THE NATIONAL ARTS
CLUB founded in 1898 is a revered and treasured jewel in the NYC
Gramercy Park setting. Its 1840 Tilden Mansion is home to a
mighty mission: “to stimulate and promote public interest in the
arts. ”Three Presidents were members. Distinguished architects,
artists, poets and actors held court and were honored at hosted
events. How apt this stellar tradition extends to its 2012
Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Byron Janis
virtuoso pianist, Byron Janis, considered one of the world’s
greatest concert pianists, did not let psoriatic arthritis pain
hinder his artistic universal climb. He did the impossible and
triumphed against all odds. That journey is inspiring, uplifting
and spiritual. Chopin and Beyond: My extraordinary life in
music and the paranormal
a book written with his wife Maria Cooper Janis
(daughter of Gary Cooper) tells all.
being the first student of Vladimir Horowitz; NBC orchestral
debut with Toscanini at 15; Carnegie Halldebut; U.S. State
Department’s Russia cultural exchange; Ronald Reagan’s state
dinner at the White House in his honor; invitations to perform
at The White House from various sitting Presidents; the Chopin
eerie connections and soul mate Maria ,etc.
BERNHARD, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL
ARTS CLUB welcomed the guests after a vast, festive cocktail
party with lots of hugs.
the evenings host CHUCK SCARBOROUGH of NBC NEWS, NEW YORK:
winner of 31 Emmy Awards; first inductee into the New York State
Broadcasters Hall of Fame with the longest TV anchor tenure in
New York television history. He predicted a surprise ending to
the evening’s celebration.
distinguished young classical pianists, who are rapidly gaining
major recognition, entertained. They were amazing.
Maiden’s Wish, OP 74, and No 1
(arranged by FranzListz)
committed, exciting poetic artist” made her debut with the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra at 15. Solo appearances with numerous
world orchestras and conductors rapidly escalate.
PFEFFER, Israeli pianist
No.2 in G Minor, Op.23)
Carnegie Hall recital celebrating Israel’s 60th
Independence Day and Concert in Honor of Peace; Chopin
at The Metropolitan Opera; and Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center,
Byron Janis is
the master passing his torch to the future. Under his tutelage,
Nimrod plays what we will never hear in Chopin. Byron taught
what Chopin really meant. Byron owns those secrets and gave this
gift to him. Listening with eyes shut; hearing Chopin’s glory
weave inside, he becomes a silent instrument, playing in his
chair. It turn’s Byron’s face into a mask of bliss and knowing.
How rare to see a connection from these depths. Oh, how we
listen-listen, learn, enjoy and watch.
and THE GOSPEL FOR TEENS CHOIR
They sang out “The
One World’ (Music, Byron Janis *
Lyrics, Sammy Cahn) with the beautiful Ahmaya Knoelle Higginsen
Wydro, passionately leading the choir of teens, ages 13 to 19.
The amazing Vy
Higginsen, an ordained Interface Minister heads the Mama
Foundation for the Arts in Harlem and created the award winning
Gospel for Teens choir recently featured on CBS 60 Minutes.
Its aim: present, preserve and promote African -Americans
musical history. This is only one of many extraordinary hats she
HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME.
Janis *lyrics Hal Hackaday
Byron sits at
the piano. The music of The Hunchback of Notre Dame
stirs on the keyboard. Broadway’s acclaimed ROBERT
CUCCIOLI and COLLEEN FITZPATRICK become Quasimodo and
Esmeralda singing You Are More. My ghosts
arrive from the Westbeth production.
Their lofty “what was” twirls; the way we were hopes and dreams
of what could be. Enter that loving Hunchback
family I was a part of.
In magnetic overlapping waves, they hesitate and falter when
Robert Cuccioli’s Quasimodo ballad Like Any Man
transports the room to a realm of such beauty, you feel the
heart and soul of Byron, in every note he wrote. Miracle! He’s
playing those notes tonight. He’s playing again!! The audience
gets it. Their bravo’s take on entirely new meaning.
presented the Lifetime Achievement Award. Byron Janis gave
humble acceptance remarks then joined Nimrod David Pfeffer at
the piano for the surprise ending, Chuck Scarborough predicted:
Gershwin’s Prelude NO.1 for four hands. The audience was
surprise ending is finding that we’ve changed after entering The
National Arts Club. A part that sleeps, with our eyes open, has
re-awakened. We touched what’s authentic. It was
honored tonight. We’re deeply centered by knowing that courage,
passion, perseverance and artistry of Byron Janis still exist.
This icon hero keeps filling the cup to the brim.
Ambassador for the Arts for the Arthritis Foundation, and
consultant for Yamaha’s Wellness Institute; the composer,
educator and humanitarian is embarking on a new life phase by
bringing awareness to
the healing power of music and its spiritual
What a stunning
WOW in this day and age.
Yamaha Artists Services New York generously provided the
Yamaha piano that glistened under the spotlight.