Jun 11 Tues to 16 Sun New York’s 19th Bicycle Film Festival in Brooklyn Heights

Risk! Danger! Supreme skill! Independence! Confidence boosting! Bonding! Social impact! Global Community!

Bike Movies Fest Shows Many Dimensions of Bike Power, Vividly Portrayed

Audience Adds to Excitement with Shouts and Murmurs of Recognition, Empathy

Supportive Leadership of Steve Vaccaro Saluted by Founder and Applauded

A forest of bikes outside the Unitarian Church showed who the main audience was for the selection of many shorts and some long movies about bikers around the world shown there last night, in dozens of well executed portrayals of bikers and their worlds which had been carefully chosen by a panel of three from a thousand watched from December through April. Maybe that sounds laborious but as one of the judges, the festival producer Mandy, said, “the process is rather like dating”, in that winners and losers are quickly identified, and the real work is choosing “according to the themes we want to present.”

We caught 18 shorts in the last two programs from 8pm onwards, all of them vivid and dynamic presentations with themes to do with how serious biking brings health, confidence, recognition, bonding, community, social responsibility and reform, and even cash among many blessings even in countries with limited early participation such as Nigeria and Nepal, not to mention the danger of crashes, injuries and inevitably some deaths that go along with speeding with very little protection..

As can still be glimpsed at BicycleFilmFestival in the BFF 2018 COMPILATION on the front page there were indelible images galore from Canons and GoPros closely following rash bikers going all out in fast traffic hanging on to the sides and backs of trucks and SUVs, racing through lethal gaps between buses and vans without pausing, turning sharply and slipping past cars cutting them off with deadly carelessness, stopping dead so that the bike can be climbed like a standing sculpture, driving backwards and forwards up and down hills with the front wheel at right angles (No Rest Dir Matt Reyes), speeding through crowded city alleys or hurtling through woods and over rocks and down mountains with sheer abandon, and much other evidence that competitive foolhardiness in bikers reaches extremes to match the powered skateboarders who race down Carnegie Hill on the Upper East Side through Lexington and Third Avenue cross lights as if protected by the Gods from inevitable self destruction.

Not that the videos left out the crashes and spills that bikers suffer in “the most dangerous sport of all” (Tenzin Dir Bob Blankemeier) which it seems their poor mothers often feel should be secondary to studying and looking for a job, including one in Nepal who desperately sold her teen son’s precious first bike for scrap but was unable to stop him welding pipes together to build another, on which he founded a career in cycle acrobatics and racing which saw him soon earn three times the most his parents had ever been paid (RJ Ripper Dir Joey Schusler).

But beyond all the fearless tempting of fate and tricks of consummate skill such as climbing half a tall wall as part of a show off trip around Lagos in Nigeria (Lagos BMX Crew Dir Fraser Byme) there were all the ways in which biking is enhancing and liberating the lives of young men and increasingly women (“Most people are more capable than they realise – we teach them to kick ass on a bike. We change their lives forever!” Ride Like A Girl Dir Jon Lynn) who might have no other worthwhile outlet for their energy and adventurism. All over the world it seems that expert biking is bringing social benefits to enhance the whole lives of dedicated participants. One group in London gets youths to put away their knives and join in biking to leave gang warfare behind (Knives Down Bikes Up Dir Dir Mike Dempsey).

Thus Nigerians pursuing BMX skills like climbing walls say “It makes me feel anything is possible! We have BMX to express our feelings. I feel real.” (Lagos BMX Crew Dir Fraser Byme); Indians find their city of Delhi beneath their pedals can be explored with unlimited scope – (“ganja cant show you the city, push the pedals and let your childhood take over!” Jimmy Jimmy Dir Anuj Khurana), and New Yorkers find independence and even international recognition in the bike messenger cultural scene (“I am not going to let the system stop me from doing what I want to do” – Speedwalking NYC Dir Matt Sezer)

Perhaps the most heroic figure of the night was Jacques Houotis, the 82 year old Frenchman who seemingly had nine lives and had broken every bone in his body at one time or another but surmounted all obstacles with merry laughter, supreme optimism and a catch phrase “No Problem” he’d use after every painful spill, attempted murder, heart attack and near drowning (caught in a car underwater he nearly gave up but his hand finally found the window lowering handle and his rescuers were able to press the water out of his lungs – “No Problem!”) who is just as Gung Ho at 82 to leap into the saddle and shoot off down a steep and snowy mountain side as he has been all his life, not to mention as likely to kiss or be kissed by every woman in his vicinity (The Frenchy Dir Michelle Smith). After all his close calls, he said, “everything I do is a bonus!”

In comments after the showings filmmakers expressed their appreciation of the risks involved in pushing bikes to the limit in traffic or mountainside but admired the achievement imnvolved nonetheless. “Yeah people risk their lives all the time but the worst last day of their lives won’t be meeting the person they could have been.” There was also blame for drivers: “Something I really fucking hate is losing friends to careless drivers”. White memorial bikes mark the deaths of bikers in New York City where 27 were killed in 2017. and there is a site at www.ghostbikes.org listing them (Fight To Live A Cyclist Story Dir Kenneth Sousie) But riding which can be “the loneliest thing in the world” is also the freest way to go or as one woman put it in that same video “I thought why am I getting paid nothing to sit behind a desk when I can get paid nothing and be on my bike!”

In a wrap up at the end the founder of the ever burgeoning festival Brendt Barbur said it was the best so far in 19 years and paid tribute to the lawyer Steve Vaccaro for his growing role in leading the biking community in New York as well as his role in fighting for compensation for bikers hurt and sometimes killed on their vulnerable trips around the city. But sometimes the injuries come without anyone to blame. We sat next to a young Jeff and his wife Canzia both cyclists who had had to deal with a faceplant by Jeff onto a road which had ruined his jaw and front teeth which had been very well repaired at Bellevue so no traces of the accident remained.

Bike Movie Fest Coming Up

Are you a fanatic, obsessive or plain appreciator of the virtues of getting on a bike and finding the exhilarating freedom and scope involved in peddling two wheels over city roads and mountain landscapes?

Make haste and attend the upcoming 19th Annual Bicycle Film Festival of 2019 at various venues including the First Unitarian Church 119 Pierrepont St Brooklyn for the mammoth screening of films on June 15 Sat (6 to Borough Hall and walk).

One sponsor we hear who is supporting the festival is the noted law firm of Vaccaro and White, of active cyclists Steve Vaccaro and Adam White. The remarkably athletic Vaccaro like his partner is an urban and international cyclist whose legal talents in acting for cyclists in New York City, and winning them compensation when they are the undeserving victims of accidents caused by dangerous drivers and other road hazards, are celebrated by his clients and feared by the companies he sues on their behalf.

Among the offerings:

Colombia, UK 2018 11 min.
Dir. Flavia Cappellini, Mike Deppe

The country has a secret obsession: its love for road cycling. Featuring Colombian cycling legends Rigoberto Urán, Lucho Herrera, Cochise Rodríguez, Luis Fernando Saldarriaga and Raúl Mesa

USA 2019 16 min.
Dir. Eben Hall

Who is the fastest cyclist on the planet? She is a woman named Denise Mueller. Great Big Story presents her journey to beat the land speed world record on a bicycle of both men and women.

Switzerland 2018 15 min.
Dir. Rugile Kaladyte

Lael Wilcox won the Trans Am Bike Race across the United States overall. She races her first ultra-endurance competition in Europe, the Navad1000, a 1000-kilometer-long self-supported mountain bike race that climbs 30,000 meters and crosses nearly the entire country of Switzerland

USA 2019 86 min.
Dir. Liz Canning

On her quest for a deeper connection in an increasingly isolated and digital world, director Liz Canning found an answer in cargo bikes. She shares this experience while exploring sustainability, consumption, and how something as simple as a bike can reshape ideas about transportation and freedom.

Colombia, UK 2018 11 min.
Dir. Flavia Cappellini, Mike Deppe

The country has a secret obsession: its love for road cycling. Featuring Colombian cycling legends Rigoberto Urán, Lucho Herrera, Cochise Rodríguez, Luis Fernando Saldarriaga and Raúl Mesa

Click for Many More Titles

UK 2017 82 min.
Dir. Finlay Pretsell

Time Trial takes us into the final races of cyclist David Millar’s career, leading up to his last encounter with the Tour de France. Millar, shrouded in darkness after receiving a suspension for doping in 2004, declares an intention to rise again, revealing how the human spirit is driven by a force deeper than success and glory. BAFTA award winning director, Finlay Pretsell gives us an exhilarating and terrifying place in the race, providing an immersive experience as close to actually competing as you will ever see on film. Scored by Dan Deacon.

Japan 2018 4 min.
Dir. Lee Basford & Daisuke Kitayama

A film exploring the city of Osaka from a local perspective with Truck Furniture’s Tokuhiko Kise who’s life and work merges and overlaps with indistinct lines. And grand tour photographer Kei Tsuji who explains “With the ocean to the west and mountains in the east, rides often lead me to explore the hills in-between – where a side street can unlock a small adventure to share with friends. For me, discovering Osaka has no limits.

Canada, USA 2019 4 min.
Dir. Claudia Kedney-Bolduc

Shop owner and enthusiast, Megan Arceneaux attempts to grow Lafayette, Louisiana’s bike culture – one recycled bike at a time.

Italy 2014 9 min.
Dir. Giorgio Bonecchi Borgazzi

On the background of a country in deep crisis, an office clerk decides to ride his bike to work even though he might be fired soon. When the chain of his bike suddenly becomes entangled, he is confronted by the only man around offering support: a homeless foreigner.

USA, MEXICO 2019 9 min.
Dir. Nicole Mackinlay Hahn

Ashley Lloyd Thompson, a surf shaper from Santa Cruz, California, traveled to Mexico with her husband and son in search of quiet surf breaks. Many of the best breaks are tough to access. Fat bikes made the most sense to enjoy these secret places. Along the way, she found some beautiful quiet moments with the ocean and with her family. These are the simple joys that life on a bike can bring.

China, USA 2017 5 min.
Dir. Noah Sheldon

Guo Jie is one of the estimated 277 million rural migrant workers in China. In Shanghai, she buys and collects styrofoam boxes from markets selling fresh produce and takes them to a seafood wholesale market where she resells them. She does one round trip a day, piling as much styrofoam on her bike as possible so she doesn’t have to go back and forth. Scored by Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

USA 2018 15 min.
Dir. Michelle Smith

82-year old French snow-ski racer and mountain biker, Jacques Houotis is a local legend, an age-defying athlete and an incorrigible flirt. Houotis has survived some two dozen close calls with death, including avalanches, cancer, car accidents, a heart attack, drowning and even an attempted murder. Frenchy inspires us to stay positive today.

Nepal 2018 20 min.
Dir. Joey Schusler

The chaotic streets of Kathmandu may not seem like a typical breeding ground for world-class mountain bikers, but then again nothing is typical about Rajesh (RJ) Magar. Since learning to ride on a beat-up clunker, to becoming the four-time National Champion at age 21, RJ’s story is one of boundless childhood dreaming and unstoppable determination, forged from junkyard scraps and tested on the rugged trails of the mighty Himalayas. A Vimeo Staff Pick – Best of the Month.

UK 2018 3 min.
Dir. Matt Dempsey

London is currently experiencing a knife crime epidemic. In response to this crisis, some of London’s youths have banded together to start the Knives Down, Bikes Up movement.

USA 2019 7 min.
Dir. Mike Martin

An adeptly shot compilation of riding vignettes from some of San Francisco’s best street riders.

USA 2019 3 min.
Dir. Jon Lynn

Pittsburgh’s first indoor bike park, The Wheel Mill closed its doors to boys. This day “girls only”.

USA 2019 5 min.
Dir. Kenneth Sousie

A glimpse into the lives of two bicycle messengers, Dana Haberern and Mike Pach, as they show us the reality of what it is like to be a day to day cyclist in New York City.

USA 2018 5 min.
Dir. Matt Reyes

Nick McManus has been working hard to document his New York. With a strong connection to the underground, he captures group polaroid photos of attendees at secret parties, alley cats, art exhibitions, and spaces that are closing. As an ex bike messenger, you will catch him with a similar intensity flying from one event to next making an appearance at every spot that matters. “Uno Mas” he yells while he captures his second or third shot.

Russia 2018 3 min.
Dir. Phillipp Kurepin

Checkpoint. Coffee. Checkpoint. A speedy alleycat in St. Petersburg, Russia.

USA 2019 2 min.
Dir. Peter Sutherland

Go for a ride with pro-BMX legend and Manhattan’s Dah Shop owner, Tyrone Williams.

India 2018 4 min.
Dir. Anuj Khurana

Cycling in India has come of age. BMX in India is only getting bigger and better by the day. Jimmy’s run through Old Delhi expresses this.

USA 2019 8 min.
Dir. Matt Sezer

For the past 20 years, 59-year-old foot courier Kurt Boone has been documenting New York City bike messenger culture, all while walking 7+ miles every day. His passion and excitement for the culture brings positivity to the messenger community in the face of the bleak economic realities of courier work.

USA 2019 7 min.
Dir. Matt Reyes

In a city that’s always changing, the fixed gear community is thriving again in San Francisco. Everything is better together and if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.


Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brasil 2019 7 min.
Dir. Crihs Thormann

Native New Yorkers and excellent street riders Crihs Thormann and Toni Rodriguez explore the streets and the urban bike communities in Chile, Brasil, Argentina, and Uruguay.

Nigeria, UK 2018 12 min.
Dir. Fraser Byrne

Starboy, KK Money, and S-King lead us through the streets of Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, to illustrate just what a difference riding bikes has made to their lives and what their hopes are for the future of the sport in their city.

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May 3 Fri-Dec 8 Sun (PBS 13 Apr May 17) Brooklyn Art Museum: Magical Realism – Garry Winogrand’s Candid Leica 28mm Mastery of Body Language as Social Theater

Magical candid realism
PBS film shows why Garry Winogrand was the absolute artistic master of a candid Leica 28mm camera which literally had a life of its own in his unique hands, jumping faster than thought even while he was being interviewed by someone or had a child on his back to capture a million shots (literally) of real life body language as it was lived by the inhabitants of an almost camera-less land now long gone, instantaneously caught in the human to human communication dances of existence and blind to the lens that looked at them as they looked elsewhere, yet miraculously selected and perfectly staged in all their ambiguous social passions and quotidian impulses fleeting yet universal captured in moments that even the fastest digital Lumix street point and shoot today would still miss because it needs the superhuman reflexes and ceaseless coverage of the unmatched investigative genius of Winogrand!

You can still view this film with its superb selection of his stills in its entirety if you pay your $5 or so monthly fee to PBS which allows you to stream things you have missed on the Channel 13 pages for the next month (in this case) or longer. Well worth it because you can pause and gaze on each shot of a selection which almost always will make the mind gasp.- AL

Winogrand’s rare color shots are being shown on the walls of the Brooklyn Art Museum till mid winter, also.

Garry Winogrand: Color
May 3–December 8, 2019
Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 4th Floor
Garry Winogrand: Color is the first exhibition dedicated to the nearly forgotten color photographs of Garry Winogrand (1928–1984), one of the most influential photographers of the twentieth century. While almost exclusively known for his black-and-white images that pioneered a “snapshot aesthetic” in contemporary art, Winogrand produced more than 45,000 color slides between the early 1950s and late 1960s.

Coming from a working-class background in the Bronx and practicing at the time when photographs had little market value, Winogrand did not have the resources to produce costly and time consuming prints of his color slides during his lifetime. Yet, he remained dedicated to the medium for nearly twenty years.

The exhibition presents an enveloping installation of large-scale projections comprising more than 400 rarely or never-before seen color photographs that capture the social and physical landscape of New York City and the United States. On his numerous journeys through Midtown Manhattan and across the country, Winogrand explored the raw visual poetics of public life—on streets and highways, in suburbs, at motels, theaters, fairgrounds, and amusement parks. For him, the industrially manufactured color film, which was used by commercial and amateur photographers, perfectly reproduced the industrially manufactured colors of consumer goods in postwar America. By presenting this group of largely unknown color work, Garry Winogrand: Color sheds new light on the career of this pivotal artist as well as the development of color photography before 1970.

Garry Winogrand: Color is curated by Drew Sawyer, Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator of Photography, Brooklyn Museum, with Michael Almereyda and Susan Kismaric.

Leadership support for this exhibition is provided by the Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Charitable Trust.

We are grateful to the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, Tucson, which houses the Garry Winogrand Archive and whose support made this exhibition possible.

American Masters -Garry Winogrand All Things Are Photographable – full film

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Mar 29 Fri Jonathan Sandlofer at Molly Barnes Talks of and Reads From His ‘Widower’s Notebook’

An artist retrieves his life after tragedy

Starting with the sudden death of his wife in his arms in just ten minutes on a day when she had no symptoms of sickness after outpatient surgery on her knee the day before, a tragedy possibly due to mixed drug side effects, artist Jonathan Sandlofer described how he slowly emerged from his own emotional shutting down to find a way forward in writing his daily experience in a notebook, and how he applied his experience of writing five or six successful crime novels after an earlier career in painting to shape these notes into a much admired book, A Widower’s Notebook.

This work he never intended to publish but his new agent took over and even before publication it became the talk of the town and led to a “beauty show” of bidding by five publishers, which was won by Penguin, who launched it last year as a top best seller which is now his chief claim to fame, since it met with a tidal wave of acceptance which still yields some ten emails a day from people who are moved and helped by the work.

A Widower’s Notebook reveals Sandlofer as more than a crime writer – he took up the trade after a career as a painter. In fact he is an exceptionally fine painter in words of the real and live detail of felt experience, possessed with a natural story telling ability which captures every significant moment with fearless self awareness, and a noticeable lack of self-pity in describing his suffering. Wielding those skills he showed the meaning of therapist Carl Rogers’ principle that “what is most personal is most universal.”


Making the past present again

A remarkable feature of the book is the drawings he made copying photographs of his wife Joy, himself, his daughter Dorie, and his cat, which he said allowed him “to make something from my sadness”, by transforming the photos into art, for “a drawing has life because you put your hand to it”, including some of his cherished cat Lily, who he acquired in Yaddo Art Colony and which hated him at first for two days “but then we fell in love”. The drawings of his wife and daughter are like his writing imbued with such living presence that they seem to echo Ovid’s legend of Pygmalion and Galatea in bringing the two dimensional photos back to life.

He has given as many as eighty talks on his book so far he said and his best advice to anyone who suffers a such a tragic and overwhelming blow from fate is to “do anything – garden, cook… I had writing and drawing.” You will recover much more of life than you think when you put it in writing, he said. “The thing I discovered about writing is that you remember so much more than you expect when you are writing about the past.”

“Drawing from photographs allowed me to live again in those moments,” he said, such as the time when he and his wife first met in art school “After that we broke up, but then we married, and it lasted for forty years, quite successfully, though I don’t believe there is any marriage which doesn’t include the word ‘divorce’!”

Perhaps those occasional glitches in their enduring companionship arose from one unexpected mismatch – according to one line in the book Joy lacked a “{sense of humor”, whereas the now celebrated author is marked by so strong a sense of life as comedy as well as tragedy that his editor reported at one point as she read his manuscript falling to the floor with laughter.

The Book Slides of Jonathan's drawings for his book from photos

Keeping a Notebook

More from The Widower's Notebook (Click twice to magnify to read)
In his own words – how an artist who had turned from painting to thriller writing describes without self-pity the crime the universe perpetrated on him and his family

Drawings are “set in motion by the hand that draws them”

..”to not talk, to not think, to be distracted, to be oblivious”.


Fleeting glimpse of one characteristic of his wife – not “funny” – which dovetailed perfectly with Sandlofer’s truthtelling irony

Among the plaudits his book won, a rival, million seller crime writer Lee Child says it “makes the world a better place”.

The hospital has “lost” the autopsy record, the lower level staff insists, till a higher up intervenes, when they produce it in two minutes.

Realizing after years of misunderstanding that Joy and their daughter Dorie had looks and much in their psyches in common.

The final end of Lily is as moving as any scene in his book, and as thoughtful

At her wake, among the regrets he voiced was that he had ever asked Joy to take a single word out of what she wrote!

Penguin won his book manuscript in a bidding war and designed the cover to look like it – the notebook that he had edited to make a book.

Just how bleak and bereft and without motivation Sandlofer felt for a year afterwards was more devastated than grief: it was “unmoored” and “without an anchor.”

The moment his life and heart were torn into two

How in twenty minutes a life of joy and fulfillment turned into a husk

More Pics After the talk

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Mar 27 Thu Doug Sheer of ATOA Presents At Molly Barnes

Douglas Sheer started his talk panel for artists on art in 1975 in a small gallery with an audience of 70 because the abstract expressionists had descended into alchoholism or worse, and the new wave of media buffeted modernists seemed to be in need of networking in the best sense, a need of getting together to exchange ideas and form supportive group along creative lines, especially since they now worked in a new media world at the time of television and expanded print coverage, which formed a seductive tsunami of media attention and influence and hitched artistic reputation and fortune to national fame in the radical transformation that Andy Warhol so successfully mirrored and exploited.

Today he was able to show off his creation to a packed audience of his contemporaries who had participated in its growth in the Solarium of the Roger Smith, showing in slides of its programs and the line up of well known faces of the leading artists who had mounted his stage as its audience expanded from 70 on the first night to a typical 400 in the last few years before he handed over the leadership and became Chairman in 2016, retiring to Woodstock.

Having made recordings of his events throughout its forty year history he was able as a final triumph to get all his archives into the care of the Smithsonian, including the programs which he showed us in his slides as a guide to who had appeared on his stage. This literature of print and sound is available on his two web sites, the original www.atoa.org and the new one being set up with the full name artiststalkonart.org,

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Mar 3 Sun 3pm Handel’s Saul Oratorio sung by Canterbury Chorus at the Church of the Heavenly Rest 90th and Fifth

On a perfect day for staying in the soaring confines of the Heavenly Rest to listen to one of Handel’s finest Oratorios the Canterbury Choral Society returned to a wonderful work it last visited in 2000, with 30 singers still present from that time, and once again brought to our notice how firmly founded Handel’s work is on both stable harmonies and endlessly pleasing yet piquant melodies which manage to combine both predictable and comfortable nourishment with the spices of surprise and originality in the most perfect balance, so that in a good performance in a fine space even two and a half hours listening amid packed pews can pass without disturbing even impatient New Yorkers with thoughts of ToDos undone or walks outside forgone, as Handel once again reigns supreme as the least demanding yet in a way the most reliably fulfilling of all the major composers from the past, especially this afternoon with snow beginning to fall again as the last guests at the after party in the Darlingtton Hall beyond the altar left with their spirits restored by both composer and the performers who included one member of the choir, soprano Janet Robertson, who remembered their performance of Saul from 1979, and said she thought this one under the hand of their latest conductor Jonathan De Vries was the best of the three. – AL

(Notice) On Sunday March 3 at 3pm Canterbury Choral Society performs George Frideric Handel’s well-loved baroque masterpiece : Saul.
With dramatic flair the oratorio tells the complex story of King Saul, his son Jonathan, and David, the shepherd boy, who slew the giant Goliath and later replaced Saul as king.
Soloists include Metropolitan opera counter tenor Jeffrey Mandelbaum as David, Blake Friedman, tenor, as Jonathan, Robert Balonek, baritone, as Saul and Jennifer Grimaldi, soprano, as Saul’s daughter Michal.
Performed with full orchestra and chorus. Sunday March 3 at 3pm Church of the Heavenly Rest at 90th and Fifth Avenue. Tickets at Smarttix.com or Canterburychoral.org or at the door. Tickets $25, $20 for seniors, $10 for students.


(Wikipedia) Saul (HWV 53) is a dramatic oratorio in three acts written by George Frideric Handel with a libretto by Charles Jennens. Taken from the First Book of Samuel, the story of Saul focuses on the first king of Israel’s relationship with his eventual successor, David; one which turns from admiration to envy and hatred, ultimately leading to the downfall of the eponymous monarch. The work, which Handel composed in 1738, includes the famous “Dead March”, a funeral anthem for Saul and his son Jonathan, and some of the composer’s most dramatic choral pieces. Saul was first performed at the King’s Theatre in London on 16 January 1739. The work was a success at its London premiere and was revived by Handel in subsequent seasons. Notable modern-day performances of Saul include that at Glyndebourne in 2015.


1 Background
2 Composition and instrumentation
3 Reception and performance history
4 Roles
5 Synopsis
5.1 Act 1
5.2 Act 2
5.3 Act 3
6 The “Dead March”
7 List of arias and musical numbers
8 Musical features
8.1 Act One
8.2 Act Two
8.3 Act Three
9 Selected recordings
10 References
11 External links

18th-century painting of the King’s Theatre, London, and adjacent buildings
London King’s Theatre Haymarket, where Saul was first performed
The German-born Handel had been resident in London since 1712 and had there enjoyed great success as a composer of Italian operas. His opportunities to set English texts to music had been more limited; he had spent the years 1717 to 1719 as composer in residence to the wealthy Duke of Chandos where he had written church anthems and two stage works, Acis and Galatea and Esther; and had composed vocal music to English words for various royal occasions, including a set of Coronation anthems for George II in 1727, which had made a huge impact.[1] In 1731, a performance of the 1718 version of Esther, a work in English based on a Biblical drama by Jean Racine, was given in London without Handel’s participation and had proved popular, so Handel revised the work and planned to present it at the theatre where his Italian operas were being presented. However the Bishop of London would not permit a drama based on a Biblical story to be acted out on the stage, and therefore Handel presented Esther in concert form, thus giving birth to the English oratorio.[2]:212

Esther in its revised form proved a popular work, and Handel, though still continuing to focus on composition of Italian operas, followed Esther with two more sacred dramas with English words to be presented in concert form, Deborah, and Athalia (which, like Esther, was also based on a Biblical drama by Racine), both in 1733.

Composition and instrumentation

By 1738, Handel was experiencing some difficulty in maintaining support for his Italian opera seasons in London and he collaborated for the first time with Charles Jennens, a wealthy landowner and lover of the arts, who also provided the texts for Messiah and other oratorios of Handel. Jennens wrote Saul, an original English text based on Biblical characters, especially designed to provide opportunities for the sort of music Handel composed.[2]:23

Opera seria, the form of Italian opera that Handel composed for London, focused overwhelmingly on solo arias and recitatives for the star singers and contained very little else; they did not feature separate choruses. With the English oratorios Handel had the opportunity to mix operatic arias in English for the soloists with large choruses of the type that he used in the Coronation anthems. Jennens provided a text with well-rounded characters and dramatic effects.[2]:23 The collaboration with Jennens was not without tension; Jennens referred in a letter to the “maggots” in Handel’s head and complained that Handel wanted to end the work with a chorus of “Hallelujahs” that the librettist did not feel was appropriate as at the end of the piece Israel has been defeated in battle and the King and Crown Prince both killed, whereas the Hallelujahs would be suited to the celebrations at the opening of the work when David has killed Goliath.[2] Jennens got his way; in the completed version Saul does not end with a chorus of “Hallelujahs” but there is such a chorus where Jennens had wanted one.[3]

Handel composed the music of Saul between July and September 1738.[4] He conceived Saul on the grandest scale and included a large orchestra with many instrumental effects which were unusual for the time including a carillon (a keyboard instrument which makes a sound like chiming bells); a specially constructed organ for himself to play during the course of the work; trombones, not standard orchestral instruments at that time, giving the work a heavy brass component; large kettledrums specially borrowed from the Tower of London; extra woodwinds for the Witch of Endor scene; and a harp solo.[2]:318–319

In the same letter in which Jennens complained that Handel wanted a chorus of “Hallelujahs” at a point of the drama the writer felt was inappropriate, he wrote of a meeting he had with Handel to discuss the work and the composer’s delight in some of the unusual instruments he planned to use:

Mr. Handel’s head is more full of Maggots than ever: I found yesterday in His room a very queer Instrument which He calls Carillon (Anglice a Bell) & says some call it a Tubal-cain, I suppose because it is in the make and tone like a Hammer striking upon Anvils. ‘Tis played upon with Keys like a Harpsichord, & with this Cyclopean Instrument he designs to make poor Saul stark mad. His second Maggot is an Organ of 500£ price, which (because he is overstock’d with Money) he has bespoke of one Moss of Barnet; this Organ, he says, is so contriv’d that as he sits at it he has a better command of his Performers than he us’d to have; & he is highly delighted to think with what exactness his Oratorio will be perform’d by the help of this Organ; so that for the future, instead of beating time at his Oratorio’s, he is to sit as his Organ all the time with his back to the Audience … I could tell you more of his Maggots: but it grows late, and I must defer the rest till I write next; by which time, I doubt not, more new ones will breed in his Brain.[2]:266

Also of note in that letter is the fact that although Handel’s London seasons of Italian opera had not been drawing the audiences they had in former years, Jennens makes an incidental remark that the composer was very wealthy (“overstock’d with money”).[2]:267

On 5 December 1738 Lady Katherine Knatchbull, a friend and patron of Handel’s, wrote to her brother-in-law James Harris, who was a writer on music and other subjects, and also a friend of the composer, “(Handel) desired me to give his tres humble respects; and that you must come up in January, for he opens with The Loves of Saul and Jonathan, then follows another on the ten plagues of Egypt (to me an odd subject) … He has had an instrument made after the manner of Tubal-cain’s, the inventor of music.” (referring to the specially-built carillon. Going on to an attempt to describe a trombone, an instrument she had obviously never seen, she writes:) “He has also introduced the sackbut, a kind of trumpet,with more variety of notes,& it is 7 or 8-foot long,& draws in like a perspective glass, so may be shortened to 3-foot as the player chuses, or thrown out to its full length; despise not this description for I write from his own words.”[5]

In the 1954 edition of Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, specialist in the history of musical instruments Anthony Baines wrote that Saul contains the finest music for trombones composed in the 18th century.[6]

Reception and performance history

A report in the London press remarked on the favourable reception given to the work at its first performance,[7] with members of the royal family in attendance.[2]:269 The architect William Kent wrote to Lord Burlington after the first performance,referring to the passage with the carillon, “There is a pretty concerto in the oratorio, there is some stops in the Harpsicord that are little bells, I had thought it had been some squerrls in a cage.[2]:270 Saul was given six performances in its first season, a mark of success at that time,[7] and was one of the works Handel most frequently revived in his subsequent seasons, being given in London in 1740, 1741,1744,1745 and 1750. Saul received a performance in Dublin under Handel’s direction “by special request” in 1742.[8]

Already in Handel’s own lifetime, choral societies were formed in the English provinces with the aim of performing works of Handel and others[9] and Saul was performed with a fair degree of regularity by choral societies in London and elsewhere in Britain through the 19th century.[10] Handel’s major oratorios including Saul have been frequently performed, broadcast and recorded since the second half of the twentieth century.[11] Saul is sometimes fully staged as an opera today.[12] [13]

The excellence of the libretto and the power of Handel’s musical characterisation combine to make Saul, in the words of Handel scholar Winton Dean,”one of the supreme masterpieces of dramatic art, comparable with the Oresteia and King Lear”.[1]


Contemporary engraving of a member of the original cast
Élisabeth Duparc, creator of the role of Michal
Role Voice[14] 1739 cast[15] Saul, King of Israel bass Gustavus Waltz
Merab soprano Cecilia Young
Michal soprano Élisabeth Duparc, called ‘Francesina’
Jonathan tenor John Beard
David contralto[16] Mr Russell
Ghost of Samuel bass Mr Hussey
High Priest tenor Mr Kelly
Witch of Endor tenor Miss Young (possibly Cecilia’s sister, Esther?)[17] Abner tenor not stated[18] Amalekite tenor Mr Stoppelaer
Doeg bass Mr Butler
Chorus of Israelites
Painting showing David displaying the severed head of Goliath on a pole and the people celebrating
The Triumph of David by Nicolas Poussin
The libretto is freely adapted from the First Book of Samuel, Chapters 16 – 31, with additional material from the epic poem, the Davideis by Abraham Cowley. The printed libretto of Saul from 1738 credits the Davideis as the source of the contemptuous treatment of David by Princess Merab.[19]

Act 1

Engraving showing the King throwing his javelin at David
Saul Tries to Kill David by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld
The Israelites raise their voices in magnificent thanksgiving to God, for the young warrior David has slain the Philistine giant Goliath. At the court of King Saul, once a mighty warrior himself, all the people celebrate the hero David. Saul’s son, Jonathan swears eternal devotion to David, but Saul’s two daughters experience contrasting emotions – Michal is in love with David, but Merab feels contempt for him as a social inferior, a feeling that only increases when Saul offers her in marriage to David. A group of Israelite young women offer further tributes to David. King Saul is enraged at the way David is praised. Unable to restrain his anger, he orders Jonathan to kill David.

Act 2

Dramatic painting of a hooded figure raising a ghost as the bearded King clutches his brow
The Witch of Endor (Martynov)
The people of Israel reflect on the destructive power of envy. Jonathan pleads David’s case to Saul, who appears to relent. Saul asks Jonathan to bring David back to court and promises Michal as David’s bride, though Saul anticipates David’s death in battle. David and Michal express their mutual love, but David reports that Saul’s rage has not diminished and that Saul threw a javelin close past his head in frustration. Saul summons David to court again as both Michal and Merab express their faith that God will protect David. Jonathan tries to explain to Saul why David has not responded to his summons. Saul rages against both David and Jonathan.

Act 3
In despair, and though aware it is unlawful, Saul asks the Witch of Endor to raise the ghost of Samuel the prophet. Asked for advice, the ghost of Samuel reminds Saul that he had once predicted his downfall for sparing the king of the Amalekites whom Samuel had ordered killed. He predicts that David will inherit the kingdom of Israel when Saul and his sons die in the next day’s battle. David learns from an Amalekite soldier of the deaths of Saul and Jonathan at the hands of the Amalekites, and David orders the Amalekite killed. After a funeral march for the Israelite dead. Merab, David, and Michal each in turn express their sorrow, particularly for the loss of Jonathan. A high priest predicts David will win future victories and the Israelites urge him to restore their kingdom.[1]

The “Dead March”
The “Dead March” played in Act Three, introducing the obsequies for the deaths of Saul and Jonathan, is in the key of C major. It includes an organ part and trombones alternating with flutes, oboes and quiet timpani.[2] The “Dead March” in Saul has been played at state funerals in the United Kingdom,[20] including that of Winston Churchill.[21] It is the standard funeral march of the armed forces of Germany, played at all state funerals. It was also performed at the funeral of George Washington, as well as being played many times during the journey of the body of Abraham Lincoln after his assassination to Springfield, Illinois.[22][23] On 29 March 2015, the seventh day of the Death of Lee Kuan Yew, the Singapore Armed Forces Band performed the “Dead March” during the foot procession of the state funeral of Lee Kuan Yew after his body was Lying in State in the Parliament House of Singapore from 25 March 2015 to 28 March 2015.[24]

List of arias and musical numbers
(Note: “Symphony” in this context means a purely instrumental piece. “Accompagnato” is a recitative accompanied by the orchestra, rather than by continuo instruments only, as in the passages marked “recitative.”).

Act One
1. Overture
An Epinicion or Song of Triumph, for the victory
over Goliath and the Philistines.
2a. Chorus of Israelites “How excellent thy name, O Lord”
3. Air (soprano) “An infant rais’d by Thy command”
4. Trio “Along the monster atheist strode”
5. Chorus of Israelites “The youth inspir’d by Thee, O Lord”
2b.Chorus of Israelites “How excellent Thy name, O Lord”
End of the Epinicion
6. Recitative (Michal) “He comes, he comes!”
7. Air (Michal)”O godlike youth”
8. Recitative (Abner, Saul, David) “Behold, O King”
9. Air (David) “O King, your favours with delight”
10. Recitative (Jonathan) “Oh,early piety!”
11. Air (Merab) “What abject thoughts a prince can have!”
12. Recitative (Merab) “Yet think on whom this honour you bestow”
13. Air (Jonathan) “Birth and fortune I despise!”
14. Recitative (High Priest) “Go on, illustrious pair!”
15. Air (High Priest) “While yet thy tide of blood runs high”
16. Recitative (Saul,Merab) “Thou, Merab, first in birth”
17. Air (Merab) “My soul rejects the thought with scorn”
18. Air (Michal “See, with what a scornful air”
19. Air ( Michal) “Ah, lovely youth”
20. Symphony
21. Recitative (Michal) “Already see the daughters of the land”
22. Chorus of Israelites “Welcome, welcome, mighty king!”
23. Accompagnato (Saul) “What do I hear? Am I then sunk so low”
24. Chorus of Israelites “David his ten thousands slew”
25. Accompagnato (Saul) “To him ten thousands, and to me but thousands!”
26. Air (Saul) “With rage I shall burst his praises to hear!”
27. Recitative (Jonathan,Michal) “Imprudent women!”
28. Air (Michal) “Fell rage and black despair possess’d”
29. Recitative (High Priest) “This but the smallest part of harmony”
30. Accompagnato (High Priest) “By Thee this universal frame”
31. Recitative (Abner) “Racked with infernal pains”
32. Air (David) “O Lord, whose mercies numberless”
33. Symphony
34. Recitative (Jonathan) “‘Tis all in vain”
35. Air (Saul) “A serpent, in my bosom warm’d”
36. Recitative (Saul) “Has he escap’d my rage?”
37. Air (Merab) “Capricious man, in humour lost”
38. Accompagnato (Jonathan) “O filial piety!”
39. Air (Jonathan) “No, cruel father, no!”
40. Air (High Priest) “O Lord, whose providence”
41. Chorus “Preserve him for the glory of Thy name”
Act Two
42. Chorus “Envy, eldest born of hell”
43. Recitative (Jonathan,David) “Ah, dearest friend”
44. Air (Jonathan) “But sooner Jordan’s stream, I swear”
45. Recitative (David,Jonathan) “Oh, strange vicissitude”
46. Air (David) “Such haughty beauties”
47. Recitative (Jonathan) “My father comes”
48. Recitative (Saul) “Hast thou obey’d my orders”
49. Air (Jonathan) “Sin not, O King”
50. Air (Saul) “As great Jehovah lives, I swear”
51. Air (Jonathan) “From cities stormed, and battles won”
52. Recitative (Jonathan, Saul) “Appear, my friend”
53. Air (David) “Your words, O King”
54. Recitative (Saul) “Yes, he shall wed my daughter!”
55. Recitative (Michal) “A father’s will has authorized my love”
56. Duet (Michal and David) “O fairest of ten thousand fair”
57. Chorus “Is there a man, who all his ways”
58. Symphony
59. Recitative (David) “Thy father is as cruel”
60. Duet (David and Michal) “At persecution I can laugh”
61. Recitative (Michal,Doeg) “Whom dost thou seek”
62. Air (Michal) “No, no, let the guilty tremble”
63. Recitative (Merab) “Mean as he was, he is my brother now”
64. Air (Merab) “Author of peace”
65. Symphony
66. Accompagnato (Saul) “The time at length is come”
67. Recitative (Saul, Jonathan) “Where is the son of Jesse?”
68. Chorus “Oh, fatal consequence of rage”
Act Three
69. Accompagnato (Saul) “Wretch that I am”
70. Accompagnato (Saul) “‘Tis said, here lives a woman”
71. Recitative (The witch of Endor, Saul) “With me what would’st thou?”
72. Air (Witch) “Infernal spirits”
73. Accompagnato (The Ghost of Samuel,Saul) “Why hast thou forc’d me from the realms of peace”
74. Symphony
75. Recitative (David, an Amalekite) “Whence comest thou?”
76. Air (David) “Impious wretch, of race accurst!”
77. Symphony: Dead march
Elegy on the death of Saul and Jonathan
78. Chorus “Mourn, Israel, mourn”
79. Air (High Priest) “Oh, let it not in Gath be heard”
80. Air (Merab) “From this unhappy day”
81. Air (David) “Brave Jonathan his bow never drew”
82. Chorus of Israelites “Eagles were not so swift as they”
83. Air (Michal) “In sweetest harmony they lived”
84. Solo and Chorus (David and Israelites) “O fatal day! How low the mighty lie!”
End of the Elegy
85. Recitative (High Priest) “Ye men of Judah, weep no more!”
86. Chorus of Israelites “Gird on thy sword, thou man of might”[25]

Musical features
Saul is composed for soloists and chorus, two flutes, two oboes, two trumpets, three trombones, kettledrums, organ, harp, continuo instruments, and strings.[19] The work begins and ends in C major, a key choice which may have been influenced by the presence of trombones in the orchestra. Handel’s other work of the same season to use trombones, Israel in Egypt, also favours C major for the choruses with trombones in their accompaniment.[2]:320

The first piece of music is an overture in the Italian style in three movements, the first quick and fugal, then a slow movement, followed by another quick section with the addition of a concerto-like passage for organ,[19] which Handel played himself at the original performances as he directed the musicians.[2]:266 The overture is followed by a slower dance-like piece for orchestra,marked andante larghetto.[19]

Act One
The act begins with the chorus of celebration after David has slain Goliath. Trumpets and trombones, which were not present in the overture, are now added. The chorus of rejoicing is developed briefly in counterpoint.[19] A slower air for soprano in a minor key praising David’s achievement is followed by a chorus for alto, tenor and bass marked, unusually, Ardito (boldly), and then a longer chorus with developed counterpoint is heard. The chorus which opened the act is repeated, followed by a jubilant chorus of “Hallelujah”, to end the opening “Epinicion or Song of Triumph”.[19] The expansive scale of the multi-part overture, and the glitter and celebratory quality of the Epinicion are indications, according to Jonathan Keates, of the ambition of the work as a whole and its monumental achievement.[26]

Other of the most notable musical features of Act One include the chorus and dance movement including the carillon with a chorus of praise for David, which rouse King Saul to terrible jealousy. David’s attempt to soothe the King is conveyed in an aria of “simple purity”,[26]”O Lord, whose mercies numberless”, followed by harp solo. David’s efforts are in vain, and the King’s jealousy breaks out into an aria of fury “A serpent, in my bosom warm’d”, which suddenly and unexpectedly breaks off as the King hurls his javelin at David, depicted in the music by descending octaves in the strings.[26] A chorus in the key of G minor, developed contrapuntally, ends the act as the chorus pray that God will protect David.[19]

Act Two
The second act begins as the chorus comment on the drama after the manner of the chorus in Greek tragedy, in “Envy, eldest born of hell” which according to musicologist Paul Henry Lang is “as mighty a piece as Handel ever composed”.[27] Dotted rhythms over a relentlessly repeated ostinato bass depict the obsessive jealousy of the King as the chorus warn him “Hide thee in the black night”.[19]

Two purely instrumental passages (“symphonies”) feature in Act Two. The first, depicting the celebrations for the wedding of David and Michal, is in three parts, a slow and solemn introduction with trombones prominent, the second section a brisk organ concerto, concluding with a slower movement in the form of a gavotte.[19][27] The second instrumental passage in the act is a shorter festive piece with trumpets and drums, trombones, woodwinds and strings, depicting the holiday of the New Moon.[19]

A chorus in the key of D major, with a chromatic fugal section at the end, concludes the act as the chorus denounce the King as a monster for the attempted murders of both Jonathan and David.[19]

Act Three
Act three opens with a powerful and dramatic[27] accompanied recitative for King Saul as he seeks advice from the Witch of Endor. The Witch invokes the ghost of Samuel in a passage which conjures up a supernatural atmosphere by the use of an irregular bass line with prominent oboes and bassoons.[2]:319[26] Bassoons also introduce the Ghost of Samuel as the apparition prophesies doom for the King.[2]:319 A martial “Battle symphony” with trumpets and drums ensues,[19] followed shortly by the famous Dead March. Chorus and soloists mourn the deaths of the King and his son, and the work concludes with a chorus in the key of C major urging David to lead his country into battle against its enemies.[19]

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Superb Show at Frick – Extraordinarily Lifelike Portraits by Renaissance Painter Giovanni Battista Moroni – The Riches of Renaissance Portraiture (Feb 21 Thu to Jun 2 Sun 2019)

Giovanni Battista Moroni, Giovanni Gerolamo Grumelli, called Il Cavaliere in Rosa (The Man in Pink), dated 1560, oil on canvas, 85 by 48 3/8 inches, Fondazione Museo di Palazzo Moroni, Bergamo – Lucretia Moroni Collection, photo Mauro Magliani


One of the more astonishing shows the Frick has mounted in recent years, this wide selection of the works of the till recently lesser known Moroni exhibits his singular genius with vivid clarity. For as early as the mid 1500’s Moroni led the way for later painters in portraying people literally as they were, as if they were in front of the viewer right now at this moment in real life, in living spirit as well as physicality, with their looking back at you and about to speak, as well as being as materially present as their clothing and artifacts, which Moroni also represented with peculiar lucidity.

To get the full impression one has to see these works on the wall, and the Frick offers an unprecedented chance to do so in North America, with so many together, even though such is Moroni’s power that the splendidly produced book which accompanies the show has them reproduced so well that they too almost jump off the page and introduce themselves.

In a limited trend over the centuries critics from Berenson on have tried to take exception to Moroni’s facility in representing both the exterior and interior of humans so faithfully that they say he lacked the ability to transform either with his own painterly style but so transcendent of such quibbles is the quality of his work that it is now universally recognized as transformative, which anyway can readily be seen simply in such details as the sword belt retainer missing from Moroni’s portrait of a standing gentleman, which shows haw far from photographic was his purpose.

Yet his representation of reality was so enhancing that his sitters, recommended to him in some cases by no less a rival than Titian, were not put off by his inclusion of their less than flattering flaws such as a goiter or a bulging neck, such was the individual presence he evoked. Of all the Frick’s treasures from the past, this show is a must see.- AL

February 21 through June 2, 2019

In Renaissance Italy, one of the aims of portraiture was to make the absent seem present through naturalistic representation of the sitter. This notion—that art can capture an individual exactly as he or she appears—is exemplified in the work of Giovanni Battista Moroni.

The artist spent his entire career in and around his native Bergamo, a region in Lombardy northeast of Milan, and left a corpus of portraits that far outnumbers those of his contemporaries who worked in major artistic centers, including Titian in Venice and Bronzino in Florence.

Though Moroni never achieved their fame, he innovated the genre of portraiture in spectacular ways. This winter and spring, the Frick presents the first major exhibition in North America devoted to his work, bringing together nearly two dozen of Moroni’s most arresting and best known portraits from international collections to explore the innovations and experiments that belie his masterful illusion of recording reality.

They will be shown alongside a selection of complementary objects — Renaissance jewelry, textiles, arms and armor, and other luxury items—that exemplify the material and visual world that Moroni recorded, embellished, and transformed.

Giovanni Battista Moroni Portrait of a Young Woman, 1575 Oil on canvas 20 3/8 by 16 3/8 inches Private collection Photo  Michael Bodycomb

Giovanni Battista Moroni
Portrait of a Young Woman, 1575
Oil on canvas
20 3/8 by 16 3/8 inches
Private collection
Photo Michael Bodycomb

Moroni: The Riches of Renaissance Portraiture was organized by Aimee Ng, Associate Curator. The Frick Collection; Simone Facchinetti, Curator, Museo Adriano Bernareggi, Bergamo; and Arturo Galansino, Director General, Palazzo Strozzi, Florence.

Presented in the Frick’s main floor Oval Room and East Gallery, this exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue and series of public programs.


Creator of both religious paintings and portraits, Moroni is best known for works that seem to capture his sitters exactly as they appeared before him. According to an anecdote first published in 1648 in Carlo Ridolfi’s Le meraviglie dell’arte, Titian, when approached by a group of would-be patrons, recommended that they instead sit for Moroni, praising his ritratti di naturale (portraits from life). The naturalism for which Moroni was most acclaimed, however, also became a point of criticism: his apparent faithfulness to his models caused some to dismiss him as a mere copyist of nature, an artist without “art”—that is, without selection, editing, or adherence to ideals of beauty.

Bernard Berenson derided him in 1907 as an uninventive portraitist who “gives us sitters no doubt as they looked.” Subsequent scholars restored his reputation; the art historian Roberto Longhi, for example, in 1953 praised Moroni’s “documents” of society that were unmediated by style, crediting him with a naturalism that anticipated Caravaggio. But Moroni’s characterization as an artist who faithfully recorded the world around him—whether understood as a positive quality or a weakness—has obscured his creativity and innovation as a portraitist.

Moroni was born in the early 1520s in Albino, a small city less than ten miles from Bergamo. Although it was part of the Venetian Republic during the sixteenth century, Bergamo was geographically—and, in some ways, culturally—closer to the Duchy of Milan, then under Spanish rule. Thus, Moroni encountered sitters, fashions, and luxury goods from both Milan and Venice, which were both significant points of access to larger international markets, communities, and cultures.

In the early 1540s, Moroni trained in Brescia in the workshop of Moretto da Brescia. The paintings of Lorenzo Lotto, who spent more than a decade in Bergamo in the first quarter of the Cinquecento, were also a significant influence. After brief periods in Trent during the late 1540s and early 1550s, Moroni worked from the mid-1550s predominantly in his native Albino and Bergamo, providing local clientele with religious paintings and breathtakingly lifelike portraits.

He achieved his characteristic naturalism through exacting attention to detail, psychologically potent and vivid expressions, and a “warts and all” approach that, at times, resulted in seemingly unidealized portrayals. For example, his Lucrezia Agliardi Vertova conveys with emphatic clarity his elderly sitter’s goiter, her sagging neck, wrinkled skin, and other features that do not conform to Renaissance ideals of female beauty. At the same time, she is as dignified as his most dashing cavalieri, including the celebrated Man in Pink (see front page).

Isotta Brembati

Among Moroni’s inventions is a genre of so-called “sacred portraits.” These derived from the tradition of donor portraits, which depict individuals (usually the person who commissioned the work) alongside sacred figures.

Moroni’s three surviving sacred portraits are united for the first time in the exhibition, calling attention to the varied roles that portraiture played during his time. Presumably intended for domestic settings, Moroni’s sacred
portraits —including Two Donors in Adoration before the Madonna and Child and St. Michael— are distinguished by the scale and the naturalistic depiction of contemporary individuals in relation to the divine figures. In a departure from the tradition of donor portraits, in which the donors are subordinate to the divine beings they worship, the sitters of Moroni’s sacred portraits dominate the composition.

Stylistic disparity also plays a significant role in these paintings. Moroni applied his strengths in naturalism to the depiction of humans —those he saw and studied with his own eyes— but not to imaging the divine; his sacred figures are rendered in a more stylized mode, often modeled on earlier devotional images.

For example, in Two Donors, the unidentified couple appears to have been studied from life while Saint Michael and the Madonna and Child are reproduced from figures in an altarpiece of about 1540–45 by his teacher, Moretto da Brescia, in Verona’s Church of Sant’Eufemia. This and Moroni’s other sacred portraits dispel the notion that his works were unmediated by style.

It has been convincingly argued that Moroni’s sacred portraits present the sitters practicing a kind of meditative prayer popularized by the Exercitia Spiritualia (Spiritual Exercises) by Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1548). The text instructs devotees to contemplate sin and episodes of Christ’s life and afterlife, imagining the use of their five senses to fully immerse themselves in the experience. Thus in the portraits, the divine figures would represent the objects of the devotee’s contemplation.

Included in the exhibition, a first edition of the Exercitia Spiritualia from the collection of the Library of Congress represents the popular practice of using a material aid like a prayer book to achieve spiritual enlightenment. As Moroni’s sacred portraits may record the practice of a particular type of prayer, they also emphasize the sitters’ religious piety (an important aspect of social respectability), and, as part-sacred image, they memorialize the sitter in perpetual association with the divine.

Moroni’s most famous painting, The Tailor, is unusual for its portrayal of a tradesman at work. It has impressed viewers for centuries with its lifelikeness and suspended
action. In 1660, Marco Boschini, in his celebrated poem about Venetian painting, La carta del navegar pittoresco, proclaims Moroni’s Tailor so lifelike that it seems able to speak “more eloquently than a lawyer.” Paintings like The Tailor anticipate the narrative portraits for which Rembrandt would be celebrated the following century.

Scholars have debated the precise meaning of The Tailor, prompting consideration of the social status of Moroni’s clientele: does the painting simply present a tailor carrying out his daily tasks, or is it an allegorical portrayal of the unidentified man’s family name (one such as Tagliapanni, meaning “cloth-cutter”)? Based on the sitter’s clothing—fashionable and costly (though made of wool, rather than the more expensive silk), the painting most likely depicts a well-to-do tailor.

The portrait of the sculptor Alessandro Vittoria was presumably painted early in Moroni’s career, when both artists were in Trent in the early 1550s. It shares a number
of qualities with The Tailor, above all the portrayal of the figure as if suspended in an act related to his profession, here addressing the viewer as if interrupted while presenting, studying, or working on a sculpture. Vittoria’s sleeve is rolled up to reveal his muscular forearm, as if to suggest the physical strength that sculpting requires. Vittoria owned at least five painted portraits of himself, and Moroni’s is probably one of two large paintings listed in the inventory of the sculptor’s possessions made after his death.

Moroni’s surviving works suggest that he offered his clients relatively standard bust, half- and three-quarter-length, and full-length portraits. Interestingly, he produced at
least three full-length portraits of women, a format typically reserved in Europe for depicting men of the highest social rank.

Two of these, Isotta Brembati (shown above) and Lucia Albani (National Gallery, London), present the women seated majestically in Dante chairs. His Pace Rivola Spini, the pendant of Bernardo Spini (Accademia Carrara, Bergamo), is arguably the first fulllength portrait of a standing woman shown alone, painted during the Italian Renaissance. Using this format for his depiction of a relatively unknown noblewoman of Albino, Moroni defies portraiture’s conventional social hierarchies.

The choice of format raises questions about the nature of the commission and who suggested that Pace Rivola Spini be portrayed in this way: the painter, the sitter, or her husband. Unfortunately, no document related to this portrait (or any other by Moroni) has come to light. Moroni may have first encountered full-length portraiture through his teacher, Moretto, who is credited as the first artist of the Italian Renaissance to paint, in 1526, a full-length portrait of a standing man (Portrait of a Gentleman, now in the National Gallery, London).

Portrait of a Gentleman and his two Children, 1570, Artist Giovanni Battista Moroni. A father and his children, a girl and a boy. A family portrait.

The various full-length portraits Moroni painted throughout his career demonstrate his diverse approach to the format, from the austere Spini pendants to the sensational Man in Pink (front page), a composition enriched with allegorical imagery. In it, a relief on the wall to the right of the subject depicts the biblical scene of the Prophet Elijah ascending to heaven, and letting fall to his successor, Elisha, his miraculous cloak.

On the ground, a fragment of an antique sculpture appears to have toppled from a niche in which remains the sculpture’s right foot, possibly alluding to the passage of time or the succession of the ages. The Spanish inscription—MAS EL ÇAGUERO QUE EL PRIMERO (More he who follows than the first)—seems also to refer to succession. The portrait, dated 1560, presumably commemorates an event in the sitter’s life, but to what specific aspect of his biography it corresponds remains unknown.

The antique torso is similar to that held by Alessandro Vittoria, but they function differently: in contrast to the allegorical sculpture in The Man in Pink, Vittoria holds an object that probably existed in his studio.

The objects displayed alongside Moroni’s portraits bring new perspectives to the artist’s achievements in paint. The unidentified sitter in Portrait of a Young Woman (see front page), for example, wears a pink brocade dress woven in silver and silver-gilt thread, the result of an extremely costly, labor-intensive process in which extremely thin strands of precious metal are wound by hand around silk threads then brocaded into the fabric. The painstaking process is difficult to appreciate without close inspection of an actual piece of fabric made in this way.

In the exhibition, a fragment of a sixteenth-century brocaded velvet affords viewers the opportunity to discover the physical and visual qualities deftly translated by Moroni into paint. It also brings to the fore the extraordinary craftsmanship of the objects Moroni encountered through his sitters and the artistic challenges and opportunities they presented.

The objects also enable viewers to better grasp the discrepancies between Moroni’s paintings and the reality they purportedly record. For example, the spectacular green and gold dress worn by Isotta Brembati (previous page) seems to be painted with precision; however, considering the weaving techniques used during the sixteenth century, it would be extremely unusual for the repeating pattern of a textile to increase in scale, as it does in the portrait, from the bodice to the skirt. Though the dress may have been based on one worn by the sitter, Moroni appears to have
manipulated the pattern for heightened visual effect; his painted portrayal may lie somewhere between fact and fiction.

The other luxury items with which Isotta is depicted—the fan; pendant cross of rubies, emerald, and pearls; and marten fur—also may have been embellished or altered for the portrait. Rare surviving examples of each type of object are included in the exhibition.

Though marten furs were highly popular among elite women during the Italian Renaissance, very few have survived. The extraordinary example included in the exhibition is the only one with a gold head with precious stones and enamel. It is composed of a sheet of gold, hammered paper thin and chased to simulate fur, adorned with enamel, pearls, garnets, and a ruby.

Its display alongside Moroni’s painting —in which the sitter’s marten fur with an enameled gold head drapes casually around her neck—underscores the opulence of this accessory as well as its duality, being at once beautiful and grotesque.

The artist’s visually stunning representations of sitters of varied social ranks have been appreciated as “documents,” but not sufficiently as innovations.

Perhaps it is because of the relative freedom Moroni enjoyed outside the major artistic centers that he was able to exercise the moments of license and experimentation that complicate traditional notions of him as a mere documentarian. This exhibition draws attention to the remarkable achievement of his portraiture and brings to life a Renaissance society at the crossroads of the Venetian Republic and Spanish-ruled Milan.

Principal support for the exhibition is provided by an anonymous gift in memory of Melvin R. Seiden, The Christian
Humann Foundation, the Robert H. Smith Family Foundation, and Aso O. Tavitian. Additional support has also been provided by Seymour R. Askin; the Robert Lehman Foundation; Margot and Jerry Bogert; The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; Barbara G. Fleischman; and Carlo Orsi, Trinity Fine Art.

Bearded Man With Letter

In conjunction with this major exhibition, The Frick Collection and Scala Art Publishers, Ltd., New York and London, have produced the most extensive scholarly
assessment in English of Moroni’s portraits to date. This essential volume, Moroni: The Riches of Renaissance Portraiture, features two illuminating essays by the show’s
curators Aimee Ng (Frick); Simone Facchinetti (Museo Adriano Bernareggi, Bergamo); and Arturo Galansino (Palazzo Strozzi, Florence). These, together with thirty-seven entries, provide new insight into the artist and his sitters and reveal Moroni’s creativity in translating their world into paint. The book is available in the Museum Shop or can be ordered through the Frick’s Web site (frick.org) or by phone at (212) 547-6848 (244 pages, 147 color illustrations; hardcover $65.00, member price $58.50; softcover $45.00, member price $40.50).

Social: /FrickCollection
# MoroniattheFrick

General Information Phone: (212) 288-0700
Web site: www.frick.org
Building project: www.frickfuture.org
E-mail: info@frick.org
App: frick.org/app
Museum address: 1 East 70th Street, near Fifth Avenue
Hours: Open six days a week: 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays; 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on
Sundays. Closed Mondays, New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day. Limited hours
(11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) on Lincoln’s Birthday, Election Day, and Veterans Day
Admission: $22; senior citizens $17; students $12; Pay-what-you-wish hours on Wednesdays from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00
PLEASE NOTE Children under ten are not admitted to the museum
First Fridays: Museum admission and gallery programs are free from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on the first Friday evening of the month (except January and September)
Subway: #6 local to 68th Street station; #Q to 72nd Street station; Bus: M1, M2, M3, and M4 southbound on Fifth
Avenue to 72nd Street and northbound on Madison Avenue to 70th Street
Tour Information: Included in the price of museum admission is an Acoustiguide Audio Tour of the permanent
collection. The tour is offered in six languages: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.
Shop: The shop is open the same days as the museum, closing fifteen minutes before the institution.
Group Museum Visits: Please call (212) 288-0700 for details and to make reservations.
Public Programs: A calendar of events is available online
Library address: 10 East 71st Street, near Fifth Avenue
Hours: www.frick.org/visit/library/hours
Admission: Open to the public free of charge

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Jan 11 Fri Molly Barnes Presents Mark Seliger Top Magazine Cover Photographer

Mark Seliger is an extraordinary portrait photographer. He will show recent portraits of Obama, Hillary Clinton, Tom Wolfe, Leonard DeCaprio, and the Dalai Lama. He will introduce his new book Mark Seliger Portraits (Abrams) He is also an Alfred Eisenstadt award winner. – Molly

Jennifer Lawrence by Mark Seliger: beauty in depth by a prince of portraiture

Jennifer Lawrence by Mark Seliger: beauty in depth by a prince of portraiture

Mark Seliger has had an enormously successful career shooting every celebrity you can think of for magazine covers on Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair GQ and similar over the years, starting off with a bang in 1992 with his photo posing Fleetwood Mac’s key duo as a wedding couple with a bearded bride, in a series of images artificially staged according to his shared vision but with ever growing penetration of the psyches of his subjects until recent years of completely uncovering celebrity self-presentation with shots of increasing character depth, without shortchanging the physicality of their presence.

Mark Seliger explains that for Fleetwood Mac’s shared silver anniversary cover for Rolling Stone, to be the bearded bride was a special request from Mick Fleetwood himself

Mark Seliger explains that for Fleetwood Mac’s shared silver anniversary cover for Rolling Stone, to be the bearded bride was a special request from Mick Fleetwood himself

Elon Musk was placed almost inside the huge rocket engines which will take somebody into the outer space of his unlimited imagination

Elon Musk was placed almost inside the huge rocket engines which will take somebody into the outer space of his unlimited imagination

The ever resourceful Seliger finds a way to mirror the lightness of dancing in the air above Manhattane with the Chrysler Building's patterned wings

The ever resourceful Seliger finds a way to mirror the lightness of dancing in the air above Manhattane with the Chrysler Building’s patterned wings

With Kathryn Gibbs Davis seated closest to the camera, a view of the audience show why the uncrowded room has the intimacy of a small salon which draws out of the artists who speak of their lives and careers a far more relaxed self accounting than with larger audiences

With Kathryn Gibbs Davis seated closest to the camera, a view of the audience show why the uncrowded room has the intimacy of a small salon which draws out of the artists who speak of their lives and careers a far more relaxed self accounting than with larger audiences

In a crowded room we sat next to Kathryn Gibbs Davis, who is planning to write a children’s book on Edward O. Wilson, telling of his difficult and solitary childhood when, blinded in one eye by a spiky fish that jumped while he was fishing, he learned to focus on the smallest of creatures in Nature and became the world’s greatest ant expert, and his independent mind was freely developed, advocating evolutionary psychology in the face of custard pies. (So are you independent minded? we asked. “Who would say they were not?! she replied. Well, how commercially minded are you? we asked. “I am about as non commercially minded as you can get. A single candle blowing in the wind!”

Bob Dylan proved to be a thoughtful examiner of Mark Seliger's work before he slipped into the role of subject

Bob Dylan proved to be a thoughtful examiner of Mark Seliger’s work before he slipped into the role of subject

Charlie Mingus Jr connects with Mark after his talk

Charlie Mingus Jr connects with Mark after his talk

A photographer who achieved the pinnacle of success by listening well, Mark Seliger pays careful and amiable attention to his audience

A photographer who achieved the pinnacle of success by listening well, Mark Seliger pays careful and amiable attention to his audience

Rival cover photographer educator, creative director, and publisher T. Lawrence Wheatman talks with Mark's archivist and production manager Rachel Crowe post presentation

Rival cover photographer educator, creative director, and publisher T. Lawrence Wheatman talks with Mark’s archivist and production manager Rachel Crowe post presentation

Eric Morris who is making a documentary celebrating the last hurrah in the sixties of the renowned bad boy artists of the Hamptons borrows a little NYC networking lore from composer Roger Larousse

Eric Morris who is making a documentary celebrating the last hurrah in the sixties of the renowned bad boy artists of the Hamptons borrows a little NYC networking lore from composer Roger Larousse

(Huxley-Parlour Gallery) Editorial photographer Mark Seliger is celebrated for his portraiture of some of the most significant names in the entertainment world. Seliger has created a number of album covers and directed short films and music videos during a career that has seen him employed by leading magazines and brands world-wide.
Mark Seliger was born in Amarillo, Texas, in 1959. In 1964 he moved with his parents, two older brothers and younger sister to Houston, where he attended Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. An early interest in photography arose when his brother Frank gave him his Diana camera and the young Mark soon discovered a fascination for the darkroom, developing his pictures in the family bathroom. Formal education in the medium came later when Seliger attended East Texas State University and studied the history of documentary photography.

Photographic Career
The artist’s studies led him into a career in editorial photography. After moving to New York in 1984, he landed a job shooting for Rolling Stone magazine just three years later. In 1992 Mark Seliger became chief photographer for Rolling Stone, and during his 10-year tenure shot over 125 covers featuring stars as diverse as the Beastie Boys, Drew Barrymore, Johnny Cash, Patti Smith and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. The working relationship that he developed with design director Frank Woodward continues today and has led to collaborative projects on music videos for artists including Elvis Costello and Lenny Kravitz.

In 2002 Seliger signed a contract with Condé Nast publications, and since then has remained a significant contributor to their magazines including Vogue, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair. Seliger has worked on advertising campaigns for clients including Ralph Lauren, Diesel, Elizabeth Arden, HBO, MTV and Sony Music. Among the names he has immortalised with his award winning portraits are Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Kurt Cobain, Muhammad Ali, Barack Obama and The Dalai Lama.

His monograph When They Came to Take My Father (1996) features Seliger’s photographs and narratives from holocaust survivors. In My Stairwell (2005) is a collection of stripped down portraits of cultural figures and artists that Seliger captured over a period of years in the exposed-brick stairwell of his West Village studio.

Seliger’s love of photographic processes continues, and in 2006 the artist rented a space in the building next door to his studio into which he built a darkroom. He now uses the platinum palladium process to create large scale, 30 x 40 inch prints, giving his portraits a dramatic and timeless quality. Seliger’s powerful, seductive and elegant portraiture has kept him in demand as a go-to-photographer for over 25 years, creating a catalogue of fame and glamour that will go down in photographic history alongside other great names in portraiture such as David Bailey, Annie Leibovitz, Terry O’Neill, and Irving Penn. He has gained numerous prizes, including the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award.
(Wiki)Mark Alan Seliger (born May 23, 1959) is an American photographer noted for his portraiture.
Early life and education
Seliger was born in Amarillo, Texas, the son of Maurice and Carol Lee. The family moved to Houston in 1964. He attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, and East Texas State University (now Texas A&M University Commerce). He moved to New York City in 1984.
Seliger began working for Rolling Stone in 1987, and served as its chief photographer from 1992 to 2002 [1] and shot more than 100 covers for the magazine.[2] As of 2010, Seliger lives in New York City, and works for Conde Nast Publications. He has shot a number of covers for GQ and Vanity Fair.
Seliger has also published several books; created a number of CD covers for Burning Spear, Diana Krall and other bands;[citation needed] and directed short films.[citation needed] The celebrities whose portraits Seliger has made include[citation needed] Susan Sarandon, David Byrne, Matthew Barney, Willie Nelson, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Kurt Cobain, Lenny Kravitz, Rob Thomas, Brand Nubian and Tony Bennett.
Personal life
In 2004, Seliger bought the Richard Neutra-designed Alpha Wirin House in Los Feliz and had designer Mark Haddawy restore the 1949 example of Neutra’s Mid-century modern work to maintain its architectural integrity.

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Jan 10 Thu Molly Barnes Presents Composer Roger Trefousse and his Artist Portraits in the Roger Smith Penthouse

Molly Barnes holds her salon presentations of artists talking of their lives and careers on the PH floor atop the Roger Smith Hotel, Jim Knowles' slightly bohemian flavored hotel at 501 Lexington Avenue at 47/48 Street where his own sculptures are added to the decor outside and inside the ground floor lobby

Molly Barnes holds her salon presentations of distinguished artists talking of their lives and careers on the Penthouse floor atop the Roger Smith Hotel, Jim Knowles’ slightly bohemian flavored hotel at 501 Lexington Avenue at 47/48 Street where his own sculptures are added to the decor outside and inside the ground floor lobby

Blowing into town every couple of months from the other coast where she still runs a gallery which featured many of the pioneers of art in the sixties, Molly Barnes likes to present a leading light of the art world at lunchtime on Thursday and Friday talking of his or her life and work with the help of slides atop the comfortable and slightly bohemian Roger Smith hotel on Lexington at 47 Street, a hostelry owned and run by the sculptor Jim Knowles who places his work outside and inside the lobby and mounts art shows on its walls to add an unusual non commercial touch to its operation.

Molly’s most recent staging of her equally unusual presentations of distinguished lives on the other side of town from the money grubbing which now seems more than ever the main motor of Manhattan as it steamrollers more and more small businesses and old and pretty buildings out of the way to make room for multiplying empty shop facades along Madison Avenue and the uninhabited apartments bought for investment rather than for living visible in the pencil skyscrapers taking over the once culturally important 57th Street, now deserted by Steinway and Rizzoli and other arts nodes, were two stars of the human side of activity here and in the world, and the first today turned out to be a highly productive composer.

Roger Trefousse, trained at Columbia University, has long taken up writing and improvising musical portraits of artists he admired when they were alive, some of which he played for us himself on the piano while showing their art in slides projected from a computer run by one Merina, if we recall the name correctly, though we have to admit that his proclivity as early as age 15 to find artistic liberation in leaving keys behind and finding wider expression and emotional drama in atonality and dissonance left us a little behind his many supportive admirers who came to listen, including fellow composer and once classmate Sheree Clement whose latest creation is Swimming Upstream, “a chamber opera in four scenes which explores water, and our emotional connection to water and rivers and streams”, and Jim Knowles, the Roger Smith owner and sculptor, who said he “understood Mark Kostabi better because of the music” Roger played.

Roger Trefousse plays his musical portrait of painter Mark Kostabi while showing slides of his works and with Mark taking his own phone portrait of the event from his seat by the keyboard

Roger Trefousse plays his musical portrait of painter Mark Kostabi while showing slides of his works and with Mark taking his own phone portrait of the event from his seat by the keyboard

In the hotel lobby after Roger Trefousse's performance Jim Knowles  has him examine the beautiful wooden construction  which brings his keyboard music to life by transferring the impetus of his finger to the hammer which strikes the piano strings

In the hotel lobby after Roger Trefousse’s performance Jim Knowles has him examine the beautiful wooden construction which brings his keyboard music to life by transferring the impetus of his finger to the hammer which strikes the piano strings

Prandial interlude as investment adviser Dick Hutchinson, speaker Roger Trefousse, foundation investor Dan Galligan, and Molly parlay post talk at Prete a Manger about MeToo excesses and other current network topics

Impresario of artist talks Molly Barnes checks her schedule of innumerable meetings this end of her bicoastal New York - Los Angeles presence atop the gallery-dealership-museum-teaching art talk nexus.

Impresario of artist talks Molly Barnes checks her schedule of innumerable meetings this end of her bicoastal New York – Los Angeles presence atop the gallery-dealership-museum-teaching art talk nexus.

(Email) Roger has written fantastic music: operas, film scores, symphonic works and chamber music. He will show and play short musical portraits of Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Mark Kostabi, Don Bachardy and others – Molly.

(Website) Roger Tréfousse has written a wide variety of music: film scores, operas and musicals, symphonic works, songs and chamber music.

He has composed three operas, The Monkey Opera, premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; Found Objects, commissioned by the Mannes College of Music; and Blue Margaritas, premiered in New York at the Experimental Intermedia Foundation. Départ Malgache, the first section of a new group of short operas with libretto by Kenneth Koch, was featured on WNYC radio.

Two musicals have been produced in New York City, Snobs Cabaret at Encompass Music Theater and Hoosick Falls at The Theater for the New City. Selections from Raft of the Medusa, a work-in-progress, were featured in concert by Downtown Music Productions. He has written incidental music for many plays, among them On the Verge (The Mark Taper Forum), A Husband’s Notes About Her (The Actors Studio) and 1000 Avant Garde Plays (The Robert Wilson Center).

Film scores include the HBO thriller Ladykiller and the PBS documentary Jackson Pollock:Portrait. Television credits include music for The Guiding Light and As the World Turns.


He has written a broad range of instrumental music, including Column for English horn and string orchestra, premiered at The Juilliard School; Balanced Boulders for narrator, flute, tuba and percussion, commissioned by legendary downtown New York writer Spencer Holst in honor of the publication of his collected stories; Fantasy for flute, celesta and cello, for the Ben Weber retrospective concert at Miller Theater (Columbia University); and Music for Grete, originally written as a piano work for Grete Sultan and later scored for string quartet at the request of Lucas Foss for the Hamptons Music Festival.

From age twelve, he was fortunate to spend summers at Catawba, poet and classicist Vera Lachmann’s legendary arts camp, an offshoot of Black Mountain College in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. There he met composer Tui St George Tucker, became her accompanist for the music program and later directed the music program during Catawba’s final years. At Catawba, and later in New York through Tui and Vera, he came to know many members of he New York School of composers and artists, including Jackson MacLow, Spencer Holst, Grete Sultan, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Lou Harrison and Ben Weber, an extraordinary group whose input, ideas and influence had a major effect on his development as an artist. For example, his first pieces were settings of Sappho poems in the original Greek, written after studying Greek lyric poetry with Lachmann at Brooklyn College, and Cage was the first to offer him a professional critique of his composition efforts when those songs were performed in concert at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 1978.

Tréfousse received a B.A.magna cum laude with honors in ancient Greek from Brooklyn College. He studied composition as a private student of Ben Weber and piano with Grete Sultan. He holds an M.A. in Music Composition from Colunbia University, where he studied with Vladimir Ussachevsky and Jack Beeson. He has taught in the Metropolitan Opera Educational Program in New York and in
London at Covent Garden, and teaches piano, vocal coaching and opera stagecraft in New York and internationally via Skype.

Publications include Listening to Pollock, an essay about composing the music for Jackson Pollock: Portrait, included in Such Desperate Joy (Thunders Mouth Press, 2001; edited by Helen Harrison, with an introduction by Ed Harris) and The Strange Life of Ben Weber, commissioned by the American Composers Alliance Magazine. My Search for Ben Weber, a selection from his book about the composer was recently published in NewMusicBox.

Selections from his opera Found Objects were showcased at the Fall 2017 National Opera Association conference in Atlanta, and Tréfousse premiered Don Bachardy Paints a Portrait, a new work for solo piano as part of the Composers Concordance 2018 Art and Sound Festival in May 2018. In July 2018, as a guest artist of the EMX Ensemble, he presented Synesthsia/ Fusion:3 Painters Portrayed (Darragh Park in His Garden/ Mark Kostabi at Piazza Navona/ Don Bachardy Paints a Portrait), a group of three musical portraits for piano and electric guitar at Ballhaus in Berlin, Germany and in New York at the Cornelia Street Café as a guest artist of Concept Lab. Chet Ayin Mem, a new work for eight part chorus, had its premiere on the Composers Concordance 72 Chorus Project September concert.

Upcoming New York performances for the 2018-19 season include Song of the Wolf for violin and piano at the DiMenna Center in November; a new version of selections from Balanced Boulders for flute and piano at the Cornelia Street Café in December; a new work for the APNM Pierrot Plus Percussion concert; and a remix based on Saens-Saens Carnival of the Animals for the Composers Concordance Remix of The Animals concert.

In Berlin, pianist Jan Gerdes will give the European premiere of Music for Grete.

He is currently at work on a new opera, and a biography of Ben Weber.

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Dec 23-31 Wall to Wall Bach on WKCR in New York City from Columbia 89.9 FM

Listeners listen up! At the other end of the artistic spectrum from the silly but ultimately dangerous idiocy in the Oval Office, and the endless repetition and parsing of it on the news, New Yorkers and the rest of the world with phones, iPads and PCs can now play wall to wall Bach till New Year 2019 rolls in. Peace on Earth!

Which raises the question: How come Bach sounds all the same yet uniquely different, both at the same time?

Because Bach combines all desirable aspects of music:
Lively rhythm yet always peaceful pacing, endless tuneful melody always comfortably predictable yet fresh, instantly recognizable utterly unique musical brand yet one always wonders why didn’t everyone do it then and now, the paradox of total perfection without quenching appetite.


Yet many of his manuscripts used to wrap fish until rediscovered in 19th Century by Medelssohn. – AL

(Announcement from WKCR)


WKCR announces the annual Bach Festival 2018, which this year is the 40th anniversary of the BachFest tradition. For the eight-day period from 12:00 AM on December 24th through 12:00 AM on New Year’s Day, WKCR (89.9 FM and wkcr.org) will dedicate all broadcasting to the works of Johann Sebastian Bach.

This year’s BachFest will examine how performance practice has evolved over the past 100+ years—the time period during which Bach’s music has been recorded. Questions about how Bach should be interpreted have been hotly debated almost as long as it has been played. Cellist Steven Isserlis recently said on WKCR’s airwaves that “in the music world, mostly, the original instrument and the modern instrument worlds are coming together.” Though this may be true, interpretations of Bach remain as varied as ever, and we hope to shine light on the compositions by presenting them from as many different angles as possible.

BachFest 2018 will include the familiar voices of WKCR programmers, and will also feature special guests who will present Bach’s music in various forms. Teri Noel Towe, called “The American guru of Bach recordings” in Gramophone Magazine, will present extended programs on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day on the concertos and the cantatas. Other programs will be contributed by distinguished presenters such as the Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic Tim Page, harpsichordist Rebecca Pechefsky, cellist Louise Dubin, and others. We will feature new interviews by important Bach luminaries including violinist Hilary Hahn, conductor Lionel Meunier, and others to be announced.

A schedule of some major works is as follows:


Monday, December 24th

12:00 Presentation on the Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould

9:00 Teri Towe broadcast—concertos

6:00pm: Magnificat—E-flat version

Tuesday, December 25th

9:00 am: Teri Tower broadcast—cantatas

6:00 pm: Christmas Oratorio

9:00 pm: Organ works

Wednesday, December 26th

9:00am: Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1 (Harpsichord)

3:00 pm: Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2 (Harpsichord)

9:00 pm: St. John Passion

Thursday, December 27th

9:00am Harpsichord concertos

12:00pm: Musical offering

3:00pm: Donald Meineke interview

6:00pm: Easter Oratorio

9:00pm: Goldberg Variations (piano)

Friday, December 28th

9:00am: Lute suites

12:00: Cello suites on viola—live performance by Jay Julio

3:00: Keyboard works presentation by Rebecca Pachefsky

6:00pm: B Minor Mass (Karl Richter)

Saturday, December 29th

9:00am: Well-Tempered Clavier, Books 1 and 2(piano)

3:00pm: Art of Fugue

6:00pm: Barbara Cadranel interview

9:00pm: Cantata Request

Sunday, December 30th

9:00am: Brandenburg Concertos

12:00pm: Goldberg Variations (harpsichord)

3:00pm: Cello Suites, presented by Louise Dubin

9:00pm: Ascension Oratorio

Monday, December 31st

9:00am: New Year’s Day Cantatas, Motets

12:00pm: Keyboard works

3:00pm: Solo violin music, Hilary Hahn interview

6:00pm Musical Offering

9:00pm: St. Matthew Passion

Schedule subject to change and will be available at www.wkcr.org

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Dec 4 5.30-8pm Tues UN Movie – A Call for Peace – UN Ecosoc, Premiere Showing, How Colombia Almost Ended 50 Year FARC War

Giving Peace a Chance
A remarkable film account of how the government led by President Santos of Columbia managed to negotiate the end of a fifty year war with the FARC and thus finally achieve peace for the entire Western Hemisphere, with the help of calling in a group of experts with experience in resolving other conflicts from Ireland to Israel, inspired by taking a course with Roger Fisher of Harvard, who founded conflict resolution as an academic study, a seemingly obvious help in solving intractable conflict which nonetheless is something which most contemporary leaders are loathe to ask for, apparently loathe to share their vulnerabilities and secrets and happier to fight it out with rebels such as the FARC because they know they have more bullets and bombs than the rebels and should win in the end if collateral damage can be ignored, as it was for a long time in Colombia despite the fact it has now cost a stupendous 177,000 civilian lives, mostly peasants in the countryside, including 45,000 children, in collateral damage which neither side seemed to care about enough, even though it included many children, and the destruction of whole families, and at times the peace process the outside experts initiated and pursued at the same time as the fighting continued, with negotiations in Habana Cuba and even as far away as Oslo involving both sides meeting around the table, staying at the same hotel and even drinking together at the bar at night, negotiations which ultimately won success (though eventually rejected by the voting population) even though they were paused and even canceled at times when for example a score of soldiers were killed by the FARC but when the next day’s retribution counted some 70 FARC killed in bombing retaliation the FARC thought it was excessive, yet among the lessons learned were that the proximity engendered trust that concessions could be counted upon, and all of this was explained to the film makers on camera and to us the audience on screen by the experts involved in the advisory group who brought the two sides together, outlining the progress and how it was made and what lessons for the future had been learned, so that this highly successful approach could be used again in the future in other unresolved conflicts, is that the film was something like them explaining how a complicated chess game worked out, and how the emotional side of trust and sharing responsibility for the outcome developed, so that a process which eventually won President Santos the Nobel Peace Prize before he left office, lessons that included involving the women of the society who had suffered the losses of their husbands and children and were the main victims of the slaughter, who were brought to Cuba to press for the resolution of the conflict, leaving us with the feeling that this kind of conflict resolution may be the path forward in bringing peace over the world if only it will be implemented by leaders in other wars now and in the future, as it might be by the current meeting in Oslo between the Houtis and the Saudis, to bring a halt to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. PS: Unfortunately the message of the film has lost some impetus since this showing since news reports indicate that an agreement has run into further problems and has not yet been concluded.- AL

A Call for Peace: In partnership with
The Permanent Missions of Norway, the European Union and UNITAR invite you to the Premiere screening and Discussion of A Call for Peace documentary in the ECOSOC chamber

Special guests include: Juan Manuel Santos, Former Colombian President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient 2016; Akon, Singer and Philanthropist; Maria Fernanda Espinosa, President of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly and former Ecuadorean Foreign Minister; Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division in the United Nations Department of Public Information; Bernard Aronson, Special Envoy for the Colombian Peace Process as appointed by President Barack Obama; William Ury from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard and a number of UN Ambassadors, high-level UN officials, and humanitarians.

A Call For Peace
The latest world success in peace agreements is the Colombian process, after 50 years of war a very diverse and experienced group of experts along with the support of the international community, came together to support this initiative.

A Call for Peace is our journey around the world, from Washington DC to Dublin, London to Oxford, New York to Bogota, Olso to Havana and Tumaco in the Pacific coast of Colombia. The documentary unravels many intriguing questions and reveals a previously unseen view into the work of notable peace-builders that are responsible for transforming conflicts around the world.
How are challenging conflicts settled, and peace agreements achieved?
Who are the individuals that, behind-the-scenes, set the stage for constructive discussions?
What are the strategies and tactics involved in bringing antagonists together?
How does the international community collaborates to find an end to violence, and a path toward peace and justice?

The film studies the Colombian peace process as a vehicle to demonstrate the challenging task of calling for and working toward unity. Through a series of in-depth interviews with leading global peace negotiators, Foreign Ministers and world-renowned diplomats, the documentary uncovers the importance of human respect and the relevance of open dialogue while explaining state of the art negotiations technique and strategies with dignity and the shining light, without the presence of military means that are not relevant to the situation at hand, and would be otherwise detrimental to the objective.

Our goal is to provide a fresh, unbiased view of the process of peacemaking. Each participant took the time to carefully share their private and personal experience during the peace processes they worked on around the world. It is fascinating to know this team may well be the one putting an end to ongoing and future world conflicts.


For more than five decades, Colombia suffered an overwhelming war that has taken a greater toll than that of many major wars around the world. According to a study by Colombia’s National Centre for Historical Memory, 250,000 people have died in the conflict, most of them civilians and more than five million civilians were forced from their homes, generating the world’s second largest population of internally displaced persons (IDPs). 16.9% of the population in Colombia has been a direct victim of the war. 2.3 million children have been displaced from their homes, and 45,000 children killed, according to national figures cited by UNICEF. In total, one in three of the 7.6 million registered victims of the conflict are children.
Yet the regional, oppositional parties, with the assistance of global partners, were able to establish a fundamental breakthrough. For over four years, the Colombian government and the left-wing guerrilla Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia–People’s Army (FARC-EP) engaged in peace talks with the aim of putting an end to the armed struggle.During lengthy negotiations, these two main parties developed innovative strategies and techniques that today are informing worldwide debates and approaches to security, human rights, peace building, and international law. A Call for Peace is not only a moving, historic document but also a striking story of reconciliation in the 21st century Americas.

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