APRIL 17, 7:30PM




Alternative Endings


February 5, 2022 7:30 PM

National Opera Center

330 7th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Tickets required (link forthcoming)

Suggested donation: $20 general, $10 students/seniors

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Patricia Alessandrini - Canto d’Alma (2018/2020) for soprano, chamber ensemble, and electronics

(inspired by Alma Mahler’s fünf Lieder)

Wang Jie - Songs for Mahler in the Absence of Words (2011) for piano quartet 

(inspired by Gustav Mahler’s piano quartet)

Gerhard Krammer - Rückert-Lieder (2011) for voice and piano

(inspired by Gustav Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder)

Sang Song - Gretel (2021) for soprano and chamber ensemble

I. To the Little House - New York premiere
II. Vein of Shame - World premiere
III. Kindertotenmusik - New York premiere

(inspired by Gustav Mahler's Kindertotenlieder)

This concert will be live streamed, but audiences are encouraged to join us in person.

In his 1998 publication “Modellfall Mahler: Kompositorische Rezeption in zeitgenössischer Musik” (“Modeller Mahler: compositional reception in contemporary music”), Thomas Schäfer catalogued 70 substantial compositions by 20th century composers that were explicitly related to specific symphonic movements or songs by Gustav Mahler. More recently, many 21st century artists and scholars now focus on the issue of identity and self-identification, particularly identity as it concerns gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, and those who self-identify as “outsiders,” and this has sparked a recent renewed interest in the works of Alma Mahler. Derycke Cooke wrote: “In Mahler we find expressed for the first time the dilemma of that typically modern figure, the man who is uprooted and out of his element. As an Austrian Jew born in Bohemia, and, therefore technically a member of the German civilization, Mahler was, as he himself said, three times an exile; as a Jew amongst Austrians, as an Austrian amongst Germans, and as a Jew everywhere. As a consequence, his life was an unremitting quest to discover some accepted attitude with which to identify himself."

All four of the following works, specifically written with Gustav and Alma Mahler's predicaments in mind, create narratives that deal with the “outsider” status of their protagonists.


a winter solstice concert

December 21, 2021 7:30 PM

National Opera Center

330 7th Ave, New York, NY 10001

Tickets required: In Person | Livestream
Suggested donation: $20 general, $10 students/seniors

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Arnold Schoenberg - Pierrot Lunaire (1912) for voice, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano

Sharon Harms, soprano

Yotam Haber - Bloodsnow (2020) for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cell, and piano

Commissioned by the Adele and John Gray Endowment Fund

World Premiere


Franco Donatoni - Clair (1980) for solo clarinet

Tania Leon - Atwood Songs (2018) for voice and piano, words by Margaret Atwood



Sharon Harms joins the Argento Chamber Ensemble in Arnold Schoenberg’s 1912 masterpiece Pierrot Lunaire, Op. 21. Pierrot Lunaire broke ground by incorporating many new musical innovations: a new form of vocal performance (Sprechstimme), a psychedelic, theatrical interpretation of traditional Commedia dell’Arte characters, and the mixed, five member “kleines Kammerorchester.” Pierre Boulez once called Pierrot an “inexhaustible resource,” also pointing out that even though its formal and harmonic innovations are famous, it also introduced a completely new rhythmic language.


Pierrot also expands on the tradition of Austrian Lieder, the intimate genre for voice and piano, which Schoenberg previously explored in 1908 and 1909. On this program, Argento pairs Pierrot Lunaire with the Atwood Songs for voice and piano, by Pulitzer Prize winning Cuban-American composer Tania Leon.

Carol McGonnell brings biting wit and relentless virtuosity to post-serial composer Franco Donatoni’s Clair. In Clair, Franco Donatoni controls procedures that generate audible patterns of variation and repetition. Through these “automatic techniques,” Donatoni renders relentless music of extraordinary power, speed, and risk, often giving the impression of an organized attack.

Finally, Argento gives the world premiere of pianist/composer Yotam Haber’s Bloodsnow, which recreates the adrenaline surge of a violent accident, in which Haber, a Guggenheim fellow, cut one of his fingers off while managing a team of racing dogs in Denali National Park. He writes, “It was both one of the scariest moments of my life, and also one of the most exhilarating moments of my life, and it’s those moments when you really feel most alive.”

Argento’s winter solstice celebration will be an explosive, imaginative celebration of darkness that will put Halloween to shame!!!

This concert will be live streamed, but audiences are encouraged to join us in person.


Argento's 2021-22 season programming is made possible by the Reed Foundation, the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, the Fritz Teiner Fund, the BMI Foundation, and the generosity of individual supporters. Additional support is provided in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.


Past Concerts

catch as catch can


August 15, 2021 2pm

National Opera Center

330 7th Ave, New York, NY 10001


Registration required to attend in-person


Register for Livestream

Suggested Donation: $20, $10 for students/seniors


Ruth Crawford Seeger - Andante from String Quartet 1931


Béla Bartók - Divertimento (1939) for string orchestra 


Ann Cleare - eyam i (it takes an ocean not to) (2009-13) 

Carol McGonnell, clarinet

Georg Friedrich Haas - catch as catch can (2018 )

Michael Katz, cello; Steven Beck, piano; Carol McGonnell, clarinet

After a year of online performances, Argento is thrilled to return to the concert stage 

and perform in the flesh to a live audience. Author George Grella wrote "Being together for live music increases social bonds among all at hand, musicians and audiences, and that both enhances the vitality of the music making in a positive feedback loop and creates the deep and unpredictable alchemy of a live performance. The point of being present, live, is to not just hear something but feel something."


The concert will be live streamed, but audiences are encouraged to join us in person.


Ruth Crawford Seeger wrote her most famous work, her string quartet in 1931, specifying that the 3rd movement, an Andante, can be performed by a string orchestra as well. This movement is structured on a repeating inhalation/exhalation gesture.


Bartók’s Divertimento for Strings, was written as a true concert piece for pleasure (literally “divertimento”) for Paul Sacher, but have Bartók's characteristic rigor and depth. Argento performs a version for 15 strings. The outer movements burst with rhythmic energy and virtuosity, contrasting with the meditative atmosphere of the other works on the program.


The featured work on the program is a recent work (2018) by Georg Friedrich Haas entitled catch as catch can, written for Trio Catch. This work embodies Haas’ sonorous microtonal world through the resonances of the piano, played by Ning Yu, coupled with timbres from clarinet, basset horn, bass clarinet, played by Carol McGonnell and cello, performed by Michael Katz.


The concert ends with, eyam I (2009-2013) for Argento’s clarinettist, Carol McGonnell, by fellow Irish artist, composer Ann Cleare. Eyam is a small village in Derbyshire, England, that responded to the discovery of a plague there in 1665, by shutting down its borders and isolating, rather than letting the infection spread. The piece deals with isolation and infiltration.




Saturday, December 19, 2020
2:00pm Eastern Standard Time 

Download Program Notes


Download Program Notes


Reiko Füting - tanz.tanz (2010)
Doori Na, violin

Allain Gaussin - La chevelure de Bérénice (1990)

Andile Khumalo - Tracing Hollow Traces (2013)
Carol McGonnell, clarinet


Selections from Mystery Variations

Giuseppe Colombi - Chiacona (17th century)
Pascal Dusapin - 50 notes en 3 variations (2010)
Fred Lerdahl - There and Back Again (2010)
Martin Matalon - Polvo (2010)
Magnus Lindberg - Duello (2010)
Michael Katz, cello

Arthur Kampela - Layers for a transparent orgasm (1991)
Karl Kramer, horn

Stephanie Griffin - Un cygne des temps (2016)

Franz Gruber - Silent Night arr. Matthew Greenbaum for seven violas (2011)
Stephanie Griffin, viola

When Argento first presented a concert of featured soloists in December of 2004 at the Italian Academy of New York, we never imagined that 16 years later we would be presenting a similar program in a digital format due to pandemic restrictions. But here we are, and thankfully, there is a wealth of adventurous music written for solo instrument, which we can assemble into a concert format for our audiences to mark the end of this tumultuous year. Please join us as we continue to bring our audiences innovative musical performances!

Argento's 2020-21 season programming has been made possible by the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University and the generosity of individual supporters. Additional support is provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.



Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 8pm

Areté Venue and Gallery 

Click here for google maps​

Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 7pm

Austrian Cultural Forum

Click here for google maps


Structured improvisation by Charmaine Lee (vocalist) and Carol McGonnell (clarinet)

Arnold Schoenberg Toter Winkel (1899)

Erin Gee Mouthpiece 29 (2016)

Arnold Schoenberg Verklärte Nacht (1899)


Erin Gee Mouthpiece 29b (2020) WORLD PREMIERE

Erin Gee, voice
Carol McGonnell, clarinet
Charmaine Lee, composer/vocalist

Argento Chamber Ensemble
Mari Lee, violin
Doori Na, violin
Stephanie Griffin, viola
Jocelin Pan, viola
Michael Katz, violoncello
Serafim Smigelsky, violoncello
Tristan Kasten-Krause, bass

Michel Galante, conductor 

The program will run 70 minutes without intermission.

Vocalist/composer Charmaine Lee and clarinetist Carol McGonnell embody the theme of the evening of duality by performing a structured improvisation resulting from collaborating closely over time. Both performers are known for their intensity, and the mix of voice, text, sound, and breath will form the basis of their performance. Argento then performs Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night – 1899) and Erin Gee’s Mouthpiece 29 (2016) by juxtaposing and performing
several iterations of each piece.


Photo Credits clockwise from upper left: Richard Frank, Peter Gannushkin, Jonah Sutherland, self-portrait by Arnold Schoenberg

Argento Joins Erin Gee at Resonant Bodies Festival at Roulette Intermedium

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Erin Gee & Argento at Resonant Bodies Festival

Roulette Intermedium, Brooklyn

Click here for google maps

Featuring her legendary Mouthpieces, Gee presents two solo works (with her brother and frequent collaborator Colin Gee, movement and visual artist) and a work with Argento Ensemble.


Resonant Bodies Festival—“in equal measures intelligent, playful, ambitious and moving” (New York Times)—is a festival of contemporary vocal music that presents "today's most talented singers" (Feast of Music) performing repertoire of their own choosing. This curatorial carte blanche gives each performance "a happy zealousness, where the singers' enthusiasm for their repertoire [is] contagious" (Sequenza 21).

PROGRAM (All works by Erin Gee)

Mouthpiece: Segment of the 3rd Letter (2007) for amplified voice, bass flute, percussion, viola, and double bass

Mouthpiece 29 (2016) for voice, violin, viola, and double bass