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Conrad Tao, piano: Rachmaninoff Songbook with special guest Oliver Herbert, cello

December 6, 2023 @ 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM


The 92nd Street Y, New York (92NY), one of New York’s leading cultural venues, presents Conrad Tao, piano: Rachmaninoff Songbook with special guest Oliver Herbert, cello on Wednesday, December 6, 2023 at 7:30 pm at the Kaufmann Concert Hall. Online streaming is also available for 72 hours following the performance. Tickets start at $30 and are available at https://www.92ny.org/event/conrad-tao-piano.

As part of the global celebration of Rachmaninoff at 150, the incisive pianist Conrad Tao brings his unique perspective on the composer – creating a direct line to the music of Billy Strayhorn, Harold Arlen, and Stephen Sondheim.

Tao explores the influence of Rachmaninoff and his gift for sweeping melody and intoxicating orchestration on these and other leading composers in popular music and film. He also explores the impact of Rachmaninoff’s pianistic virtuosity on the artistry of jazz piano titan Art Tatum.

Rachmaninoff, Prelude in C Major, Op. 32, No. 1

Rachmaninoff, Prelude in A-flat Major, Op. 23, No. 8

Rachmaninoff, Prelude in G Major, Op. 32, No. 5

Strayhorn, “Take the A Train”

Sondheim, “In Buddy’s Eyes” from Follies

R. Schumann, “Auf Einer burg” from Liederkreis, Op. 39

Rachmaninoff, Étude-Tableau in A Minor, Op. 39, No. 2

Berlin, “All By Myself”

Improvisation on Variation 15 from Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Arlen, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (after Art Tatum)

Rachmaninoff, Variation 18 from Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Strayhorn, “Lush Life”

Rachmaninoff, Daisies, Op. 38, No. 3

Strayhorn, “Day Dream”

Rachmaninoff, Étude-Tableau in C Minor, Op. 33, No. 3

Rachmaninoff, Cello Sonata in G Minor, Op. 19

Conrad Tao has appeared worldwide as a pianist and composer and has been dubbed “the kind of musician who is shaping the future of classical music” by New York Magazine, and an artist of “probing intellect and open-hearted vision” by The New York Times. Tao has performed as soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Boston Symphony, and Atlanta Symphony. As a composer, his work has been performed by orchestras throughout the world; his first large scale orchestral work, Everything Must Go, received its world premiere with the New York Philharmonic, and he was the recipient of a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for his work on More Forever, in collaboration with dancer and choreographer Caleb Teicher. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant and was named a Gilmore Young Artist.

In the 2023-24 season, Tao performs Gershwin’s Concerto in F Major with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He also reunites with the New York Philharmonic to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 17, and celebrates the 100th anniversary of Rhapsody in Blue with multiple performances of the work and a new companion piece commissioned from him by the Santa Rosa Symphony. Return engagements include performances with the Cincinnati Symphony, Oregon Symphony, and Seattle Symphony, whom he play-directs in Conrad Tao’s Playlist, weaving Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 and works of Stravinsky, Purcell and Feldman into an adventurous program. As part of the celebration of Rachmaninoff’s 150th birthday, Tao brings Rachmaninoff Songbook to 92NY and Germany’s Klavierfestival Ruhr, presenting a direct line from Rachmaninoff to the music of Strayhorn, Arlen, and Sondheim.

This season’s collaborations include performances with dancer Caleb Teicher in the duo’s Counterpoint program, a multi-city tour with the Junction Trio, including a program of Zorn, Ives, and Beethoven at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, and the trio’s Detroit debut.

A Warner Classics recording artist, Tao’s disc Voyages was declared a “spiky debut” by The New Yorker. NPR wrote about the album, “Tao proves himself to be a musician of deep intellectual and emotional means.” His next recording, Pictures, was hailed by The New York Times as “a fascinating album [by] a thoughtful artist and dynamic performer…played with enormous imagination, color and command.” His third album, American Rage, was released in the fall of 2019. In 2021, Tao and brass quartet The Westerlies released Bricolage, an album of improvisations and experiments.

Oliver Herbert is a cellist with a rapidly growing international presence and the recipient of a 2021 Avery Fisher Career Grant. As a soloist, Herbert has appeared with the San Francisco Symphony and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and with conductors Michael Tilson Thomas, Juanjo Mena, and Alexander Shelley.

Working closely with composers, Herbert has commissioned several new works including a solo piece by Chelsea Komschlies as well as Andrew Moses’ Ecstatic Immanence for cello, percussion, and electronics which was recently premiered at the 2023 TICA Festival, Hong Kong. At the 2023 Kronberg Festival, Herbert gave the world premiere of Žibuoklė Martinaitytė’s new solo cello work, Spiral Spins. In recent seasons, his projects have included performances of the complete Bach Cello Suites at Capital Region Classical and the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas at Guarneri Hall in Chicago.

Herbert’s recital engagements have brought him across the United States to venues such as the Ravinia Festival and Kravis Center, as well as on tour to Greece, Germany, Switzerland, and Hong Kong. Herbert appears regularly at leading chamber music festivals and venues such as the Rheingau Festival, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Marlboro, La Jolla SummerFest, Verbier Festival, ChamberFest Cleveland, 92nd Street Y, and the Ravinia Festival. He has performed with such luminaries as Mitsuko Uchida and Tabea Zimmermann.

Herbert’s recordings include Haydn’s D Major Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas by Warner Classics. In 2020, Oliver released his debut album with pianist Xiaohui Yang, Frame of Mind: Fauré and Janáček, featuring the two cello and piano sonatas of Gabriel Fauré, as well as Leoš Janáček’s Pohádka (Fairy Tale).

Herbert is the recipient of the 2017 Verbier Festival’s Jean-Nicolas Firmenich Prize, as well as top prizes in the Lutoslawski International Cello Competition, Klein Competition, and Stulberg Competition. He has been featured on PBS’s Now Hear This, NPR’s From the Top, the popular online interview series Living the Classical Life, and more.

Herbert is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Colburn School, where he studied with Carter Brey, Pamela Frank, Clive Greensmith, and Peter Wiley. He is now a student of Frans Helmerson in the professional studies program at the Kronberg Academy, generously funded by the Nanno Lenz patronage. He plays on a Guadagnini cello that belonged to the great Italian cellist Antonio Janigro, on generous loan from the Janigro family.

2023/24 Tisch Music Season

Working within 92NY’s 150th Anniversary theme, Inspired by the Past, Transforming for the Future, 92NY’s Vice President, Tisch Music’s Amy Lam has curated a season featuring newly commissioned works and premieres and artist-driven programs that reference the history of 92NY, the artists themselves, and music more broadly. Some of the featured works at 92NY include the world premiere of a new, interdisciplinary project by Cécile McLorin Salvant, in which Salvant mines her classical music training to transform Baroque songs through a jazz-focused lens, the New York premiere of Damien Geter’s COTTON, which explores an African American narrative of past and present performed by Denyce Graves and Justin Austin, and a new program from Broadway legend Audra McDonald, who takes the stage with a program inspired by her Emmy, Grammy, and Tony Award-winning 30-year career.

Building on the theme of transformation, 11 of this season’s 42 concerts will be presented in 92NY’s newly renovated and creatively flexible Buttenwieser Hall at The Arnhold Center. In its Buttenwieser Hall programs, Tisch Music will continue to expand on-site audience engagement in new and exciting ways. As it continues to build its global audience (having secured approximately 5 million views from 200 countries and all 50 states for its original programming across the institution last year), 92NY will maintain its commitment to making its offerings available globally, with more than 20 events available for streaming and on-demand viewing.

The 2023/24 Tisch Music Season builds on the recent success of its Midsummer MusicFest, launched this year in celebration of 92NY’s 150th Anniversary. Consistent with 92NY’s anniversary theme, the annual Festival will look back on 92NY’s musical history, with 2023’s festival inspired by 92NY’s role in bringing jazz from small clubs to a concert hall setting. The Season also continues the evolution of Tisch Music’s flagship Lyrics & Lyricists series, doubling the American Songbook offerings and focusing on the genre as defined, not only by Broadway, but in the many genres of American music found across the country.

Highlights of the 2023/24 Tisch Music Season include:

Joshua Redman Group release concert of where are we featuring Gabrielle Cavassa
NY premieres of new work by Tyshawn Sorey and COTTON by composer Damien Geter
New York concert debuts of the Isidore String Quartet and pianist Tony Siqi Yun
Pianist Conrad Tao returns to 92NY as part of the global celebration of Rachmaninoff at 150
Ongoing partnerships continue with concerts from the Curtis Institute of Music, the New York Philharmonic, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with special guest artists
Art of the Guitar Series with Beijing Guitar Duo, David Russell and Manuel Barrueco
2023/24 Lyrics & Lyricists series celebrating Howard Ashman, Laura Nyro, Stevie Wonder, andSheldon Harnick in a special event led by Ted Sperling honoring the legacy of three-time Tony Award winner and Broadway legend, Jason Robert Brown, featuring a one-night-only appearance.
Expanded American Songbook offerings including exclusive concerts by Audra McDonald, Joshua Henry and Stephanie J. Block

For more information, please visit 92NY.org/Concerts.

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.


December 6, 2023
7:30 PM - 10:00 PM


92nd Street Y
1395 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10128 United States
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