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Marlborough audience will hear a feast of Bach and Schumann – just ahead of Vienna

Photo: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco Photo: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco For American pianist Simone Dinnerstein the forthcoming Marlborough Brandt Group benefit concert will mark her first collaboration with German bass baritone Stephan Loges – and her first venture into lieder.

On Saturday, November 30 they will be performing ‘An Evening with Johann Sebastian Bach and Robert Schumann’.

Their Marlborough audience in the Memorial Hall will be getting a preview of Simone (it’s pronounced Simona) and Stephan’s concert with the same programme a week later in Vienna’s renowned Konzerthaus.

Simone Dinnerstein came to the attention of the world’s music critics with her self-financed recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations (2007), now she has a very busy concert schedule that takes her to the world’s most prestigious concert halls.

Last month she played in Rio and Seattle, then gave the premiere performances with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra of Philip Lasser’s The Child and the Circle: concerto for piano and orchestra, before giving six recitals in South Korea.  

This Tuesday (November 12) she is playing at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and she has two concerts with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra before leaving for Europe.

Simone explained to Marlborough News Online why they had chosen to link JS Bach and Schumann: “There is a beautiful connection between the music of Bach and Schumann.  Both composers were drawn to the human voice and all of their compositions are infused with the sense of singing, almost telling the music.  Every individual line is important and contributes to a complex tapestry.  Every note has a meaning.”

Stephan LogesStephan LogesStephan Loges calls Bach and Schumann the two ‘towering musical figures’ from Germany - his home country. He explained to Marlborough News Online that although Bach died 60 years before Schumann was born, Schumann regarded Bach as his teacher:

“One can hear this influence in many of Schumann's works.  I've always felt a great affinity between those two composers, and hope our programme will show this in an interesting and inspiring way.”

Stephan Loges was born in Dresden and was a member of the Dresdner Kreuzchor before studying in Berlin and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. In 1998 and 1999 he won prestigious prizes in New York and in London at the Wigmore Hall’s International Song Competition.  Since then he has been performing around the world.

“I very much look forward to performing in Marlborough and later in Vienna, especially since working with Simone Dinnerstein is something I have wanted to do for a long time.”

Simone Dinnerstein says she is really looking forward to working with Stephan: “This will be the first time that Stephan and I have worked together.  He approached me having listened to my recordings, feeling that our temperaments would suit a collaboration.  I have wanted to play lieder for some time and this will be my first foray into the repertoire.”

Simone Dinnerstein certainly relishes tackling new parts of the musical repertoire and working with different artists. Earlier this year she took the plunge with a crossover album with the country-folk singer-songwriter Tift Merritt who is a self-taught guitarist.  

She told Marlborough News Online: “Tift and I were fans of each other's music and had become good friends.  We wanted to be able to collaborate together musically and were not exactly sure how that would manifest itself.”

“We spent a lot of time sending each other songs that we liked and trying to envision a sound and arrangement of each song in a way that would seem true to both of our styles.  It was a very challenging and exciting process that grew and deepened the more we worked together.”  

Their album is called Night

It is a truly eclectic mix of music: from Schubert’s Night and Dreams, through Billie Holiday’s Don’t Explain, to Purcell’s Dido’s lament – taking in three of Merritt’s own songs and ending with Johnny Nash’s I Can See Clearly Now.

And Bach is there too – one minute and thirty-three seconds of his Prelude in B Minor.

You can hear excerpts of Night here.  It sounds like a must for the Christmas present list.

Photo: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco Photo: Lisa-Marie Mazzucco Simone Dinnerstein and her husband Jeremy, who is a teacher, have a 12-year old son, Adrian.  While Simone practices upstairs on her Steinway concert grand, young Adrian practices downstairs on his electric guitar for his group ‘The Animation’.  Perhaps there’s an opportunity in years to come for another crossover album.

But before that collaboration happens, Simone is planning another challenge - a collaboration with a contemporary, African dancer, Nora Chipaumire.  That will be some crossover.

We were not on skype, but I think she probably chuckled when she added: “I am looking forward to our artistic process!”

For details of the programme for the November 30 recital at the Memorial Hall and ticket sales go to our What’s On calendar.

Simone Dinnerstein and Tift MerrittSimone Dinnerstein and Tift Merritt

(Click on photos to enlarge them.)


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