Brahms Symphony No. 4
Generously sponsored by the Rebecca Sue Horvath Concert Endowment Fund
GRAMMY® Award-nominated composer and bandoneon player JP Jofre stars in this imaginative juxtaposition of contemporary and classic influences. Performing his own concerto for cello and bandoneon with acclaimed soloist Michael Katz, Jofre’s mesmerizing artistry brings new sound worlds to the historic expanses of the Michigan Theater. Guest conductor Joshua Gersen directs music by the “wistfully idiosyncratic and contemplative” composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón, before Brahm’s masterful Symphony No. 4 closes the program in a poignant summary of the composer’s worldview and lifetime of achievement.
Friday, October 13, 2023 | 8 PM | The Michigan Theater
Pre-concert talk at 7 PM
JP Jofre, bandoneon
Michael Katz, cello
Joshua Gersen, guest conductor
Angélica Negrón En otra noche, en otro mundo (On Another Night, In Another World)
JP Jofre Double Concerto for Cello & Bandoneon
Johannes Brahms Symphony No. 4
JP Jofre, bandoneon
A native of San Juan, Argentina, Juan Pablo Jofre Romarion aka JP Jofre is a GRAMMY® and Latin GRAMMY Award-nominated composer and bandoneon player. Mr. Jofre has been repeatedly highlighted by The New York Times and praised as one of today’s leading artists by Great Performers at Lincoln Center.
His music has been recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra, 16 Grammy winner Paquito D’ Rivera, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and choreographed/performed by ballet-star Herman Cornejo (Principal Dancer of the American Ballet Theatre) among others. He has performed and given lectures at Google Talks, TEDtalks, The Juilliard School of Music, The New School, etc.
A recipient of the National Prize of the Arts grant in Argentina, Mr. Jofre has collaborated with many famous musicians in a wide range of musical styles, including Paquito D’Rivera, Kathryn Stott, Symphony Silicon Valley, Santa Rosa Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Argentina, San Antonio Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Philippe Quint, Fernando Otero, and Fred Sturm among others. Mr. Jofre has been part of many prestigious festivals including the Celebrity Series of Boston, Umbria Jazz Festival, Great Performers at Lincoln Center, Seattle Town, Belgorod Music Festival, Sudtirol Jazz Festival, Bachanalia Taiwan, and Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival among others.
For the world premiere of his Bandoneon Concerto, the Mercury News wrote: “…he is an electrifying composer-bandoneon player.” In 2012, Jofre was invited by the Free University of Bolzano and SudTirol Festival (Italy) to perform for the homage to Argentinean Nobel Peace Prize winner, Adolfo Perez Esquivel. He currently leads the JP Jofre Quintet, the ensemble has been touring internationally since the release of their last album “Manifiesto”. Mr. Jofre is currently writing the second Double Concerto for violin virtuoso Francisco Fullana, commissioned by Classical Music Institute of San Antonio, Balearic Islands Symphony Orchestra and Metropolis Ensemble. Recently, virtuoso clarinet player Seunghee Lee commissioned Mr. Jofre to write a double concerto for clarinet and bandoneon. His recordings have been released by RoundStar Entertainment for his debut album Hard Tango, produced by Gustavo Szulansky) Steinway Record Label, Armenia Mundi, and Progressive Sounds (independent).
JP Jofre began playing percussion and guitar at the age of 14 and later attended the Escuela de Musica de la Universidad Nacional de San Juan, Argentina, where he studied, drums, guitar, piano, voice, and composition, before deciding to dedicate himself to the bandoneón. In 2003, Jofre gave his debut performance as arranger and solo bandoneonist at the First International Festival of Chamber Music in Mendoza, Argentina. For this event, Jofre arranged pieces for 12 Cellos and Bandoneon. In 2004 Jofre took privates classes with Martin Ferres and one year later auditioned for Daniel Binelli, one of the world’s most sought-after bandoneonists and composers. With Binelli’s recommendation, Jofre studied under Julio Pane, world-renowned educator and former bandoneónista for the legendary “Astor Piazzolla Sextet” through the financial endorsement of the Juan Victoria Auditorium (under Executive Director Nina Galvan at the time) and Autotransportes San Juan Mar del Plata.
At the 2005 Clausura Concert of the Master Class given by Ingrid Zur and George Heyer (Germany) in San Juan, Jofre performed solo works of Bach and Piazzolla. That same year, he performed alongside Latin America’s most important musical figures Jairo, Horacio Ferrer, and Garello at the presentation ceremony for the book Adventures and Triumphs of Argentines in Paris at the Hall Café Tortoni in Buenos Aires. In 2006, he toured Spain with the Mendocino Tango Sextet, giving both solo and group performances at the International Tango Festival of Granada and the International Tango Festival of Alméria. At the inauguration ceremony for the Granada School for the Bandoneón, Jofre performed with bandoneon master Rodolfo Montironi.
Michael Katz, cello
Hailed by the press for his “bold, rich sound” (Strad Magazine) and “nuanced musicianship,” (New York Times),GRAMMY® Award-nominated cellist Michael Katz has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician in venues such as Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Kimmel Center, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center (Sarasota, FL), Oji Hall (Tokyo, Japan), Philips Hall (Eindhoven, Netherlands), Teatro Cervantes (Malaga, Spain), Lucerne KKL (Lucerne, Switzerland), and Henry Crown Auditorium (Jerusalem, Israel). He has performed at music festivals such as Ravinia, Music@Menlo, Mostly Mozart, Chamber Music Northwest, Bravo! Vail, Festival Mozaic, Yellow Barn, Lucerne, Holland Music Sessions, Sarasota, Methow Valley, Classical Bridge, Cooperstown, Green Box, Bard, Copenhagen, Malaga Clasica, Perlman Music Program, Orford, and Kol Hamusica, and has collaborated as a soloist with conductors such as James DePriest, David Stern, Barbara Yahr, and Dongmin Kim. His musicianship has been recognized with many awards, among them all three awards at the 2011 Aviv Competition, first prizes at the 2010 Juilliard School’s Concerto Competition, and the 2005 Turjeman Competition, as well as awards from the America Israel Cultural Foundation and the Ronen Foundation.
High in demand as a chamber musician, Mr. Katz has collaborated and performed with artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Donald Weilerstein, Daniel Philips, Peter Wiley, Anthony Marwood, Peter Frankl, Charles Neidich, Roger Tapping, Soovin Kim, and Lucy Chapman. As the cellist of the Lysander Piano Trio, he was a winner of the 2012 Concert Artists Guild Competition, and was awarded first prizes at the 2011 Coleman Competition and 2011 J.C. Arriaga Competition. Their first album “After a Dream” was released in 2014 on CAG Records and was praised by the New York Times for its “polished and spirited interpretations.”
Deeply committed to community outreach and education, from 2014-2016 Mr. Katz was a Fellow in Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect. He was previously selected to be part of a special string quartet led by Midori to present formal and outreach concerts in Myanmar and Japan as part of the 2013-2014 International Community Engagement Program, and was invited to return to the program in 2016-2017 for concerts in Nepal and Japan. Mr. Katz is a faculty member at the Csehy Summer School of Music and the Chamber Music Institute in Stamford, CT and has served as an adjunct cello professor at Nyack College from 2015-2017.
Mr. Katz has a great passion for expanding the cello repertoire with both lesser known and contemporary works. He has premiered Works by Timo Andres, Ofer Ben-Amots, Christopher Cerone, Jakub Ciupinski, Ann Cleare, Gilad Cohen, Bryce Dessner, Mohammed Fairouz, Daniel Felsenfeld, Vivian Fung, Him Sophy, Juan Pablo Jofre, David T. Little, Zhou Long, Eric Moe, Reinaldo Moya, Sergiu Natra, Olga Neuwirth, Jonathan Newman, Malcolm Payton, Paola Prestini, Chris Rogerson, Huang Ruo, Caroline Shaw, Zhou Tian, Julian Wachner, Yehudi Wyner, and others.
Born in Tel-Aviv Israel, Mr. Katz began his cello studies at age 7. Among his teachers in Israel were Zvi Plesser, Hillel Zori and the late Mikhail Khomitzer. Mr. Katz received his Bachelor of Music degree from the New England Conservatory where he studied with Laurence Lesser, his Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School where he studied with Joel Krosnick, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from SUNY Stony Brook as a student of Colin Carr.
Joshua Gersen, guest conductor
An artist of impeccable musical credentials, Joshua Gersen is widely respected as an engaging and inspiring conductor, able to communicate effortlessly with both young and established orchestras internationally. A native of the New York area, he made his debut as a conductor at the early age of 11 and has established himself as a dynamic presence on the podium ever since.
Joshua recently concluded his tenure as the Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic, where he most notably made his subscription debut at just a few hours’ notice, filling in for an indisposed Semyon Bychkov. “Impassioned and incisive,” wrote The New York Times, “the performance earned a standing ovation and prolonged applause from his colleagues in the orchestra.” He then conducted his own subscription concert the following season, which included the orchestra’s only performance of Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story during the Bernstein Centennial year.
As an educator, Joshua has frequently worked with students and ensembles at the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, Boston University, and the Curtis Institute of Music. He was the Interim Director of Orchestras at Boston University for the 2019-20 academic year. During his time with the New York Philharmonic, he also conducted many of the orchestra’s celebrated Young People’s Concerts and worked extensively with both the Very Young Composers Program and the Harmony Program, which provides music education for students in underserved communities across New York City. Previously, Joshua was Music Director of the New York Youth Symphony, where he conducted numerous concerts to critical acclaim, and successfully led the orchestra on their first international tour in over 50 seasons.
A respected composer as well as conductor, Joshua studied composition with Michael Gandolfi at the New England Conservatory of Music before studying conducting with the esteemed Otto-Werner Mueller at the Curtis Institute of Music. His work as a composer has also led to an interest in conducting contemporary music. He conducted several world premieres of new works by young composers with the New York Youth Symphony through their First Music Program, and also collaborated with many prominent contemporary composers including John Adams, Steve Reich, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Jennifer Higdon, Mason Bates and Michael Gandolfi. As Principal Conductor of the Ojai Music Festival in 2013, Joshua led numerous performances by celebrated American composers such as Lou Harrison and John Luther Adams.
In addition to his love of contemporary music, he remains passionate about the core classical repertoire, in particular the German and Russian masters, as well as the classic American composers, including Copland, Gershwin, Barber and Bernstein.
Joshua has enjoyed a very successful relationship with the New World Symphony, where he served as the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Conducting Fellow, acting as assistant conductor to the symphony’s Artistic Director Michael Tilson Thomas. He made his conducting debut with the San Francisco Symphony in the fall of 2013 and has since been invited back numerous times to conduct a variety of concerts.
Other recent guest conducting appearances include performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Hannover Opera, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the Colorado Music Festival. He is the recipient of a 2015 and 2016 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award.