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92NY presents J’Nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano; Mark Markham, piano & Catalyst Quartet
December 1, 2022
The 92nd Street Y, New York (92NY), one of New York’s leading cultural venues, presents J’Nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano; Mark Markham, piano & Catalyst Quartet,on December 1, 2022 at 7:30pm ET at the Kaufmann Concert Hall. The concert will also be available for viewing online for 72 hours from time of broadcast. Tickets for both the in-person and livestream options start at $25 and are available at 92ny.org/event/j-nai-bridges-and-catalyst-quartet.
Grammy Award-winning American mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges’ Metropolitan Opera debut as Nefertiti in the sold-out 2019 run of Philip Glass’ Akhnaten opposite Anthony Roth Costanzo earned her both critical acclaim and a Grammy Award. She joins us with the Catalyst String Quartet for a world premiere and 92NY commission by composer Jimmy López, alongside art songs, popular works and spirituals.
Traditional, Every Time I Feel the Spirit
Carlos Simon, Prayer
Jimmy López, Santa Rosa de Lima, from Bel Canto
Jimmy López, Airs for Mother (World Premiere, performed with Catalyst Quartet)
Falla, Seven Popular Spanish Songs
John Carter, Cantata
Additional selections to be announced from the stage
About the Artists
Two-time Grammy® Award-winning American mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges, known for her “plush-voiced mezzo-soprano” (The New York Times), and “calmly commanding stage presence” (The New Yorker) has been heralded as “a rising star” (Los Angeles Times), gracing the world’s top opera and concert stages.
The 2022-23 season will spotlight Ms. Bridges in one of her signature roles as Carmen with debut engagements at the Arena di Verona, Canadian Opera Company, and a return to Dutch National Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. As a native of Tacoma, WA, Bridges eagerly anticipates her Seattle Opera debut in a concert performance of Samson et Delilah as Delilah in January 2023. Additional concert engagements include Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with the Detroit Symphony in November, and a world premiere by Carlos Simon in April 2023 with the National Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Bridges’ recital engagements for the season begin with the performance of a world premiere by Jimmy Lopez at 92NY in December, and continue throughout 2023 at Washington University, Thomasville Center for the Arts, The Cliburn, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, San Francisco Performances, and the Mondavi Center in Davis, California.
Ms. Bridges’ 2021-22 season highlights included numerous world premiere engagements as a guest artist in The Kennedy Center’s 50th Anniversary Season. Ms. Bridges’ time in Washington D.C. also included performances with The National Philharmonic in the world premiere of Adolphus Hailstork’s A Knee on the Neck, and Mozart’s Requiem, and her first performance of the Verdi Requiem with the Cathedral Choral Society. She also appeared with the Amarillo Symphony as a guest artist in a world premiere piece by Chris Rogerson entitled Sacred Earth, and she gave a solo recital at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton. In June 2022 she performed Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel as part of the Power to the People! festival, followed by her debut with the San Francisco Symphony singing Jocasta in Peter Sellars’ production of Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex, conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. She concluded her summer season singing a solo recital at Caramoor.
In the midst of the worldwide pandemic, she emerged as a leading figure in classical music’s shift toward conversations of inclusion and racial justice in the performing arts. In 2022 she was announced as one of the Kennedy Center’s NEXT50 cultural leaders. Bridges led a highly successful panel on race and inequality in opera with the Los Angeles Opera that drew international acclaim for being a “conversation of striking scope and candor” (The New York Times). In early 2021, Ms. Bridges was featured in the Converse shoe brand’s All Stars Campaign for its Breaking Down Barriers collection. Bridges also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel for two episodes of the digital SOUND/STAGE series, and as part of the Global Citizen movement’s Global Goal campaign, a program which also included Coldplay, Shakira, Usher and more. The pandemic also forced the cancellation of Ms. Bridges’ numerous debuts during the 2020-2021 season including the title role of Carmen at The Metropolitan Opera. Bridges’ 2019 – 2020 season included her highly-acclaimed debut at The Metropolitan Opera as Nefertiti in a sold-out run of Philip Glass’ opera Akhnaten, as well as a house and role debut with Washington National Opera as Dalila in Samson et Dalila.
Other recent highlights include the 2022 Grammy® Award-winning Metropolitan Opera production of Akhnaten and 2021 Grammy® Award-winning recording of Richard Danielpour’s oratorio The Passion of Yeshua with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, performing at the National Library of Congress to honor legendary fashion designer Diane von Furstenburg as she received the 2022 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Woman of Leadership Award, her sold-out Carnegie Hall Recital debut, her role debut of Kasturbai in Satyagraha at LA Opera, and her debuts at Dutch National Opera and the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. Ms. Bridges also created the role of Josefa Segovia in the world premiere of John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West at San Francisco Opera, and performed in the world premiere of Bel Canto at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, an opera by Jimmy Lopez based on the novel by Ann Patchett.
Bridges is a recipient of the prestigious 2018 Sphinx Medal of Excellence Award, a 2016 Richard Tucker Career Grant, first prize winner at the 2016 Francisco Viñas International Competition, first prize winner at the 2015 Gerda Lissner Competition, a recipient of the 2013 Sullivan Foundation Award, a 2012 Marian Anderson award winner, the recipient of the 2011 Sara Tucker Study Grant, the recipient of the 2009 Richard F. Gold Grant from The Shoshana Foundation, and the winner of the 2008 Leontyne Price Foundation Competition. J’Nai completed a three-year residency with the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago, represented the United States at the prestigious BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition and was a Young Artist at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, New York.
A native of Tacoma, Washington, she earned her Master of Music degree from Curtis Institute of Music, and her Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music.
Pianist Mark Markham is widely recognized around the world as one of the great artists of his generation. His international career encompasses performances in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Equally at home as a soloist, a collaborator with some of the finest singers in the world, a jazz pianist, or a vocal coach, his interpretations have been praised by the public and press alike. The Baltimore Sun recently praised his performance of Liszt and Chopin for his “big, rich tone,” “abundant power” and “sensitively using a wide palate of tone coloring.” His playing has been described as “brilliant”, “exquisitely sensitive”, and “in full service to the music”.
This season he is featured as soloist in Ravel’s Concerto in G and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Edward Polochick. In Munich, he is the vocal coach for Bellin’s La Sonnambula, starring soprano Jennifer O’Loughlin. January includes a recital in Florence with mezzo-soprano Marianna Pizzolato, followed by recitals in Baltimore and Washington, DC with Metropolitan Opera soprano Leah Crocetto. In addition to these performances he maintains a vocal coaching studio in New York City and Baltimore. He will also give a master class for singers and pianists presented by the Art Song Preservation Society of New York in the spring. In the 2014-15 season he performed at Carnegie Hall with Jessye Norman, in San Francisco with Ms Crocetto, in Baltimore with mezzo-soprano Theodora Hanslowe, in Costa Rica with baritone Arturo Chacon and in Tokyo with Ms Pizzolato. This past summer he was the vocal coach for the recording and performance of Rossini arias of Ms Pizzolato at the Rossini in Wildbad Festival in Germany. In the 2013-14 season he presented solo recitals in the US and Europe, performed Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto with the Baltimore Concert Artists and gave recitals with Ms Norman and Ms Crocetto.
Born in Pensacola, Florida, Mr. Markham made his debut in 1980 as soloist with the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra and in the same year was invited by the renowned Boris Goldovsky to coach opera at the Oglebay Institute. His teachers at the time, Robert and Trudie Sherwood, were supportive of all his musical endeavors from solo repertoire, vocal accompanying, and chamber music to Broadway and jazz. During the next ten years as a student at the Peabody Conservatory, where he received bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in piano performance, this same support for the diversity of his musical gifts came from Ann Schein, a pupil of the great Artur Rubinstein. While under her tutelage he won several competitions including the First Prize and the Contemporary Music Prize at the 1988 Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition in New York City.
He has given solo recitals at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; the New York Public Library; the Baltimore Museum of Art; and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. In 1987 Mr. Markham was appointed pianist of the Contemporary Music Forum of Washington, DC. During five seasons he gave numerous premiere performances at the Corcoran Gallery with this ensemble. This work led to other premieres throughout the US by composers Shulamit Ran, Larence Smith, and Richard Danielpour. Mr. Markham has also performed with the Brentano, Mozarteum, Glinka, and Castagnieri quartets and the Baltimore Woodwind Quintet, as well as with Edgar Meyer, Ron Carter, Grady Tate, and Ira Coleman. While still a student at the conservatory Mr. Markham toured with soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson, a collaboration that resulted in critically acclaimed recordings of works by Messiaen, Carter, Dallapiccola, Schuller, and Wuorinen. In addition, he has toured the US, Europe, and Asia with countertenor Derek Lee Ragin.
Since 1995 Mr. Markham has been the recital partner of Jessye Norman, giving nearly 300 performances in over 25 countries, including recitals in Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, La Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, London’s Royal Festival Hall, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Salzburg Festival, Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo, Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus in Greece, and at the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize presentation to President Jimmy Carter in Oslo.
Much appreciated by the public for his improvisational skills, Mr. Markham performed at the Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany, where he collaborated with Sir Peter Ustinov for a live television broadcast throughout the country. His gift for jazz has been recognized in the Sacred Ellington, a program created by Ms. Norman in which he serves as pianist and musical director and which has toured Europe and the Middle East. Most recently, his recording with Jessye Norman of “Roots: My Life, My Song” was nominated for a Grammy Award.
In 1990 Mr. Markham was invited to join the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory, where he served for ten years as vocal coach and professor of vocal repertoire and accompanying. He relocated to Europe for a decade, living in the South of France while maintaining a busy international schedule as a solo artist and collaborative partner with Ms. Norman, before returning to the United States in 2011.
A former faculty member of Morgan State University, the Britten-Pears School in England, and the Norfolk Chamber Festival of Yale University, he has presented master classes for pianists and singers throughout the US, Europe, and Asia and has been a guest lecturer for the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Markham currently resides in New York City.
Hailed by The New York Times at its Carnegie Hall debut as “invariably energetic and finely burnished… playing with earthy vigor,” the Grammy Award-winning Catalyst Quartet was founded by the internationally acclaimed Sphinx Organization in 2010. The ensemble (Karla Donehew Perez, violin; Abi Fayette, violin; Paul Laraia, viola; and Karlos Rodriguez, cello) believes in the unity that can be achieved through music and imagine their programs and projects with this in mind, redefining and reimagining the classical music experience.
The Grammy Award-winning Catalyst Quartet was founded by the Sphinx Organization in 2010. It has toured widely throughout the United States and abroad, including performances at the Kennedy Center, Chicago’s Harris Theater, Miami’s New World Center, and Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The Quartet has appeared with the Cincinnati Symphony, New Haven Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá, and served as principal players and featured ensemble with the Sphinx Virtuosi on six national tours. They have performed at music festivals ranging from Mainly Mozart to Juneau Jazz and Classics in Alaska, and the Grand Canyon Music Festival, where they appear annually. They opened the Festival del Sole in Napa, California performing with Joshua Bell. Their played six-concert engagement with jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant for Jazz at Lincoln Center culminated in a recording which won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. International engagements have included Russia, South Korea, Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia. Residents of New York City, the Catalyst Quartet launched its own series there: CQ@Howl in 2018.
The Catalyst Quartet has collaborated regularly with other artists including cellist Gabriel Cabezas, the Harlem Quartet, and the Imani Winds. Their 10th Anniversary brought CQ Minute, ten miniature string quartets commissioned from ten composers including Jessie Montgomery, Kevin Puts, Caroline Shaw, and Joan Tower.
UNCOVERED, a multi-CD series of recordings and concerts celebrates works by Black composers. Volume 1 was released in 2021 featuring music of Samuel-Coleridge-Taylor with clarinetist Anthony McGill and pianist Stewart Goodyear. Volume 2 released this year with pianist Michelle Cann features Florence Price. In 2021 San Francisco Performances launched a four-concert Uncovered series. The Bach/Gould Project, features the Quartet’s arrangement of Bach’s Goldberg Variations with Glenn Gould’s String Quartet Op. 1. Strum is the debut album of composer Jessie Montgomery, former Catalyst Quartet violinist. Bandaneon y cuerdas isb tango-inspired music for string quartet and bandoneon by JP Jofre, and Dreams and Daggers is their GRAMMY-winning album with Cecile McLorin Salvant.
Catalyst Quartet combines a commitment to diversity with a passion for contemporary works. Its members serve as faculty at the Sphinx Performance Academy at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Curtis Institute, and the Juilliard School. Ongoing residencies include Native American student composers at the Grand Canyon Music Festival and the Sphinx Organization’s Overture program in Detroit and Flint, Michigan. Past residencies have included the In Harmony Project in England, The University of South Africa, and The Teatro De Bellas Artes in Cali, Colombia. The ensemble’s 2019 residency for the Cuban American Youth Orchestra in Havanna was the first by an American string quartet since the revolution.
2022/23 TISCH MUSIC SEASON
In this first season curated by 92NY’s new Vice President of Tisch Music Amy Lam, the season will feature 39 events, more than 20 92NY debuts, 31 premieres, and four 92NY commissions. The 22/23 season includes premieres of Joseph Schwantner’s guitar quintet Song of a Dreaming Sparrow, a song cycle by Anthony Cheung, and works by Laurie Anderson, Timo Andres, Marcos Balter, Christopher Cerrone, Nicholas DiBerardino, Reena Esmail, inti figgis-vizueta, John Glover, Ted Hearne, Fred Hersch, Stephen Hough, Jimmy López, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly, Angélica Negrón, Mary Prescott, Caroline Shaw, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Darian Donovan Thomas, Scott Wollschleger, Pamela Z, and more.
This season marks the first time 92NY is presenting a fully integrated concert season across genres, including performances by Kate Baldwin, Joshua Bell, Regina Carter, Angela Hewitt, Larisa Martinez, Branford Marsalis, Kelli O’Hara, Eric Owens, Pepe Romero, Caroline Shaw, Sir András Schiff, Daniil Trifonov, and Jessica Vosk.
The World Premiere of a 92NY-commissioned piece from composer Jimmy López, performed by J’Nai Bridges and the Catalyst Quartet.
The New York premiere of Difficult Grace by cellist Seth Parker Woods and dancer Roderick George, presented in collaboration with Harkness Dance Center.
An in-depth two-day Julius Eastman retrospective featuring LA-based music collective Wild Up in three concerts, as well as exhibits, and panel discussions with Eastman friends and scholars examining the life of one of the 20th century’s most iconoclastic voices.
The Bach Collegium Japan, conducted by Masaaki Suzuki with baritone Roderick Williams
92NY’s signature series exploring the American songbook, Lyrics and Lyricists, continues to explore the best of Broadway, while also highlighting significant contributions to American culture by singer-songwriters across a variety of musical genres such as Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, the Mamas and the Papas, and more.
Two performances as part of an ongoing partnerships with The Curtis Institute of Music.
Jazz, which has been a staple of 92NY’s Tisch season since Thelonius Monk and Charles Mingus took to the stage in 1955, will be performed by world-class musicians like Branford Marsalis, Fred Hersch, and Regina Carter not just within the renowned Jazz in July series, but throughout the year.
About The 92nd Street Y, New York: The 92nd Street Y, New York (92NY) is a world-class center for the arts and innovation, a convener of ideas, and an incubator for creativity. 92NY offers extensive classes, courses and events online including live concerts, talks and master classes; fitness classes for all ages; 250+ art classes, and parenting workshops for new moms and dads. The 92nd Street Y, New York is transforming the way people share ideas and translate them into action all over the world. All of 92NY’s programming is built on a foundation of Jewish values, including the capacity of civil dialogue to change minds; the potential of education and the arts to change lives; and a commitment to welcoming and serving people of all ages, races, religions, and ethnicities. For more information, visit www.92NY.org.