SHUFFLE’s creative director and pianist, Eliran Avni, was on the elliptical machine at the gym when his MP3 player jumped from a Pretenders song to the first movement of Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony, nearly causing him to lose his balance… and thus, the idea for SHUFFLE Concert was born!
“It was like time traveling,” he says. “One minute I was in an ’80s dance club and the next, in the Siberian wastelands. So I thought to myself, how incredible it would be to perform a concert like that, where the entire program would be based on these extreme stylistic juxtapositions, and I could then take the audience time traveling with me!”
In SHUFFLE Concert’s original form, a computer program randomly selected the pieces performed, simulating the shuffle mode on an MP3 player. This later transformed into the unique concept of letting the audience decide which pieces would create the program. For perhaps the first time in the modern performance of classical music, the audience decides what happens next on stage. Avni soon learned that his friends and colleagues were just as excited about this new concept as he was. He called some of his favorite musicians and SHUFFLE Concert took flight.
Each of SHUFFLE’s members is an exceptionally accomplished chamber musician; they are graduates of such schools as Juilliard, New England Conservatory, Oberlin, Mannes and Bard College. Ariadne Greif (soprano); Francisco Fullana, Brendan Speltz* and Siwoo Kim* (violin); Linor Katz, Sofia Nowik* and Brook Speltz* (cello); Moran Katz (clarinet); Eliran Avni (piano); Hassan Anderson and Jessica Pearlman* (oboe) have all individually won numerous prizes and have performed extensively as soloists and collaborative musicians throughout the world.
Since its inception, SHUFFLE Concert has performed in a variety of concert settings, from the Duplex in the West Village of New York to the Rose Studio at Lincoln Center. The ensemble has also given performances at Merkin Hall and the Greene Space in New York; the Simon Family Center in Virginia Beach; East Stroudsberg University and Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania; Molloy College on Long Island, New York; L’Ermitage Concert Series in Los Angeles; and at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall. In November 2013 the ensemble traveled to Israel for a third tour, at the invitation of the Felicia Blumenthal Chamber Music Festival, and will be returning there in October 2014. The ensemble’s Merkin Hall debut was broadcast on WWFM and WQXR and included the premieres of new works by Avner Dorman and Jonathan Keren. The ensemble’s debut CD was launched in October 2013.
*Indicates alternate player. Alternates perform based on availability and geographical location.