Lionel Chernoff playing the guitar in Brazil.

Duo Montagnard Premiere Oteri’s Tribute to Lionel Chernoff

Duo Montagnard (Joseph Murphy, saxophone and Matthew Slotkin, guitar) will give the world premiere performance of Frank J. Oteri’s composition Dually during a free concert on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 12:00 noon in the Gould Memorial Library Rotunda at Bronx Community College (2155 University Ave, Bronx NY). Dually is a revision of Oteri’s earliest chamber music composition, written in 1979 when he was 14 years old and a music student of Dr. Lionel Chernoff (1936-2016) at New York’s High School of Music and Art. Soon after learning of the death of Chernoff, who inspired that composition and was an important mentor to Oteri and many others, Oteri pulled out that early score and noticed that some of the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic elements were actually related to the letters in Chernoff’s name and revised the work to more effectively call attention to those relationships.

Oteri explains the significance of the title: “On the most basic level, it is music for two people. But it is also music that was composed by two people: 14-year-old me and the 52-year-old me of 2017. I also use the word to acknowledge that although the classical music canon is built upon the notion that the great composers of the past were solely responsible for their timeless masterpieces, nothing has ever been created in a vacuum and it also cannot exist in our present world without the contributions of many other people—interpreters, presenters and other advocates, and, perhaps most importantly, listeners. All of my own humble attempts at contributing to the repertoire have been the by-product of lots of things I have learned from lots of other people. Many of the most important things I learned in my formative years I learned from Lionel Chernoff, and whenever I listen to or write music, I am not doing so alone; he is with me. The word dually, like the words for each of the movements (‘Quixotically,’ ‘Jejunely,’ ‘Esoterically,’ and ‘Relentlessly’), is an adverb ending in ‘ly’ for Lee, Lionel Chernoff’s nickname which I rarely called him by but which I will always remember.”