Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Front Row:

Portrait of Gilbert Kalish

Our video from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center for the month of May, a portrait of the pianist and collaborative artist Gilbert Kalish, has finished its run and has been taken down.

We will keep posted the program information,

full program notes and artists' biographies from this video

through late May.


Please join us again the first week of June

for another chamber music concert video.



Kalish_Gil2 by Lilian Finckel.JPG
Lilian Finckel Photo

Gilbert Kalish


GEORGE CRUMB (b. 1929)
Three Early Songs for Voice and Piano (1947)
Let It Be Forgotten
Wind Elegy

Tony Arnold, soprano • Gilbert Kalish, piano

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

“Der Hirt auf dem Felsen” for Soprano, Clarinet, and Piano, D. 965, Op. 129 (1828)

Lisette Oropesa, soprano • David Shifrin, clarinet • Gilbert Kalish, piano

Quartet No. 3 in C minor for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello, Op. 60 (1855-56, 1874)
Allegro non troppo
Scherzo: Allegro
Finale: Allegro comodo

Gilbert Kalish, piano • Nicolas Dautricourt, violin • Paul Neubauer, viola • Torleif Thedéen, cello

NOTES ON THE PROGRAM                  

Three Early Songs for Voice and Piano (1947)
George Crumb (b. Charleston, WV, 1929)

Crumb wrote these songs in 1947, the year he graduated high school and entered Mason College in his native Charleston, West Virginia. His now-wife of 70 years, Elizabeth May Brown, was the first to sing them and they are dedicated to her. They are wholly unlike the works that Crumb eventually became famous for—their sound is more early 20th century art song than the unique and otherworldly sound palette he would later develop. Crumb explained that in West Virginia at that time, Debussy was “almost an ultra-modern.” These songs, with delightful melodies and floating harmonies, show that young Crumb, even before finding his mature style, still had a gift for music that is understated yet emotionally powerful.

Crumb suppressed the vast majority of his student compositions but he’s allowed performance of these songs. “Most of the music I wrote before the early sixties (when I finally found my own voice) now causes me intense discomfort,” he writes, “although I make an exception for a few songs which I composed when I was 17 or 18.… these little pieces stayed in my memory and when, some years ago, Jan DeGaetani expressed an interest in seeing them (with a view to possible performance if she liked them), I made a few slight revisions and even decided to have them published. Jan and Gil Kalish eventually did perform them on several occasions.”


How beautiful is night!
A dewy freshness fills the silent air;
No mist obscures, nor cloud, nor speck, nor stain
Breaks the serene of heaven:
In full-orb’d glory, yonder Moon divine
Rolls through the dark-blue depths.
Beneath her steady ray
The desert-circle spreads,
Like the round ocean, girdled with the sky.
How beautiful is night!

Let it be Forgotten

Let it be forgotten, as a flower is forgotten,
Forgotten as a fire that once was burning gold,
Let it be forgotten forever and ever,
Time is a kind friend, he will make us old.

If anyone asks, say it was forgotten
Long and long ago.
As a flower, as a fire, as a hushed footfall
In a long forgotten snow.


Wind Elegy

Only the wind knows he is gone,
Only the wind grieves,
The sun shines, the fields are sown,
Sparrows mate in the eaves;

But I heard the wind in the pines he planted
And the hemlocks overhead,
“His acres wake, for the year turns,
But he is asleep,” it said.



I first encountered George Crumb way back in the 60s when I played four short works of his for violin and piano. His writing astonished me. I had never heard anything like it nor previously been asked to use the insides of the piano. It was a sound world of the utmost beauty and mystery. Since then I have been truly blessed to perform many of George's compositions, each one a new world of sound. And I have been even more fortunate that I was given the opportunity of performing the premiere performances of four or five of his magnificent creations including Celestial Mechanics for Piano, Four Hands (and page turner). I consider him to be one of the greatest and most original composers of our time.

Charles Wadsworth commissioned Celestial Mechanics for CMS. He asked the great Paul Jacobs to perform it. Paul was one of the great pianists of our time but never achieved the fame that he deserved. He was an American pianist who went to Paris and worked closely with Boulez. When he returned to America he was the pianist of the New York Philharmonic and brilliantly recorded all the works of Debussy and Schonberg as well as works of Elliott Carter, Bartók, Stravinsky, Busoni, and many others. He was also a truly spectacular harpsichordist. He was one of the first people to be felled by AIDS, and he succumbed to that almost unknown illness in the early 80s. I was honored when Charles asked me to join Paul for the premiere of Celestial Mechanics in 1979. The page turner was Richard Goode.


“Der Hirt auf dem Felsen” for Soprano, Clarinet, and Piano, D. 965, Op. 129 (1828)
Franz Schubert (Vienna, 1797 – Vienna, 1828)

The Shepherd on the Rock was one of Schubert’s last works. He was an enigma to the end, writing some of his most cheerful music at the darkest times in his life. He was suffering from a chronic illness (probably syphilis) and he moved to his brother’s house in a Viennese suburb, where the fresh air was supposed to help ease his symptoms. This song was composed at the request of Schubert’s friend and renowned soprano Anna Milder-Hauptmann, who asked for a piece that allowed her to show a wide range of emotions. Schubert created a 12-minute cantata-like composition for her with an innocent, playful first section, dark middle section, and exuberantly happy ending. To do it he excerpted and combined the poetry of two different writers: Wilhelm Müller and Karl August Varnhagen von Ense. And he also added a wind part, something that may have been in fashion at the time because his only other song with a wind part, “Auf dem Strom,” was composed in the same year.

Wenn auf dem höchsten Fels ich steh,                         When I stand on the highest rock,              

Ins tiefe Tal hernieder seh                                                 I look down to the valley

Und singe.                                                                               And sing.

Fern aus dem tiefen dunkeln Tal                                      Far away, from the deep, dark valley,  

Schwingt sich empor der Widerhall                                 The echo rises up                                                 

Der Widerhall der Klüfte.                                                    The echo from the ravines.


Je weiter meine Stimme dringt,                                       The farther my voice resounds,
Je heller sie mir wiederklingt                                             The brighter it echoes back to me

Von unten.                                                                               From below.                                                                                              

Mein Liebchen wohnt so weit von mir,                           My sweetheart lives so far from me,

Drum sehn ich mich so heiss nach ihr                             I long for her so ardently,
Hinüber.                                                                                    Far away.

Je weiter meine Stimme dringt,                                       The farther my voice resounds,

Je heller sie mir wiederklingt                                             The brighter it echoes back to me

Von unten.                                                                               From below.                  
                                                                                                                                                                                              Wenn auf dem höchsten Fels ich steh,                         When I stand on the highest rock,

Ins tiefe Tal hernieder seh                                                 I look down to the valley

Und singe.                                                                               And sing.

Fern aus dem tiefen dunkeln Tal                                     Far away, from the deep, dark valley,       Schwingt sich empor der Widerhall                                The echo rises up

Der Widerhall der Klüfte.                                                    The echo from the ravines.

In tiefem Gram verzehr ich mich,                                     I am consumed by grief,
Mir ist die Freude hin,                                                          My joy is gone
Auf Erden mir die Hoffnung wich,                                    I have no more hope on earth,
Ich hier so einsam bin.                                                         I am so lonely here.

​So sehnend klang im Wald das Lied,                             My song rang longingly through the woods,

So sehnend klang es durch die Nacht,                          Rang longingly through the night.   

Die Herzen es zum Himmel zieht                                    It draws hearts toward heaven

Mit wunderbarer Macht.                                                    With wondrous power. 


Der Frühling will kommen,                                             Springtime will come,                                        

Der Frühling, meine Freud’,                                            Springtime, my joy.
Nun mach ich mich fertig                                                I will now prepare
Zum Wandern bereit.                                                       For a long journey.

Je weiter meine Stimme dringt,                                   The farther my voice resounds,
Je heller sie mir wiederklingt.                                        The brighter it resonates back to me.


Der Frühling will kommen,                                            Springtime will come,

Der Frühling, meine Freud’,                                           Springtime, my joy,

Nun mach ich mich fertig                                               Now I will prepare

Zum Wandern bereit.                                                      For a long journey.

Je weiter meine Stimme dringt,                                   The farther my voice resounds,

Je heller sie mir wiederklingt.                                        The brighter it resonates back to me.


In the early 1950s I studied at Tanglewood.  Not having gone to a music conservatory, my contact with other young musicians occurred primarily at summer festivals such as Tanglewood. In 1957 a group of young musicians formed a large chamber ensemble called the Gramercy Chamber ensemble and invited me to be their pianist. The group included four singers and one of those singers was Jan DeGaetani. While rehearsing Arnold Schonberg's Pierrot Lunaire, we became very close musical colleagues and she and I started a partnership that lasted more than 30 years until her untimely death in 1989. It was through our work together that I developed a great love for the song repertoire.  We worked not as coach and soloist but as real partners. Working together in that way was one of the greatest musical and personal gifts in my life. In these last few years I have developed an extremely satisfying partnership with Randall Scarlata and Dawn Upshaw. And over these many years, I have been privileged to perform with many incredible singers such as Jon Vickers, Benita Valente, and many other wonderful artists, including quite a few at the Chamber Music Society. I consider myself simply a pianist who has the privilege of being involved in an immense variety of genres and repertoire with vocal music just being one part of that.


Quartet No. 3 in C minor for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello, Op. 60 (1855-56, 1874)
Johannes Brahms (Hamburg, 1833 – Vienna, 1897)

Brahms wrote the original version of this piano quartet while helping Clara Schumann through the most difficult period of her life—the two-and-a-half years between her husband’s suicide attempt and his death. Brahms acted as Schumann’s assistant and confidant while her husband was institutionalized. Though Brahms was only 21 years old and 14 years younger than Schumann, he fell madly in love with her. She had strong feelings for him too, though she was less infatuated and more realistic about marrying again. After Robert’s death, when they could have chosen to be together, they made the decision to part ways but remained close friends for the next 40 years.

Brahms wrote this piano quartet and then put it aside, revising it in the late 1860s and again in 1874. He was meticulous about destroying his sketches and unpublished pieces so it’s difficult to know exactly what the original version sounded like. But it was certainly very different: in a different key and with three movements rather than four. Brahms must have also seen a lot of his younger self in the piece. He jokingly wrote to the publisher that it should be accompanied by a picture of himself dressed as Goethe’s character Werther, a passionate young man who kills himself because of his love for a married woman.

Despite the revisions, the final version is replete with the tension and ardor of the younger Brahms. Musicologist Eric Sams has speculated that the opening theme in the strings is a ‘Clara’ theme because it’s similar to a cipher that Schumann used for his wife. Whether or not that’s true, the themes run an emotional gamut from slowly searching to loudly decisive to lyrically melodic. A quiet, exhausted ending leads to the lively scherzo. In an interesting parallel, the last two movements each begin with string solos. The slow movement is introspective and the finale brings back the wider range of emotions found in the first movement. The piece ends quietly with two definitive yet unexpected chords punctuating this look back at Brahms’s stormy youth.

Program Notes by Laura Keller, CMS Editorial Manager


When I was about 12 years old, I felt isolated and lonely as a young pianist. I was different from all of my friends in public school. I felt really burned out. It was at that moment that I was sent, kicking and screaming to Greenwood Music Camp, an idyllic chamber music camp in the small town of Cummington MA.  And it was there that I discovered how wonderful it was to make music together with other young performers. I was hooked and although I was too young to grasp the full reality of what it meant to be a chamber music performer, it was clear to me that I had found my path.


Tony Arnold is internationally acclaimed as a leading proponent of contemporary music in concert and recording: a “convincing, mesmerizing soprano” (Los Angeles Times) who “has a broader gift for conveying the poetry and nuance behind outwardly daunting contemporary scores” (Boston Globe). Her unique blend of vocal virtuosity and communicative warmth, combined with wide-ranging skills in education and leadership, was recognized with the 2015 Brandeis Creative Arts Award, given in appreciation of “excellence in the arts and the lives and works of distinguished, active American artists.” Her extensive chamber music repertory includes major works written for her by Georges Aperghis, Eric Chasalow, George Crumb, Nathan Davis, Brett Dean, Jason Eckardt, Gabriela Lena Frank, Fredrick Gifford, David Gompper, Jesse Jones, Josh Levine, David Liptak, Philippe Manoury, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Christopher Theofanidis, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, and John Zorn. She is a member of the intrepid International Contemporary Ensemble and enjoys regular guest appearances with leading ensembles and presenters worldwide. With more than 30 discs to her credit, she has recorded a broad segment of the modern vocal repertory with esteemed chamber music colleagues. She received a 2006 Grammy nomination for her recording of George Crumb’s Ancient Voices of Children (Bridge Records). She is a first-prize laureate of the Gaudeamus International and the Louise D. McMahon competitions. A graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University, Ms. Arnold was twice a fellow of the Aspen Music Festival as both a conductor and singer. She currently teaches at the Peabody Conservatory and the Tanglewood Music Center.

Voted ADAMI Classical Discovery of the Year at Midem in Cannes and awarded the Sacem Georges Enesco Prize, Nicolas Dautricourt is one of the most brilliant and engaging French violinists of his generation. In the 2018-19 season he went on tour in Bucharest, Montreux, and Lille with the Orchestre Français des Jeunes under Fabien Gabel, performing Saint-Saëns’s Third Concerto and Bartók’s Second Concerto, and made his debut at the Paris Philharmonie with Prokofiev’s Second Concerto. He appears at major international venues, including the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, Tchaikovsky Hall, Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan, Salle Pleyel in Paris, and Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, and appears at many festivals such as Lockenhaus, Music@Menlo, Pärnu, Ravinia, Sintra, and Davos. He also has performed with the Detroit Symphony, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre de Toulouse, Quebec Symphony, Liège Philharmonic, Sinfonia Varsovia, Mexico Philharmonic, NHK Tokyo Chamber Orchestra, and the Kanazawa Orchestral Ensemble, under conductors Leonard Slatkin, Paavo Järvi, Tugan Sokhiev, Dennis Russell Davies, Eivind Gullberg Jensen, Yuri Bashmet, Michael Francis, François-Xavier Roth, Fabien Gabel, and Kazuki Yamada. He appears in such jazz festivals as Jazz à Vienne, Jazz in Marciac, Sud-Tyroler Jazz Festival, Jazz San Javier, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, and the European Jazz Festival in Athens. Award winner of the Wieniawski, Lipizer, and Belgrade competitions, he has studied with Philip Hirschhorn, Miriam Fried, and Jean-Jacques Kantorow. An alum CMS’s Bowers Program, he plays a magnificent instrument by Antonio Stradivari, the "Château Fombrauge" (Cremona 1713), on loan from Bernard Magrez.

The profound influence of pianist Gilbert Kalish as an educator and pianist in myriad performances and recordings has established him as a major figure in American music-making. In 2002 he received the Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award for his significant and lasting contribution to the chamber music field and in 2006 he was awarded the Peabody Medal by the Peabody Conservatory for his outstanding contributions to music in America. He was the pianist of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players for 30 years, and was a founding member of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, a group that flourished during the 1960s and 70s in support of new music. He is particularly well-known for his partnership of many years with mezzo-soprano Jan DeGaetani, as well as for current collaborations with soprano Dawn Upshaw and cellists Timothy Eddy and Joel Krosnick. As an educator and performer he has appeared at the Banff Centre, the Steans Institute at Ravinia, the Marlboro Music Festival, and Music@Menlo, where he serves as the international program director of the Chamber Music Institute. He also served as chairman of the Tanglewood faculty from 1985 to 1997. His discography of some 100 recordings embraces both the classical and contemporary repertories; of special note are those made with Ms. DeGaetani and that of Ives's Concord Sonata. A distinguished professor at Stony Brook University, Mr. Kalish has performed regularly with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 2004.

Violist Paul Neubauer has been called a “master musician” by the New York Times. He recently made his Chicago Symphony subscription debut with conductor Riccardo Muti and his Mariinsky Orchestra debut with conductor Valery Gergiev. He also gave the US premiere of the newly discovered Impromptu for viola and piano by Shostakovich with pianist Wu Han. In addition, his recording of the Aaron Kernis Viola Concerto with the Royal Northern Sinfonia was released on Signum Records and his recording of the complete viola/piano music by Ernest Bloch with pianist Margo Garrett was released on Delos. Appointed principal violist of the New York Philharmonic at age 21, he has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras including the New York, Los Angeles, and Helsinki philharmonics; National, St. Louis, Detroit, Dallas, San Francisco, and Bournemouth symphonies; and Santa Cecilia, English Chamber, and Beethovenhalle orchestras. He has premiered viola concertos by Bartók (revised version of the Viola Concerto), Friedman, Glière, Jacob, Kernis, Lazarof, Müller-Siemens, Ott, Penderecki, Picker, Suter, and Tower and has been featured on CBS's Sunday Morning, A Prairie Home Companion, and in The Strad, Strings, and People magazines. A two-time Grammy nominee, he has recorded on numerous labels including Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, RCA Red Seal, and Sony Classical and is a member of SPA, a trio with soprano Susanna Phillips and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott. Mr. Neubauer is the artistic director of the Mostly Music series in New Jersey and is on the faculty of The Juilliard School and Mannes College.

Soprano Lisette Oropesa has been hailed as one of the most exciting and magnetic singers of her generation. Last season, she returned to the Metropolitan Opera in two title roles, Manon and Violetta in La Traviata. She sings Ophélie in Hamlet with the Washington Concert Opera, and heads back to Paris to make her role debut as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. In 2019, she was named the recipient of the Richard Tucker Award. She has appeared in over 100 performances at the Metropolitan Opera, and has appeared in eight of the Met's Live in HD productions. In concert she has performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and at the Ravinia, Cincinnati May, and Tanglewood festivals. She has also appeared in Carnegie Hall's Weill Hall and made her New York recital debut at the Park Avenue Armory. A first generation Cuban-American, Ms. Oropesa was raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and graduated from the LSU School of Music at Louisiana State University. She is an alumnus of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artists Program and her many awards include Grand Finals Winner of the 2005 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a 2007 Sarah Tucker Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, the Zarzuela Award at the 2007 Operalia International Opera Competition, and the 2008 George London Award.

A Yale University faculty member since 1987, clarinetist David Shifrin is artistic director of Yale's Chamber Music Society and Yale in New York, an annual concert series at Carnegie Hall. He has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 1982 and served as its artistic director from 1992 to 2004, inaugurating CMS's Bowers Program and the annual Brandenburg Concerto concerts. He has been the artistic director of Chamber Music Northwest in Portland, Oregon since 1981. He has collaborated with the Guarneri, Tokyo, and Emerson quartets and frequently performs with pianist André Watts. Winner of the Avery Fisher Prize, he is also the recipient of a Solo Recitalist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A top prize winner in the Munich and Geneva competitions, he has held principal clarinet positions in numerous orchestras including The Cleveland Orchestra and the American Symphony under Leopold Stokowski. His recordings have received three Grammy nominations and his performance of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra was named Record of the Year by Stereo Review. His most recent recordings are the Beethoven, Bruch, and Brahms Clarinet Trios with cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han on the ArtistLed label and a recording for Delos of works by Carl Nielsen. Mr. Shifrin performs on a MoBA cocobolo wood clarinet made by Morrie Backun in Vancouver, Canada and uses Légère Reeds.

Torleif Thedéen has been a regular performer on the international concert stage for over 25 years. He has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, Dresdner Philharmonie, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Auckland Philharmonia as well as all the major Scandinavian orchestras. He has regularly collaborated with the most renowned conductors including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Neeme Järvi, Mario Venzago, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Sir Andrew Litton, Sakari Oramo, Osmo Vänskä, Sir Mark Elder, Václav Neumann, Leif Segerstam, Paavo Berglund, Franz Welser-Möst, James DePreist, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, and Jac van Steen. He is also a passionate chamber musician and has performed at prestigious concert venues throughout the world including the Wigmore Hall in London, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Salle Pleyel in Paris, and the Philharmonie in Berlin. He has also performed at many international festivals, including those in Schleswig-Holstein, Salzburg, Utrecht, Dubrovnik, Helsinki, Kuhmo, Bath, Bordeaux, Bergen, Verbier, and the Prague Spring Festival. Mr. Thedéen has released numerous recordings including the complete Schnittke works for cello, Britten’s solo cello suites, the concertos of Dvořák, Lalo, Schumann, Elgar, Saint-Saëns, Kabalevsky, Bloch, Kokkonen, and Shostakovich on labels including BIS, CPO, Decca, EMI, and Deutsche Grammophon. In 1995 his Shostakovich cello concertos recording won the Cannes Classical Award.