student, ComposerCraft student of Robin McClellan, piano student of Joseph Ries, theory student of Luke Schwartz) Piano Trio No. 1 was selected for the NYSSMA Young Composers Honors Concert. The piece will be performed in Rochester in Dec. Click here to see him perform this piece at the Lincoln Center CME Young Ensembles Concert in May.

Grace Gu (14, piano student of Irina Morozova) received First Prize in the Cremona International Music Academy and Competition (intermediate group) in Italy this summer.

Ariel Gurevich (11, piano students of Irina Nuzova) performed and participated in Master Classes at the Interharmony Festival in Italy in July.

Azalea Kelley (13, piano student of Emily White) was a finalist in the Los Angeles Young Musicians International Competition in June, and the International Young Artist Piano Competition in Washington, D.C. in July.

Javen Lara (12th grade, Young Artist Program, viola student of Suzanne Wagor and former Van Lier Scholar) recently won of the LaGuardia High School Concerto Competition.

Isabel Coco Mavrides (violin student of Olga Popova) is performing at Carnegie Hall Orchestra with the ISO (Interschool Orchestras) of New York as first violin. Isabel also participates in the Horace Mann School orchestra as concertmaster.

Metropolis Ensemble premiered works by LMS ComposerCraft students at Le Poisson Rouge on October 11.

FACE THE MUSIC

Click here to see Face the Music's 2015-16 concert schedule.

Watch recent performances:
Face the Music Orchestra performs FTM member/composer Sophia Belimov's Train at Roulette in June
Face the Music Orchestra performs FTM member/composer Owen Carter's 82 Eridani at Roulette in June
Face the Music Philharmonic performs the world premiere of Samyukt by Asha Srinivasan at the Shastra Festival at Le Poisson Rouge in April.

Face the Music performed at Merkin Concert Hall wtih pianist Simone Dinnerstein on June 14.
Above: Face the Music performed at Merkin Concert Hall wtih pianist Simone Dinnerstein on June 14.

This summer, eight accomplished Face the Music teens attended the Monadnock Institute, a new, three-week program at The Walden School in Dublin, NH designed to hone their craft of contemporary music performance. The students had the opportunity to work with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) as well as students in Walden’s Young Musicians Program.

Below: Face the Music students Deandre Desir and Manu Herskovitz at The Monadnock Institute in July.
 Face the Music students Deandre Desir and Manu Herskovitz at The walden School in July.

Paris Lavidis (14, also in ComposerCraft), will premiere Dinner for Eight, his new piece for double quartet, with FTM’s Quartet: This Side Up at the SONiC Festival at Merkin Concert Hall on October 18. In June he was profiled in New York Magazine’s “Vulture” pages. Click here to read the article:

Jonah Murphy (10th grade, flute) performed in the National Flute Association's High School Masterclass, at its annual convention in Washington, D.C. in August. He was also a finalist in the Adelphi Orchestra Concerto Competition last spring.

Elijah Valongo premiered his movement for Concerto for Buildings, a 4-movement work for full orchestra and 24 percussionists using the cast iron buildings of Soho as instruments during the Make Music New York festival on June 21. The other movements were composed by Paula Matthusen, Scott Wollshleger and Daniel Goode. Click here to watch the performance.

Face the Music member/composers Paris Lavidis & Elijah Valongo at the 2015 Make Music New York festival.
Above: Face the Music member/composers Paris Lavidis & Elijah Valongo at the 2015 Make Music New York festival.

This season you can hear new works by these student composers, whose pieces will be part of Face the Music’s standard repertoire: Owen Carter, Isabella D’Angelo, Zach Detrick, Paris Lavidis, Sasha Radoslav and Benjamin Sperling.

Kaufman Music Center Alumni

Alice Ivy-Pemberton (below at the 2015 Kaufman Music Center Gala) - former LMS violin student of Nurit Pacht) graduated from LMS in June and was awarded a full scholarship to Juilliard, where she will study with Itzhak Perlman.

Alice Ivy-Pemberton at the 2015 Kaufman Music Center Gala

Madeleine Vaillancourt (former LMS violin student of Nurit Pacht now studying at the Colburn School in Los Angeles) won the concerto competition at the Aspen Music Festival in Aug and performed as soloist with the orchestra there.

Binyumen Schaecter (former LMS student) will conduct the Jewish People’s Philharmonic Chorus in an encore performance of “From Paris to Peretz” at Merkin Concert Hall on Nov 1.

FACULTY

Eliran Avni (Piano, Chamber Music) performed at a SHUFFLE Concert presented by ChamberMusicNY in Merkin Concert Hall on Oct 3. The sextet performed pieces selected by the audience from a menu of over 30 compositions in different styles.

Chaim Freiberg (Piano) who has taught generations of Lucy Moses School students to play the piano using his unique method, has retired after 42 years. He will be missed!

Musical theater fans enjoyed an evening of songs by Sean Hartley (Theater@Kaufman Director) Off-Broadway at The Triad on July 13. Written with Sam Davis and Jihwan Kim, the songs were performed by Jason Robinson, Gabrielle Stravelli, Matthew Scott, Michael Winther, Dan Acquisto and more.

Igal Kesselman (Director,  Lucy Moses School) will perform Schumann’s Piano Quintet with Aeolus Quartet at the What Makes It Great? performance hosted by NPR’s Rob Kapilow on Dec 14 at Merkin Concert Hall.

Robinson McClellan (Composition) collaborated with the students in Special Music School’s Vox Nova chorus, led by faculty member Emily John, on a new opera for children about the American prairies.

Natela Mchedlishvili (Piano) participated in Cremona International Music Academy and Competition in Italy this summer along with five of her students.

Irina Nuzova (Piano, Chamber Music) gave Master Classes and performed at the Interharmony International Music Festival in Italy in July.

Nurit Pacht (Violin) spent the summer working with the Oscar-winning composer John Corigliano and performing his works in the Catskills as well as teaching violin and coaching chamber music at the Chautauqua Institute. She also performed at the San Juan Chamber Music Festival in Colorado. On Nov 2 she will perform Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata with LMS alumna and faculty member Taisiya Pushkar at the What Makes It Great? performance hosted by NPR’s Rob Kapilow at Merkin Concert Hall.

Cheryl Seltzer (Piano) organized and performed in three concerts of music by the 20th-century German-American composer Stefan Wolpe at the DiMenna Center, and was soloist in music by Russian avant-gardist Galina Ustvolskaya for an exhibit at the multi-media venue The Kitchen, sponsored by The Whitney.

Svetlana Smolina (Piano) opened the 2016 season with Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional Juvenil in Lima, Peru and has just returned from a New Year's tour in China, where she performed  Rachmaninoff's Concerto in seven cities including Suzhou, Harbin New Opera House, Wuhan, Tianjin and Changsha, where she opened their new concert hall with Dublin Philharmonic/Maestro Derek Gleeson. Recently Svetlana  also had the honor to perform with Vadim Repin at the residence of the Ambassador of Russia in Kensington Gardens, London for Maestro Repin‘s Trans-Siberian Art Festival. They also performed at Koerner Hall in Toronto, Canada and in the Salle Garnier, Opera di Monte-Carlo as part of Russian Year in Monaco  Festival for the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. This spring Svetlana continues "Live on Stage" after winning the “Live on Stage” showcases, which will bring her to more than 20 states.