The Abby Whiteside Foundation
Will Healy and Gabriel Zucker
2022 Sophia Rosoff Concert Series
Wednesday, April 6, 2022 at 8pm
Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall

Buy Tickets
$35 ($25 students/seniors)

March 16
Music for Two Pianos
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April 6
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April 27
Will Healy &
Santiago Leibson
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June 15
John Kamitsuka
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Yoon Sun Choi, voice and Jacob Sacks, piano

For over 20 years, vocalist Yoon Sun Choi and pianist Jacob Sacks have explored the intersection of sound, spontaneity, and improvisation through creatively interpreting original music, classical music, jazz, and pop music. Their approach to the voice/piano duo has re-imagined the format far beyond the traditional soloist/accompanist model. This year's performance will include a mixture of new original works and cover pieces interpreted in their unique way.

Randal Despommier, saxophone and Jason Yeager, piano

In a program integrating works by classical and contemporary composers with jazz and improvised music, saxophonist Randal Despommier and pianist Jason Yeager present a genre-defying program of all-encompassing music, traversing centuries and styles befitting the title of their first joint recording, All At Onceness. At Weill Hall they present material from that album as well as new original compositions and arrangements from their respective solo releases.

Jacob Sacks is one of the most creative pianists on the NYC jazz scene today. His strong individual voice has been heard in a variety of settings ranging from the mainstream jazz traditions of the Mingus Big Band and Orchestra to the open approach of the Paul Motian Septet.

Originally from Michigan, Jacob was a 1995 Presidential Scholar In The Arts before he moved to New York City to study with Garry Dial at the Manhattan School Of Music. After graduation in 1998, Jacob was a finalist in the 1999 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition.

In the last 15 years, Jacob has been a member of many different ensembles, recorded over 40 albums, and has toured the United States, Europe, and Canada annually. He has performed with musicians such as Clark Terry, Joe Maneri, Terumasa Hino, Charles Gayle, Eddie Henderson, Michael Formanek, Brandon Seabrook, Tony Malaby, Jacob Garchik, Ben Gerstein, Ohad Talmor, Tim Berne, Ellery Eskelin, Mark Turner, Ben Monder, Adam Rogers, Kenny Wollesen, and Matt Wilson.

Current projects include a longstanding duo with vocalist Yoon Sun Choi, with whom Jacob recently released a critically acclaimed album of Joe Raposo's music; the Jacob Sacks Trio with drummer Dan Weiss and bassist Thomas Morgan; and the quartet "Two Miles A Day" co-led with bassist Eivind Opsvik, featuring violist Mat Maneri and drummer Billy Mintz.

Jacob currently resides in Brooklyn where he is working on several recording projects and teaching 15 or so students in his private practice.

Yoon Sun Choi has spent more than two decades capturing listeners with her uncompromising, freewheeling and beautiful style and the breadth of her musical vision.

A Korean-Canadian improvising vocalist and pianist, Choi has been based in NYC since 2000. Her main musical projects are her E-String Band, a toy instrument band consisting of toy piano, ukulele, melodica, guitar and percussion; the Yoon Sun Choi Quartet; and her long collaborative duo with pianist Jacob Sacks. All About Jazz calls her 2008 duo recording with Sacks ("Imagination - The Music of Joe Raposo") one of the Best Vocal recordings and Best Tribute recordings of the year.

Choi has performed and collaborated with renown artists such as Jane Ira Bloom, Samir Chatterjee, Steve Coleman, Mark Dresser, Mark Elias, Gerry Hemmingway, D.D. Jackson, Oliver Lake, Mat Maneri, Ben Monder, Jen Shyu, the Tri-Centric Orchestra, Sarah Weaver, Kenny Werner and the late Kenny Wheeler.

Choi received a BMus in classical piano and composition at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and a BMus in voice and jazz performance at the University of Toronto. She has studied with vocal coach Thomas Schilling and pianist Sofia Rosoff.

Likened to a "Rimbaud hipster" (The Rest is Jazz), Randal Despommier's music is a genres-and -centuries spanning amalgam of jazz, blues, and western classical idioms, resulting in a distinct twenty first-century compositional voice. Since moving to New York City in 2013, Despommier, a native of Metairie, Louisiana, has become a part of the New York jazz scene, performing in the Williamsburg Music Center, Cornelia Street Café, The Cell Theater, and other NYC jazz havens.

All At Onceness, a "compelling new album" (Boston Globe) on Red Piano Records, is Despommier's first recording project with pianist/composer Jason Yeager. It has received widespread acclaim, including positive mentions in Jazz Verlag magazine and airplay on various radio programs including Coleurs Jazz (Paris) and Radio Oskarshamn (Sweden). Since the album release, Despommier has shared his music with audiences around the United States, including the venues Regattabar, David Friend Hall at Berklee College of Music, Port City Blue, and the Backroom in Berkeley CA. His debut solo album (title TBA) with Outside in records will be recorded in November and released in the spring of 2020. Other projects include a forthcoming classical song cycle, Circus of the Soul, (released on the streaming platform Idagio) and a new album consisting of jazz arrangements of medieval and renaissance songs. A live recording of a track from this album can be streamed here on Soundcloud.

Despommier received a D.M.A. in music composition from New England Conservatory and a B.M. (cum laude) in jazz studies at Loyola University of New Orleans. He has also studied choral conducting at the Conservatory of Perugia and sacred music at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena under the tutelage of Azio Corghi. As Adjunct Professor, he currently teaches music performance, music theory, and music history at Bard High School Early College in Manhattan. He has also taught jazz history with the Bard Prison Initiative at the Woodbourne Correctional Facility for men.

New York-based pianist and composer Jason Yeager creates music that is deeply expressive and multi-faceted, defying convention while reveling in the traditions of jazz, blues, 20th century classical music, and Latin American folk rhythms. An adroit and sensitive accompanist as well as an imaginative bandleader, Yeager has released five albums of original music to wide acclaim, including All At Onceness (with Randal Despommier) and United (with Jason Anick), the latter of which was named a Best Album of 2017 by Downbeat Magazine. His newest album, New Songs of Resistance (Outside in Music, 2019) features chamber-jazz arrangements of songs by nueva canción icons like Victor Jara, Violeta Parra, and León Gieco, as well as original compositions. The Boston Globe describes the recording as a "musical reflection of troubled times and a search for affirmation nonetheless," and the New York Music Daily hails it as "searingly relevant" and "one of the best albums of 2019 in any style of music."

As a bandleader and soloist, Yeager has performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Blue Note, and Smalls Jazz Club, as well as at festivals, concert halls, and clubs throughout the United States, South America, Asia, and Southern Africa. Yeager was also a finalist in the 2019 Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition, the 2017 International Songwriting Competition, and winner of the 2014 Hot House Jazz Fans Decision Awards for best pianist. He has also worked with iconic, cutting-edge jazz artists like Luciana Souza, Greg Osby, Ayn Inserto, George Garzone, Sean Jones, Linda Oh, Noah Preminger, Sara Serpa, Fernando Huergo, Mark Walker, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Matt Wilson. A committed educator, Yeager is Assistant Professor of Piano at Berklee College of Music, and an honors graduate of the Tufts University/New England Conservatory Double Degree Program as well as the Berklee Global Jazz Institute.