2017 Benefit Concert

This was the 42nd consecutive year that Group 11 of Amnesty International USA held a concert to raise money for AIUSA’s activities on behalf of human rights. The concert took place on Saturday, December 9, 2017 at Advent Lutheran Church, 2504 Broadway (93rd Street). With its fine acoustics, it was a great pleasure to hear music performed in this beautiful and intimate Gothic revival church.


These concerts are very special events, and attendees enjoyed beautiful music while helping to do some good in the world on this day dedicated to human rights

Duet for Two Cellos in G Minor, Op. 53, No. 6 Reinhold Glière
From Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson Aaron Copland
Sonata for Cello and Piano in C major, Op. 119 Sergei Prokofiev
Slavonic Dances for Piano Four Hands Antonín Dvořák
Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano in A Minor, Op. 114 Johannes Brahms

Our superb volunteer performers were:

Arthur Cook has appeared as a chamber musician and soloist in summer festivals at Sandpoint, Meadowmount, Yale-at-Norfolk, Rutgers, Apple Hill, Taos, the Blue Mountain Festival, and Provincetown. He has served as principal cellist for the Wayne Chamber Orchestra, the New Philharmonic, and the New York Symphonic Ensemble on its Japan Tour. He has partnered with pianist Deborah Gilwood since 1985, appearing in recital at Princeton University, the Beethoven Festival at Oyster Bay, Haverford College, Rutgers University, the Third Street Settlement School in Philadelphia, Smith College, Seton Hall University, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and in New York City on the New Horizons Series at the Greenwich House of Music, Mannes College, Manhattan School of Music, Columbia University, Holyoke, and the Library at Lincoln Center. During 1997-2016, Mr. Cook and Ms Gilwood were the co-artistic directors of the Blue Door Summer Chamber Music Series. Mr Cook has been on the faculties of Seton Hall University and Smith College. His teachers include Arthur Follows, David Geber, Felix Galimir, Louis Krasner, and John Sessions; counterpoint with Dr. Mary Jean van Appledorn. He holds degrees from Texas Tech University and the Mannes College of Music.

Marcia Eckert is active as a collaborative artist and has appeared in the Mostly Mozart Festival, as well as at Merkin, Alice Tully, and Weill concert halls, and London’s Leighton House. She has travelled throughout the United States presenting lecture-recitals on piano music by women composers and on the music of Charles Ives. She has recorded for the Cambria, Leonarda and Ravello labels. Ms Eckert has partnered with Cori Ellison, Lucy Shelton, Daniel Sommer, Timothy Merton and Ruth Ehrlich and performs regularly with Trio la Bella and the Eckert/Gilwood (piano) Duo. Ms. Eckert has been referred to as “a pianist of impressive skill and sensitivity, the sort of keyboard collaborator that every instrumentalist dreams of” (Scott Cantrell, Albany Times-Union). She has taught in the Mannes College of Music Preparatory Division since 1983 and is the founder/director of Pianophoria!, a summer piano intensive in New York City. Ms. Eckert holds degrees in Piano Performance from Indiana University School of Music and State University of New York at StonyBrook. Her teachers have included Jorge Bolet, Gilbert Kalish, Claude Frank, William Masselos and Seymour Bernstein.

Deborah Gilwood has appeared as a soloist as well as a collaborator with numerous orchestras and ensembles, including the Long Island Philharmonic, Brooklyn Philharmonia, and Solisti New York. As a chamber musician, she has performed with such groups as Musical Elements, Infusion, the Alliance for American Song, the Eckert/Gilwood (piano) Duo, and Blue Door with cellist Arthur Cook, in performances at Carnegie Hall and Weill Recital Hall, as well as at many colleges and universities. She has participated in summer festivals at Tanglewood, Sarasota, Aspen, Siena, and Rutgers, and was a cofounder of the Blue Door Chamber Music series on Cape Cod. Ms. Gilwood attended Mannes College of Music, and received her performance degrees in piano from SUNY Purchase and SUNY Stony Brook. Her principal teachers included Richard Goode, Gilbert Kalish and Lucy Greene. She has taught at Smith College, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Seton Hall University, and is currently on the faculties of Mt. Holyoke College and Westfield State University. Since 2007, she has been on the faculty of Pianophoria!, in NYC.

Mezzo-soprano Janice Meyerson has performed a wide operatic repertoire, including the title role in Carmen, Amneris, Eboli, Ulrica, Herodias, Kostelnicka, Fricka, Santuzza, Judith (Bluebeard’s Castle), Adriano (Rienzi), and Laura (La Gioconda) in theaters including Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Oper Frankfurt, New York City Opera, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, Barcelona’s Liceu, Washington National Opera, Florida Grand (Miami), Houston Grand Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, and companies of New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Diego, Boston, Montreal, London, Dublin, Antwerp, Taipei, Rio de Janeiro, and Montevideo. Her debut was as Brangäne with Leonard Bernstein and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Recent roles include Kabanicha (Káťa Kabanová), Old Prioress (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Mrs. Sedley (Peter Grimes), and Klytämnestra (Elektra). Ms. Meyerson has appeared as soloist with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony, National Symphony, New Orleans Symphony, Mexico City Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, American Symphony, and London Proms in such works as Verdi’s Requiem, Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, Brahms’s Alto Rhapsody, and works of Gustav Mahler. Festival appearances include Tanglewood, Marlboro, Spoleto USA, Aspen, Bard, Chautauqua, Schleswig-Holstein, and Wolf Trap. She holds a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.M. from the New England Conservatory.

As a concert clarinetist, Joseph Rutkowski has been hailed by The New York Times as “…an agile and powerful player” and by the International Clarinet Magazine as a clarinetist with “awesome technical prowess.” He has performed with James Galway, Mstislav Rostropovich, Eleanor Steber, William Warfield and Maurice Andre and under the batons of Alan Hovhaness, Karel Husa, Laszlo Halasz, Richard Westenburg, Michael Flamhaft and JoAnn Falletta. His recording of Schubert’s “Shepherd on the Rock” for Ali Mar Records received critical acclaim in Richard Gilbert’s The Clarinetist’s Discography The. Mr. Rutkowski has been director of instrumental music at Great Neck North High since 1991, has been nominated as a GRAMMY Music Educator of Year twice, among many other awards. He has served on the faculties of Queens College, Mannes College, Westchester Conservatory and Stuyvesant High School. Mr. Rutkowski also currently performs with TRIO NOTO and JEY Trio. His primary teacher was Lawrence Sobol to whose memory he wishes to dedicate his performance this evening.

Cellist Mary Wooten is known for her agility in moving among musical styles, from classical to jazz and pop improvisation to the avant-garde. A founding member of the Soldier and Sirius string quartets, Ms. Wooten is one of the pioneers who propelled the classical string world toward new ventures with improvisation and electronically-altered instruments. As quartet cellist she has premiered new music at Lincoln Center, Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and on John Shaffer’s New Sounds series for NPR. Collaborations with such innovative musicians as John Zorn, Elliot Sharp, and Douglas Cuomo have led to performances at new music locales and jazz festivals in New York, Montreal, Amsterdam, Vienna, Cologne, Berlin, and Tokyo. Ms Wooten has performed in the New York Shakespeare Festival with Meryl Streep and in Broadway orchestras. As a studio musician she has recorded for many TV commercial and movie soundtracks, and for artists including Billy Joel, Sheryl Crow, Joe Jackson, Kenny Werner, Jane Ira Bloom, and David Bowie.

Known as Blue Door, the duo of cellist Arthur Cook and pianist Deborah Gilwood has been playing together since 1985. They have performed on numerous chamber music series at such venues as Princeton University, the Beethoven Festival at Oyster Bay, Haverford College, Rutgers University, Smith College, and in New York on the New Horizons Series at the Greenwich House Music School, Mannes College of Music, the New School, Manhattan School of Music, Columbia University and Lincoln Center. In 1999 they founded the summer chamber music series–Blue Door Chamber Music–at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Their CD, Censored by Hitler: the Rediscovered Masterpieces issued by Centaur, garnered favorable reviews from European and American music journals, and is part of the permanent collection of the Library at Lincoln Center and continues to be programmed on public radio stations internationally.

The Eckert/Gilwood Duo, formed in 1994, has performed numerous two-piano concerts in the New York area including at Mannes, Queens College, and Tenri Cultural Institute, as well as in Northampton, Mass and at the Howland Cultural Center in Beacon, N.Y. Their children’s program Piano Magic: Beauties, Beasts, Bells and More… was presented at the Howland Center on the Classics for Kids series, as well as at Mannes Prep. In addition to performing, the duo has presented master classes for young pianists.

Trio la Bella is a recently formed clarinet, cello, and piano trio that has performed concerts in New York City and western Massachusetts.