Friends of Guy: Guy Klucevsek 75th Birthday Celebration

Saturday, May 14, 2022. 8:00 pm
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Friends of Guy: Guy Klucevsek 75th Birthday Celebration

Saturday, May 14, 2022. 8:00 pm

Guy Klucevsek presents a concert in celebration of his 75th year on earth. Having retired from the concert stage in 2019, Klucevsek is proud to hand over the performances in this program of solos, duets, and quartets to a distinguished cast of musicians he has worked with over many years and, in some cases, decades: Todd Reynolds, violin, Jenny Lin, piano, and accordionists the Bachtopus ensemble (Robert Duncan, Peter Flint, Mayumi Miyaoka, Jeanne Velonis), Alan Bern (doubling piano), Will Holshouser and Nathan Koci.

The pieces Klucevsek has selected represent 40+ years of his composing, from Oscillation No. 2 for piano (1980), through The Grass, It Is Blue (Ain’t Nothin’ But a Polka) (1986), Flying Vegetables of the Apocalypse (1988), Eleven Large Lobsters Loose in the Lobby (1991) and Bar Talk (1998) (in memory of Béla Bartók), up to pieces from the 21st century, including seven World Premieres.

Alan Bern, accordion and piano
Bachtopus Accordion Ensemble (Robert Duncan, Peter Flint, Mayumi Miyaoka and Jeanne Velonis)
Will Holshouser, accordion
Nathan Koci, accordion
Jenny Lin, piano
Todd Reynolds, violin

Guy Klucevsek was born in New York City and raised in western Pennsylvania. Young Guy (age six) cajoled his dad into buying him an accordion after seeing Dick Contino playing one on television. (Little did Guy or his dad know what they had wrought.) During his teens, he became excited by the original accordion music being commissioned by the American Accordionists’ Association and soon he, too, began “making stuff up” (as he referred to composing at that time). This eventually led to formal studies in music composition with Robert Bernat at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Morton Subotnick at the University of Pittsburgh and California Institute of the Arts. After spending 1972-76 in the Philadelphia area, where he began what became a decades-long musical relationship with the contemporary music ensemble, Relâche, he returned to New York City, where he has lived ever since. Over the last 50 years, he has created an extensive body of music for solo accordion, chamber ensembles, bands, modern dance, theatre and film. He has performed his music internationally as a soloist; in duos with Alan Bern (accordion/piano), Phillip Johnston (saxophone) and Todd Reynolds (violin); and with his group projects Accordion Tribe, Polka from the Fringe, and The Bantam Orchestra. In 1988 Klucevsek was a guest on the long-running children’s television show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and has since appeared as a subject in the documentary films Accordion Tribe: Music Travels (Stefan Schwietert), Accordions Rising (Roberta Cantow), and Behind the Bellows (Steve Mobia). He has released 24 recordings as soloist, leader, and co-leader, and, in March of 2020, published Vignettes: Short Pieces for Accordion, a book that contains scores he wrote between 1988–2019, along with photos, drawings, and posters from his life as an accordionist, and digital recordings of all the pieces. Klucevsek is on the New England Conservatory of Music faculty and is the recipient of a 2010 United States Artists Collins Fellowship.

Alan Bern (Bloomington, Indiana, 1955) is an American composer, pianist, accordionist, educator, and cultural activist, based in Berlin since 1987. He is the founding artistic director of Yiddish Summer Weimar and the Other Music Academy (OMA). He is internationally recognized for his contributions to the research, dissemination, and creative renewal of Jewish music with Brave Old World, The Other Europeans, and the Semer Ensemble, among others. He is the creator of Present-Time Composition©, a musical and educational approach informed by cognitive science that integrates the methods of improvisation and composition. For more than 20 years, he has had the great honor and pleasure of making music with Guy Klucevsek, including 2 CDs of original music on the Winter & Winter label: Accordance (2001) and Notefalls (2007). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Bern

Bachtopus is an accordion ensemble from New York City that performs music by contemporary composers and Johann Sebastian Bach. The ensemble was formed in 2011 to play Bach’s organ music, which is well suited to the accordion. The group soon shifted focus to become one of the few accordion ensembles in the United States that focuses on new music. Having established a large repertoire in just a few years, Bachtopus continues perform contemporary music that is interesting and accessible. To support this effort Bachtopus also commissions music from living composers via their Composers Commissioning Fund. The group features original compositions and commissioned works by Bratko Bibič, Rob Curto, Henco Espag, Peter Flint, Philip Glass, Bob Goldberg, Lars Hollmer, Will Holshouser, Guy Klucevsek, Denise Koncelik, Tony Kovatch, Dean Olsher, Arvo Pärt, Elliot Roman, Bill Schimmel, Doug Makofka, Bob Goldberg, Stas Venglevski, and Randall Woolf. Bachtopus was founded by Robert Duncan and features fellow accordionists Peter Flint, Mayumi Miyaoka, and Jeanne Velonis. For more information, please visit us at https://www.bachtopus.com/.

Will Holshouser began playing accordion in the late 1980s when a friend gave him a musty old squeezebox as a surprise. His own music draws on an eclectic range of sources including jazz, hymns, accordion folk styles, improvisation, and classical music. He has made three albums with his trio, as well as collaborations with trumpeter Eric Vloeimans, Musette Explosion, and improvisers Han Bennink & Michael Moore. He has toured extensively with Regina Carter, David Krakauer, and Antony & the Johnsons and has played with New York City Ballet, Mark Morris Dance, Uri Caine, Suzanne Vega, Lisa Gutkin, and many others. As a composer, he has been commissioned by the American Accordionists’ Association and Bachtopus Accordion Ensemble. Will teaches at Brooklyn College and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.

Nathan Koci is a musician, conductor, and collaborative artist working across multiple disciplines including folk music, jazz, contemporary classical music, dance, and theater. His most recent release is the Solomon Diaries Vol I-III by Sam Sadigursky, a collection of clarinet and accordion music inspired by the rise and fall of the Borscht Belt region in the Catskills of New York. He currently serves as the Associate Music Director of the Tony Award-winning Hadestown, and prior to that was the Music Director and Vocal Arranger for the Tony Award-winning revival of OKLAHOMA!, directed by Daniel Fish. He has recorded and performed with ensembles including The Hands Free, The Knights, Alarm Will Sound, Philip Glass Ensemble, Michael Leonhart Orchestra, and Wordless Music. He’s incredibly grateful to be able to celebrate Guy’s birthday with such an esteemed crew of squeezers, and looks forward to the continued exchange of knowledge and noshes with Guy for as long as he’ll have me.

Jenny Lin, a Steinway Artist, has made a name for herself on the world stage thanks to her “remarkable technical command” and “gift for melodic flow” (New York Times). The Washington Post has extolled her “confident fingers” and “spectacular technique,” while Gramophone has hailed her as “an exceptionally sensitive pianist.” She was born in Taiwan, raised in Austria, and moved to New York, where she resides. Educated in Europe and the US, she has built an international reputation distinguished by inventive collaborations with a breadth of artists, and has performed widely with renowned orchestras and symphonies at the world’s most notable concert halls. Lin has a close affinity with Philip Glass, whose Etudes she performs globally, and which inspired her to embark on a commissioning initiative, The Etudes Project. She is the featured pianist in Elliot Goldenthal’s original motion picture score for Julie Taymor’s 2020 film, The Glorias, and the central figure in Cooking for Jenny by Felix Cabez for Elemental Films, a musical documentary portraying her journey to Spain, among Other media appearances such as CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s Performance Today. Her discography numbers more than 40 recordings, ranging from the classic piano canon to modern milestones to Broadway songs.

Todd Reynolds, violinist and composer, is known as one of the founding fathers of the hybrid-musician movement and one of the most active and versatile proponents of what he calls ‘present music’, a fixture on the New York music scene for 25 years. The violinist of choice for Steve Reich, Meredith Monk, Bang on a Can, and founder of his own string quartet, his compositional and performance style is a hybrid of old and new technology, multi-disciplinary aesthetic and pan-genre composition and improvisation. His countless premieres and performances of everything from classical music to Jazz to Rock‘n’Roll redefine the concert hall and underground club as undeniably and inevitably intertwined. As a sideman and collaborator, he’s enjoyed working closely with Jason Robert Brown, Kenny Werner, Betty Buckley, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Todd Rundgren, Joe Jackson, Don Byron, and countless composers and performing artists, foremost of them of course, Guy Klucevsek. A recording artist, technologist and producer with laptop and guitar rigs in tow, in 2011 he released his homemade double CD set, Outerborough on Innova Recordings, acclaimed by both Amazon and NPR as “Best in Classical” for 2011. A dedicated and committed educator, Reynolds mentors students and teaches his own unique blend of technology, creative expression and entrepreneurship through individual courses and as part of Bang on a Can. He brings his cutting-edge approach to venerable academic institutions such as the Manhattan School of Music and Mannes at The New School, to the Bang on a Can Summer Institute and in residencies across the nation. He offers virtual educational experiences through his educational portal – Amplify This, accessible through http://toddreynolds.com

Photo Credit: Christophe Goussard and Jan Klucevsek