The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony presents 'Honoring Our Veterans' at Carnegie Hall, Saturday, November 19, 2016


Concert to feature the New York premiere of Jake Runestad’s admired “Dreamsof the Fallen”, coupled with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

200-strong chorus, one of the larger in Carnegie Hall’s history, comprised of theWest Point Glee ClubNew Amsterdam Singers and Young New Yorkers Chorus

Hosted by WQXR’s Terrance McKnight, conducted by Music Director DavidBernard, the concert will also feature leading pianist Jeffrey Biegel, and singers Kristin Sampson, Edith Dowd, Cameron Schutza and David Leigh – nearly three hundred people on stage in total

The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony Orchestra (PACS) will honor veterans of the United States Armed Forces with a large-scale gala concert at Carnegie Hall on November 19. The performance will feature the New York premiere of Dreams of the Fallen — the
much-admired new work by award-winning composer Jake Runestad and the poet and United States Army veteran Brian Turner. The work probes the way veterans are forever psychologically changed by their experiences of war. The program concludes with a performance of Beethoven’s uplifting Symphony No. 9.

PACS will be honoring the NYC Department of Veterans’ Services, the newly created New York City agency that is dedicated to improving the lives of New York City veterans and their families. Marshaling the collective resources of the City of New York, DVS’s objectives are to ensure that all veterans have permanent affordable housing and access to the support services needed to find and maintain their home; implement the VetsThriveNYC integrative health program to foster the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of veterans and their families; expand education and career opportunities for veterans through a rapidly growing network of City, public, private, and non-profit partners; and provide the human and technological infrastructure for veterans and their families to gain City-wide access to benefits, resources and care through a leading coordinated service network.

Dreams of the Fallen creates a haunting sonic landscape, as the music and poetry progress through the three stages of the soldier’s experience: pre-deployment, overseas service and the return. The coupling with the Beethoven is key to the whole concert experience, says PACS Music Director David Bernard, “Jake Runestad’s scarring view of the impact of war on our soldiers long after they leave the battlefield, followed by Beethoven’s testament to universal brotherhood not only gives voice to soldiers' struggles, but also represents our aspiration for peace.” said David Bernard.  “Through this concert we hope to not only honor those who have served, but also honor what they have served for; a better tomorrow.”

For Jake Runestad, the work underlines an important truth. “While we, the public, are familiar with epic stories of heroism and of intense loss, we hear very little about the ‘afterwards’ of the war experience,” he says, “thousands of veterans struggle to assimilate back into everyday life after living through a traumatic wartime experience. We hear very little of the continued struggles that these soldiers face and so I hope to shine a light on their stories with this new musical work.”

Led by David Bernard, the orchestra will be joined by the leading pianist Jeffrey Biegel, soprano Kristin Sampson, alto Edith Dowd, tenor Cameron Schutza and bass DavidLeigh. A vast chorus of 200 voices will be comprised of the vocal forces from the West Point Glee ClubNew Amsterdam Singers and Young New Yorkers ChorusTerrance McKnight, WQXR Evening Host, will host the event.

The concert takes place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, November 19 at the Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall.  Tickets will be available for $18-$250 at, CarnegieCharge (212-247-7800), and at the Box Office (57th Street and Seventh Avenue).


David Bernard has conducted orchestras in more than 20 countries, on four continents.  He has served as Music Director of the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony since 1999, and has recently been appointed Music Director of the Massapequa Philharmonic. A multiple winner of the Orchestral Conducting Competition of The American Prize, Bernard was described in the judges’ remarks as, “a first-rate conductor…phenomenal performance…masterly in shaping, phrasing, technique and expressivity.”

Particularly active throughout the greater New York City area, David Bernard has appeared as a guest conductor with orchestras including the Brooklyn Symphony, the Greater Newburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Litha Symphony, Manhattan School of Music, the Massapequa Philharmonic, the New York Symphonic Arts Ensemble, the Putnam Symphony and the South Shore Symphony. Devoted to the music of our own time, he has presented world premières of scores by Bruce Adolphe, Chris Caswell, John Mackey, and Ted Rosenthal, and distinguished concert collaborators have included Carter Brey, David Chan, Catherine Cho, Pedro Díaz, Stanley Drucker, Bart Feller, Ryu Goto, Whoopi Goldberg, Sirena Huang, Judith Ingolfsson, Christina Jennings, Yevgeny Kutik, Anna Lee, Jessica Lee, Kristin Lee, Jon Manasse, Anthony McGill, Spencer Myer, Todd Phillips, and James Archie Worley.
David Bernard’s complete recorded Beethoven symphony cycle was praised by Fanfare magazine for its “intensity, spontaneity, propulsive rhythm, textural clarity, dynamic control, and well-judged phrasing” (Fanfare). His recent premiere recording of a new edition of Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring was praised by Gramophone as “committed and forceful…(with) thrilling moments”.
Passionately committed to music education in schools, David Bernard leads significant efforts across New York to develop programs such as the Harmony Program and the Lucy Moses School. He and PACS also established the Parents Association Endowed Scholarship Fund at the Julliard School Pre-College Division. His admired work in community engagement also includes engaging families through schools, and the innovative InsideOut performances (see below).

Jake Runestad is an award-winning and frequently-performed composer of “highly imaginative” (Baltimore Sun) and “stirring and uplifting” (Miami Herald) musical works. He has received commissions and performances from leading ensembles and organizations such as Washington National Opera, the Netherlands Radio Choir, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, the Virginia Arts Festival, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Seraphic Fire, Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare, and many more. Jake’s visceral music and charismatic personality have fostered a busy schedule of commissions, residencies, workshops, and speaking engagements, enabling him to be one of the youngest full-time composers in the world. Jake Runestad holds a Master’s degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University where he studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts. He has also studied extensively with acclaimed composer Libby Larsen. A native of Rockford, IL, Mr. Runestad is currently based in Minneapolis, MN and his music is published by JR Music.


Pianist Jeffrey Biegel, intimately involved with Dreams of the Fallen from conception, was the first pianist to record for the Steinway & Sons recording label. Mr. Biegel's Bach On a Steinway debuted #3 on the Classical Billboard charts, followed by A Steinway Christmas Album reaching the #1 spot. He further recorded a tribute to the Golden Age pianists for Steinway's release, A Grand Romance, featuring knuckle-busters and tender morsels often performed by the greatest pianists of the early 20th century. In 1997, he created and performed the first live audio/video recitals on the internet from Steinway Hall in New York.

Leonard Bernstein said of him: "He played fantastic Liszt. He is a splendid musician and a brilliant performer." These comments helped to launch Mr. Biegel's 1986 New York recital debut, as the recipient of the coveted Juilliard William Petschek Piano Debut Award, in Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts' Alice Tully Hall. He studied at The Juilliard School with Adele Marcus, herself a pupil of Josef Lhevinne and Artur Schnabel. Mr. Biegel is currently on the piano faculty at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College, a City University of New York (CUNY). His 2016-17 season includes World Premieres of two works for piano and orchestra in commissioning projects created by Mr. Biegel: PDQ Bach'sConcerto for Simply Grand Piano and Orchestra with 15 orchestras in the USA and Finland, and Jimmy Webb's new composition for piano and orchestra.


The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony is well known to New York audiences through its frequent appearances at Carnegie Hall. The ensemble regularly features important soloists such as David Chan (concertmaster, Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra), Carter Brey (principal cellist, New York Philharmonic), Jeffrey Biegel and Anthony McGill (principal clarinet, New York Philharmonic). PACS international activities include a nine-city tour of China. Recently they have attracted particular attention for their “Inside Out” initiative, spearheaded by David Bernard, which places audience members amongst the orchestra musicians during performances, so that they can experience the thrill of the music from within the fabric of the orchestra itself. Their latest recording, of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Bartok’s Concerto For Orchestra, launched the new label Recursive Classics.


Under the direction of Constance Chase since 1999, The West Point Glee Club is one of the U.S. Military Academy’s most visible cadet organizations. For over one hundred years, its members have touched audiences around the world through live performance in the nation’s finest concert halls, national network and feature film appearances, and CD and DVD recordings. The Glee Club enhances life at West Point through its traditional ceremonial duties, and represents West Point and the U.S. Army at official events. Last season the Glee Club appeared in the Fox News holiday special, A West Point Holiday, and the Showtime Sports/CBS Sports docu-drama A Game of Honor. The Glee Club is in frequent demand for nationally televised appearances by invitation of the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, New York Yankees, Knicks and Rangers, Detroit Pistons, New Jersey Nets, the BCS National Championship, the Fiesta Bowl, the Breeders Cup, Super Bowl XXXIX, and Madison Square Garden. Upon graduation from the Academy, cadets are commissioned as Second Lieutenants and begin their service to the nation as officers in the United States Army.


New Amsterdam Singers is a chorus of 70 skilled singers whose concert performances in New York City and abroad have won critical acclaim. The group is known for the variety and interest of its repertoire, ranging from the 15th century to the present day. The chorus specializes in a cappella and double chorus repertoire and regularly performs 20th century, contemporary and commissioned works. It continues to rehearse on the Upper West Side, performing three subscription concerts and giving a number of other performances around the greater metropolitan area each season.


Currently in its 15th season, the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus (YNYC), guided by the artistic vision of conductor Michael Kerschner, brings together the finest choral musicians from the tens of thousands of young people who flock to the city for its excitement, art, and culture. As a post-collegiate community choir, YNYC has the unique pleasure of performing for a large and devoted youthful audience, exposing the demographic to the beauty and transcendent potential of the choral arts.

For media enquiries, please contact James Inverne Music Consultancy
(+44 207 993 6615 /