Classical music and avant-garde cabaret merge when pianist Simone Dinnerstein, thereminist Pamelia Kurstin, and actor Alvin Epstein join forces for the first time tonight, November 19 at 7:30pm at Le Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker Street, NYC).
Together they journey through music by Bach, Mozart, and Chopin to Poulenc’s The Story of Babar the Elephant for piano and narrator, weaving together disparate elements in an unusual evening of poetry, music, improvisation, and narration. The unorthodox trio will repeat their program the next evening, Tuesday, November 20 at 7pm, as part of Dinnerstein’s Neighborhood Classics concert series at PS 321 (180 7th Avenue, Brooklyn), which raises funds for New York City public schools.
French composer Francis Poulenc’s musical work The Story of Babar the Elephant from 1940 is based on the 1931 children’s story of the same title by Jean de Brunhof. Poulenc initially improvised the piece while living outside of Paris to amuse the young family of his cousin, but eventually wrote it down when it proved to be very popular with many of the children in the neighborhood. Poulenc uses evocative colors to illustrate scenes in the narrated story, which is divided into distinct sections entitled “Lullaby,” “Nocturne,” “A Hymn,” “A March,” and more.
Having been identified as “an utterly distinctive voice in the forest of Bach interpretation” by The New York Times, American pianist Simone Dinnerstein performs in concert halls around the globe. Her recordings have shot to the top of multiple “Best of” lists and the Billboard Classical Chart. In addition to her busy performing schedule, Dinnerstein is dedicated to her community and can also be found sharing her music in schools, community centers, and prisons. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son; she is managed by IMG Artists and is a Sony Classical Artist.
American theremin player Pamelia Kurstin is known to cross all boundaries of music performance, demonstrating “how to squeeze soul from an instrument you can't even touch” (TED). Well-known for her work on the theremin as well as the bass, Kurstin is supremely versed in jazz to rock in venues that range from the concert hall to the movie theatre. Kurstin currently makes her home in Vienna, performing with eccentric rockers Barbez among several others. Her most recent solo album, Thinking Out Loud, was released on John Zorn’s Tzadik label.