On October 7, 2017, Orchestra Moderne NYC celebrated its debut at Carnegie Hall and the legacy of immigration to America.
The concert highlighted Peter Boyer’s Grammy-nominated work Ellis Island: The Dream of America. This beautiful tribute to historic American immigration featured seven actors reading stories chosen from the Ellis Island Oral History Project, accompanied by an emotional orchestral score and projected photos from the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
Also on the program was Overture to Light by Emmy-winning composer Lolita Ritmanis, the world premiere of Steven Lebetkin’s compelling Violin Concerto with soloist Momo Wong, and the beloved Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland.
Carnegie Hall Debut
Saturday, October 7, 2017 | 8 pm
The Journey to America:
From Repression to Freedom
Overture to Light by Lolita Ritmanis
Violin Concerto by Steven Lebetkin
Momo Wong Violin
– Intermission –
Fanfare for the Common Man by Aaron Copland
Ellis Island: The Dream of America by Peter Boyer
with seven actors
Amy Andersson, Music Director
Lolita Ritmanis – Composer
Ritmanis is currently composing music for hit TV series Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, as well as two long-form animation projects, the recently completed documentary film, An Act of Love, radio-play audio book Rain of the Ghosts, music for the feature film Give Til It Hurts, and WIF series Flip the Script.
Her concert works as well as four original musicals have been performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Taiwan, and Australia. Her musical Eslingena, co-written with Alberts Legzdiņš and Andris Ritmanis, was performed in Canada, Latvia, Australia, and Germany in 2004-2017, and was highlighted by the attendance of three separate sitting presidents of Latvia.
Ritmanis’s symphonic work Overture to Light, which had its European premiere as part of the World Latvian Cultural Conference in Riga, Latvia in 2014, will have its US premiere at The Journey to America: From Repression to Freedom concert. Inspiration for this work comes from Ritmanis’s parents and the generations of Latvians that fled Communism during World War II.
Steven Lebetkin – Composer
Known and admired in classical music circles for his innovative, captivating, compelling classical compositions, Steven Lebetkin is a sought-after collaborator for commercial songs, jazz, and scoring, who has developed an innovative approach to music composition. He was the youngest graduate in the history of Queens College, CUNY in the 1970s, with a Masters in Music Composition.
Among his recorded works in 2016 with the City of Prague Philharmonic, were Variations For Orchestra, Dance Suite from Cycle of the Earth, and Symphonic Songs – Six Songs On Poems By Walt Whitman. Variations for Orchestra was premiered last December by the Cukurova State Symphony Orchestra in Adana, Turkey.
Lebetkin’s new works this year include Cycle of the Earth (a one-hour ballet for symphony orchestra), Piano Concerto, Concerto for Soprano Saxophone, Vibraphone and String Orchestra, Elegy For String Orchestra (Double of divided strings), and Violin Concerto, which will have its world premiere at the Journey to America: From Repression to Freedom concert on October 7 and be performed by Violinist Momo Wong.
Momo Wong first stepped into the spotlight at age 10 performing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Brockton Symphony Orchestra in Boston’s Jordan Hall. Currently, she is a graduate student at Juilliard School, studying under Lewis Kaplan and Donald Weilerstein. Since 2015, she has participated in numerous major violin competitions including the Queen Elisabeth Competition and the 54th Premio Paganini Competition and has been a prizewinner in competitions such as the New England Conservatory Concerto Competition and the Connecticut International Young Artist Violin Competition.
Her recent concert highlights include a commemorative recital in Shanghai, China, the US premier of Sebastian Currier’s “Links,” solo performances in Bowdoin’s Studzinski Hall, and Ruïnekerk in Bergen, Netherlands. As a distinguished chamber musician, Momo is a member of the Altezza Piano Trio, which made its recital debut at Alice Tully Hall in 2016. She will make her Carnegie Hall debut premiering composer Steven Lebetkin’s violin concerto.
Peter Boyer – Composer
Grammy-nominated Peter Boyer is one of the most frequently performed American orchestral composers of his generation. His works have received over 400 public performances by more than 150 orchestras, and thousands of broadcasts by classical radio stations around the United States and abroad. He has conducted recordings of his music with three of the world’s finest orchestras: the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has received seven competitive national awards for his work.
Many of America’s most prominent orchestras have performed Boyer’s music, including the Boston Pops, Cleveland Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Cincinnati Pops, Houston Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Pacific Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Fort Worth Symphony, Kansas City Symphony, Nashville Symphony, Colorado Symphony, and Phoenix Symphony.
Boyer’s major work Ellis Island: The Dream of America, for actors and orchestra, has received over 170 live performances by 75 orchestras since its 2002 premiere, and his recording on the Naxos label was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. Ellis Island was recently recorded with the Pacific Symphony for a PBS Great Performances program to be televised nationally in early 2018.
In addition to his concert hall work, Boyer is active in the film and television music industry, and has contributed orchestrations to more than 30 film scores by prominent Hollywood composers. He has arranged music for the Academy Awards, and composed music for The History Channel. His music has appeared in documentary film, short films, and a variety of television programs.
Stacey Lightman (Helen Lansman Cohen) can currently be heard as the voice of the statue of Gertrude Stein (located in Bryant Park) as part of the NYC Talking Statues project. Her previous New York theatre roles include Gertrude Stein in the new work Henri’s Letters, Beatrix Potter in Beatrix in the Shadows (Equity Library Theatre and Emerging Artists Theatre), and Magdelone in the NYC premiere of Diana Rissetto’s Warmth. Previous voiceover roles include Grandma for the animated film short, One Heck of a Plan, from the Academy Award-nominated creators of A Cat in Paris, and as Great Aunt Agnes and a panoply of other characters on the sci-fi audio drama, The Adventures of Lord Dinby Whitherspoon, Duke of Space. Stacey is honored to be one of the performers for Ellis Island: The Dream of America. Thanks to Amy Andersson and Orchestra Moderne NYC for inviting me on this wonderful journey! To MBOL for his love and support.
Myles Phillips (James Apanomith) is thrilled to be a part of The Journey to America: From Repression to Freedom concert. In the United States we’re living in today, telling the story of the immigrants who represent a large part of our country is just as pertinent now as it ever was. Myles is a graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University where he received a BFA in musical theatre. Since then, he’s been seen on stage with Nebraska Shakespeare, Florida Studio Theatre, and most recently played the role of Manco Inca in Occasion for Sin at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. Being fairly new to this fantastic city Myles is grateful for all the opportunities presented to him so far, and he’s excited to discover what else it has in store for him.
Rori Nogee (Lillian Galletta) is making her Carnegie Hall debut! On Broadway, she appeared in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Off-Broadway in Showgirls, the Musical! (Cristal Connors). Other credits include Rock of Ages (Regina) at Arizona Broadway Theater, Young Frankenstein (Elizabeth) at North Street Playhouse, Grease (Rizzo) at Roxy Regional Theater, Rent (Maureen) at the Charleston Music Hall, the San Francisco premiere of Showgirls, the Musical! with Peaches Christ, and the North American tour of Disney Junior’s Chuggington, Live! TV credits include America’s Got Talent, Every Day a Little Seth (pilot) and Thank You For Coming (pilot). Rori also wrote the book/music/lyrics for Siren’s Den: A New Rock Musical (semi-finalist in the New York New Works Theatre Festival) and starred in the production at the Gene Frankel Theater. Studies include NYU’s Lee Strasberg Institute, Circle in the Square and LAByrinth Theater Intensive. @rorinogee
Daniel Kreizberg (Lazarus Salamon) just returned from the prestigious BADA program in Oxford in association with Yale School of Drama, having worked with Broadway and West End regulars Madeline Potter, Peter Francis James, Irina Brown, and John Tucker, and is thrilled to be making his Carnegie Hall debut. Training includes NYU Tisch School of the Arts (BFA), Stella Adler Shakespeare and Chekhov Intensives, and Lee Strasberg Intensive. An artist who believes deeply that the arts are critical to the advancement and well-being of society, Daniel was quickly drawn to this groundbreaking project. Much love and gratitude to those who are attending tonight’s performance, all those who made this event possible, and to Amy Andersson, who has brought us all together and whose tenacity knows no bounds.
Annie Meisel (Helen Rosenthal) has worked in film, TV, and theater as well as voice overs and commercials. Theater credits include Taming of the Shrew, Breaking the Code, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Last Fall, As You Like It, I Hate Hamlet, and Crimes of the Heart. Film: Six Degrees of Separation, Dovid Meyer, One Fall, and Love is All There Is. TV: Blue Bloods, Law and Order, Law and Order SVU, The Education of Max Bickford, and Life on Mars. Recently she finished a workshop of a new play, The Bar Mitzvah Boy. She’s done numerous voice overs on radio and TV. She is a graduate of Rutgers University/Mason Gross School of the Arts. Annie is excited to be on stage at Carnegie Hall!
Austin Ku (Emanuel “Manny” Steen) is making his Carnegie Hall debut. Austin has previously performed as a soloist with the Boston Pops and Great Waters Pops Orchestras, and also regularly performs with the USO Show Troupe. Broadway Tour: CHINGLISH (dir. Leigh Silverman). Off-Broadway: Boy in the Tree in Pacific Overtures (dir. John Doyle) and Anne Washburn’s Iphigenia Aulis (dir. Rachel Chavkin), both at Classic Stage Company; Akira in Tokio Confidential. Selected Regional: Berkeley Rep, Delaware REP (wr./dir. Theresa Rebeck), KC Starlight, SF Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theater of NJ, South Coast Rep, TheatreWorks of Silicon Valley, and Walnut Street Theater. Film: Sleeping With Other People, Creative Control, and Windows on the World (upcoming). TV: Shades of Blue (recurring), Bull, Sneaky Pete, The Affair, and Younger. Selected Training: Boston Conservatory and UCB Improv. Awards: Recipient of StageSceneLA, Dean Goodman, WISE Foundation Awards and nominated for Barrymore, BroadwayWorld, and IRNE Awards. @secretaustinman
Carol Beaugard (Katherine Beychok) Carol is thrilled to make her Carnegie Hall debut in Ellis Island: The Dream of America and dedicates this performance to her late father, an immigrant from Ecuador, South America. Off-Broadway, she’s appeared in Jackie Mason, the Musical (St. Luke’s Theatre). Other credits include numerous theater productions (comedy, drama, musicals), a feature-film pilot, short films, commercials, print ads, and TV, including a portrayal of Mary Todd Lincoln in Monumental Mysteries on the Travel Channel. Her favorite role is wife to musician Wayne Fugate (mandolin/guitar), whose credits include the Broadway and current National Tour in the Steve Martin/Edie Brickell musical Bright Star. Carol is the recipient of a Best Actress Award from the Strawberry Theatre Festival. A graduate of the William Esper Studio, she’s also trained at the Atlantic Acting School and The Upright Citizens Brigade. Carol is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA.
Karen Johal (Mistress of Ceremony) is a British actor, born and raised in Birmingham England. Most recently Karen was a part of Oskar Eustis’s production of Julius Caesar for the Public Theater at Shakespeare in the Park. In April 2017, she played the role of Ezme in the play Camel, directed by Michael Bradshaw Flynn at Under St. Marks Theater. Karen’s other credits include playing Farrah the faerie in Qui Nguyen’s She Kills Monsters directed by George Heslin, Jen in Truest, a play by Megan Cohen and directed by Jessica Holt, Nasim, opposite Scottish actor Alan Cumming in Me and the Girls: A Noel Coward Musical directed by Tony-nominated playwright Douglas Carter Beane, and Eurydice in Welcome to Thebes, written by Moira Buffini and directed by Barbara Rubin. Karen is a 2016 graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.