Schönberg and Webern at the Neue Galerie next Wednesday

Richard Gerstl, Portrait of Arnold Schönberg (detail)

Next Wednesday night, July 19, at 6.30pm, members of the Neue Galerie will be treated to a concert of music by Arnold Schönberg and Anton Webern, performed by my lovely wife Marilyn Nonken and friends. Those esteemed friends are violinist Rolf Schulte and cellist Coleman Itzkoff, and they’ll be presenting the following program:

Arnold Schönberg: Three Pieces, Op. 11 (1909)

Arnold Schönberg: “Columbine” (from Pierrot Lunaire) (1911)

Arnold Schönberg: Song Without Words from the Serenade, Op. 24  (1924)

Anton Webern: Four Pieces for Violin and Piano (1910)

Arnold Schönberg: Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4  (1899)
Arranged for trio by Eduard Steuermann after poetry by Richard Dehmel,
inspired by Mathilde (Zemlinsky) Schönberg

Marilyn will also be discussing Schönberg’s early music in connection with the Neue Galerie’s current exhibit Richard Gerstl, exploring the community of artists to which he belonged. Here are a few bios of the participating parties:

Upon performing Schönberg’s piano music, Marilyn Nonken was recognized as “a determined protector of important music” (New York Times). A Steinway Artist and Associate Professor at New York University, she studied with Leonard Stein, Schönberg’s longtime assistant.

Fresh from his success at the Arnold Schönberg Center in Vienna, violinist Rolf Schulte is an expert in the music of the New Viennese School. He has recorded most of Schönberg’s chamber works, the Violin Concerto, and Phantasy, as well as music of Anton Webern.

Cellist Coleman Itzkoff, Artist-in-Residence on American Public Media’s Performance Today, has performed as soloist nationwide, recently giving his Walt Disney Concert Hall concerto debut. He performs regularly at the Aspen Music Festival, La Jolla SummerFest, Music@Menlo, and Bargemusic.

The concert is open to Neue Galerie members only, but if you must go, you can fix that by becoming a member yourself — it’s worth every penny. Tell ’em Arnold sent you.

Richard Gerstl at the Neue Galerie

Richard Gerstl, Selbstbildnis (Akt in ganzer Figur), 12 September 1908. Oil on canvas, 140.5 x 119.5 cms. Leopold Museum.

Opening this Thursday, June 29, and running through September 25, the Neue Galerie‘s exhibition Richard Gerstl will throw a spotlight on the career of the Austrian painter with the display of approximately 55 paintings and works on paper. Gerstl (1883-1908) was not well known in his lifetime, but he is increasingly recognized as one of the central artists of Austrian Expressionism. This earlier neglect may be, perhaps, because of his scandalous private life and the circumstances of his death (he apparently managed to both hang and stab himself at the same time), which may have overshadowed the work itself, disturbing as that is as well. One gallery of the exhibition will be dedicated to his relationship with Arnold and Mathilde Schönberg, a relationship that was instrumental in leading him to his suicide.

The exhibition was organized by Jill Lloyd and will be accompanied by the publication of a new catalog published by Hirmer. I’ll be there for the unveiling tomorrow night (following a bracing dinner at Heidelberg with my lovely wife, who will be making her own contribution to the effort in July with a members-only concert); if you plan on going yourself once the exhibition opens to the public, Alex Ross’s essay “The Final, Shocking Self-Portrait of Richard Gerstl” — the one you’ll find above, which Facebook and Twitter both reject, for some unfathomable reason — in the June 22 New Yorker will get you up to speed.