December 20, 2016
Spring Concerts at ASPECT Foundation for Music & Arts

The ASPECT Foundation for Music and Arts continues its North American debut season with three exciting concerts from its Musical Capitals and Great Musesseries. Prior to its successful opening night concert on October 5, WQXR listed ASPECT Foundation’s series as one of “6 Events This Fall for Classical Music Lovers,” and it received critical acclaim for its sold-out first performance. Founded in London in 2011, ASPECT Foundation has found a new locale at Columbia University’s intimate Italian Academy for the 2016/17 season. “Music In Context,” which expands the notion of classical music as it is experienced in the standard concert setting, incorporates a variety of art forms as well as lecture and discussion to give audience members a more multifaceted, integrated understanding of the social context and historical relevance behind a piece of music.

Guest speakers include British classical music radio broadcaster, composer, and author Stephen Johnsonhistorical musicologist Nicholas Chong; and Yale Assistant Professor (Adjunct) of Music History Paul Berry, who lead the series’ Illustrated Talks. By incorporating these illuminating speakers to the traditional classical music recital setting, the audience experiences some of the genre’s most revered masterworks in a more contextual light, deepening understanding and appreciation for the genius of these timeless composers and their compositional legacies.

Italian Academy 
Columbia University
1161 Amsterdam Ave
New York, NY 10027


For decades, Vienna was unquestionably the musical capital of the world, drawing in composers of the finest caliber.  On January 26, a concert of Schubert and Brahms illustrates the evolution of the Romantic era, with Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata hinting at the beginning of the new musical styles of the period, and Brahms’s F Minor Piano Quintet suggesting the transition into a new age of classical music, in which daring, exploratory romanticism is balanced by a new-found sense of worldly security.  Stephen Johnson explores how music would have been performed in Vienna's taverns and private homes, and the feeling of gemütlichkeit – an untranslatable word to describe a state of cozy warmth and belonging – from the music of this time and place.  Part of the ‘Musical Capitals’ series.

Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 7:30PM
Romantic Vienna

Arnaud Sussmannviolin
Emily Daggett Smithviolin
Paul Neubauerviola
Rafael Figueroacello
Vsevolod Dvorkinpiano
Illustrated talk by Stephen Johnson

SCHUBERT: Arpeggione Sonata, D. 821
BRAHMS: Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34


Greatly influenced by Smetana, whose vocal opposition to the Habsburg Empire on the Czech resulted in highly nationalistic operas and tone poems, Dvořák composed works borrowing from the Moravian and Bohemian song and dance traditions.  The performance on February 23 examines the new artistic identity which arose in the city of Prague as Czech composers led the way toward shedding Germanic traits and embracing the nation’s rich musical traditions.  Part of the ‘Musical Capitals’ series.

Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 7:30PM
Czech Romantics

Arnaud Sussmanviolin
Michael Brown, piano
Illustrated talk by Nicholas Chong

SMETANA: From My Homeland, Op. 128
SUK: 4 Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 17
JANÁČEK: Violin Sonata
DVOŘÁK: Romantic Pieces, Op. 75


Pianist and composer Clara Schumann, a virtuosic and accomplished musician in her own right, inspired a great many of her contemporaries with her legendary talent, friendship, and love.  Married to Robert Schumann, she was able to advocate for her husband’s talents by performing them with her extraordinary pianistic ability.  As the muse and guide for many works by Brahms, who was plagued by his intense love for her, described their relationship as, “...the most beautiful experience of my life, its greatest wealth and its noblest content.”  The program on April 19 offers a unique perspective on the muse herself and those who benefited from her brilliance.  Part of the ‘Great Muses’ series.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 7:30PM
Clara Schumann: Artist and Muse

Stephanie Chaseviolin
Sophie Shaocello
Todd Crowpiano
Illustrated talk by Paul Berry

R SCHUMANN: Five Pieces in Folk Style, Op. 102 for cello and piano
BRAHMS:  Violin Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78
C SCHUMANN: Piano Trio in G Minor, Op. 17


About ASPECT Foundation
ASPECT Foundation for Music and Arts was established to introduce and promote a novel concert format – “Music in Context.” We aim to transform a traditionally auditory experience into a fusion of various art forms. Our objective is two-fold – to support and promote the artists, and to enlighten and inspire the audience through an intellectually charged collaboration between musicians and speakers.

Our goal is to create a thought-provoking amalgam of performance, lecture, and discussion; and to present not only a recital, but an inspiring synthesis of music, art history and social culture. Ultimately we strive to forge a connection between the artist, the music and the audience. It's more than a concert…

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