Conceived by Lesley Karsten
Written by Lesley Karsten and Stephen Wadsworth
Director Jazz at Lincoln Center performances: Sarah Meyers
Original Director by Stephen Wadsworth
Music Director Brandt Fredriksen
Lesley Karsten as Astor Piazzolla
Pablo Aslan, bass
Nick Danielson, violin
Brandt Fredriksen, piano
J.P. Jofre, bandoneon
Story and Music Consultants
Fernando Gonzalez and Kip Hanrahan
Lighting Design: Daniel Barbee
Design Consultant: Charlie Corcoran
LESLEY KARSTEN, performer and co-writer, has had a long and varied career in both film and music.
She began her professional life as a literary agent in Los Angeles. In 1987, she moved to New York to pursue a career in documentary film, during which she worked as an Associate Producer and/or Senior Reporter on a diverse range of projects. Among other topics, her films have dealt with mental illness, the class system in Great Britain, the Mormons, infidelity, the spiritual aftershocks of 9/11, forgiveness, and mortality. These films aired on PBS, Frontline, American Experience, ABC Closeup, and Turner Broadcasting.
Collaborating with renowned documentary film producer, Helen Whitney, Ms. Karsten served as Senior Reporter for a two-part special for PBS entitled Forgiveness: A Time to Love; A Time to Hate. She recently completed work on a two-hour documentary entitled Into the Night - Portraits of Life and Death, also with Ms. Whitney. Into The Night: Part One aired in Spring 2018; Part Two is scheduled for release in 2021.
She is currently at work on a second mono-drama, Nadia, based on the life of renowned pedagogue and conductor, Nadia Boulanger. Widely considered the “greatest teacher since Socrates,” she ushered in a musical revolution that continues to this day.
STEPHEN WADSWORTH, co-writer/original director, is a ground-breaking writer and director for the stage. American Theater has called him “one of the most influential directors of the 21st century.” For his translations of classic French stage works he was named Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France.
In opera he wrote A Quiet Place with Leonard Bernstein (GRAMMY nom) and the story for Daron Hagen and Gardner McFall’s Amelia. He is acclaimed for his direction of the Seattle Ring cycle and the operas of Handel, including Rodelinda at the Metropolitan Opera, where he also staged productions of Boris Godunov and Iphigénie en Tauride. He has directed new work by such diverse writers as Beth Henley, Ken Ludwig, Peter Lieberson and Anna Deavere Smith, and he recently directed Terrence McNally’s Master Class on Broadway and in the West End. His work on plays from Aeschylus, Shakespeare and Marivaux to Shaw, Wilde and Coward have established him as a master of the classic repertoire.
At the Juilliard School he is The James S. Marcus Faculty Fellow, recipient of the John Erskine Faculty Prize, and creator, with Brian Zeger, of the first intensive acting program for singers in the world.
KIP HANRAHAN, story and music consultant, is a composer, lyricist and record producer.
He founded American Clavé Music in 1979 as a platform for his own work, and to work with musicians in creating their most personal art using the vocabulary of jazz, Latin and popular music. The label has been an artistic home for a wide range of artists, including Astor Piazzolla, Don Pullen, Steve Swallow, Allen Toussaint, Charles Neville, Brandon Ross Robby Ameen, Jack Bruce and Ishmael Reed.
Hanrahan was a long-time associate of Astor Piazzolla, and produced three of his recordings including Tango Zero Hour, considered by many (including Piazzolla himself) to be Piazzolla's best work and consistently praised for the elegance of its production.
Hanrahan's widely acclaimed body of original work is an art music that reinvents popular forms to reveal complexities and possibilities otherwise obscured. As one critic put it, "it's art you can dance to." His most recent recording, Crescent Moon Waning, was released on May 3, 2018.
FERNANDO GONZALEZ is an Emmy winning and GRAMMY nominated arts writer, critic and musician. He contributes regularly to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation blog; the digital arts magazine Artburst Miami and writes the blog Jazz With An Accent. He also has been the Associate Editor of The Latin GRAMMY Print & Special Projects for The Latin Recording Academy since 2011.
His affiliations include stints as staff writer for The Miami Herald and The Boston Globe, correspondent for The Washington Post; Managing Editor of the music magazine JAZZIZ; columnist for Downbeat magazine and contributor to JazzTimes. He has written program notes for Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Edinburgh Festival, has contributed essays to National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, was the managing editor of El Sitio.com, a pioneering bilingual site (1999) and a columnist, writing in Spanish, for Eritmo.com, a Latin music website (2000-2002).
Complementing his work in arts journalism, González has been also active in record production, teaching, radio hosting and arts administration. He was the Curator of Jazz Programming for the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center, Miami (2005-2007) and translated and annotated Astor Piazzolla, A Memoir (Amadeus Press), as told to Natalio Gorín by Argentine New Tango composer Astor Piazzolla (2001).
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, González majored in math at the University of Buenos Aires before pursuing music full time. He moved to the United States to attend Berklee College of Music, majoring in Composition/Film Music. He is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (GRAMMY®) and the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Latin GRAMMY ®).
Winner of Artists International in 1991, pianist BRANDT FREDRIKSEN held debut recitals at Weill Recital Hall, Gasteig Cultural Center, and Vafopoulio Hall.
In 2003, Fredriksen was selected by the U.S. and China Foundation to perform recitals and concerti throughout China, a tour that included Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Shenyang. A founding member of New York City’s Ensemble Respiro, Fredriksen has collaborated with members of the New York Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, Detroit Symphony, and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras.
Fredriksen has also performed with New Hellenic String Quartet, Harrington String Quartet, and members of the American String Quartet.
His recordings include works by Brahms, Schubert, Mozart, Strauss, Robeson and Raphael. He recorded solo piano music (Scriabin, Glinka, Ravel, Satie, Chopin and Prokofiev) for the soundtrack of the award winning documentary film, Sonia, produced by Lucy Kostelanetz. He has also recorded chamber music composed by Nickitas Demos for the Gregg Russell film A Free Bird and most recently “New Music from Greek and Greek-American Composers” for Albany Records.
Fredriksen holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, a Master of Music from The Juilliard School where he was the recipient of the Munz Award, and a Bachelor of Music from Indiana University. He has also studied at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary as a pupil of Ferenc Rados. Mr. Fredriksen’s other principal teachers were Mischa Kottler, Flavio Varani, Charles Fisher, Nadia Reisenberg, James Tocco, Stephen Kovacevich, Gyorgy Sebok and Martin Canin.
A native of San Juan, Argentina, Juan Pablo Jofre Romarion, a.k.a JP JOFRE, is an award-winning bandoneon player and composer. Mr. Jofre has been repeatedly highlighted by the New York Times and praised as one of today’s leading artists by Great Performers at Lincoln Center.
His music has been recorded by 13 times Grammy winner Paquito D’ Rivera, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and choreographed/performed by ballet-star Herman Cornejo (Principal Dancer of the American Ballet Theatre).
A recipient of the National Prize of the Arts grant in Argentina, Mr. Jofre has taken his form of contemporary tango to some of the most important venues around the world. He has performed as soloist/composer with numerous orchestras including the San Antonio Symphony, San Diego Symphony, and Argentina's National Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Jofre has participated in many prestigious festivals including the Celebrity Series of Boston, Umbria Festival, and Great Performers at Lincoln Center. He has given lectures and master classes at Google Talks, TEDtalks, The Juilliard School, Dartmouth College, and Manhattan School of Music.
Mr. Jofre has been commissioned by violinist-conductor Michael Guttman and violinist Francisco Fullana in collaboration with the San Antonio Chamber Orchestra and Metropolis Ensemble to write two double concertos for violin and bandoneon. Recently, virtuoso clarinet player Seunghee Lee commissioned Mr. Jofre to write a double concerto for clarinet and bandoneon.
More at jpjofre.com.
Argentine-American violinist NICK DANIELSON enjoys a career as both a classical and tango musician.
He began his studies at the Curtis Institute at 13 and appeared with the Philadelphia Orchestra at 15. After Curtis, Danielson played with the Chester Quartet, then joined New York's Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
Danielson has performed on Grammy- and Latin Grammy-winning recordings in both genres. He is featured in Stravinsky's Concertino on the Grammy-winning CD,Shadow Dances, on Deutsche Grammaphon.
Since 1992 he has served as Assistant Concertmaster of the New York City Ballet Orchestra, with which he performs often as solo violinist.
Living in the United States since 1980, Argentine-born bassist and composer Pablo Aslan is recognized internationally as one of the leading figures in traditional and contemporary tango. His latest release, Contrabajo features Aslan as a bass soloist accompanied by a string quartet in an eclectic and personal mix of Latin American music. His extensive discography includes Piazzolla in Brooklyn (2011), a tribute to Astor Piazzolla, and Tango Grill (2009). The latter earned him nominations for a Latin Grammy Award (“Best Tango Album”) and a Grammy Award (“Best Latin Jazz Album”).
As a producer, he has shaped more than a dozen albums, including the 2007 Latin Grammy Winner Te Amo Tango by Uruguayan bandoneonist Raul Jaurena. Most recently, Aslan worked on albums by the Glass House Orchestra, Tributango quartet, Norwegian pianist Hakon Skogstad, and a series of tangos for dancers. In 2016, he founded Avantango Records.
Aslan has also performed and recorded with many world-class artists, including Yo-Yo Ma, Shakira, Lalo Schifrin, Denyce Graves, Osvaldo Golijov, Pablo Ziegler, the New World Symphony, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Aslan has also performed with clarinetist David Krakauer’s band Klezmer Madness! in the U.S. and Europe, and collaborated with other leading klezmer musicians such as composer-trumpeter Frank London and violinist Alicia Svigals.
Aslan is an active researcher and educator producing educational programs for Lincoln Center Institute, Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts, and Arts Connection in New York City. As a guest lecturer, he has taught at several universities throughout the United States, including Harvard, Yale, and UCLA. Serving as Artistic Director of the Reed Tango Music Institute for the 2013-14 season, Aslan has also been a Featured Artist at the Indiana University Tangueros Conference.
SARAH MEYERS, director, has been on the directing staff at the Metropolitan
Opera since 2006, and has also been a guest director for companies including San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, and LA Opera. She is active in the
development of contemporary music and innovative work. In 2018 she directed the
premiere of Gregg Kallor’s Dramatic Sketches from Frankenstein at Green-Wood Cemetery in a production WQXR declared one of the standout performances of the year. Operawire described the performance as “riveting … an extraordinary experience.” ArtsImpulse Theatre Awards declared her 2014 production of the new opera Gallo by Ken Ueno “Best Opera” of the year. She is also the author of a new translation/adaptation of Die Fledermaus, which received rave reviews following performances in Boston in 2019.