Music Kitchen "Forgotten Voices" JUNE Premiere #6 Featuring Beata Moon’s "At Peace"

This month’s concert featuring Beata Moon’s „At Peace“ was so powerfully received that nothing more needs to be said about it than to read about it below!
A bit of wonderful news in advance: I am excited to share that composer Angelica Negron will be joining the „Forgotten Voices“ project.  And in case you missed it, I am also thrilled to share the news that our 15th and final composer for „Forgotten Voices“ is Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.  In addition to being a stunning composer, she also happens to be the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in composition.
The complete list of composers commissioned by Music Kitchen’s „Forgotten Voices“ project is as follows: Courtney Bryan, Jon Grier, Adam Guettel, Kelly Hall-Tompkins, James Lee III, Tania Leon, Beata Moon, Paul Moravec, Angelica Negron, Kevin Puts, Steve Sandberg, Jeff Scott, Joel Thompson, Errollyn Wallen, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.
We look forward in August to a special feature at the Gateways Music Festival in Rochester, NY.  More on that soon- There are so many more exciting developments happening, please stay tuned for news!  You make this all possible- As always, if you wish to support Music Kitchen and the „Forgotten Voices“ project, please click here:
Warmest Regards,

Music Kitchen Photos by Gregory Routt

Premiere #6: June

Composer Highlight: Beata Moon

(Photo by Tess Steinkolk)

Chosen Text:
„I really felt at peace, within my mind and soul listening to Music Kitchen.  I thank God that I am born and yet alive…So many trials and tribulations.  Thank you for coming over.“


A versatile musician acclaimed for her expressivity and sincerity, Beata Moon continues to reach audiences through her many-faceted roles as composer, pianist, educator and impresario. An American of Korean descent, Moon was born in North Dakota and raised in Indiana, where she began studying piano at age 5. She made her orchestral debut with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra at age eight, and concertized throughout the Midwest, giving recitals and appearing with various orchestras in the region. Moon graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree from the Juilliard School where she was a student of Adele Marcus.
After completing a semester of the Masters Degree Program at Juilliard, she took a break from playing to reflect on what music meant to her personally. It was at this time that she discovered composing and teaching, which eventually resulted in her return to performing.
The role of the composer as performer and educator is an important one in Moon’s life. She is an ardent ambassador for new music and has enjoyed working as a music television host (WNYE; NY, NY) as well as an impresario to reach out to broader audiences. A behind-the-scenes look at the making of her Earthshine CD, is available via streaming video on Artspass, the leading digital arts content provider.
Moon’s music has been described as an “irrepressible outpouring” and “music of irreducible images.” Her first CD, Perigee & Apogee (2001), of original piano and chamber works on the Albany Records label was well-received by press and public alike and continues to be broadcast on radio stations across the nation. Moon’s works were featured in Instrumental Women, a nationwide radio program from Minnesota Public Radio.
She was also one of 20 women selected by Lifetime Television for a series of brief profiles honoring the diverse contributions and activities of women today. This commercial-like segment, spotlighting her work as a composer, aired across the United States on the Lifetime Real Women network.
Her Earthshine CD (2004), this time released on her own label, Bibimbop Records, features works commissioned by artists such as marimbist Makoto Nakura, guitarist Kevin Gallagher and saxophonist Brian Sacawa. The disc also includes the highly acclaimed Corigliano String Quartet, baritone Nmon Ford and soprano Julianne Borg, and members of the Beata Moon Ensemble, an all-female chamber ensemble created to promote women composers, conductors and performers.
Moon’s third CD, released in June 2007 on the Naxos label, features her at the piano performing her solo piano works. Gramophone magazine reviewer Andrew Druckenbrod writes, “Moon writes compelling music that is utterly sincere…this disc is exhibit A in the continuing court-of-public-opinion case on the accessibility of quality new music.“ Her latest CD, Saros, became available in June, 2012. Learn more about this disc here.
An interest in aesthetic education led Moon to become a teaching artist for Lincoln Center Education, where she has conducted workshops for students and teachers as well as for administrators from across the nation. For Carnegie Hall, she serves as a music facilitator for Arts Achieve and was a teaching artist for The Academy – a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and The Weill Music Institute. Moon also has collaborated with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in their “Composition in the Classroom” program.
Through her various roles as an educator, performer and composer, Moon fulfills her wish to work musically with people of all ages and backgrounds. She believes that creating and making music (not just listening to music) can be an invigorating way to process life’s varied experiences. Moon hopes to reach and engage all people through her music and work.

107th Music Kitchen
Cluster House Transitional Housing 
June 19, 2019

“Forgotten Voices” Premiere #6 with Beata Moon

„At Peace”
Beethoven Trio Opus 9 no. 3

Allison Charney, soprano
Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violin
Dana Kelley, viola
Alexis Gerlach, cello

Every Music Kitchen concert is profound in some way for how the music, the artists’ performance and the clients’ sensibilities intersect.  But today was one of those concerts that took my breath away time and time again.   I was so happy to have as special guest, Jon Deak, bassist, composer, member of the New York Philharmonic and founder of their Very Young Composer Program.  It was through Beata’s invitation for me to perform for that program this year and our opportunity to reconnect on the topic of composition that she was a natural fit for the “Forgotten Voices” project.

This was a brand-new venue for us; facilitated by Urban Pathways, Cluster House is a building of efficiency apartments- transitional housing from those who have recently left shelters. So, as we arrived, it was a yet undiscovered mystery what would unfold here.  The room where we were to play was a nice, tiled room on the ground floor and as I was the first to arrive, I took my violin out to play a bit while a young maintenance employee was setting up the room with his back turned to me.  As soon as I started playing, he stopped what he was doing and came over for a closer look.  “How do you do that?  What are you pressing on?”  I explained a bit of how a violin works while he looked on in amazement.  “What music is that, Beethoven?  I said, “No, Florence Price, but we’ll be playing Beethoven soon.”
This activities room was right in front of the elevators, but unfortunately behind double glass doors. And at this venue, the only way the administration felt they could manage the photos was to require the photo release in order to enter.  l worried that we might not be accessible enough, both physically and now logistically.  I definitely didn’t want to exclude people over photos.  But it’s very important that clients be comfortable around the taking of images and if it has to be done this way here, I understand.  

I began with my usual introduction- My mind is always performing a million calculations at once while I am speaking and playing for Music Kitchen concerts, feeling the waters, evaluating reactions, gauging what to play, do or say next, being welcoming and approachable…  It’s a wonder that I can put two sentences and two notes together at all!  Even as observers of Music Kitchen concerts frequently tell me what a powerful way I have with the entire presentation, I sometimes have the sense in the moment that neither the notes nor the sentences always come out in the more polished way I would deliver them in other settings.  But then sometimes, as later on in today’s performance, this setting and the responses to our performance draws more special magic out of us than any other place in time, even 5 minutes before!  

I gave them a bit of what to listen for in the Beethoven Trio- mainly Beethoven’s temperamental, brooding nature as evidenced by the C minor mood, peppered by demonstrative and insistent piles of Sforzatos.  A woman on the left side of the room, one of our concert early birds who had requested the Moonlight, had clearly had enough experience with Beethoven to have a strong opinion in advance, “Oh, he was crazy,” she said with conviction.  I chuckled, “Let’s see where he takes us!”  At the end of the movement, we received easy and abundant applause.  When I asked them if they could hear what I was talking about before, many pairs of eyes stared back at me, crickets could be heard chirping, but nary a human voice here in this room dared speak.  I asked the ensemble to reprise a 4-bar section with particularly demonstrative chord progression, in full forte, but punctuated by leading silences in between.  After that I turned to our audience once again.  Finally, a voice up front ventured to say something.  Not quite understanding her understated utterance, I asked for clarification, “Dramatic or traumatic?”  “Well, both,” she said.  “Yes!”  I chimed in.  Then someone also nearby in the front row felt emboldened.  “Can you play the Mozart Sonata #9?”  I said I didn’t know that one off the top of my head, but that we have more Beethoven.  From the back row a man, decked out in red t-shirt and locks or braids inside a large, red Caribbean-style stocking cap offered, “Elise?”  “Yes, fur Elise, that is another work of Beethoven,” and I played a few bars of that iconic opening melody.  He then added, “Well, it’s an important African-American hol… celebration today.  Maybe you could play something for that?”  “Juneteenth!”  I said excitedly.  Without skipping a beat, I quickly offered, “Everything we’re playing here today is a celebration of Juneteenth, because without it, we wouldn’t be here!”  I heard a flood of Amen-like affirmations sound all over the room.

The most amazing opening, like a beautiful sunlit lotus flower in full awareness of itself, began after we played the Beethoven’s stately and monumental slow movement.  Before we started, I invited our audience to listen for Beethoven’s poignant use of silence.  And with that we and our audience settled in.  Now knowing what to expect, those silences calmed the already super attentive audience to a total stillness.  No one was tempted to clap in the several somewhat false endings.  When we completed it, a woman in the front row rolled her eyes back, fell against the back of the chair and released a contented and demonstrative sigh, “That was…wow!”  And then from there things began to fly.  A Muslim woman covered in a headscarf walked in with gentle smile on her face, her beautiful brown eyes wide with joy and eagerness to be part of whatever was happening here.  A man in the back said, “Sitting here listening to you all play, I’ve written a poem.  Can I read it before I have to leave?”  Yes, of course, we encouraged.  He then proceeded to blow our minds with what he had written, delivered with beautifully accented rhyming couplets:

Strings serenading the soul
Telling stories that was never told
Flights of sensations that endure
The bitter melodies so calm and pure
Rhythms that evolve into a masterpiece
A sweet but sensual treat
Characters that entice the spirit
There are no words but I understand the lyrics
Three articles of art sent from up above
That stand on a foundation built with love
Emotional outposts to the very last ounce
Le concerto la..? of Cluster House

We gushed and swooned over the talent of this man and of this moment.  We asked if he could stay a bit longer because we believe the next piece will be of particular interest.  After taking a picture with me and his beautiful poem, he went back to his seat.  I then introduced “Forgotten Voices,” soprano Allison Charney, and Beata Moon’s song “At Peace.”  Allison gave a beautiful introduction of the song, illuminating Beata’s background in the Presbyterian church, where her father is a minister, as a definite influence of the work.  And with that, I lamented that the same woman with head covering quickly left the room, without ever hearing a note.   

We soon leaned into the opening of the song, with many melodic fragments passed around the trio highlighting moments of the text, finishing the choral-like work and Barber Adagio-reminiscent moments with the plagal “Amen” cadence.  A man in front began to speak, at first stilted with emotion, then flowing in a steady crescendo of thoughts, “That gives me comfort and peace- It makes me want to do something good with my life-  It makes me realize I’ve never really done anything good with my life; I’m 64 years old and I ruined so much of my life with alcohol.   But hearing this, it makes me re-evaluate; now it makes me think, I want it to be different.  I’ve been sober for 41 days and because of this I can turn that around from now… One day at a time.”  Our guest, Jon, couldn’t believe what he was hearing, visibly moved by the testimonial.  A staff member jumped in to encourage the client, and us, “Music is very therapeutic- that’s why they’re here!”   

He continued, “Some people wouldn’t take the time to come here but you are here and making this music. I’ve never heard anything like this before… I’ve never heard anything like this before.  I feel like I was born again through this music, right here, right now.”  We were stunned and listened to his testimony with care.  Alexis quickly offered to the man and the audience as a whole that we are also changed because of you and your reception of our performance, that we cannot do it without you and that your listening is such a gift.”  

More people in the audience offered triumphantly, “I’ve written a poem!”  We listened to each one of the three with awe- The last one used imagery of being transported on angel’s wings. Though many wonderful things happen, nothing like this has ever occurred in a Music Kitchen concert.  I asked my colleagues, “Should we play it again, or…”  I didn’t even get to complete the sentence before there was a chorus of cheers of “Play it again!!”  So we knew what we had to do!  And here’s where even more magic emanated from us, now inspired, released and multiplied by these listeners in this unique way at this unique moment in time, where even five minutes ago it would not have been possible.

At the conclusion of the second playing, a woman on the left side of the room now felt moved to give us her testimony as well.  “I don’t want to put pressure on your performance and what you’re doing here today, but…I didn’t want to come here, but I’m so glad I did-I feel so much better.  This music and being here with you all, I just feel so much better.”  So many poems and testimonials, Jon eventually went to get a notebook to take notes on the amazing things being said all around the room in response to today’s performance.

Then a few questions.  People wanted to know where we’re from.  The earlier man who gave the first powerful testimony was fixated on Allison’s voice, “How do you get that voice?  I don’t think I could do that.  How do you get that voice??”  The same man in red mentioned cartoons and that was an opening to one of my favorite connections to audiences.  “Perhaps you know an old friend of mine,” I said, “Bugs Bunny?”  Everyone laughed as they said yes indeed.  I then went on to play the famous music from famous scenes, asking them to remember what the action was at the time.  They did so without skipping a beat- “Bugs Bunny is working on Elmer Fudd’s head” and a woman in the front row who had previously been so understated, now said confidently- “Rossini Barber of Seville.”  I was floored.  Then I next played the ride of the Valkyries theme that was repurposed into a song, which they began singing right away, “Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit!”  We share good belly laughs all around.  I told them that the Lutheran Church, plus a concert like this, plus Warner Brothers cartoons are the reason I am a violinist today.  And synchronistically, in light of our special guest, I just had a chance to reconnect with those memories a few weeks ago in attendance at the New York Philharmonic’s “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony” program.

I didn’t know if we should leave it at that, here in this peaceful place, or continue with Beethoven.  I ventured a guess, and it turned out to be the right one.  “So we are going to play one last movement of Beethoven….”  Before I could even finish the thought, the exuberance of one of our listeners was released like the central shoot of a fountain, “I knew you were going to play more of that Beethoven!!”  “Is that ok?’” I asked.  “YES!” she said, I LOVE it!”

Since this performance was already pushing to an hour and 15 minutes and so much had already been said, we assembled for our group photo.      As the group was dispersing, one of our front row listeners who made so many astute classical observances, came over to kiss me on the cheek, then going to do the same with Alexis.  Though it’s not typically how we receive well-wishers, it was clear he was just really touched by our performance.  As I said before, each performance and interaction offers profound and unique gifts to audience and artists alike, but this is one that powerfully illustrates Music Kitchen’s indelible impact, certainly on me.

Following the performance, I’m proud that Jon Deak was equally moved.  He said to me, “You made me cry nonstop.  You’re so solid, so effective and so welcoming at this- obviously you’re a pro.  This absolutely made my day, made my day- and my day was already pretty good.  It’s really smart, this “Forgotten Voices” project- I mean, really caring, but a very, very smart thing to do.”  The arts at the highest level with diversity and inclusion, smart indeed-

Following are the notes from the listeners:

Strings serenading the soul
Telling stories that was never told
Flights of sensations that endure(?)
The bitter melodies so calm and pure
Rhythms that evolve into a masterpiece
A sweet but sensual treat
Characters that entice the spirit
There are no words but I understand the lyrics
Three articles of art sent from up above
That stand on a foundation built with love
Emotional outposts to the very last ounce
Le concerto la..? of Cluster House

The reason of being here of the reason of being here of not being here to put no pressure on.  Thank you for coming.

(Poem #2)
Thank you for your rich blessings
From your violin straight from Jesus wings
A voice that angels here reaching
My heart touching my mind &
Makes me lose all self control
Mekes love an object not a mere subject
Makes us really feel at peace Thank you
A. Fernandez 6.19.19