Upcoming and Recent Performances

Chaconne #40 – Utica College, October 17, 2018 12:30 PM

September 1, 2018 / 0 Comments

Program opens with Schumann Sonata #1 in a, Op. 105, with Sar-Shalom Strong, Piano

Utica College Jackson Lunch Hour Series. 12:30P.M.

In my most recent post, I wrote about seeking the balance between pulse and freedom – between expressing Bach’s internal structure and the freedom of flow, in doing so.

I decided for today’s performance to allow my impulse for flow to lead the way.  To be honest I am not certain how I feel about the results, there was a recording made and I will listen –  I was deep into flow most all of the way through.  I also made both repeats in the Corrente and Giga (this may sound really picky to some of you readers, but truly, it isn’t) and felt the results were “right”.  There is another performance tonight, so I will see later where it all ends up.

Chaconne #39 – Private performance, Sag Harbor, NY – October 13, 2018

September 1, 2018 / 0 Comments

This 39th performance in the Journey of 100 was a house warming concert for Robert, Deborah and their friends.  Before starting, I described my intention through the series of performances to more deeply explore the rapport between a Divine musical work, the listeners and me the performer.  After hearing some of the audience’s response to the music I began to feel in awe of the potential Music has to open connections between us as people because it was clear that folks felt  moved, seemingly more connected with themselves and with the composer’s spirit.

It has been over a year since performance #38 and to be honest, I have not missed the piece.  Yet as I write this morning, I am totally enthused about getting back inside it for the performances coming up this week.

Last night I continued to explore the balance between creative freedom in the timing of the phrases and liberties with the rhythmic pulse (for example how far I might move away from a metronome’s steady beat), and sticking with pulse – the powerful framework in all of Johan Sebastian’s music.  Towards the beginning of playing I felt self conscious at times that I was manipulating the phrases rather than responding to the inner guidance of the music.   

Another aspect that I must rethink is how to handle the repeats written in each of the two sections of the Allemande, Corrente, Sarabande and Gigs (the first four movements) – generally I take the first repeat and not the second.  I wonder if this is somehow undermining the long-form flow of the work because the Ciaconna (the last movement) is a simple flow of variations, with no repeats at all.

August 8, 2018 Bennington College

September 1, 2018 / 0 Comments

Dvorak Quintet Op. 77 in G

with Andrea Schultz, Violin Veronica Salas, Viola Michael Finckel, Cello and Alexander Jacobsen, Bass

part of Bennington Chamber Music Conference Faculty Artist Series

Wednesday June 20, 2018 Franklin and Marshall College

September 1, 2018 / 0 Comments

Antonin Dvorak Three Miniatures, Op. 75a

with Linda Rosenthal, Violin and Andrew Knebel, Viola

Summertrios Faculty Concert Series

Barshinger Center, Franklin and Marshall College


June 6, 2018 at Summertrios ProAm week

September 1, 2018 / 0 Comments

Beethoven String trio in D, Op.9 #2

Summertrios Faculty Concert Series

with Leslie Tomkins, Viola and Robert Burkhart, Cello

March 10th and 24th, 2018 – Midland Music Concert Series

September 1, 2018 / 0 Comments

Beethoven – from Improvisations to the Pen is a two concert mini series that explores Beethoven’s profoundly human and personal process of creating some of the greatest music on our planet.

7:30 PM both nights – Bronxville Womens Club, Bronxville, NY


Oxana Mikhailoff, Piano, Shem Guibbory, Violin, Robert Burkhart, Cello, Leslie Tomkins, Viola and Toby Kasavan, composer/speaker.

A few words from Shem: In the last years I have been performing and teaching the early chamber music of Beethoven – Op. 1 Piano Trios written when he was about 23 years old, and the Op. 9 String Trios written when he was about 27.  Musical elements kept leaping out of the score at me that seemed so clearly the starting points of an improviser – who then wrote them down with his pen and expanded them into formal compositions.

I did some Bodybuilding motivasjon – fryktløs kvalitet udenafil med forsendelse splendid eximens: the history of nutrition in bodybuilding – the weston a. price foundation research and found that he indeed had been making his way in Vienna as a pianist, extemporizing for audiences on his own themes or the themes of others and creating a profound emotional impact on his listeners. And, his competitors were stealing his ideas and presenting them as his own.  So he felt compelled to publish even though still formally a composition student of Haydn.  

Beethoven from Improvisation to the Pen 2018_March

February 25, 2018 Salon Soutine, NY, NY

September 1, 2018 / 0 Comments

Preview performance of Beethoven – from Improvisations to the Pen – with Oxana Mikhailoff, Piano, Robert Burkhart, Cello and special guest Toby Kasavan, composer/speaker

4pm by invitation only

October 18, 2017, Utica College, Utica NY

September 1, 2018 / 0 Comments

Noontime concert series.

Mozart Sonata in e, K304 – J.S. Bach Sonata in b, BWV1014 – Stravinsky Suite Italienne, arr. Stravinsky/Dushkin

With Sar-Shalom Strong, Piano


Beethoven’s Improvisations: from Piano to Pen

March 4, 2018 / 0 Comments

These two programs survey some of Beethoven’s first published works – the Piano Trios Opus 1 and the astonishing String Trios Op.9.

A musical illustration by composer and pianist Toby Kasavan will show how Beethoven’s universal improvisational vocabulary can be brought into a variety of musical styles.
Beethoven the Master Improvisor 2018_March



Chaconne #38 – Bennington College, August 11, 2017

August 11, 2017 / 2 Comments

I am looking forward to re-connecting with this work that I performed last week with the painters in Tim and Lala’s art studio. Tonight is for a few friends, old and new.


Tonite was one of the performances for which I did not specially prepare, as I have been working hard all week for the Conference.  My focus was to just let go, and allow the piece to play itself, so to speak.   The hall  without people is very resonant, and I found myself just allowing the tones to have lots of time, so the rhythmic framework was quite free.  I am not sure this is good, nor am I sure it is bad.  I also noticed that a few little errors have crept in here and there and they need to be given some “discipline” to get them back in line.

My next step is to find a way to take my playing of the work from where it is now (pretty good) to a much higher level;  how to do that is not yet clear to me.

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