eNewsChannels: Broadway pit musicians

NEWS: No boos here! The Pit Stop Players, an instrumental chamber ensemble composed of veteran Broadway pit musicians, launch their sixth season with a concert of Halloween-themed music at Christ & Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 120 West 69th Street, on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.

The program will include music from film, including selections from Bernard Hermann’s scores to “Psycho” and “Vertigo,” as well as Bartok’s “Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta,” which was put to famously creepy use by Stanley Kubrick in “The Shining” (remember Room 237?). In addition, violinist Victor Costanzi will be guest soloist for Camille Saint-Saens’ well-loved “Danse Macabre.” The concert also includes William Bolcom’s colorful “Poltergeist Rag,” as well as three world premieres: new pieces by Alan Taylor, Thomas Sleeper, and Pit Stop music director Joshua Rosenblum.

Rosenblum explains the genesis of his piece, which is titled “Tuition, Room and Board.” “I wanted to write about something frightening, and as the parent of a college sophomore, that was just about the most terrifying thing I could think of.”

The Pit Stop Players, who collectively have played in pit orchestras for over 140 Broadway productions, include Ed Matthew, Marc Phaneuf, and Don McGeen, woodwinds; Chris Jaudes, trumpet; Mark Patterson, trombone; Dan Culpepper, horn; Victor Costanzi, Suzy Perelman, and Denise Stillwell, violins; Alissa Smith, viola; Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf, cello; Grace Paradise, harp; Jeff Carney, bass; Gregory Landes and Andrew Beall, percussion; Milton Granger, synthesizer; and Garah Landes, piano.

The players will be wearing Halloween costumes, and audience members are encouraged to come dressed for the occasion as well.

The Pit Stop Players, founded in 2009 by conductor/composer Joshua Rosenblum, is an instrumental ensemble comprised of some of New York’s top freelance musicians, commonly regarded as the best instrumentalists in the world. Repertoire includes arrangements and transcriptions of great pieces from the recent past (encompassing numerous genres), as well as undeservedly neglected classical gems, but the primary emphasis is on new compositions that are both challenging and immediately engaging, written and orchestrated specifically for the group by today’s most exciting creative talents.

Since their first concert in February 2010, the Players have performed works by Bernstein, Ginastera, Shostakovich, John Psathas, William Bolcom, Danny Elfman, Paul McCartney, and Freddie Mercury, among others, as well as world premiere compositions by David Chesky, Gary William Friedman, Jamie Lawrence, Fay Wang, Steve Kenyon, Josh Schmidt, Joshua Green, and Michael Starobin. Other highlights have included the group’s performance of “The Rite of Spring” in a specially-commissioned new chamber arrangement, as well as Rosenblum’s own “Young Person’s Guide to the Pit Stop Players,” with special guest narrator Cynthia Nixon.

Cited by “The New York Times” for their “flair,” “spirited readings,” and “playfully cohesive programs,” “making an hour-long serving of modern works not just palatable but enticing,” the Pit Stop Players have take their place at the cutting edge of New York’s cultural landscape, bringing exciting contemporary music to new audiences, and upending conventional assumptions about concert programming.

More information:

WHO: Pit Stop Players
WHEN: Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Christ & Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 120 West 69th Street, New York, NY
TICKETS: $25 ($15 for students); Advance sales – (CASH ONLY at the door).


Twitter: @rosenblummusic


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