My Oprah Moment

This Thursday at 8 pm, Bargemusic presents Jazz Night with Jeff Newell’s New-Trad Trio. Friday at 8 pm, pianist Boris Berman plays an all Prokofiev program (see below for artist comments). This Saturday at 8 pm and Sunday at 4 pm, cellist Steuart Pincombe plays the complete Bach Cello Suites (see below for artist comments).

Dear Music Lovers,

Over the last few years we at Bargemusic became very good friends with P.S. 8, an elementary school which is located just a few blocks away from the Barge. I have met very special people connected to that school, like David Goldsmith, a P.S. 8 parent who has been our great ambassador and liaison; Seth Phillips, the principal of the school; teachers, parents, and of course the kids themselves, who never cease to amaze us with their questions, their smiles, and their great enthusiasm. So last April when the PTA asked us to hold a special benefit on the Barge, we were happily obliged. It was a very exciting event.

As a part of it, Jeff Newell played saxophone with his trio (his daughter attends the school). They sounded beautiful. Later Jeff mentioned to me that he had written a jazz composition that was 20 or 25 minutes long. When I asked him how many times he had performed it, he said it was not very easy to schedule it in jazz venues because of its length.

I had an “Oprah-like” light bulb moment! Bargemusic is a magical floating concert hall that goes with the tide and against the tide – so I invited Jeff to perform his composition. This, as well as joining Dick Hyman to play his own compositions earlier that year inspired me to start a jazz series on the Barge. Since then, many wonderful jazz musicians have come on board – and they and the audience are creating a unique floating jazz experience in a concert setting.

Lots of love,

Mark Peskanov

4 Responses to “My Oprah Moment”

  1. Steuart Pincombe Says:

    Meeting Mark:
    I met Mark Peskanov when I was 16. He came to my home town (Springfield, Missouri) to give a concert and masterclass at Missouri State University. Because the University was lacking in violinists, I was asked to play for Mr. Peskanov. A cellist playing for a violinist?

    What could be learned from a violinist? A lot! Mr. Peskanov gave a great masterclass and he also enjoyed my playing enough to ask if I would ever be interested in playing at Bargemusic.

    That summer I performed Shostakovich and Haydn piano trios at Bargemusic with Mark Peskanov and Jeff Biegel. Being a supporter of young musicians, Mr. Peskanov asked me to stay in touch and let him know how my music was going. Now four years later, I am presenting a tour of the complete Bach suites for solo cello and was lucky enough to get a show at Bargemusic thanks to Mark!

    About the project:
    This idea came to me as I have been concerned about the lack of “historically informed” performances by modern musicians which result in musically incomplete interpretations of Bach’s music. Part of the reason why I will be performing these suites on modern cello as opposed to baroque cello is that I want to show how a historically informed approach to the suites (and music in general) will enhance even modern playing.

    My goal is to present Bach’s cello suites as I believe they are intended to be played, with a focus on presenting the original bowings written in the Anna Magdalena Bach copy of Johann Sebastian Bach’s manuscript. I have hand copied the entire Bach suites from the Anna Magdalena Bach facsimile and have tried my best to copy the exact bowings/articulations contained within this reliable source. This literal interpretation of the Anna Magdalena Bach facsimile makes for a very interesting and engaging performance!

    My tour takes me through Tulsa, OK; Springfield, MO; Kansas City, MO; NYC, NY; Oberlin, OH; and Bloomington, IN.

  2. Boris Berman Says:

    This recital is connected with the impending release by Yale University Press of my new book “Prokofiev’s Piano Sonatas”. The book, in turn, comes on the heels of my recording of all Prokofiev works for solo piano, which I did few years ago. In this program I wanted to present Prokofiev’s piano music in the most varied way possible, drawing from all creative periods of the composer and from various genres: sonatas, solo pieces, and his transcriptions from ballets “Romeo and Juliet” and “Prodigal Son”. There is also a virtually unknown transcription of the Scherzo from the 5th symphony there made by Anatoly Vedernikov; it is brilliant - and fiendishly difficult.

  3. Anita Whalen Says:

    Hey Mark,

    Just to let you know I read your blog. Good deal - it’s great!!

    Lots of Love,


  4. John Says:


    Every time we come to NY from Florida we come to Bargemusic and have never been disappointed.

    We are thrilled when we get to see Olga and the friendly team in Brooklyn.

    Thank you for the hard work selecting, finding, recruiting, and taking care of the exceptional artists who perform at your venue.

    Keep up the great work!