While this event is open to the public, you must pre-register in order to gain access in person. Registering for the performance is an important step to ensure the ability of contact tracing. No walk-ups will be allowed at Longy for performances.
Boston-based pianist and collaborator Noah Stone prioritizes emotional expression and interpersonal connection in his playing. He infuses his prior experience as a violinist and vocalist into his work, creating a sound with direction, depth, and purpose. Noah is comfortable on both a local and international stage, performing everywhere from community fundraisers to Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. His programs display a love for both traditional and modern repertoire, with a focus on broadening the canon to represent and welcome new audiences.
Noah has presented solo recitals in his hometown of Jacksonville, FL and at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. As a two-time finalist for the John Leatherwood Concerto Competition with the Northeast Florida Symphony Orchestra, he performed movements of concerti with piano accompaniment for audiences in Niceville, FL. Mr. Stone also enjoys creating events that allow him to share music with others while also creating donations to and awareness of good causes. In 2020, due to the impossibility of presenting live concerts, he brought awareness to community organizations by hosting a remote concert to benefit the Jacksonville Urban League’s Center for Advocacy and Social Justice.
An advocate for and supporter of contemporary music, Noah explores the possibilities of piano sounds by performing music by both emerging and established living composers. As a member of Ensemble Uncaged, Longy School of Music’s premiere contemporary music ensemble, he has been a part of the US premieres of works by Xiaoxi Zhang and JunYi Chow. Noah believes that music is for everyone, and therefore, it should represent everyone. Noah is continually working to inspire permanent diversity in his field by programming and advocating for works by historically underrepresented composers.
Noah holds a Bachelors of Music in Piano Performance from Florida State University, where he studied with Read Gainsford, Stijn De Cock, and David Kalhous, and is currently pursuing his Masters of Music in Piano Performance degree at the Longy School of Music of Bard College with Spencer Myer. In his spare time, Noah enjoys running, 70s rock music, spending time at the beach (with plenty of sunscreen), and snuggling with his parents’ three cats.
Sage is a current first year master’s student studying Collaborative Piano under Dr. Spencer Myer at the Longy School of Music. Before beginning studies at Longy, they graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance and Music History from the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music in Ohio. Sage is originally from South Carolina, where they were chosen to attend the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, a residential high school for the arts. Sage is an avid collaborator with instrumentalists and vocalists and aims to continue to build connections between musicians from different backgrounds and bring people together through music.
Over the summer in 2019, Sage lived in southern Austria and attended the American Institute of Musical Studies, a program for singers and collaborative pianists from around the world. There, they worked to refine their skills in not only collaborative piano, but also diction, interpretation, and the German language. Recent performance engagements include Liederabend recitals in Graz, Austria (2019); performances with the Baldwin Wallace Symphony Orchestra in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Cleveland (2020); solo recital at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music (2021); and master classes with Warren Jones (2021), Xavier Folley (2021), Barbera Bonnie (2019) and Ulrich Eisenlor (2019). Previous teachers include Dr. Sungeun Kim (Cleveland, Ohio); Dr. Stephen Taylor (Greenville, South Carolina); and Dr. Alan Weinberg Columbia, South Carolina). Outside of music, Sage enjoys working with children in various learning environments, playing racquetball, and gardening.
composed by Sofia Gubaidulina (b. 1931)
Sofia Gubaidulina’s Chaconne, written in 1962, applies 20th century sounds to a compositional form over three hundred years old. Chaconnes are generally continuous variations on a repeated harmonic pattern, allowing composers to explore many possibilities from a short germ of musical material. Gubaidulina uses the first eighth measures of the piece to create passionate, lyrical lines, an off-kilter tarantella, a fugato, and a climax featuring left-hand octaves that recall climaxes of Baroque organ fugues.
Gubaidulina, now 91 and living and writing in Hamburg, Germany, has said “Actually, all my works are religious. As I understand it, I’ve never written non-religious pieces… I feel a great desire to realize my religious needs within art.” The Chaconne was written when Gubaidulina was 31 for Marina Mdivani, a fellow student of Gubaidulina at the Moscow Conservatory who “played forceful chords and had a vivacious temperament.” I enjoy this blend of spirituality and virtuosity because it creates a work that is both translucent and powerful. Further information about this piece can be found in Kadisha Onalbayeva-Coleman’s 2010 dissertation entitled “Sofia Gubaidulina: Chaconne for solo piano in the context of her life and work.”
Variations on a Theme by Haydn (Saint Anthony Variations), Op. 56b (1873)
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Noah Stone, piano 1
Sage Fogle, piano 2
There are two sets of variations by Johannes Brahms on this program, each based on a theme written over a hundred years before the composer’s birth. Brahms, who from his compositional debut was hailed as the successor to Beethoven, was well aware of the music that came before him. In his studies of older music, he came across a theme labeled “Chorale St. Anthony” attributed to Joseph Haydn, and based these variations on that piece. As many composers in the classical era would connect their work to that of more famous composers by signing a fake name to the piece, more modern scholars have concluded that the theme was likely misattributed. However, Brahms’ interest in the theme led him to compose not only this set of variations for two pianos, but a nearly identical set for orchestra.
Brahms clearly saw many emotions reflected in this theme. Some variations crackle with energy, some have spacious and soaring musical lines, and some are plaintive and yearning. The finale is based on the bass line of the theme, grounding the last variation through many textural changes before finally exploding into a triumphant return of the original theme. The musical material of the original theme becomes a springboard for Brahms to show off his compositional prowess and how he can use this immense technical ability to create an emotional engaging piece of music.
Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, Op. 24 (1861)
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Here, Brahms once again works with a theme written over a hundred years before his birth. A 28-year-old Brahms turns this old material into a kaleidoscopic mirror, reflecting the many facets of his personality in the twenty-five variations and powerful fugue. George Handel, the composer of the theme, also saw its potential for variation. In 1733, he published it with five of his own variations. Brahms, aware of this, begins his variations by immediately adding syncopated accents and staccatos that proclaim this as his own reflection on Handel’s theme. This does not mean that he fully ignores the source of the theme throughout – in fact, Brahms uses several musical forms Handel would be familiar with, including the canon (variation 6), siciliana (variation 19), musette (variation 22), and of course the concluding fugue.
These variations became one of Brahms’ favorite works. Written for and dedicated to Brahms’ “beloved friend”, Clara Schumann, as a birthday present, they represent a young man using his love for the past and his own compositional talent to express a variety of emotions. Youthful exuberance and virtuosity work side by side with an appreciation for musical expression in this work, making each variation a new treat for listeners and performers.
Thème varié, Op.89
Cécile Chaminade (1857-1944)
“As I got to know Mlle. Chaminade better better I found her to be one of the loveliest characters I have ever met. She is frank in her manner and thoroughly in earnest with her work. She has no bitter words for anybody … The French people idolize her, and her songs are the most popular in French salons to-day. In England and in America it would be difficult to pick up a program of a song recital without finding something of Chaminade on it.” – Ward Stephens, Etude Magazine, 1899
Born in Paris in 1857, Cécile Chaminade studied piano, violin, and composition and eventually embarked on a successful performing career in France, England, and the United States. Her shorter pieces for piano became immensely popular in the first decade of the 19th century, inspiring hundreds of “Chaminade Clubs” throughout England and the United States, some of which still exist today! Her other compositions include a piano trio, concertstück for piano and orchestra, and a ballet and opera. By the 1920s, however, a combination of sexist critiques and the shifting tastes of the classical establishment all but removed Chaminade’s pieces from piano repertoire for decades. One of the things I enjoy most in her Thème varié, Op.89, is her textural variation. Although the majority of the piece is full of lightness and grace, moments of grandeur and dramatism make the delicacy of the theme feel like a beautiful release of breath. I hope you enjoy!