The Pit Stop Players, a fourteen-member instrumental ensemble composed of veteran Broadway pit musicians, will perform at the recently completed, $37 million DiMenna Center for Classical Music on Tuesday, May 10, at 7:30 pm. The critically acclaimed ensemble will offer a rare performance of Dmitri Shostakovich's "The Bedbug," a suite of incidental music written by the great Russian composer for a 1929 stage comedy by Vladimir Mayakovsky.
"We're a cutting-edge new music ensemble," said Joshua Rosenblum, the group's founder and music director. "And what could be more contemporary and relevant than a piece about bedbugs? So what if it was written eighty-two years ago?"
On the contemporary side, the program will also include three premieres: Gary William Friedman's "Song for Horn," with horn soloist Dan Culpepper; Steven Burke's "unseen in air," with violin soloist Robin Zeh; and Steve Kenyon's "Doublers' Dilemma," for three woodwind players on seventeen instruments. The concert will also feature Bartok's "Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm," arranged and performed by Garah Landes, pianist, and Greg Landes, percussionist; and Rosenblum's "Arabian Nights Overture."
"We're very pleased to add the Pit Stop Players to the distinguished roster of ensembles who are taking advantage of our wonderful new facility," said Valerie Broderick, director of The DiMenna Center for Classical Music.
The Pit Stop Players, who collectively have played in pit orchestras for over 120 Broadway productions, include Ed Matthew, Steve Kenyon, and Marc Phaneuf, woodwinds; Chris Jaudes, trumpet; Wayne Goodman, trombone; Dan Culpepper, horn; Robin Zeh, violin; Paul Woodiel, violin; Jessica Troy, viola; Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf, cello; Garah Landes, piano; Jeff Carney, bass; and Greg Landes and John Ferrari, percussion.
Rosenblum, who founded the Pit Stop Players in 2009 as a means of giving Broadway musicians a chance to climb out of the pit and take center stage, says that nearly any genre is fair game for their programs, including traditional and contemporary classical, jazz, rock, fusion, and film music. However, the primary emphasis is on new compositions and arrangements, written and orchestrated specifically for the group.
Gary William Friedman is the composer of the TONY nominated, OBIE Award winning musical The Me Nobody Knows. His other musical theater accomplishments include the award winning Taking My Turn, which was presented on PBS Television's Great Performance Series. In addition to the theater, his music spans the genres of jazz, film, symphonic and liturgical works. His orchestral, operatic and dance works have been commissioned and performed at venues including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Lancaster Music Festival, the Columbus Symphony, The Festival at Sandpoint, Idaho, and Encompass New Opera Theatre. In addition to scoring features and highly acclaimed television films, he served as Music Director for TV's The Electric Company, for which he wrote many songs including the popular "Spider Man Theme Song." Friedman has co-produced and arranged several internationally acclaimed jazz recordings by his wife, Stevie Holland. Fanfare Magazine's review of Colloquy, Friedman's recent classical CD release, described Friedman as "a composer who has mastered his craft", and whose "music successfully combines accessibility with artistic integrity, lyricism with abstraction, and abundant heart with refined design."
Steven Burke has been recognized by the American Academy of Arts and Letters as a composer who "has that rarest of inventive gifts, a personal voice." His music has won praise from the Los Angeles Times "the writing has power...stinging emotions," and the New York Times "might have been written by Brahms after hearing the Rite of Spring...highly accomplished...bursting with historical awareness and creative confidence." He has received commissions from the Seattle Symphony, the ASCAP Foundation, The National Symphony, the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, Sequitur, the Jerome Foundation, St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble, the Albany Symphony, the Raschèr Saxophone Quartet, Yaddo, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonisches Orchester Kiel (Germany). His list of distinguished prizes include: the Rome Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. For more information please visit www.stevenburkecomposer.com.
Woodwind player and composer Steve Kenyon has led ensembles performing his original music at the Blue Note (NYC), Birdland, Carnegie Hall, and live on WNYC radio. He has performed throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia with Maria Schneider, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Blood Sweat and Tears, Chuck Mangione, Rachel Z, Philip Glass, NYC Ballet, Brooklyn Philharmonic, NY Pops, American Symphony, NJSO, Aretha Franklin, Beyonce and A Prairie Home Companion. He is co-leader, composer, and lead saxophonist with the NewYorkestra big band and plays tenor with the NY Saxophone Quartet. He has performed with some 40 Broadway shows, numerous Encores! at City Center, and many Broadway cast recordings. Other recordings include his Quartet's CD Fidel's Nightmare, and albums with Mike Holober, Andy Middleton, NewYorkestra, Audra McDonald, Judy Collins, Maury Yeston, Ricky Ian Gordon, and Michael John LaChiusa. Television work includes Ed, Today Show, David Letterman, Wonder Pets, and many national jingles. He currently plays lead woodwind for Broadway's How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Composer, conductor and pianist Joshua Rosenblum has led the orchestras for thirteen Broadway and Off Broadway shows, including Wonderful Town, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Music Man, Miss Saigon and Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He is also the composer/creator of BUSH IS BAD, the hit Off Broadway satirical revue, and the composer/co-lyricist of Fermat's Last Tango, Einstein's Dreams, Garbo and Me, and the forthcoming The Haunted Hotel. His instrumental music has been recorded on two CDs: Impetuosities and Sundry Notes, both on the Albany Records label. Rosenblum has written pieces on commission for Philip Smith, principal trumpeter of the New York Philharmonic; Ethel, America's premiere post-classical string quartet; and the Chase Brock Experience dance troupe, among many others. He teaches Composing for Musical Theater at Yale University, his alma mater, and was recently awarded a grant from the Signature Theatre in Washington, D.C., as part of the American Musical Voices Project: The Next Generation. www.rosenblummusic.com