Thursday, March 03, 2011

One of NYC's hidden treasures: Free concerts at Lincoln Center

Last night we discovered one of New York's hidden treasures: free concerts (and other events) @ Lincoln Center's Bruno Walter Auditorium.

The star of the evening was a wonderful violinist, Shem Guibbory, who played two solo pieces, Grazyna Bacewicz' Solo Sonata #2 and Johann Sebastian Bach's Sonata in g minor, BWV 1001. Not surprisingly, the Bach was a thousand times better than the Bacewicz.

The other two pieces were duets. And the supporting players were every bit equal to Guibbory. The first for violin and percussion, Slowly She Turns by Douglas J. Cuomo, opened the evening. It included an absolutely brilliant percussionist, Rex V. Benincasa, and in some ways was the evening's highlight. All the performers were wonderful but I loved Benincasa. What he did with percussion was unbelievable.

The last piece was Brahms' Sonata in d minor, op. 108. Pianist Craig Ruteberg, who was originally scheduled to play got sick on Tuesday. Kathleen Tagg replaced him with essentially two days to prepare and she knocked it out of the park. (I couldn't help but wonder where pianists get their page turners. I guess with Julliard across the street, it's probably not hard.)

All in all it was a wonderful evening. And the best part was that it was FREE.

After the concert we went to O'Neal's, which has morphed into the Atlantic Grill. As I understand it O'Neal's, which started life as the Ginger Man 46 years ago and itself "closed during renovations on the building and reopened as O’Neals’," went out of business last May.

The Ginger Man, for NYC restaurant-history buffs, was named after a movie starring the owner Michael O'Neal's brother Patrick. But I heartily recommend the Atlantic Grill. The scallops were wonderful. And they have draft beer from my new-favorite brewery, Brooklyn's Six Point. And I got to try one of their brews I had not previously tasted, Bengali Tiger. Another winner for Six Point.

No comments: