Great Music At St. Bart’s Presents
Marilyn Nonken & Stephen Marotto Performing Morton Feldman’s Patterns In A Chromatic Field
Sunday, May 13, 2018, at 3:00 pm
In The St. Bart’s Chapel
Marilyn Nonken, piano
Stephen Marotto, cello
Tickets: $25 general admission; $15 students/seniors
Tickets may be purchased online at www.mmpaf.org, by phone by calling 212-378-0248, or in person at St. Bart’s, 325 Park Avenue at 51st Street.
Patterns in a Chromatic Field is a late work (1981) by Morton Feldman (1926-1987), an 80-minute odyssey for cello and piano exploring different degrees of stasis and patterns of harmony and color. As described on AllMusic.com, “Feldman’s small, interlocking gestures – inspired by designs in Asian carpets – are spun out through a convoluted process of repetition, layering, and alternation with contrasting sonorities and shapes, and these juxtaposed figures cycle over 80 minutes to mesmerizing effect.” Patterns in a Chromatic Field reflects Feldman’s lifelong fascination with the Abstract Expressionist painters: “My compositions are not really ‘compositions’ at all,” Feldman said. “One might call them time canvasses in which I more or less prime the canvas with an overall hue of music.”
Marilyn Nonken, who The New York Times has called “a pianist from music’s leading edge,” and cellist Stephen Marotto, a young member of the acclaimed Boston-based new music ensemble Sound Icon, will present this rarely-performed work as the culminating event of the Great Music at St. Bart’s concert series, on Sunday, May 13, 2018, at 3:00 pm. The concert will take place in the intimate, 150-seat St. Bart’s Chapel.
Marilyn Nonken’s history with the music of Morton Feldman has included being featured in the 2001 Carnegie Hall festival “When Morty Met John: John Cage, Morton Feldman and New York in the 1950’s,” and recording Feldman’s solo piano work Triadic Memories in 2004. She says, “Patterns in a Chromatic Field has been a piece I have wanted to play for such long time. My first experiences playing his music were with the late work Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, written just a few months before he died. There is a sense in which the music is very ritualistic…. There is tremendous stillness in the music, and yet extraordinary activity, concentration, intensity.”
A few years ago, Nonken had the opportunity to work with cellist Stephen Marotto in a performance of Gerard Grisey’s Vortex Temporum with Sound Icon. “I thought, this person is just on fire! And then one day, he mentioned Patterns in a Chromatic Field … and it seemed like the stars aligned.”
Pianist Marilyn Nonken has been heralded as “a determined protector of important music” (The New York Times) and “one of the greatest interpreters of new music” (American Record Guide). Her repertoire comprises the complete piano music of Schoenberg, Boulez, and Murail, as well as works by pioneers of the New York School, New Complexity, and spectral music. She has recorded more than 30 CDs for the New World, Lovely Music, Hanging Bell, Harrison House, Albany, Divine Art, Innova, CRI, BMOP Sound, New Focus, Kairos, Metier, Mode, and Bridge labels. Highlights of her 2017-18 season include collaborations with cellist Stephen Marotto, mezzo-soprano Jessica Bowers, violinist Rolf Schultz, and pianists Joseph Kubera, Stephen Beck, and Irina Kataeva-Aimard. A Steinway Artist, she is also the author of The Spectral Piano: From Liszt, Scriabin, and Debussy to the Digital Age (Cambridge University Press, 2014). A graduate of the Eastman School and Columbia University, Marilyn Nonken is Associate Professor and Director of Piano Studies at New York University. www.marilynnonken.com
As a passionate advocate of contemporary music, cellist Stephen Marotto has worked with numerous composers, and has played with several new music ensembles in the Boston area including Sound Icon and EQ Ensemble. Marotto has attended music festivals at the Banff Centre, SoundSCAPE in Maccagno, Italy, and the Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany. He has played in master classes for artists such as the Arditti Quartet and JACK Quartet. Marotto has a wide range of musical interests that include contemporary chamber music, improvisatory music, and electronic music. A native of Norwalk, Connecticut, he received a bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Connecticut, a master’s degree from Boston University, and is currently a candidate for a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree also from Boston University under the direction of Michael Reynolds. Marotto’s formative teachers include Kangho Lee, Marc Johnson, and Rhonda Rider. www.stephenmarotto.com
Great Music at St. Bart’s continues the programmatic focus initiated by MMPAF Artistic Director William K. Trafka (Director of Music and Organist of St. Bart’s): to embrace a wide range of music in programs that shine in St. Bart’s spaces. The concert series, produced by the Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation (www.mmpaf.org), for the past seven years has presented music in St. Bartholomew’s Church, a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of New York located in the heart of midtown Manhattan. The magnificent 1918 Romanesque-style church, a National Historic Landmark, features a portal designed by Stanford White and a grand Byzantine-style interior – and two of New York’s unlikely but outstanding concert spaces. The 150-seat chapel is an intimate and acoustically brilliant space perfectly suited for contemporary chamber music, and the majestic 1,000-seat sanctuary – outfitted with comfortable chairs enabling flexible seating – boasts an Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ that is the largest in New York City and one of the finest examples of the American Classic Organ in the U.S.