Above 155th Street


Sounds from the top of the world

A concert celebrating Upper Manhattan and all the sounds it has to offer. This concert features music of Washington Heights-based composers, including works by Aaron J. Kernis, Jessica Meyer, Joel Hoffman, Peter Gordon, and others.

Two Performances:

Friday, March 27, 2020
Location: TBD

Saturday, March 28, 2020
Location: Fort Washington Collegiate Church


In Detail


Joel Hoffman

Born in Vancouver, Canada in 1953, Joel Hoffman received degrees from the University of Wales and the Juilliard School. He is a member of a distinguished musical family that includes brothers Gary and Toby, cellist and conductor, and Deborah, harpist. Honors include a major prize from the American Academy-Institute of Arts and Letters, two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bearns Prize of Columbia University, a BMI Award, ASCAP awards since 1977, and three American Music Center grants. Hoffman’s works draw from such diverse sources as Eastern European folk musics, Chinese traditional music and bebop, and are pervaded by a sense of lyricism and rhythmic vitality. They have been performed by many ensembles such as the Chicago Symphony Brass, the BBC Orchestra of Wales, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, members of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Cleveland Quartet, the Shanghai Quartet, the Brentano Quartet and the Golub-Kaplan-Carr Trio. “Self-Portrait with Gebirtig”, for cello and orchestra, has been performed in New York, Paris, Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, San Jose (Costa Rica), Washington, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Santa Barbara, Kronberg (Germany), and has been recorded by the Berlin Radio Symphony, the Kiev Chamber Orchestra as well as by the Slovenian Radio Symphony in Lubliana.

Jessica Meyer 

With playing that is “fierce and lyrical” and works that are “other-worldly” (The Strad) and “evocative” (New York Times), Jessica Meyer is a versatile composer and violist whose passionate musicianship radiates accessibility, generosity, and emotional clarity. Jessica has premiered pieces for solo viola internationally – expanding the repertoire for viola by championing new works while also composing her own. On her appearance at The TANK Center for Sonic Arts, where she wrote a solo piece on site for this destination concert venue that boasts a 20-second reverb, Alex Ross of the New Yorker says, “Meyer’s fierce-edged playing activated the Tank’s awe-inspiring properties.” Meyer’s compositions viscerally explore the wide palette of emotionally expressive colors available to each instrument while using traditional and extended techniques inspired by her varied experiences as a contemporary and period instrumentalist. Since embarking on her composition career only 5 years ago, past premieres include performances by the Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, cellist Amanda Gookin for her Forward Music Project at National Sawdust, soprano Melissa Wimbish for her Carnegie Hall debut, Sybarite 5, PUBLIQuartet, NOVUS NY of Trinity Wall Street under the direction of Julian Wachner, the Nu Deco Ensemble in Miami, and a work for A Far Cry commissioned by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. As part of the residency, Ms. Meyer lived in the museum itself for a week to immerse herself in the creatively curated life and collected art of Mrs. Gardner in order to find inspiration for the work.

About the Artwork

The Bridge,ca. 1880

Albert Pinkham Ryder American

"The Bridge," done on gilded leather, shares the horizontal format and the thin paint application of "The Smuggler's Cove" (09.58.2). This panoramic landscape has been said to combine fragments of New York scenery that Ryder would have known: a bit of the skyline as seen from Central Park, and High Bridge, which spans the Harlem River. Despite these possible references to specific sites, "The Bridge" is still imaginative rather than literal. Its detachment from the appearance of nature looks forward to a modernist approach to picture making. (courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art public access)