Charles Neidich

January 30, 2023

January 30, 2023 7:30 PM

Weill Recital Hall


Carnegie Hall

Event Type:

Naumburg Looks Back

Performance Details

Charles Neidich, 1985 Clarinet Award

Mohamed Shams, Piano

Eduardo Leandro, Percussion


Mieczysław Weinberg   | Sonata for Clarinet and Piano (1945)

Ursula Mamlok              | Rückblick (2002)

Felix Mendelssohn        | Sonata in F Major (1838) transcribed for clarinet by Charles Neidich


Edison Denisov              | Ode (1968)

Charles Neidich             | Ikarus Ascending (2019)

Julia Perry                      | Serenity (1972)

Johannes Brahms          | Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in Eb Major Op. 120, No. 2 22

Artist Bios

Charles Neidich, clarinet

Clarinetist and conductor, Charles Neidich has gained worldwide recognition as one of the most mesmerizing virtuosos performing today. With a tone of hypnotic beauty and a dazzling technique, Mr. Neidich has received unanimous accolades from critics and fellow musicians both in the United States and abroad; but it is his musical intelligence in scores as diverse as Mozart and Elliott Carter that has earned for Mr. Neidich a unique place among clarinetists. In the words of The New Yorker, "He's an artist of uncommon merit - a master of his instrument and, beyond that, an interpreter who keeps listeners hanging on each phrase."

An ardent exponent of new music and a composer himself, he has expanded the technical and expressive possibilities of the clarinet and has championed the works of many of the world’s most important composers. He is a leading performer on period instruments and has restored and reconstructed original versions of works by composers from Mozart to Copland.

In wide demand as a soloist, Mr. Neidich has collaborated with some of the world's leading orchestras and ensembles, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the MDR, the Berlin Radio Orchestra, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, San Diego Symphony, New City Chamber Orchestra of San Francisco, Yomiuri Symphony, Tokyo Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Tafelmusik, the Handel/Haydn Society, the Norwegian Baroque Orchestra, the Juilliard, Guarneri, American, Mendelssohn, Telegraph, and Parker String Quartets and the Peabody Trio. He has made his mark not only as an instrumentalist, but also as an innovative programmer and student of period instrument performance practice. An avid chamber musician, Mr. Neidich is a member of the renowned New York Woodwind Quintet and is a member emeritus of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.

Mr. Neidich commands a repertoire of over 200 solo works, including pieces written, commissioned or inspired by him, as well as his own transcriptions of vocal and instrumental works. A noted exponent of 20th century music, he has premiered works by Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Edison Denisov, William Schuman, Ralph Shapey, Joan Tower, and other leading contemporary composers. With a growing discography to his credit, Mr. Neidich can be heard on the Chandos, Sony Classical, Sony Vivarte, Deutsche Grammophon, Musicmasters, Pantheon, Bridge, and Bremen Music Hall labels. His recorded repertoire ranges from familiar works by Mozart, Beethoven, Weber, and Brahms, to lesser-known compositions by Danzi, Reicha, Rossini, and Hummel, as well as music by Elliott Carter, Gyorgy Kurtag, Ursula Mamlok, Ralph Shapey, and other contemporary masters. Mr. Neidich received a rave review from Heuwell Tircuit in Fanfare for his Sony recording of Robert Schumann's Sonatas Op. 105 and 121 and the Three Romances, Op. 94:

“... Indeed, the First Sonata (a major masterpiece) seems even more expressive on clarinet -- at least as Neidich plays it. Besides sheer enjoyment, I found myself moved by this performance." 

Mr. Neidich’s re-recording on historical instruments of the Mozart Clarinet Concerto, 26 years after his celebrated recording with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon, was reviewed by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim in the New York Times: 

“...Charles Neidich’s reading of Mozart’s Concerto for Basset Clarinet in A (KV 622) radiates sunny serenity. But over the course of the following works, including Druzecky’s Concerto for three basset horns and orchestra in F and a reconstruction of Mozart’s Adagio in F for clarinet and three basset horns (KV 580a), the music takes on an inescapably narcotic quality.”

Mr. Neidich has performed at numerous summer festivals and in addition to the Sarasota Summer Music festival appears at the Marlboro Music Festival, the Orford and Domaine Forget Festivals in Canada, the International Stichting Masterclass Apeldoorn in the Netherlands, the Kryzowa Music Festival in Poland, and the Masterclasses of the Liszt Conservatory in Weimar, Germany.

A native New Yorker of Belarussian and Greek descent, Charles Neidich had his first clarinet lessons with his father, and his first piano lessons with his mother. Mr. Neidich's early musical idols were Fritz Kreisler, Artur Schnabel, Maria Callas, and other violinists, pianists, and vocalists rather than clarinetists.

The clarinet, however, won out over time, and he pursued studies with the famed pedagogue Leon Russianoff. Although Mr. Neidich became quite active in music at an early age, he opted against attending a music conservatory in favor of academic studies at Yale University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, in Anthropology. While at Yale, he received the Selden Prize for musicianship and scholarship. In 1975 he became the first American to receive a Fulbright grant for study in the former Soviet Union. He attended the Moscow Conservatory for three years where his teachers were clarinetist, Boris Dikov and pianist, Kirill Vinogradov.

In 1985 Mr. Neidich became the first clarinetist to win the Walter W. Naumburg Competition, which brought him to prominence as a soloist. His European honors include top prizes at the Munich ARD International Competition, the Geneva and Accanthes International Competitions. 

As a conductor, Mr. Neidich is known for dynamically expressive performances ranging from historically informed repertoire to contemporary works. He has appeared as guest conductor with orchestras throughout the US, Europe, and in Asia most recently in acclaimed Beethoven programs with the Hyogo PAC Orchestra and Mozart programs with the Tokyo Philharmonic in Japan. He has also been featured in programs in the triple role of Conductor, Soloist, and Composer with the Tapiola Sinfonietta and the San Diego Symphony.

Mr. Neidich has achieved great recognition as a teacher in addition to his activities as a performer and is currently a member of the artist faculties of the Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, the Mannes College of Music. In 2004, he was awarded the William Schuman Award for performance and scholarship at the Juilliard School and in 2018 he was awarded a lifetime membership in honor of his artistic achievements by the International Clarinet Society and a medal for lifetime achievement from the National Society of Arts and Letters.

Already in its 12th season, together with his wife, Ayako Oshima, he founded the Kitakaruizawa Music Seminar and in 2016, the acclaimed WA Concert Series in New York. Summing up his experience with the series throughout the 2017-18 season, Frank Daykin of New York Concert Review advised: “A word to the wise music lover: Run, don’t walk, to this series”

Eduardo Leandro, percussion

Eduardo Leandro is a conductor and percussionist who seeks to bridge the gap between both worlds by applying his extensive experience in new music to his interpretation of earlier orchestral repertoire, bringing “new” music’s freshness and excitement to classical and romantic pieces, while also bringing orchestral music’s lyricism and centuries-long appeal into his performances of contemporary music.

He conducts the New York New Music Ensemble, a group with over 40 years of history commissioning and premiering music from over one hundred composers. He regularly performs with the New York University Symphony Orchestra, and has conducted Camerata Aberta in Brazil, Talea and Sequitur Ensembles in the United States, Ensemble Lemanic in France, and the New Music Ensembles in the conservatories of Geneva and Lausanne. He recently served as the music director for the premiere of “The Scarlet Professor”, an opera composed by Eric Sawyer and produced by the Five Colleges Consortium. He has conducted chamber music concerts at Radio France in Paris, in Milan and Torino with MDI and Sentieri Musicali, at Pacific Rim Music Festival in California, and at Festival Archipel in Switzerland.

He is an Associate Professor at Stony Brook University and artistic director of its Contemporary Chamber Players, conducts the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra, teaches doctoral seminars related to the understanding and performance of contemporary music, and teaches percussion at the masters and doctoral levels. He also teaches percussion at the Université de Montreal. Eduardo has been a guest lecturer at the Peabody Conservatory and Yale University, regular faculty at Yellow Barn Summer Festival in Vermont, and faculty at several festivals in Brazil and in the U.S.A.. He previously taught at the Haute École de Musique de Genève and directed the percussion program at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

As a percussionist, Eduardo Leandro has performed as soloist and with ensembles in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. In the U.S. he performs regularly with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, having appeared with Steve Reich Ensemble and Bang on a Can All Stars among others. He is part of the Percussion Duo Contexto, ensemble in residence at the Centre International de Percussion in Geneva for ten years, having premiered and recorded dozens of works. He continues to perform as a soloist and chamber musician, commissioning new pieces and helping discover what this exciting group of instruments has to offer.

Upcoming projects include conducting a new opera by Flo Menezes that involves large orchestra, chorus, and electronics; continuing to learn Ghanian drumming; a free improv collaboration with saxophonist Travis Laplante and harpist Charles Overton; and recording the music for mallet instruments by James Wood based on bird songs.

Eduardo Leandro was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. He attended the Sao Paulo State University, the Rotterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands, and Yale University. His conducting mentor and teacher was Gustav Meier, and his percussion mentors are Robert van Sice and John Boudler.

When not working on music Eduardo can be seen taking pictures of birds, learning new languages, or making use of his commercial pilot’s license while flying his plane around the Eastern coast

Mohamed Shams, piano

Mohamed Shams was early hailed as a “spectacular pianist” “…deeply impressive… of tremendous flair and intellectual strength…” by Herald Scotland’s music critic Michael Tumelty.  

A recitalist, concert artist, chamber musician and accompanist of exceptionally broad range, Shams enjoys a varied musical life. He has performed a diverse repertoire in Chamber music, Solo and Concerti in the United States, England, Scotland, Italy, Austria, Finland, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Serbia, Montenegro, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Tunisia, and his native Egypt.  

 As a recitalist, Shams has performed in New York at Weill recital hall at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall and the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center; Usher Hall in Edinburgh, the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow and Caird Hall in Dundee, Scotland; the Beethovensaal in Bonn, Germany and the Stadthalle in Göttingen, Germany; and at Manasterly Palace concert hall in Cairo, Egypt. As a soloist, Shams has played with prominent orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Enrique Batiz; the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under Christian Kluxen and the Royal Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra with David Danzmayr; the Göttingen Symphoniker under guest conductor fellow Egyptian Conductor Nader Abbassi; the Cairo Symphony Orchestra with Christoph-Mathias Mueller and the Manhattan School of Music Orchestra with Philippe Entremont. He has been featured at numerous international music festivals such as the Beethoven Festival in Bonn, the String Academy in Pilsen, the Czech Republic, the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina, Pianofest and the Rising Star piano series in the Hamptons, Long Island, New York; the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Piano festival and the Egyptian-Finnish Cultural Bridge Festival in Finland. Most recently, in 2021, he gave a solo recital tour in Serbia, performing at the prestigious Kolarac concert hall in Belgrade, and in Novi Sad and other cities in 2021. He gave a solo recital in Montenegro, and another at the historical UNESCO Gamzigrad site in Serbia in 2022.  

As a chamber music and collaborative, Shams has performed with eminent musicians such as clarinetist Charles Neidich, pianist Steven Osborne, Cellist Fred Sherry, Clarinetist Ayako Oshima, Cellist Suren Bagratuni, Pianist Jonathan Plowright, and Violinist Vers Beths. He is a frequent participant in the WA concert series under artistic director Charles Neidich, a series regularly reviewed and praised by the New York Concert Review. 

A recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship grant in 2006 for research into 20th century American composers, Shams has throughout his career strongly emphasized in his repertoire the compositions of Leonard Bernstein, Elliot Carter, John Corigliano, and John Musto among others. While a dedicated advocate of twentieth century music, Shams also includes in his programs works by forgotten, neglected, or rarely played composers of the late nineteenth century such as Medtner, Bortkiewicz and Becawicz.  

He studied under Edgar Davilianidze, Douglas Weeks, Elena Dizamshvili, Marc Silverman, Aaron Shorr, Steven Osborne and David Westfall. Shams graduated with a B.M degree with distinction from the Conservatoire of Music at the Academy of Arts, Egypt. He obtained a Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) from the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford, Connecticut and a Masters? degree (M.M.), from the Manhattan School of Music in New York, where he received the Harold Bauer Award. He earned a second M.M degree from The Royal Scottish Conservatoire in Glasgow, where he was awarded the Governor’s Prize for Outstanding Achievement.  He is a recipient of the 2012 Silver Medal of the Worshipful Company of Musicians in London. Shams has been featured three times on WQXR/NY’s Young Artists Showcase, hosted by Bob Sherman, including one program exclusively devoted to his live recordings. 

Currently, Shams is a faculty member at Purchase College of Music, the State University of New York (S.U.N.Y..) and University of Saint Joseph in Hartford, Connecticut.

Artist Bio

Born: 1946 (Transylvania, Romania)

Acclaimed on five continents, Robert Davidovici, is a virtuoso, known for his spectacular technique and wide-ranging repertoire, fused with magnificent artistry and a compelling stage presence.

Born in Transylvania, Romania, Robert Davidovici began his studies with a student of the legendary David Oistrakh, subsequently studying with Ivan Galamian at The Juilliard School, where, upon graduating, he served as a teaching assistant to the famed Juilliard String Quartet. He is the recipient of several distinguished First Prize honors, among them the1972 Naumburg International Violin Competition and the Carnegie Hall International American Music Violin Competition.

In addition to his solo engagements, Mr. Davidovici  is Artist-in-Residence and Professor of Violin at Florida International University and serves as guest professor at distinguished music schools around the world, most recently at Tokyo’s Musashino Academia Musicae, the universities of Washington and British Columbia and the Australian National University.

His multi-faceted career has included appointments as Concertmaster of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, The Netherlands’ Residentie Orkest and Japan’s Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra and Guest Concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, as well as the orchestras of the Chautauqua, Colorado and Grand Teton music festivals. He is a founding artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth.

As an avid chamber musician, Robert Davidovici has collaborated with numerous esteemed colleagues, among them Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Lynn Harrell, Cho Liang-Lin, Yo-Yo Ma and Isaac Stern. Carnegie Hall has featured him as part of its “American Music Masters” series, and he was the subject of a television special on Boston’s WGBH.

Robert Davidovici’s recordings appear on the labels of CALA, Centaur, JVC, Meister Music, New World, RPO. Of special note is his 2013 world premiere recording of Paul Kletzki’s Violin Concerto with Grzegorz Nowak conducting London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, an album that also includes Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto #2 and Lutoslawski’s Partita.

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