Past Event

Ray’s Birthday Suit: a premiere by David Del Tredici

October 11, 2023
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
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Teatro, Italian Academy (1161 Amsterdam Ave, NYC 10027)

The Manhattan String Quartet is “a national treasure” (Boston Globe)  

Marc Peloquin's playing is “refreshing and alive; remarkable definition and clarity” (NY Times)  

David Del Tredici is “a rare find among composers: a creator with a truly original gift” (Aaron Copland)  

The Manhattan String Quartet joins pianist Marc Peloquin for the world premiere performance of Ray’s Birthday Suit; then Peloquin performs Late in the Game, a 2012 work. The composer will be present. 

​Seating is limited and first come, first served. Priority will be given to those who register in advance. Check-in begins 30 minutes before the event and early arrival is suggested. Walk-ups will be admitted, space permitting.

Click here for the program.

Marc Peloquin, piano

Manhattan String Quartet

Curtis Macomber, violin

Anna Lim, violin

Marka Gustavsson, viola

Chris Finckel, cello                                             

Listen to Mr. Peloquin’s 2023 recording Many Hands: The Piano Music of David Del Tredici, one of 5 Classical Music Albums You Can Listen to Right Now (New York Times). 

About the composer:

With the appearance in 1976 of Final Alice, David Del Tredici’s hour-long setting of Lewis Carroll for high soprano and large orchestra, a new movement in music, Neo-Romanticism, was born. Not only did Del Tredici forge for himself a fresh compositional path, but at the same time gave hope to a generation of young composers seeking a new way of composing. Read here about a recent recording of two of his Alice-themed works in a New York Times feature from earlier this year. 

“Del Tredici,” said Aaron Copland, “is that rare find among composers—a creator with a truly original gift. I venture to say that his music is certain to make a lasting impression on the American musical scene. I know of no other composer of his generation who composes music of greater freshness and daring, or with more personality.”

Final Alice is but one of a number of Alice in Wonderland settings written over a span of more than 25 years (1968–1995). Final Alice was followed by In Memory of a Summer Day, which was awarded the 1980 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Del Tredici’s early works, in a more dissonant idiom, also focused obsessively on a single author, James Joyce: Six Songs on Texts of James Joyce, I Hear an Army, Night Conjure-Verse and the tour de force for soprano and 16 instruments, Syzygy.

In Del Tredici’s Post-Alice world, he has taken a startlingly different tack—to create a body of music that celebrates his own gay sexuality. Among these is Gay Life (poetry of Ginsberg, Monette and Gunn; commissioned by Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony), Love Addiction (a baritone/piano song cycle to poetry of John Kelly commissioned in honor of the composer's 70th birthday), and Wondrous the Merge (a melodrama for baritone and string quartet to the poetry of James Broughton). The recent Bullycide for piano and string sextet is a composition dealing with gay teen suicide as a result of bullying.

His recent works include two string quartets (commissioned by the Da Ponte and Orion string quartets), Magyar Madness, and Grand Trio. And for solo piano, reflecting Del Tredici’s own musical beginnings as a piano prodigy, Mandango, Gotham Glory, Three Gymnopedies, and S/M Ballade. Boosey & Hawkes has published two volumes of his works for solo piano.

While Composer-In-Residence with the New York Philharmonic in the 1990s, Leonard Bernstein recorded his orchestral piece Tattoo, and Zubin Mehta recorded both Haddocks’ Eyes and Steps, a work written during his tenure at the Philharmonic. Paul Revere’s Ride for soprano, chorus, and orchestra was nominated for the 49th annual Grammy Awards as the Best New Classical Composition and issued on a Teldec CD. Rip Van Winkle is an adaptation of the iconic Longfellow story for narrator and orchestra and was premiered by Broadway superstar Brian Stokes Mitchell.

David Del Tredici’s works have been recorded on more than a dozen labels. These include Volume 1 of the Complete Piano Works performed by Marc Peloquin (Naxos), Facts of Life Del Tredici’s monster guitar work for David Leisner (Azica), A Field Manual and Magyar Madness (E-1 and Naxos), and an all-Del Tredici CD on Deutsche Grammophon performed by Oliver Knussen and the Netherlands’ ASKO Ensemble. Forthcoming recordings will include: Bullycide, Grand Trio, String Quartet No. 1, Felix Variations (played by his nephew, virtuoso trombonist Felix Del Tredici) and Dynamic Duo for Felix and Marc Peskanov (Albany), Complete Piano Works vol. 2), and the first recording of the complete Child Alice with Courtenay Budd soprano, Gil Rose, Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP).

Del Tredici has been on the faculties of Harvard and Boston Universities, and for more than 25 years, Distinguished Professor of Music at The City College of New York. He lives in Manhattan’s West Village.                                                      

About the performers:

Marc Peloquin:

An adventurous and inquisitive musician, pianist Marc Peloquin excites in making connections with his audience as a performer and advocate of the music of our time. His performances have been described by The New York Times as “refreshing and alive”and Time Out New York declared Marc an “innovative ivory tickler.” Some of the most significant composers of our time have written works for Marc including Samuel Adler, David Del Tredici, Tobias Picker and Ned Rorem.  He has recorded on the C.R.I., Naxos, Urtext and Albany labels. 

Marc began his series Keyed Up Music Project in New York City in 2010 to foster his relationships with collaborators and composers.  He brings vibrant living composers directly in touch with his listeners, creating programs that display his knack for making modern music accessible and entertaining.   

Marc Peloquin has had a longstanding piano partnership with Roberto Hidalgo as the Split Second Piano Duo, an ensemble that presents and records programs that highlights the connection of music from Mexico and the United States. Hailed by The New York Times as “gifted musically curious pianists, the performances were first rate”, the duo has been heard in Mexico City at the Palacio des Bellas Artes as well as performing with the Xalapa Symphony in the Concerto for Two Pianos by Francis Poulenc.  

Marc Peloquin also collaborates with the Pulitzer Prize winning American composer/pianist David Del Tredici, performing, editing and recording his piano music. Gramophone review of the first disc Gotham Glory stated: “A longtime Del Tredici champion and associate, Peloquin imbues these performances with idiomatic aplomb and a powerful yet flexible technique.”  Marc has completed the four disc set of the piano works that was released on the Albany Records label in June 2023. Marc is editor of Del Tredici’s Piano Album III and the piano quintet Ray’s Birthday Suit, both for Boosey and Hawkes. 


Hailed by the Boston Globe as “a national treasure,” the Manhattan String Quartet is celebrating its 51st season. Well-known for their performances of 20th-century “classics,” the Manhattan Quartet has established a significant international reputation with regular concert appearances throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia. After a series of concerts in Moscow and Leningrad in the fall of 1985, the Quartet became the first American classical ensemble to give a full tour of the Soviet Union under that era’s new cultural agreement. Their first sold-out series of performances in 1986 was followed by an equally successful tour in 1989. In 2005, the Quartet made its first tour of Asia and played to sold-out houses in Nagoya and Tokyo, Japan. Notable among its many recordings is the complete cycle of 15 Shostakovich string quartets that TIME Magazine called “One of the most important musical events of 1991.”