Pala Garcia, violin
John Popham, cello
Renate Rohlfing, piano
performs the work of Rachel Grimes
Music for Egon Schiele
and selections from the albums, The Clearing and Book of Leaves
Composed in 1995 by Rachel Grimes for a play about the painter Egon Schiele, Music for Egon Schiele was released in 1996 by the incredible indie chamber ensemble Rachel’s.
The Austrian painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918) is best known for his assertive, character-driven depictions of the human form. During his brief life he produced over 600 works, ranging from delicate pencil drawings to elaborate, bold-stroke oil portraiture and landscapes. A student of Gustav Klimt, he and Oskar Kokoschka epitomized the Austrian Expressionist movement.
The suite Music for Egon Schiele was written to accompany a dance and theater production by Stephan Mazurek. The show, entitled Egon Schiele, was presented in May 1995 by the Itinerant Theater Guild at the University of Illinois, Chicago. The twelve pieces abstractly depict the chronological phases of Schiele’s personal and artistic life - one of struggle and discovery, inspired by love, loss, and the desperate need for expression.
“Family Portrait” portrays Schiele's turbulent childhood, in which his father and one of his three sisters died of syphilis. The opening is a still life of the family, then moves into a waltz recalling the grand but faded Viennese style. A duet for viola (or violin) and cello, “Egon & Gertie” is an intimate look at the affectionate relationship between Egon and his youngest sister Gertie. “First Self-Portrait Series” is the first of three self-portrait pieces; composed of the same basic musical material, they show Schiele developing his techniques and style, which ranges from introspective and erotic to masochistic and death-infused. “Mime Van Osen” evokes the underground cabaret atmosphere Schiele might have encountered while on the town with his friend, the performance artist, Erwin Van Osen.
During his early twenties, Schiele lived and worked in the countryside town of Neulengbach with a woman named Wally Neuzil. In “Wally, Egon & Models in the Studio” the arching cello solo overlays the piano’s chordal accompaniment to portray Egon and Wally as their relationship deepens, from artist and model to lovers. “Promenade” evokes the Austrian countryside of tree-lined villages, railroads, and well-to-do citizens strolling in the park, confident in Europe’s political and cultural preeminence. The music reflects the gradual shift in attitude as the destruction of World War I and the rapidly changing times take their toll on European society. The two gestural piano interludes symbolize Schiele’s growing discomfort and paranoia of his community, whose members accused him of pornography and incarcerated him for two weeks, due to his blunt portraits of young children. “Third Self-Portrait Series” represents Egon’s return to a busy creative life, and his increasing interest in angular portraiture
In 1914, Schiele made the acquaintance of a neighbor, Edith Harms, whom he eventually married. “Egon, Edith & Wally Meet” is an outing that the three made to see a movie, portraying the dizzying, contradictory feelings Egon might have had while with the two women, knowing he would have to choose one or the other. The piano solo “Egon & Wally Embrace and Say Farewell” is the gentle, inevitable parting of the two lovers, full of regret, pain and reflection. “Egon & Edith” paints the fresh, newly-wed life, full of excitement and hope that fate would soon tear away from them; Egon and Edith, six months pregnant, perished in the 1918 influenza epidemic. “Second Family Portrait” closes the story by examining the Schiele family’s loss, shared by devastating numbers of people worldwide. It begins with a mournful dirge reflecting the millions of dead, but resolves by looking ahead, to a hopeful recovery.
Paula Garcia, violin
Pala Garcia is a critically acclaimed violinist, balancing a full performance schedule with her work as an educator and advocate of community engagement. As the co-founder of Longleash, an “expert young trio” (Strad Magazine) specializing in contemporary music, she also co-leads the Loretto Project, a graduate-level composition seminar and concert series in Kentucky. 2015-2016 season highlights include solo and ensemble performances at Weill Hall at the Green Music Center (CA), National Sawdust (NY), The Kaufman Center, Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany (NY), Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (MA), Columbia University’s Miller Theater (NY), Roulette Intermedium (NY), and an artist residency with Longleash at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC). Ms. Garcia has performed as a guest on numerous occasions in some of the world’s finest ensembles, including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and Ensemble Modern. Ms. Garcia has been active in community engagement projects led by Carnegie Hall and the Weill Music Institute since 2010, working with a diverse group of New Yorkers to create music in environments that need music the most, including prisons, shelters and hospitals. Ms. Garcia is on the faculty of The Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program, an initiative designed to serve talented young students from backgrounds underrepresented in the American performing arts. She received her B.M. and M.M. degrees from The Juilliard School, under the tutelage of Joel Smirnoff and Naoko Tanaka. In the fall of 2016, Ms. Garcia will begin doctoral studies in music performance as a Graduate Center Fellow at CUNY. www.palagarcia.com
John Popham, cello
Cellist John Popham is a chamber musician and teacher based in Brooklyn, New York. His playing has been described as “brilliant” and “virtuosic” (Kronen Zeitung), “warm but variegated”, and “finely polished” (The New York Times). Currently a member of Either/Or Ensemble and LONGLEASH, Mr. Popham has performed internationally with groups including Klangforum Wien, Talea Ensemble, and the Argento Chamber Ensemble. He has appeared as soloist with the Louisville Orchestra, the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, the Red Light Ensemble, and the Kunstuniversität Graz Chorus. Recent festival appearances include Brücken (Austria), Open Musik (Austria), IMPULS (Austria), the Vermont Mozart Festival, USINESONORE (Switzerland), Bay Chamber (Maine), the Contemporary Classical Music Festival (Peru), Lucerne Festival, and Klangspuren (Austria). Dedicated to new music performance, Mr. Popham has worked with composers including Pierre Boulez, Tristan Murail, Steve Reich, Nils Vigeland, and Reiko Füting. The recipient of a Fulbright research grant, Mr. Popham spent the 2013/2014 academic year in Austria, where he studied the performance practice of Klangforum Wien and worked with leading figures in contemporary Austrian music: Beat Furrer, Georg Friedrich Haas, Klaus Lang, and Pierluigi Billone. Mr. Popham is currently cello faculty of the Extension Division of Rutgers University. He received his BM and MM from the Manhattan School of Music where he was a student of David Geber and David Soyer and was awarded the Manhattan School of Music Full Scholarship. He has recorded for Tzadik, Carrier, New Focus, Albany, and Arte Nova records.
Renate Rohlfing, piano
Pianist Renate Rohlfing is rapidly garnering a name as one of her generation’s most versatile and accomplished collaborative pianists. Equally comfortable in instrumental and vocal music, Ms. Rohlfing has performed at some of the most prestigious festivals and venues throughout North America, Asia, and Europe, including the Ravinia Festival, Cité Universitaire Internationale de Paris, Musiekgebouw, Carnegie Hall, and the David Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, where she recently accompanied soprano Anna Netrebko in a gala performance. Also active as an orchestral pianist, vocal coach, and piano teacher, she retains an extensive private studio in New York City. Ms. Rohlfing began her 2013/14 season at the Ravinia Festival, where she performed Britten’s "Phaedra" with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of James Conlon, while serving as resident pianist in the Steans Music Institute Program for Singers for the third consecutive year. She embarks on a recital tour with soprano Julia Bullock, winner of the Young Concert Artists competition, with concerts in Georgia, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and debut recitals at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington and Merkin Hall in New York City. In its second season, her piano trio LONGLEASH performs concerts at the San Francisco Center for New Music, the Kunstuniversität Graz (Austria), and completes a residency at Ohio University. Other recital engagements throughout the season include concerts with soprano Sarah Wolfson in South Carolina, soprano Kathryn Guthrie in Pennsylvania, flutist Chelsea Knox throughout the north-east, and flutist Stephanie Kwak in New York. Ms. Rohlfing concludes her season at the Spoleto Festival USA, where she serves on the music staff and performs in chamber music concerts and as orchestral pianist in John Adams' "El Nino." Ms. Rohlfing's passion for vocal accompanying has led to numerous prestigious opportunities in this field. In 2013, she made her debut at the Cincinnati May Festival, performing in two recitals with soprano Janai Brugger (1st place winner in Operalia and Metropolitan Opera National Council competitions) and mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack (Los Angeles Opera, San Francisco Opera). She returns, in 2014, to the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, where she has served as a resident pianist in the Steans Music Insitute for the previous three years, performing in concerts and recitals under the festival's auspices. In recent seasons, she was selected to be a Stern Fellow at Pepperdine's "Songfest" festival in California and served as a pianist-in-residence for Marilyn Horne's "The Song Continues..." series at Carnegie Hall. In high demand as a vocal accompanist, some of Ms. Rohlfing's other recent concerts include various performances with baritone Timothy McDevitt, soprano Julia Bullock, and soprano Sarah Wolfson. She is on the accompanying staff for the Juilliard School’s Vocal Arts department, and was selected to play for the school’s annual Vocal Arts Honors Recital at Peter Jay Sharp Theater in 2010, in addition to performing in numerous other vocal recitals at Juilliard. As an operatic pianist and repetiteur, Ms. Rohlfing has served as Assistant Conductor for the Los Angeles Opera’s production of “La cenerentola”, conducted by Maestro Conlon, as well as garnering music staff assignments for Juilliard opera productions of "La finta giardiniera" by Mozart and the US premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' "Kommilitonen", rated by TimeOut New York as the #1 Classical Music event of 2011. Equally familiar with instrumental repertoire, Ms. Rohlfing's chamber music credits include appearances through the Fondation des États-Unis, Alliance Française, New World Symphony, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Methow Valley Arts, and numerous radio stations including WUOL, WFMT, and KHPR. Allan Kozinn of the New York Times hailed her interpretation of various works by Webern as "graceful yet variegated." She is a founding member of LONGLEASH Trio, with recent and upcoming performances of new works and other repertoire in San Francisco, New York, and Austria. Internationally, she has participated at festivals in Canada, France, Spain and Austria. A strong advocate of contemporary music, she enjoyed the special privilege of attending the International Ensemble Modern Akademie in Schwaz, Austria, where she worked with composer Wolfgang Rihm. Ms. Rohlfing is also a highly experienced and versatile orchestral pianist. She performed with the Cincinnati Symphony in Britten’s War Requiem at the Cincinnati May Festival, and in 2012, she was invited to join the New World Symphony Orchestra, performing both orchestral and chamber works at the orchestra's home in Miami. Previously, she served as the Orchestral Piano Fellow for the Juilliard Orchestra, and participated in concerts including works by Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Bartok, Stravinsky, Adams, and Respighi, among others. She has had the privilege of playing under the baton of leading conductors including Alan Gilbert, James Conlon, Robert Spano, John Adams, and Jeffrey Milarsky, in venues that include Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Royal Albert Hall for a special performance at the London Proms. Beyond performing, Renate Rohlfing is rapidly gaining recognition as a vocal coach for singers. Specializing in German, French, and Polish repertoire, her coaching studio comprises singers from the Houston Grand Opera, Opera Theater Saint Louis, the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and many other leading companies. Ms. Rohlfing began piano studies at the age of 4 with Professor Peter Coraggio in her native Honolulu, Hawaii. After winning the New Orleans International Concerto competition at the age of 15, she made her orchestral debut with the New Orleans Symphony performing Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1. That same year, she toured Japan on a solo concert tour, with concerts in Fukuoka, Kagoshima, and Tokyo, among others. After winning the American Music Teacher's Association First Prize at 17, she debuted at Carnegie Hall. Ms. Rohlfing was subsequently invited to study at the Manhattan School of Music as a scholarship student, where she obtained her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance under the tutelage of Solomon Mikowsky and Daniel Epstein. Further studies led her to SUNY Stony Brook and the Juilliard School, where she received her Master of Music degree in Collaborative Piano, studying with Margo Garrett, Jonathan Feldman, JJ Penna, and Diane Richardson. She is the winner of numerous honors and awards, including the Presser Scholarship, the Sorel Foundation scholarship through New Triad for the Collaborative Arts, the William Petschek Scholarship, the Juilliard Alumni Scholarship, and the Avenir Foundation research grant. The latter included a residency at the Arnold Schoenberg Center in Vienna, where she worked closely with the composer's manuscripts and researched Schoenbergian performance practice.
Heralded “one of American independent music’s few truly inspired technicians” by WIRE magazine, Rachel Grimes is a pianist, composer, and arranger based in Kentucky. She has toured worldwide as a solo pianist, and her work has been performed by such artists as A Far Cry, Longleash, Amsterdam Sinfonietta Trio, Dublin Guitar Quartet, Portland Cello Project, Cicada, Orchestra Kandinskij, Borusan Quartet and Önder sisters, Kansas City Symphony, and the Louisville Orchestra. Rachel has performed at some of the world’s most diverse music festivals including Big Ears, Ecstatic Music Festival, Substrata, All Tomorrow’s Parties, P Festival, and CrossLinx. Collaborators include Loscil, SITI Company, astrïd and Sylvain Chauveau, Chris Wells, Scott Moore, Jacob Duncan, Matthew Nolan and Erik Friedlander. Solo releases: Through the Sparkle (with astrïd on Gizeh Records 2017), The Clearing (Temporary Residence 2015), Book of Leaves, Marion County 1938, and Compound Leaves, as well as contributions to the albums of fellow artists like Watter, Christopher Tignor, Seluah, Joan Shelley, Nathan Salsburg, Christian Frederickson, Tara Jane O’Neil, Helen Money, R. M. Hubbert, and the Frames. She is a member of Louisville rock band King’s Daughters & Sons (Chemikal Underground) and a founding member of the ground-breaking indie-rock chamber ensemble Rachel’s, with whom she toured and released six albums (Quarterstick / Touch & Go).
Recent commissions include: “The Blue Hour” for A Far Cry with co-composers Caroline Shaw, Sarah Kirkland-Snider, Shara Nova, and Angélica Negrón; film score with Matthew Nolan for “People On Sunday” for the National Gallery of Art; orchestrations of Book of Leaves for the Louisville Orchestra; a work for string quartet and two pianos for Borusan Quartet (Istanbul) and Ferhan and Ferzan Önder; a new piece “Your Mother, My Mother” and an arrangement of “And Today Was Her Birthday” for two pianos for the Önder sisters for their Anonymous Was A Woman project; a quartet for the Portland Cello Project; a new suite with Julia Kent for cello and piano for the installation Doppelgänger by London artist Peter Liversidge; a rendition of the national anthem for Smithsonian Magazine. She has contributed scoring, research, and recordings for multi-media installations for Donna Lawrence Productions (Museum of World Religions, Kentucky Show!, Kentucky Derby Museum, National Infantry Museum, New York Historical Society). Her recordings have been licensed to numerous film and TV works internationally including Listen to Me Marlon, Lost In Vagueness, War Machine, Actress, HBO series Witness, Gasland and Gasland II (HBO), Last Days Here, and Academy Award and Golden Globe winner La Grande Bellezza