Strings of the WHCO

3:00 pm, February 10, 2018

Featuring the Catalyst Quartet
Chris Whittaker, Conductor

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Jessie Montgomery: Starburst

Aaron Jay Kernis: Musica Celestis

Edward Elgar: Introduction and Allegro (feat. Catalyst Quartet)

Schoenberg: Verklarte Nacht

Followed by a post-concert reception for Friends of WHCO

About the Composers

Aaron Jay Kernis

Aaron Jay Kernis is winner of the coveted 2012 Nemmers Prize and 2002 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition, and one of the youngest composers ever awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Since 2003 he has taught composition at the Yale School of Music, where he is Professor (Adjunct) of Composition.

Kernis’s music is featured prominently on orchestral, chamber, and recital programs worldwide, and he has been commissioned by many of America’s foremost performing artists, including sopranos Renée Fleming and Dawn Upshaw, violinists Joshua Bell and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, and guitarist Sharon Isbin, and by institutions including the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Minnesota Orchestra, the Los Angeles and Saint Paul chamber orchestras, Walt Disney Company, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and Rose Center for Earth and Space at the Museum of Natural History in New York.

Kernis was awarded the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Rome Prize, and he received Grammy nominations for Air and his Second Symphony. His music is widely available on CDs, including the labels Naxos, Decca, Koch, Dorian, Phoenix, Virgin Classics, New Albion, Cedille, Nonesuch, Arabesque, and Innova.

He served as new music adviser to the Minnesota Orchestra for ten years and as chairman and director of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. In 2011 he was named to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


Jessie Montgomery

Jessie Montgomery is a New York native violinist, composer and music educator, performing regularly among New York’s classical and new music scenes.

She is currently a member of the highly acclaimed Catalyst Quartet, raved by the New York Times as “invariably energetic and finely burnished…playing with earthly vigor.” She was a co-founding member of PUBLIQuartet, an ensemble made up of composers and arrangers, featuring their own music as well as that of emerging and established composers. She was also a member of the Providence String Quartet from 2004-2009, quartet in residence of Community MusicWorks. Ensemble experiences have lead to collaborations with The Orion String Quartet, The Miro String Quartet, and The Knights. Jessie has also collaborated with several avant-garde artists such as clarinetist Don Byron, Butch Morris and William Parker.

Recently, Jessie has been recognized as an important emerging composer by the American Composers Orchestra, the Sphinx Organization, the Joyce Foundation and the Sorel Organization through generous grants and fellowships that support and promote her works. For the 2015-16 season she will be the Composer-Educator for the Albany Symphony, leading youth education initiatives and performances of recent works. Her music is performed regularly by PUBLIQuartet, the Catalyst Quartet and the Sphinx Virtuosi. In 2012 she was appointed the Sphinx Virtuosi Composer-in-Residence. In 2011-2012, Jessie was the Van Lier Composer Fellow at the American Composers Orchestra, with performances of her works for small ensemble showcased throughout New York City in the SONiC Festival, and the Composers OutFront! Series. She was in Residence at the Deer Valley Music Festival under the direction of American composer Joan Tower in 2008 and has served as resident composer for the Providence String Quartet, with performances throughout the Providence and Boston areas.

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Concert Location:

Fort Washington Collegiate Church
729 West 181st Street
New York, NY, 10033