About the series
Expanding the reach
of classical music in NYC
Roosevelt Island Concerts is currently in its 12th season and has become a vital asset in the cultural life of Roosevelt Island. Augmenting its rich chamber music programming, the series has recently begun to present orchestral concerts under the direction of conductor Benjamin Hochman. The generosity of our audiences is an essential part of the series, complementing the support of individuals, corporations, and institutions in and beyond New York City. One of the few concert series in New York that produces both orchestral and chamber music concerts, the series is earning a reputation as an essential part of New York City’s rich landscape of classical music.
Throughout the year, musicians bring exciting programs of chamber music to audiences at the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, an 1888 landmarked church at the center of Roosevelt Island. Music-lovers hear imaginative programs that combine thoughtful interpretations of well-known works with convincing presentations of pieces that are less often heard. The performers introduce the music to the audience with a relaxed, personal touch, and mingle with audience members after the close of the concert. The varied programs continually delight and inspire audiences.
In December 2015, the series expanded and presented an orchestra concert for the first time. Since then we have presented another two orchestra concerts and will now present two per season. Organized and conducted by Benjamin Hochman, the programs have included Beethoven Symphonies 1 and 8, Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, and works by Wagner, Debussy, and Jessie Montgomery. This spring, Mr. Hochman, an Avery Fisher Career Grant–winning pianist, will conduct from the keyboard two Mozart piano concertos.
In addition to the public concerts, Outreach Performances are held during performance weeks. These informal events at community centers and hospitals are designed to provide listeners the opportunity to learn about the music, hear the music, and meet the musicians. Roosevelt Island Concerts brings the joy of superlative musical performance to people who might not otherwise be able to be a part of it.
In 2008, Ralph Allen, Marc Diamond, Iris Jortner, and Marianne Lau founded the Rosemarie and Robin Russell Family Concert Series on Roosevelt Island in New York City to honor the memory of Robin & Rosemary, who brought to Roosevelt Island a highly regarded series of concerts and a music school. Rosemarie and Robin brought Irish music and dancing, jazz at Meditation Steps, and world-class classical artists to Roosevelt Island, such as the guitarist Elliot Fisk, the Guarneri Quartet, and pianist Ruth Laredo.
Marianne Lau organized the concert series and secured initial funding with grants from city and state agencies. R&R Concerts Inc. was incorporated in 2009 as a nonprofit in New York State and was recognized by the IRS in 2010 as a 501(c)(3) public charity. In 2017, Benjamin Hochman joined the board following several appearances in the series as a pianist and having commenced in 2015 a series of orchestral concerts. The series changed its name to Roosevelt Island Concerts in 2019.
Across more than a decade, over 150 musicians have performed in more than 60 concerts to thousands of concertgoers. Their generosity, along with that of major individual and corporate donors have enabled the series to present consistently extraordinary classical performances to the people of New York City.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Michael E. Goldberg
Ariela Bohrod, logistics
Tommy Diamond, visual design
Danielle Engstler, promotion
Gordon Fang, logistics
Yvonne Yuan He, promotion
Colin Penny, promotion
Will Rowe, event production
Margie Smith, research
Ali Truwit, print design
A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO
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Schedule a Public Outreach performance
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“This event is comparable to a performance at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful concert with our community.”
“Awesome! I am a new R.I. resident and wonderfully surprised at this extraordinary cultural offering.”
“Delightful repertoire and ensemble.”
“Lovely concerts, much appreciated. Intimate setting, good acoustics as well.”
“Thank you for this wonderful series. It’s such a pleasure to have something so wonderful on our Island.”
“The program choices are great, the performers energetic and the space is great for chamber music.”
“Wonderful music and musicians. I like the balance of Baroque, classical and contemporary pieces. Church acoustics were just right.
“I really enjoyed the piece from Kodály and the spoken introduction of the movement was really appreciated. I remembered the imitation, the question-response and the improvisation techniques Iris mentioned. Wonderful piece of music and interpretation.”
“The Chapel of the Good Shepherd is a better place to experience chamber music than Carnegie Hall. It is close to ideal.”
“Thank you for a world-class concert here on Roosevelt Island.”
“What a joy to have such wonderful musicians come to perform on R.I.“