Cellist Joel Krosnick, Faculty Chair and Longtime Member of the Juilliard String Quartet, Performs Solo Works by Babbitt, Carter, Martino, Sesions, Shapey, and Wernick on Thursday, February 10 at 8 PM in Juilliard's Paul Hall

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Joel Krosnick by Vanessa Briceno-Scherzer
Joel Krosnick by Vanessa Briceno-Scherzer


Cellist Joel Krosnick, faculty chair of Juilliard’s cello department and one of the longest tenured members of the esteemed Juilliard String Quartet (now in his 38th year with the ensemble), performs a program of contemporary solo cello works on Thursday, February 10 at 8 PM in Juilliard’s Paul Hall (155 West 65th Street). The program features works by composers long-championed by Mr. Krosnick: Richard Wernick’s Suite No. 2 (2007); Roger Sessions’ Six Pieces (1967); Ralph Shapey’s Krosnick Soli (1983) and his Solo-Duo-Trio (1999); Milton Babbitt’s More Melismata (2006); Elliott Carter’s Figment No. 1 (1994); and Donald Martino’s Parisonatina Al’Dodecafonia (1964).

LIMITED, FREE tickets will be available January 27 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from 11 AM to 6 PM. For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu.

Richard Wernick’s Suite No. 2 (2007) was premiered by Mr. Krosnick’s daughter, Gwendolyn Krosnick, on February 9, 2008 at Oberlin College. Mr. Wernick says of his work: “The language [of the work] is one I’ve used for years – serious, chromatic, sometimes overly severe - but also emotional and tonal in its own way.” Suite No. 2 is in four movements.

Roger Sessions’ Six Pieces (1967) was written for and dedicated to Sessions’ son, John, a cellist, who was later the faculty cellist at Smith College. The movements are titled and self explanatory. The Dialogue is said to mirror a friendly conversation between father and son. The Scherzo is a classical A-B-A scherzo. Mr. Sessions had his granddaughter in mind for the Berceuse. The Fantasy uses materials from all the other movements, and the Epilogue is afterwards - after life is over - a poignant, elegiac description of ‘the end.’

Both of Ralph Shapey’s works were written for Mr. Krosnick. Krosnick Soli (1983) are variations on a bass line cantus firmus. Mr. Krosnick describes Ralph Shapey’s Solo-Duo-Trio (1999) in his notes: “The Solo-Duo-Trio is at first a high tenor solo, alternating between sections of passionate lyricism and playful rhythmic figures; then, with that solo repeated, a second contrapuntal voice enters which uses the same lyricism and rhythm at different times to contrast with the original line; then, finally, with the completion of the second counterpointed solo, the third voice enters and makes a remarkable trio of the contrast and conflict within the same materials.”

Milton Babbitt’s More Melismata (2006) was commissioned by Juilliard during its centennial season in 2005-06. The work takes its titles from an earlier solo violin piece, Melismata (1982), although it’s an entirely different piece. Mr. Babbitt says in his notes that “beneath the surface there are relationships between the two. As to the title, the word ‘melisma’ is often applied to church chant, and denotes an expressive vocal passage sung to one syllable, as opposed to passages in which many syllables are employed. Such a term thus can be loosely applied to a solo string piece, in which a continuous, expressive line also may unfold.”

Elliott Carter’s Figment No. 1 (1994) was composed for cellist Thomas Demenga. Mr. Carter says of the work: “Figment, for cello solo, presents a variety of contrasting, dramatic moments, using material derived from one musical idea.”

Donald Martino’s Parisonatina Al’Dodecafonia (1964) was composed in 1964 for Brazilian cellist Aldo Parisot, who was Mr. Martino’s colleague at Yale. The music reflects the Spanish guitar music that is part of Parisot’s cultural heritage. The work is in four movements.

Cellist Joel Krosnick has performed as soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician around the world. As a member of the Juilliard String Quartet since 1974, he has performed the great quartet literature throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. With his sonata partner of more than 30 years, pianist Gilbert Kalish, Mr. Krosnick has performed recitals throughout the U. S. and Europe. Since 1976, they have given annual series of recitals in New York City and recently presented the series American Milestones of the Last 100 Years at The Juilliard School. With Mr. Kalish, Mr. Krosnick has recorded the complete sonatas and variations of Beethoven and the sonatas of Brahms, as well as works by Poulenc, Prokofiev, Carter, Hindemith, Debussy, Janacek, and Cowell for the Arabesque label. Especially noteworthy is their CD devoted to the cello and piano music of Ralph Shapey. Yet to be released is a CD, Forgotten Americans.

Mr. Krosnick completed his bachelor of arts degree at Columbia College where he began his lifelong commitment to contemporary music. He has performed and premiered a large number of new works by composers including Donald Martino, Ralph Shapey and Richard Wernick. Joel Krosnick's recording of the Sonata for Solo Cello by Artur Schnabel appears on the CP2 label, and his CD of Roger Sessions' Six Pieces for Solo Cello is presented on Koch Classics.  

A dedicated and passionate teacher, Mr. Krosnick is chairman of the cello department of The Juilliard School and is a member of the faculty of Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival in Maine. He has been associated with the Aspen, Marlboro and Tanglewood music festivals, and appeared for the third time as a member of the artist-faculty of the Piatigorsky Seminar at the University of Southern California. A recipient of the Chevalier du Violoncelle Award from the Eva Janzer Memorial Cello Center at the Indiana University School of Music, Mr. Krosnick holds honorary doctoral degrees from Michigan State University, Jacksonville University, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.


Thursday, February 10, 2011, 8 PM, Juilliard’s Paul Hall (155 West 65th Street)

Joel Krosnick, Cello

Richard Wernick – Suite No. 2 (2007)

Roger Sessions – Six Pieces (1967)

Ralph Shapey – Krosnick Soli (1983); Solo-Duo-Trio (1999)

Milton Babbitt – More Melismata (2006)

Elliott Carter – Figment No. 1 (1994)

Donald Martino – Parisonatina Al’Dodecafonia (1964) 

Juilliard’s Daniel Saidenberg Faculty Recital Series

LIMITED FREE tickets will be available beginning January 27 at the Janet and Leonard Kramer Box Office at Juilliard (155 West 65th Street, lobby). For further information, call (212) 769-7406 or go to www.juilliard.edu.