Imagine yourself in an intimate place, absorbing the glorious sound of
music or laughing to the
comedian’s antics while surrounded by the inspiring colors and forms of works of art!
The Heinz W. Otto Gallery has 12-foot ceilings, superb acoustics, and a seating capacity of 100.
ImpresaRIO Series: Rio Clemente
Friday,March 6, 8 p.m.
Rio Clemente mixes a strong classical background with a rich knowledge of jazz history, and then adds an amazing sense of creativity and interpretation which draws his audience up in a musical embrace and takes them on an extraordinary journey of fanciful melodies and scintillating rhythms. As a master pianist, educator, composer, arranger and recording artist, Clemente leaves an indelible melodic memory long after the piano becomes silent. As his infectious good humor enlivens the audience, he breathes new life into jazz and popular standards that make his legion of fans shake their heads in amazement. And those who hear Rio for the first time are instantly transformed into fans.
A child prodigy, Rio received a BMI scholarship for musical theatre and then continued his education at the Julliard School of Music. He went from Julliard to Nashville, where he spent two years as a performer and composer, making appearances at the Grand Ole Opry. With his classical training, Rio developed a style embracing a diversity of music that makes him one of the most expressive and versatile pianists anywhere and one of the most sought after.
After several television appearances, Rio advanced professionally to playing at several distinguished concert halls and festivals, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, Manhattan’s famous Birdland and the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel, as well as the Newport and JVC Jazz Festivals, and a memorable appearance at the White House. He regularly appears with groups such as The Morris Choral Society and Orchestra and at jazz venues from Manhattan to Cape Code and from Florida to California.
A native of Morristown, NJ, Clemente is New Jersey’s own jewel of the jazz world. He is a member of the Morristown Hall of Fame, was named by the NJ Council of the Arts as an Outstanding Professional of the Year, and recognized as one of the “Top 40 New Jerseyans” by the New Jersey Monthly. He is a proud member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary at Lake Hopatcong, NJ.
"Russian Nights, Romantic Nocturnes"
Marty Steinberg and Karen Delavan
Saturday, March 21, 8 p.m
Celebrating the start of spring, cellist Marty Steinberg and pianist Karen Delavan play warm, romantic works by Tchaikovsky, Arensky, Glazunov, Borodin and Rachmaninoff. A dessert reception follows the performance.
Cellist Martin Steinberg has performed in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Symphony Space, the Kennedy Center, NJPAC and the New York Times publisher’s suite. Since 2005, he has been principal cellist with the New Jersey Intergenerational Orchestra, where he is also the cello and chamber music coach. He is the former principal cellist of the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey and the Metropolitan Orchestra of West Orange, NJ.
Mr. Steinberg has participated in chamber music workshops in France, California, Vermont, Lincoln Center and New Jersey and has been coached by Ida Kavafian, Daniel Phillips, Robert Dodson, Joel Berman and Yehuda Hanani.
He studied with David Guggenheim of Philadelphia and has been a student of the pedagogue Irene Sharp since 2000. He also teaches in his studio in South Orange, NJ.
Martin Steinberg is founder of Romanza Music, which performs chamber music at private parties in the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania areas. His cello, La Sophia, made in 2003 by Andrew Carruthers of Santa Rosa, Calif., was modeled after a 17th-century design by the Ruggieri family of Cremona.
Mr. Steinberg is also a journalist, and has interviewed musicians including Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Mstislav Rostropovich, Alan Gilbert, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur and Marta Casals Istomin.
Karen Linstedt Delavan, coach and accompanist, has held Music Staff positions with Santa Fe Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Sarasota Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Spoleto Festival (Charleston), Tulsa Opera, DiCapo Opera, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and American Opera Projects. For three seasons, she was the Director of the Studio Artist Program of the Sarasota Opera, and the Music Director for the Glimmerglass Opera Tour for two years.
A graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, New England Conservatory, and The Juilliard School, she served a two-year fellowship with the Juilliard Opera Center, and has served on the faculties of the Hartt School, and the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University. Ms. Delavan’s past performances include master classes with distinguished artists including Elly Ameling, Hermann Prey, Hakan Hagegard, Hans Hotter, YoYo Ma, Roger Vignoles, and Jonathan Miller. She performs as a recital accompanist in the New York and New Jersey area, and past performances include recitals at Westminster Choir College, Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, The Juilliard School, The Morgan Library, the War Memorial in Trenton, NJ, and the Harlem School of the Arts, and Farleigh Dickinson University for Opera At Florham.
Please note: the date for the February Improvables performance has changed.
Adult Improv: Saturday, March 14, 8 p.m.
Family Improv: Saturday, April 25, 8 p.m.
Adult Improv: Saturday, May 16, 8 p.m.
The Improvables have been providing the Center’s audiences with zany, raucous one-of-a-kind and never-to-be-repeated humor since 2002. Each show features a series of games in which the performers act out various scenes, based on audience suggestions, without advanced knowledge of the topics. Come ready to laugh at the antics of this wonderful improvisational troupe of actors including Randy Schweriner, David Kritz, Michele Kerekes, and Brandon Lericos of Bridgewater, Phil Hochman of Plainfield, Roberta Maher of Mt. Arlington and Mike Griffin of Hillsborough.
Family-friendly shows are suitable for children 10 and older, while adult shows are “R” rated.
Ed Finkel's Reunion Jazz Band
Saturday,March 28, 8 p.m.
Tenor saxophonist Ed Finkel brings a group of well-known New York jazz artists to the Heinz W. Otto Gallery.
In addition to Mr. Finkel, the band will consist of Glenn Mills on trombone, pianist Tardo Hammer, bassist Patrick O'Leary, Tom Melito on drums, and vocalist Gabrielle Stravelli.
A dessert reception will follow the performance.
Watchung resident Ed Finkel played in big bands as a young man, touring throughout the eastern US and on an ocean voyage aboard the Queen Elizabeth II, with Helen O'Connell and the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, as well as performing with the Vaughn Monroe and Sammy Kaye orchestras and others, before embarking on a career as a structural engineer.
For more than 25 years, Ed was a member of The Jazz @Noon Band, the longest running jazz institution in New York City, launched by Les Lieber, circa 1965, for businessmen-musicians. Gathering every Friday this event featured weekly visits by renowned Jazz artists from all musical eras, including: Benny Goodman, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Dick Hyman, Joe Wilder, Doc Cheatham, Harry Allen, Wycliffe Gordon, Anat Cohen, Ken Peplowski, Claudio Roditi, and Paquito D‘Rivera. Ed has also performed with pianists Dave McKenna at the Copley Plaza in Boston and in Hyannis, and Dorothy Donegan at Fat Tuesday's and the Fortune Garden Pavilion in New York City.
Gabrielle Stravelli began singing as a soloist with orchestras at the age of 15 and has since performed on stages from Amsterdam to New York including Lincoln Center's Rose Hall, the 92Y’s Lyrics and Lyricists Series, Birdland Jazz Club, the Carmoor Festival, 54 Below, Maree Sonore Festival in Venice, Italy and NJPAC among others. She has appeared as a soloist with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops and the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra. In the summer of 2014, Gabrielle performed a sold-out, critically acclaimed run of solo shows at New York's Metropolitan Room in which she "...unfurled new layers of her remarkable voice. As she dipped and swooped, twirling notes and phrases with a confidence and playfulness that recalled Ella Fitzgerald in her prime, Ms. Stravelli began interpreting lyrics with a ferocity that her vocal pyrotechnics accentuated" according to Stephen Holden of The New York Times.
Trombonist Glenn Mills, a recipient of 3 National Endowment Grants, has played with a wide variety of bands and performers including the Widespread Jazz Orchestra, Larry Elgart Orchestra, Jacj McDuff, Gloria Gaynor, the Supremes, Larry Harlow and Johnny Colon salsa bands and the Big Apple Circus.
Tardo Hammer, pianist, has been playing professionally since the late 1970s. He has performed in groups led by Johnny Griffin, Bill Hardman, Lionel Hampton, Lou Donaldson, Art Farmer, Abbey Lincoln and many others. He’s been musical director and accompanist for vocalist Annie Ross since 1992. He appears on a number of CDs; including five with his own trio, most recently “Simple Pleasures”. Tardo Hammer continues to teach and perform in the New York area.
Bassist Patrick O'Leary studied piano and bass at The Crane School of Music, where he received a bachelor's degree. He has toured the world with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, the Illinois Jacquet Orchestra and Bob Dorough. Other leading artists with whom O'Leary has played include saxophonists Lee Konitz, Joe Lovano, and James Moody, pianist Marian McPartland, vocalists Joe Williams and Marlena Shaw, and vocalist/pianist Diana Krall. As a Kennedy Center/Department of State Jazz Ambassador, O'Leary toured several African countries, Southeast Asia and Central and South America with Scott Robinson, Larry Ham, Bill Heid and Bob Dorough. Pat arranged and composed "The Montenegro Jazz Suite" and "The Balkan Jazz Suite" for Choir, Orchestra and Jazz Quartet.
Tom Melito has been a mainstay on the New York City jazz scene for many years. His drumming has been heard behind such varied artists as John and Bucky Pizzarelli, Warren Vache, Frank Wess, Harry Allen, "Sweets" Edison, Gene Bertoncini, and Stacy Kent. Tom's talents have been in demand internationally, including numerous tours of Japan, China, Europe, and South America. His various television appearances include the CBS Early Show, Entertainment Tonight, and CNN World Beat. Currently Tom is playing with pianists Pete Malinverni, and Larry Ham while doing Jazz clinics at various schools in the area. Active in jazz education, he is an adjunct professor at Central Connecticut University where he teaches drums and jazz ensemble playing.
Enjoy videos of some of the past season's performances at the WAC
The Three Jazz DivasLauren Hooker sings "Don't Get Around Much Anymore"
Saturday, Feb 1
Saturday, May 31.