di.vi.sion was founded in 1997 by Music Director Kurt Briggs. It was incorporated as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) in 2001. An inaugural series was given at Church of the Holy Apostles in New York. Since that time its 35-member core group has given numerous concerts in New York and the tri-state area, sometimes dividing into smaller combinations and sometimes expanding for larger programs. The group comprises experienced freelance players in the New York musical community who have performed with many of the major orchestras, authentic-practice ensembles, and new music ensembles in the area. Their work has also been heard on television, radio, and many of the major record labels.
di.vi.sion presents concerts and educational programs that reflect the spirit of the early pleasure gardens of London and New York. This concert tradition started in London in the early 17th century. New York’s earliest pleasure garden was Vauxhall, founded in 1765 and named for its British counterpart. The tradition continued uninterrupted for more than 225 years, and left a legacy of permanent buildings for music, opera, dance, theater and art. This list includes the Tivoli (Copenhagen); Covent Garden, Saddler’s Wells (London); Castle Garden and Madison Square Garden (New York). Most importantly, this cultural practice democratized the concert experience.
di.vi.sion aims to continue this tradition into the 21st century. Though only in its fifth season, di.vi.sion’s repertoire already includes over 50 works. They range from early composers (Bach, Buxtehude, and De Fesch) to classical ones (Haydn and Mozart) through the second Viennese school along with Janacek, Khachaturian and Strauss, and into the present with contemporary composers Constance Cooper, Gwyneth Walker and Thad Wheeler. We have presented works by Frank Zappa and Lalo Schfrin; performed several Bach choral works, including the Missa Brevis in F, in collaboration with CHA; and demonstrated historic performance traditions in Buxtehude’s Seven Membra Jesu, utilizing gut strings, two choirs, and viol consort.
di.vi.sion piano trio repertoire focuses on works by composers associated with the pleasure gardens of London and New York and presents their compositions along with modern works — thus continuing the pleasure garden tradition of programming music both ‘ancient and modern.’ The trio’s repertoire already includes works by De Fesch, Mozart, Haydn, Hummel, Dvorak, Ravel, Roussel, Shostakovich, Piazzolla, and Bridge. The trio premiered Constance Cooper’s Play Within A Play, which interweaves the techniques of division with Ms. Cooper’s own microtonal system.