Birdfoot Backstage

February 15, 2017 at 7:00 PM
Dillard University’s Cook Auditorium
2601 Gentilly Boulevard
New Orleans
Free admission, advance reservation recommended.

Join celebrated pianist Danny Driver, Birdfoot Artistic Director and violinist Jenna Sherry, and horn player Roy Femenella “backstage” on February 15 (7:00 PM)  for a special edition of Birdfoot Backstage featuring Ligeti’s epic Horn Trio (Hommage à Brahms) and Piano Études.

Ligeti’s early space-age music is familiar to many ears from Stanley Kubrik’s films, but his music of the 1980s bursts with rhythmic vitality and diabolical virtuosity. This special edition of Birdfoot Backstage will explore Ligeti’s vast tapestry of inspiration, ranging from echoes of Beethoven to medieval laments, African, Bulgarian and Indonesian rhythms, and the jazz greats Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans. It will also feature a speedy tour of the horn’s musical symbolism from fairy tales to farewell songs, and include a full performance of Ligeti’s Horn Trio.


Jenna Sherry, violin

Roy Femenella, horn

Roy Femenella holds the third horn chair at Symphony in C and has been a guest musician in some of the world’s most prestigious ensembles, including the Metropolitan Opera, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. A graduate of The Juilliard School, he has been third horn of the Aspen Festival Orchestra since 2015. In December, 2014 he was a guest soloist with the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble performing Richard Strauss’ Horn Concerto no. 1. He appears regularly with the Princeton Symphony, and was a guest with the Boston-based chamber orchestra A Far Cry for their 2015 U.S. tour. As a chamber musician he has performed with the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, and as a guest with Sylvan Winds. He was a participant in Juilliard’s partnership with Guri Santa Marcelina Cultura in São Paulo, Brazil, and traveled there in 2014 to give masterclasses and coach the Orquestra Sinfônica Juvenil do Guri in addition to performing chamber music with his colleagues. He can be heard with the Swedish Radio Symphony on their upcoming release for Harmonia Mundi of selections from Wagner’s operas with conductor Daniel Harding and Baritone Matthias Goerne. His teachers have included Erik Ralske, Javier Gándara, and John Zirbel.

Danny Driver, piano

The international critical acclaim that Danny Driver’s recordings and performances have generated over recent years has cemented his reputation as one of Britain’s most respected and versatile pianists, with two Gramophone Award nominations, a National Public Radio Top 10 Award and Limelight Magazine’s Instrumental Recording of the Year 2014 Award for his recording of Handel’s Eight Great Suites.

Danny Driver’s recent concerto appearances have included the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Minnesota Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and American Symphony Orchestra.  He has appeared twice at the BBC Proms, most recently with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Charles Dutoit.

In recital Danny Driver has performed throughout the UK and in Germany, Italy, Israel, Sweden, the USA, and China. Highlights of Driver’s 2016-17 schedule include the Southbank International Piano Series (London), Music Toronto, the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, and a USA tour featuring Ligeti’s Piano Études.

As a chamber musician Danny Driver has appeared at the Australian Chamber Music Festival, Bard Music Festival, Birdfoot Music Festival, Eilat Chamber Music Festival, and Stockholm’s Festival O/Modernt. He has collaborated regularly with violinists Chloë Hanslip and Jack Liebeck, cellist Oliver Coates, and with baritone Christian Immler.

Driver’s fruitful relationship with London-based Hyperion Records has spawned an internationally acclaimed discography of works by C P E Bach, Handel, Schumann, and Balakirev, and highly praised interpretations of neglected British composers York Bowen, Benjamin Dale and Erik Chisholm.  His recording of piano concertos by Amy Beach, Cecile Chaminade and Dorothy Howell, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Rebecca Miller, will be released in March.