Rick Perdian in conversation with Brandon Ridenour and Ben Russell of Brooklyn-based ensemble, Founders

 

Even in the midst of a pandemic, a Zoom call with Brandon Ridenour and Ben Russell is an upbeat experience. Their plans for performances, tours and just about everything else hit a brick wall in March, as they did for just about everyone on the planet. For Russell, it has been a peripatetic few months: circumstances required him to leave Brooklyn early in the pandemic and, since then, he and his wife have stayed in a cabin in Maine and with family in California and Mississippi. Apart from a few brief trips out of New York, Ridenour has stuck it out in Brooklyn.

Founders (l to r) – Ben Russell (violin/vocals), Hamilton Berry (cello/vocals),
Brandon Ridenour (trumpet/piano), Greg Chudzik (bass), Yoonah Kim (clarinet)

They are two of the five members of Founders, the award-winning, Brooklyn-based ensemble, a songwriting collective that is reimagining the boundaries of musical styles. In addition to Russell (violin/vocals) and Ridenour (trumpet/piano), the other members of the group are Hamilton Berry (cello/vocals), Yoonah Kim (clarinet) and Greg Chudzik (bass). All are conservatory-trained musicians.

Individually, they have worked with songwriters such as James Taylor, Sufjan Stevens, Sting, and Björk, as well as with classical ensembles such as Canadian Brass, A Far Cry and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. They have performed on the stages of Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Walt Disney Hall and Lincoln Center, as well as on television broadcasts such as The Late Show and Saturday Night Live.

January saw the release of Founders’ latest recording, Songs for the End of Time, Vol. 1, which features Russell and Ridenour’s arrangement of Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. Their adaptation of this seminal work received its world premiere at the 2019 Tribeca New Music Festival. With this thoughtful, imaginative and at times stunningly beautiful rethinking of Messiaen’s Quartet, Founders is introducing it to audiences that might never have encountered it before.

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Austrian violinist Johannes Fleischmann in conversation with Antoine Lévy-Leboyer

Vienna violinist Johannes Fleischmann spoke to Seen and Heard on the release of his new album EXODUS: The Men Who Shaped Hollywood, celebrating the music of two Jewish Austrian composers who fled World War II to California: Erich Korngold and Eric Zeisl. Antoine Lévy-Leboyer: For those who do not live in Vienna and who would … Read more

Rick Perdian in conversation with Julian Gargiulo and María Dueñas

Julian Gargiulo and María Dueñas talk to Rick Perdian

María Dueñas

Julian Gargiulo is a pianist, composer and recording artist who has performed widely in North America, Europe and Asia. He was named a Steinway Artist in 2014, a title conferred upon the best pianists of the day. Like other Steinway Artists, Gargiulo has chosen to perform exclusively on Steinways, possesses his own Steinway piano and receives no remuneration for doing so. The latter is unique among product endorsements, as is Getting to Carnegie, the annual international music competition founded by Gargiulo in 2015.

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Pianist and author Jack Kohl discusses his new book of essays with Robert Beattie

Robert Beattie in conversation with pianist and author Jack Kohl  Jack Kohl is a pianist and writer from the north shore of Long Island, New York. In 2019 he published a series of essays, Bone over Ivory: Essays from a Standing Pianist. In 2021 he follows this up with a new series of essays, From … Read more

SOPRANO JULIET PETRUS IN CONVERSATION WITH RICK PERDIAN

Rick Perdian talks to soprano Juliet Petrus

Juliet Petrus

In February, Juliet Petrus garnered critical acclaim for her Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Hamburger Kammeroper. Midway through the run, the first wave of the novel coronavirus shuttered theaters in Germany and Petrus returned to London, where she has spent the rest of 2020 with her husband and son as lockdowns come and go in the UK.

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SOPRANO FATMA SAID IN CONVERSATION WITH RICK PERDIAN

Rick Perdian talks to Fatma Said

Mention Egypt, and classical music lovers immediately think of Verdi’s Aida, which was commissioned by Cairo’s Khedivial Opera House and had its première there in 1871 – and of little else. A new generation of Egyptian singers is changing that dynamic, and Fatma Said in particular is attracting notice for her luminous mezzo-soprano and blossoming international career. With El Nour, her debut recording on Warner Classics, Said combines her twin loves of song and her native country’s culture in music that is as colorful and exotic as the places that inspired it.

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Pianist Duncan Honeybourne in conversation with Robert Beattie

New piano music emerges from the Covid lockdown

Duncan Honeybourne © Kris Worsley Photography

Duncan Honeybourne gave his first London recital at 15 and his first BBC broadcast recital at 17. He was a prize-winner at the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, where he graduated with First Class Honours and later received the honorary award of HonRBC for professional distinction. His teachers included Rosemarie Wright, Philip Martin, John York and Dame Fanny Waterman, and he completed his studies in London for three years with Mikhail Kazakevich on a Goldenweiser Scholarship awarded by the Sheepdrove Trust.

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PIANIST ELEONOR BINDMAN IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE

Pianist Eleonor Bindman talks to Robert Beattie

Eleonor Bindman (c) Masataka Suemitsu

Eleonor Bindman is a New York based pianist and chamber musician who has received extensive praise for her piano transcriptions. The New York Times commented on her ‘lively, clear textured and urbane’ performances and ‘impressive clarity of purpose and a full grasp of the music’s spirit’. Eleonor has appeared at Carnegie Hall, The 92 Street Y, Merkin Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and on solo concerto engagements with the National Music Week Orchestra, the Staten Island Symphony, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, the New York Youth Symphony, and The Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra of Moscow, Russia. She is a prize winner of the New Orleans, Busoni and Jose Iturbi international piano competitions and is a recipient of a National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts award.

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