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Art, Drama, Music and Books
Art, drama, music & books

Bronxville Quilter Randy Frost to Exhibit at Blue Door Gallery in Yonkers until April 18 PDF Print Email

Written by Robin Hutchinson, Manager, Blue Door Gallery

Mar. 25, 2015: The Manhattan Quilters Guild is holding an exhibition at the Blue Door Gallery at 13 Riverdale Avenue in Yonkers. Quilts by Bronxville resident Randy Frost will be on display.

The exhibition will run until April 18. There will be a closing reception on April 18 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

A dozen members of the Manhattan Quilters Guild will be showcasing their approaches to the contemporary art quilt in ways that will astonish and reward the visitor. Each of the members of this internationally renowned group of artists has been acknowledged with awards, museum exhibitions, published books, and articles.

This show will help bring this medium to the forefront and assist the public to consider how quilt making has been created in the past.

To contact the gallery, call 914-375-5100.

The Blue Door Gallery (BDG) presents critically acclaimed fine art exhibitions. BDG publishes books on many of its outstanding exhibitions and poetry chapbooks. The gallery also conducts community art programs, monthly open stage performances, Po'Jazz performances, poetry writing workshops, art panel discussions, monthly cinema screenings, teaching artist workshops, children's workshops, and other special events.

Pictured here: Quilt titled Spring Runoff by Randy Frost, one of the quilts in the exhibition at the Blue Door Gallery.

Photo courtesy Randy Frost and Blue Door Gallery

Bronxville High School Musical 'Sweeney Todd' Captivates Audiences at Three Sold-Out Performances; See Photos PDF Print Email

Written by Members, Parent Performing Arts Committee, Bronxville School






Mar. 18, 2015: When Peter Royal announced the operetta Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street as this year's musical, he envisioned opening on a grand scale, complete with intricate special effects in a new auditorium, which included surrounding the audience with cast members as the new auditorium will allow. But as construction stalled, Royal had to adjust his vision while maintaining the forward momentum and excitement of a cast, crew, and orchestra of over 65 students (over 10 percent of the high school student body).

With only three weeks to opening curtain and no venue in which to perform, Christ Church generously stepped forward to offer space in its undercroft, and the race began to design and create a performance worthy of the grandeur of Sondheim's creation.

Tech manager Luke Geiling, assisted by Tim Sullivan, Lea Tanenbaum, and a host of students, rose to the challenge, designing full lighting and sets and even raising a command center from which the sound and light crews could operate. (And the pièce de résistance, created by Luke, was the customized barber chair that released its occupant out of site via a slide beneath the raised stage--to the audience's amusement.)

Countless hours later, as cast and crew entered final rehearsals, numerous snow events canceled practices, including the full dress rehearsal; yet the team managed to open on Saturday afternoon, March 7, following a modified schedule to work around Christ Church's many activities.

Presenting three successive sold-out performances over the weekend, with final curtain on Monday, March 9, the students staged an outstanding, powerful production that mesmerized the audience. High school principal Ann Meyer, in attendance on Sunday night, called it a "tremendous production" in a "perfect location." She echoed Christ Church's Father Bird, who praised those who led the production for teaching, inspiring, and embodying the qualities of passion, imagination, discipline, resilience, and community, noting that "we are lucky to be in a community that values these aspects of education"; she said that his sentiment "reminds me of why we do what we do."

Sweeney Todd is not often performed by high schools, largely because of the complexity of the score. One cast member described it as "not having a single measure of 4/4 time." With constantly changing meters and time signatures, dissonant harmonies, a vocal line that competes with the orchestral score (which does not support any of the singers but is independent, requiring singers to have a firm grasp of the tonal and rhythmic aspects of their part and to hear how they sync with the independent orchestration), constant key changes that stretch even the pit players, and the huge vocal range (high A for tenors and high D for sopranos), the score creates a musical hugeness that parallels the dark events occurring on stage.

Musical director Pamela Simpson, who calls the score "incredibly complex," rearranged and transposed the five-part (SATBB) score to accommodate available voice parts. Under her musical direction, with the orchestra often vamping to follow performers on stage, and Helen Coope's choreography, the student cast performed brilliantly and wowed to the final moment.

John George Brakatselos gave a powerful performance as Sweeney, with Morgan Taylor (Mrs. Lovett), who gave her own powerful performance singing the oft-spoken parts, by his side; the lovebirds Jim Grant (Anthony) and Alekzandra Thoms (Johanna) delighted with their solos and duets; Ariana Sher cleverly performed the deranged yet wise Beggar Woman; Andrew Walter-McNeill gave a comedic performance as the Judge, also singing with Brakatselos in perhaps one of the most gorgeous songs of the show, "Pretty Women"; Caroline Schetlick delivered a witty Pirelli; Will Tague was the morose Beadle Bamford; and freshman Ned McCann, as Toby, who sang yet another of the show's most beautiful songs, "Not While I'm Around," brought the house to absolute silence during the final moments of this forceful production. Natalie Arenzon was the Bird Seller, Michelle Moriarty played Young Lucy, and Andrew Dent was Jonas Fogg.

Interspersed throughout were commanding full-ensemble numbers, including the opening "Ballad of Sweeney Todd"; various chants, which were spoken or sung from a semicircle surrounding the stage and audience, uniquely seen only in Off-Broadway and fringe productions; and "City on Fire," in which the ensemble became a lifelike crawling, writhing unit. A highlight for the ensemble was the choreography in "More Hot Pies," with movements staged across the front of the set. The vocal octet of Natalie Arenzon, Grayson Elder, Lauren Gray, Claire Kraemer, Kylie Regan, Olivia Samios, Katie Toal, and Kat Ungvary highlighted the ensemble singing.

Director Royal's reimagined vision recast the original grandeur of Sondheim's setting into a compact, cult-like worship ritual that perfectly resonated within the stone column of the space. Royal writes in the program:

The members of our Sweeney Todd company belong to a cult--a cult of revenge. They have been beaten and abused by life. Sweeney Todd is their patron saint. They have gathered in this abandoned cellar to participate in a ritual that honors the life and death of Sweeney Todd. They understand the futility of their beliefs, as expressed by the last line of the script, "To seek revenge may lead to hell, but everyone does it, though seldom as well as Sweeney Todd." You have stumbled upon their ceremony.

And what a ceremony it was.

Special thanks to Christ Church and Father Bird, Fabio's Hair Studio, and principal Ann Meyer.

To see photos, click here: Sweeney Todd.

Ensemble (in addition to above):

Allison Barker, Kendall Beach, Sarah Billings, Rachel Bothwell, Sarah Carbonaro, Max Clark, Maddie Coyne, Caroline Dent, Maxine DeVitt, Hana Eddib, Yasmeen Fahr, Margaux Frolich, Roberto Gandara, Griffin Garbarini, Chase Judkins, Taber Minich, Yumi Mita, Ally Minoli, Hiroko Mitsui, Thomas Neville, Dryden Quigley, Liam Siegel, Nicole Torres, Emma Verscaj


Abby Carter, Timmy Caruso, Maxine Devitt, Eric Dunn, Luke Geiling, Tomas Gibbons, Adam Hamdy, Jack Harwood, Andrew Howson, Graana Khan, Anna Normand, William Stoeffhaas, Tim Sullivan, Lea Tanenbaum, Kenny Taylor, James Tubridy


Henry Anderson (cello), Christopher Bopp (violin), Remi Laurence (violin), Silas White (euphonium), Yifei Wu (tenor sax), Xavier Zhang (violin).

Pictured hereJohn George Brakatselos as Sweeney Todd and Morgan Taylor as Mrs. Lovett.

Photo by Nancee Adams-Taylor

Six Students from Concordia Conservatory Perform at Carnegie Hall PDF Print Email

Written by Kathleen Suss, Executive Director, Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art

Mar. 18, 2015: Six students from Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art performed at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall on Sunday, March 1, in the Tri-State Certificate of Excellence Winners Concert of The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program.

Performers and recipients of the certificate of excellence awards include guitarist Nicholas Lombardi, sopranos Sofia Ricciarini, Ally Bruno, Natalia Morato, and Katharine Ungvary, and flutist Laney Bagwell.

As described on the Carnegie Hall website, "The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program provides a national standard of musical achievement for people of all ages studying music privately in the US, offering a sequential course of study from beginner through advanced levels. The Program centers on periodic one-on-one, adjudicator-to-student performance evaluations that also function as teaching and learning opportunities. Assessments are offered for keyboard, string, woodwind, and brass instruments; voice; and the academic subjects of music theory, music history, and pedagogy."

The winners listed above received the top scores in their category and level in the New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut area for their Royal Conservatory Music Development Program exam.

Pictured here: Concordia Conservatory student Sofia Ricciarini performing in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall.

Photo courtesy Kathleen Suss, Executive Director, Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art

James Lettiere: Art Exhibition at Scandinavia House, 'Voyage to the Virtual' PDF Print Email

Written by James Lettiere, Art Specialist




Showing until April 4, 2015

Mar. 18, 2015: Through the use of video projections, animation, lighting, and other interactive media, Voyage to the Virtual explores the idea of "the voyage."

The theme of the exhibition is the voyage of an artist through non-traditional media; as stated on the Scandinavia House website, the "artists are expanding on the human perceptual experience."

The exhibition features the work of Katja Aglert, Elina Brotherus, A K Dolven, Olafur Eliasson, Jette Gejl Kristensen & Peter Møller-Nielsen, Petra Lindholm, Ann Lislegaard, Per Platou, Jacob Tækker, and Anders Weberg.

Ms. Lislegaard's digital animation explores a fictional interior environment that constantly changes and forces the direction of a voyage through that environment to change. It stood out to me as the most original.

There is also an interactive experience available that consists of sitting in the exhibit's "kinetic kayak," which allows one to explore a 3D rendering of the Arctic Ocean.

Scandinavia House
58 Park Avenue (@ 38th Street)
New York, NY 10016

Third Floor Gallery hours:
Wednesday, Noon – 7:00 pm
Tuesday and Thursday to Saturday, Noon – 6:00 pm
Closed Sunday and Monday

Pictured here: View from the Third Floor Gallery at the Scandinavia House.

Photo by James Lettiere, Art Specialist

Concordia Conservatory to Present 'Love Letters' Concert March 21 PDF Print Email

Written by Kathleen Suss, Executive Director, Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art




Mar. 18, 2015: Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art will be presenting a Hoch Chamber Music Series concert titled 'Love Letters' with violist Lawrence Dutton, violinist Elizabeth Lim-Dutton, cellist Julia Lichten, and pianists Misha and Cipa Dichter on Saturday, March 21, at 7:00 pm at the Sommer Center for Worship and the Performing Arts at Concordia College.

The concert includes Johannes Brahms's Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, Franz Schubert's Fantasy in F minor for 4 hands piano, Antonín Dvořák's 10 Legends for 4 hands piano, and a world premiere, The Heart Grows Fonder, a duo for violin and viola by Matt Van Brink.

Love Letters is part of ARTSEE, a Festival of New Work, celebrating ArtsWestchester's 50th anniversary. For a full festival brochure, visit

Tickets are $32 for adults and $16 for seniors and children. To purchase tickets, visit or call 914-395-4507.

About the Artists

Pianists Misha and Cipa Dichter met at The Juilliard School as students of the legendary Rosina Lhevinne and made their first joint appearance at the Hollywood Bowl in 1972, four years after their marriage. Since then, the Dichters have performed in recital and with major orchestras throughout the world and have brought to the concert stage many previously neglected works of the two-piano and piano-four-hand repertoires. Misha and Cipa Dichter's North American engagements have included recitals in all of the major cities in the United States and Canada, as well as appearances with the symphonies of Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Seattle. Abroad, the Dichters have performed in the music capitals of France, Germany, Holland, Spain, and Switzerland. The Dichters perform regularly at many leading summer festivals, including Aspen, Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, the Hollywood Bowl, Caramoor, and the Mann Center. They first began playing Mozart together when they were students at Juilliard in the 1960s, and it was Mozart's E-flat double concerto they played at the Hollywood Bowl in their first joint appearance.

Lawrence Dutton has served as the artistic director of the Hoch Chamber Music Series for thirteen years, transforming the series into a world-class chamber music series with an eclectic mix of repertoire and artists. Hailed as a "poet violist" (the New Yorker), he has been the violist of the Emerson String Quartet for over three decades and has earned distinction performing more than 100 concerts each season throughout the United States and abroad. Dutton's unparalleled list of achievements with the quartet includes more than 30 acclaimed recordings since 1987, nine Grammy Awards, and collaborations with some of the greatest artists of our time. Dutton is a professor of viola and chamber music at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the Manhattan School of Music.

Matt Van Brink is a composer, lyricist, pianist, and educator. He has been granted residencies by The MacDowell Colony, the Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, and the Ionion Center for Arts and Culture, has received prizes from ASCAP, VocalEssence, San Francisco Choral Artists, and TransforMusic, and has won a Delius Competition prize and the Northridge Composition Prize.

He has been commissioned by New York Youth Symphony, Celebrity Series of Boston, Collage New Music, Manhattan Choral Ensemble, and C4 and has created arrangements for Polygraph Lounge, Polkastra, and violinist Lara St. John. His compositions and arrangements are published by Schott Music, Tenuto Publications, and Hayo Music and by his own Schnitzel Music. He was the 2011-2012 composer-not-in-residence for San Francisco Choral Artists.

Through his work on the faculty of Concordia Conservatory, Van Brink has created numerous new works for student performers, including an evening-length chamber music song cycle, Kiss the Stars Goodnight, numerous pieces of chamber music, and a dozen holiday and classroom musicals. Van Brink's works at the conservatory have been supported by ASCAP Foundation.

Van Brink has held positions at Hofstra University, MIT, Boston University, and Concordia Conservatory, and his composition students have won national competitions and have been accepted to the country's best music schools. He studied composition himself with John Harbison and Lukas Foss at Boston University, where he received a doctorate, and with David Dzubay, Samuel Adler, and Don Freund during his undergraduate years at Indiana University. He lives in Brooklyn.

Pictured here: Lawrence Dutton and Elizabeth Lim-Dutton giving a duo violin performance.

Photo courtesy Kathleen Suss, Executive Director, Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art

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