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Buy Tickets for 2024 Stretto Piano Festival Closing Night Celebration

  • Tue Jun 04, 2024
  • 7:00pm
  • In-Person Ticket
  • Leonard Nimoy Thalia, 250 95th Street
  • $25 - $50

Visiting Presenter / Music

2024 Stretto Piano Festival Closing Night Celebration


International Stretto Piano Festival Day 5

Narrow Keys, Broad Minds, No Boundaries

View all the 2024 International Stretto Piano Festival concerts HERE!

“Jazz Meets Classical”Our final night of The 2024 Stretto Piano Festival features pianist Jed Distler playing Thelonious Monk, violinist Zach Brock & pianist Steven Sandberg performing jazz originals, world improvs & standards, and pianist Eric Clark playing Chopin’s Scherzo No. 3 Op. 39 in C# minor and Ballade No. 1 in G minor, Op. 23, plus Mily Balakirev’s Islamey.

“I called the great French violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and I said ‘So, who’s the new cat? Who’s got the stuff? And he said Zach Brock.” — Stanley Clarke, virtuoso bassist & jazz legend

“...not only is he my favorite violinist in the world but he’s also one of my favorite musicians, period.” — Michael League, founder/bassist of Snarky Puppy

Violinist Zach Brock is a sought-after soloist, sideman, and educator, as well as a multi Grammy Award-winning member of the contemporary jazz band Snarky Puppy. Born to a musical family in Lexington, KY, Zach began studying violin at the age of four and was performing publicly by the age of six. Zach’s improvisational skills were honed in the rich Chicagojazz scene while studying classical violin at Northwestern University. He released his debut album, Zach Brock & The Coffee Achievers, in 2003. Two years and two records later he was invited to perform at Carnegie Hall by trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas. Zach joined the band of legendary bassist Stanley Clarkein 2007 and that same year he and his wife, filmmaker Erin Harper, relocated to Brooklyn. From 2010 to 2012 Zach led a chord-less trio of violin, bass and drums called The Magic Numberand since 2012 he has released three albums on Criss Cross Jazz, as well as two co-led projects with renowned pianist Phil Markowitz. In 2017 Zach formed a new “chord-less” trio with Matt Uleryand Jon Deitemyer. Their collective 2019 album Wonderment garnered rave reviews and inclusion in the “Best of 2019” lists by Downbeat and Jazziz Magazines.

Zach is most widely recognized through his sixteen years of touring and recording with the genre-bending supergroup Snarky Puppy. Since his first appearance on Snarky’s 2008 on Bring Us The Bright, Zach has appeared on seven subsequent recordings including the 2017 Grammy Award-winning album Culcha Vulcha, 2019’s Immigrance, the 2021 Grammy Award-winning Live At The Royal Albert Hall, and the 2023 Grammy-award winning album Empire Central (to which he contributed his song “Honiara''). In February 2023 Zach performed with legendary guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkelat the GroundUP Festivalin Miami as part of Kurt’s Caipi Band. In November ‘23 GroundUP Records released Drawing Songs, the debut recording by “Brock, Lanzetti, Ogawa,”a new co-led trio with fellow Snarky Puppy members Bob Lanzetti and Keita Ogawa.
A passionate educator, Zach has coached hundreds of musicians through the workshops of Jamey Aebersoldand Mike Block, masterclasses at the Sibelius Academyin Helsinki and Carnegie Hallin New York, and as a five-year “Artist In Residence” at Temple Universityin Philadelphia.
His eleventh solo album, the Grammy-nominated Dirty Mindz featuring Eric Harland, Mark Lettieri, Justin Stanton, and Jonathan Maron, was released in 2022 on GroundUP Records. Zach's latest collaborative album with fellow Snarky Puppy bandmates Bob Lanzetti and Keita Ogawa, Drawing Songs, was released in November 2023. Zach remains a perennial coffee fanatic and skateboard enthusiast, and currently lives with his wife and daughters in the NYC area.

Composer/pianist and Steinway Artist Jed Distler studied with Andrew Thomas, Stanley Lock and William Komaiko, and taught for more than 20 years at Sarah Lawrence College. Early in his career Distler gained acclaim for his transcriptions of jazz piano solos by Art Tatum and Bill Evans, while his new music piano recitals have offered premiers of works by Virgil Thomson, Andrew Thomas, Richard Rodney Bennett, Frederic Rzewski, Alvin Curran, Lois V Vierk and many more.
Distler’s presenting organization ComposersCollaborative, Inc earned a 2013 Guinness Record for world’s largest keyboard ensemble, featuring an composition of his own scored for 175 electronic keyboards. In 2012 he became the first pianist to perform jazz legend Thelonious Monk’s complete songs over the course of a single 90-minute concert. In 2021 Distler embarked on a multi-year project performing all of Mahler’s Symphonies in four-hand arrangements with pianists around the globe. His 2023 European tour included performances, master classes and artist residencies at the Bari Piano Festival, the Karlskrona Piano Festival, the Rovigo Comservatory, Cremona Mondomusica, and Festival Musical Durtal. He currently is composing 1,827 Bagatelles for the 2027 Beethoven anniversary year. Distler has recorded prolifically for the high resolution Spirio player piano, and his solo piano CD “Fearless Monk” is available from TNC Music.
Distler is the new Artistic Director for Salon Concerts at Klavierhaus, a weekly series that provides an inclusive environment and expressive forum for pianists of all generations. As Artist-in-Residence for WWFM.Org The Classical Network, Distler is the creator, host and producer of the 2017 ASCAP Deems Taylor Virgil Thomson Award radio program Between the Keys. Distler contributes reviews and articles to Gramophone and, and has written numerous CD booklet notes for Sony/BMG and Universal Classics. Most importantly, Distler turned down an offer to become head of the Music Department at Trump University.

Three-time Emmy-nominated pianist/composer/raconteur Steve Sandberg plays classical masterpieces as well as original music that masterfully blends classical, global music traditions, and jazz with the excitement of virtuosic improvisation.

In his concert, Mr. Sandberg will perform a selection of his favorite classical compositions (several Chopin Mazurkas, plus pieces by Debussy, Ravel, Bach); his original compositions inspired by these masterpieces; and 20th century jazz masterpieces by Billy Strayhorn, Chick Corea, and others. There will also be selections from Mr. Sandberg’s “Dream Music Project,” begun during the pandemic, in which he turns his listeners' dreams into music.

Mr. Sandberg began playing the piano at the age of four and has studied with the legendary pianist/teacher Seymour Bernstein. While getting his classical music degree at Yale University, he fell under the spell of Latin rhythms and it changed his life. Deeply drawn to these rhythms, he moved back to New York after graduating to immerse himself in the world of jazz and Afro-Caribbean music. His mentor was multi-instrumentalist Mario Rivera, a member of the Dizzie Gillespie, Tito Puente, and George Coleman ensembles. Mr. Sandberg was pianist, composer and arranger for Rivera’s “Salsa Refugee” group, and also performed with Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, and Ruben Blades. A highlight of this period was an appearance in Rio and São Paolo in a duo with vocalist Bebel Gilberto.

Steve has toured with David Byrne (“Rei Momo") as keyboardist and vocalist, and was musical director for Lincoln Center’s summer Brazilfest series. He has conducted and arranged for Broadway (Chronicle of a Death Foretold) and for many regional and off-Broadway theatres, including the New York Shakespeare Festival. He was lead composer and musical director for Nickelodeon’s landmark children’s programs “Dora the Explorer” and “Go, Diego, Go!”
In 2017, Mr. Sandberg founded the Steve Sandberg Quartet, featuring the violinist Zach Brock (critically acclaimed as “the pre-eminent improvising violinist of his generation”), bassist Michael O’Brien, and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli. Their first CD, “Alaya,” was released on ArtistShare. Dan Bilawsky of All About Jazz called this CD “... a breathtaking composite of world music, jazz, and classical expressions ... personal and precise in its direction, yet universal in its language and ability to connect.” The quartet has performed at Birdland, the DiMenna Center, Sidedoor Jazz, the Allentown Symphony Jazz Upstairs series and many other venues.

In August of 2021, Mr. Sandberg and Mr. Brock performed a duo concert at New York’s Bargemusic series and in October, 2022, gave a series of concerts and taught several masterclasses in Egypt, sponsored by the American University of Cairo and the U.S. Embassy.
In 2019, Mr. Sandberg was commissioned by Kelly Hall-Tompkins’ Music Kitchen project, which presents classical music at New York City homeless shelters, to write an original song for tenor and string quartet. The song, setting lyrics by former Music Kitchen clients to music, was presented at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall in April, 2022.

Pianist Eric Clark has performed to great acclaim throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Praising his debut performance of Stravinsky’s Petrouchka at the International Piano Series in Charleston, South Carolina, Charleston Today wrote: “Clark managed brilliant execution throughout, perfectly capturing Stravinsky’s ingeniously quirky structures and headlong rhythmic drive.” Of his appearance at the prestigious Concerts at One series at Trinity Wall Street Concerts, Lucid Culture wrote that “it’s not often that audiences get to hear the thoughtful side of Liszt: Kudos to Clark for delivering it with grace and, if anything, understatement.”

Eric has appeared as soloist with several orchestras, performing Saint-Saens’s Concerto No. 2 under the baton of maestro Sergei Babayan in Perugia, Italy at Music Fest Perugia; the Beethoven Triple Concerto with the Queensboro Symphony Orchestra; Chopin Concerto No. 2 with the Rockland Symphony Orchestra; Mozart Concerto No. 24 and Bach Concerto No. 1 in D Minor with the Palisades Sinfonietta; the Haydn D Major Concerto with Sinfonia Perugina under Enrico Marconi; the Grieg Piano Concerto with the Space Coast Symphony on two consecutive evenings; and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic. As orchestral pianist, he performed in Gabriela Lena Frank’s Three Latin American Dances for Orchestra in Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium under the baton of maestro Keith Lockhart. Other orchestral piano performances include Michael Tippett’s Concerto for Orchestra in Heinz Hall under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis, and Hindemith’s Der Dämon in Severance Hall under maestro Juan Pablo Izquierdo.

Eric regularly performs at prestigious venues throughout New York City and Europe, including Carnegie Hall, the Klavierhaus Concert Series, Piano Evenings with David Dubal, the Musicians Club of New York, Victor Borge Hall at Scandinavia House, the Roerich Museum, Trinity Wall Street, the Juilliard School, and the Manhattan School of Music. He was invited to compete in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 2013, and was the only American contestant selected to attend the First International Chopin Competition on Period Instruments in Warsaw, Poland in 2018. His awards and accolades include second prize in the 2023 International Chopin Competition of Hartford and the 2019 Paderewski International Competition in Farmington, Connecticut.

A passionate advocate of new music, Eric recorded Le Mat-XXII Arcana, a solo piano work by Christian Kriegeskotte, available for download on Spotify. The work is an ambitious cycle of twenty-two pieces, each based on one of the “major arcana” of the tarot. A keen performer of chamber music, Eric has also performed throughout the East Coast with violinist Artur Kaganovskiy; together, they recorded the three Brahms Violin Sonatas for Centaur Records. He also has diverse interests in Cuban music, jazz, improvisation, and historical fortepiano performance.

Hailing from Bergen County, NJ, Eric received early musical instruction from Kai Pangune Kim, winning many competitions in the tri-state area. He has formed a close musical association studying with Andrei Gavrilov in Zürich, Switzerland and Mikhail Voskresensky in New York. Other teachers and mentors include Earl Wild, Ilana Vered, Byron Janis, Juana Zayas, Ann Schein, Michael Blum, Simon Mulligan, and Nina Lelchuk.

Eric earned a bachelor’s degree with university honors (equivalent of summa cum laude) and a full scholarship for his master’s degree in music from Carnegie Mellon University, where his primary teachers were Enrique Graf and Sergey Schepkin. He is also an accomplished visual artist, and his award-winning works have been displayed at art festivals throughout New Jersey.


Leonard Nimoy Thalia

Expected Run Time is 90 minutes

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