Johnny Gandelsman brings solo performance to SUNY New Paltz Sept. 22

Johnny Gandelsman

Critically acclaimed violinist Johnny Gandelsman, whose unique interpretations of classic works of Bach have garnered praise from The New York Times, National Public Radio and more, comes to SUNY New Paltz on Saturday, Sept. 22 for a special interactive workshop and concert.

Gandelsman’s performance, which will be held at 5 p.m. in McKenna Theatre, is the headlining act of the fall 2018 Music Concert Series, presented by the Department of Music.

A mainstay in the New York City music scene, Gandelsman is a founding member of string quartet Brooklyn Rider and a longtime member of the Silk Road Ensemble, founded by legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Gandelsman performed on and produced Silk Road Ensemble’s 2016 album “Sing Me Home,” which won a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album.

Gandelsman has collaborated with many more music heavyweights during his career, including David Byrne, Bono and Bela Fleck, but he is celebrated as a soloist as well, perhaps best-known for his light-footed, whimsical reimagining of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas.

“Johnny’s career is ascending rapidly,” said Alex Peh, assistant professor of piano at SUNY New Paltz. “His groundbreaking work with Silk Road Ensemble and his interactions with musicians from all over the world have informed his interpretations of Bach.  He is currently recording and performing Bach’s solo violin works in a totally different style, incorporating what he has learned from his collaborations with improvisers and world musicians.”

For his performance at SUNY New Paltz, Gandelsman will perform his acclaimed Bach interpretations and also share two new works written for him by notable contemporary composers Caroline Shaw and Edward Perez. Tickets for the concert are $15 for general public, $10 for seniors (62+) and New Paltz faculty/staff, and $3 for students.

As a special addition to his campus performance, Gandelsman will lead a workshop intended for string players, especially high school and college students, who are active in local orchestras. The workshop will feature special guest Jay Ungar, fiddle player and director of the Ashokan Center. Ungar is best known for the song “The Ashokan Farewell,” which was featured in Ken Burns’ documentary series “The Civil War.”

The workshop will take place at 1 p.m. on Sept. 22 in the Max & Nadia Shepard Recital Hall. The format will be part Q&A, part master class, and part improv/Irish tune play along.

Those interested in participating in the workshop should contact Christiana Reader, professor of music and director of the College Youth Symphony, at

Tickets for the workshop are $20 for participants and $15 for observers. Both options include admission to the 5 p.m. concert at McKenna Theatre.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or contact the Department of Music at (845) 257-2700, or via email at

Visit the Department of Music online for a complete listing of 2018 Music Concert Series events.