January 26, 2009


We are all very excited about our upcoming concert featuring thirteen never-performed pieces by Felix Mendelssohn.  Mendelssohn, who was enormously popular during his lifetime, published only a small fraction of his work before his death at 38. There are a number of factors that explain the surprising fact there are literally hundreds of unpublished, unperformed, and unknown Mendelssohn pieces.
Stephen Somary, the founder of The Mendelssohn Project (www. TheMendelssohnProject.org), who has spent the past ten years trying to locate the unpublished manuscripts, explains that it was a combination of  Richard Wagner's anti-Semitic vitriol, which darkened Mendelssohn's name and reputation, the banning of Mendelssohn by the Nazis, and, most important, the dispersal of his unpublished manuscripts during the war to the far corners of the earth.   It took Somary's painstaking research and evident passion to track them down. 
It is thrilling to think that we will have the opportunity -- for the first time ever -- to  listen to works composed more than a 160 years ago by one of the greats.  Obviously such a concert calls for great artists, and we will deliver.  The Shanghai Quartet will perform along with pianists, Anna Polonsky and Orion Weiss, and singers, Abigail Nims and Kevin Deas.  

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