Summer Concert Series at the Simons Center

The Simons Center for Geometry and Physics is pleased to announce the 2013 Summer Concert Series, featuring pianist Leon Livshin and Company

All Concerts will begin at 6:30pm, following a wine and cheese reception at 6:00pm.  These events are free and open to the public:

Schedule of Events

July 23rd, 6:30pm:  “Two Sides of Rachmaninov”
Featuring Re’ut Ben-Ze’ev, mezzo soprano, Andrey Tchekmazov, cello and Leon Livshin, piano

July 30th, 6:30pm:   “Tolstoy Bashes the Three B’s: But will they survive.  Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms in “What is Art?”
Featuring Anna Rabinova, violin, and Leon Livshin, piano

August 6th, 6:30pm:  “Piano Four Hands: Intimate, Sonorous, and… Uncomfortable!”
Featuring Dina Vainstein and Leon Livshin, piano

August 15th, 6:30pm:  “Solo Musings”
Featuring Leon Livshin, piano

Concert Program

July 23rd:  Two Sides of Rachmaninov   — Watch the Video

In our concert we will try to understand the inner conflict between this seemingly gloomy man and the perception of him as one of the most popular and beloved composers of the 20th Century.  Was Rachmaninov really depressed?  We will hear his powerful Sonata in G minor Op.19 for cello and piano, and his incredibly dramatic Songs, showing how Rachmaninov set texts by the great poets A.Pushkin, F.Tyutchev, A.Fet, and D.Merezhkovsky, and how the text and music both reflect and explore nature, religion, sadness and loss.

Performers:  Re’ut Ben-Ze’ev, mezzo-soprano, Andrey Tchekmazov, cello, and Leon Livshin, piano

July 30th:  Tolstoy Bashes the Three B’s: But will they survive?  Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms in “What is Art?”   — Watch the Video

Although Tolstoy perceived the question of art to be a religious one, he considered and rejected the idea that art reveals and reinvents through beauty.  Tolstoy condemned the works of Dante, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Baudelaire and even his own novels in the course of his impassioned and iconoclastic redefinition of art as a force for good, for the progress and improvement of mankind.   Tolstoy was always deeply interested in the question of the philosophical grounds of music and its inner existence.  In his story “The Kreutzer Sonata,” Tolstoy asks: “What is music? What does it do to us? Why was it made?”  In this concert we will hear music by Bach, Brahms’ Second Sonata for violin and piano, and of course Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata, as well as a seldom-heard Waltz composed by Tolstoy himself!

Performers:  Anna Rabinova, violin, and Leon Livshin, piano

August 6th:  Piano Four Hands: Intimate, Sonorous, and… Uncomfortable! — Watch the Video

Today, when we have unlimited access to music of all sorts, it might be puzzling why piano duet (four-hands) music is still so popular. One reason is obvious: it’s fun to play. If you’ve ever sat on the bench making music of this kind with a friend, you know this; if you haven’t, once you try it, you might just want to do more of it. Another reason is that, due to composers’ attention to this medium, there is high-quality—and in some cases highly demanding—four-hand music out there that offers a nice challenge and change from the solo repertoire.  In this concert, we will hear pieces by Schubert, Hindemith, Rachmaninoff, and Poulenc.

Performers:  Dina Vainstein and Leon Livshin, piano

August 15th: Solo Musings – Watch the Video

We will hear solo piano music by Beethoven, Schumann, Bartok, Shostakovich and Prokofiev.

Performers:  Leon Livshin, piano