On the Threshold of Change
- Featured: Margaret Bernstein
- Release Date: 11/4/2003
Margaret Bernstein's Biography Margaret Bernstein is a versatile musician whose music touches the hearts of all who listen to her. Although known to many audiences as a flutist, she shows exceptional talent as a composer and songwriter with accomplished keyboard skills as well. Margaret's virtuosity on the flute has won her several awards and scholarships and has lead her to performances as a solo, chamber, and orchestral player throughout the United States and abroad. She has participated in music festivals at Aspen, Colorado; Saratoga Springs, New York; and with the Albany Symphony in the Shaker Mountain Music Festival in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She has performed with musical ensembles of varied genres throughout the country including as soloist with the Saint Cecilia Chamber Ensemble (Albany, New York) and extensively in the Dance Brigade's 'Nutcracker Sweetie' productions (Oakland, California). Although she is classically trained with degrees in performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music (BM), and Arizona State University (MM), live performances and recordings testify to her unique improvisational abilities. Her many recording appearances include two solo recordings, 'Full Circle' and her follow-up album, 'On the Threshold Of Change', both which features ten original compositions for flute with her own piano accompaniment. Margaret's instrumental compositions have been inspired by her pilgrimages to India and South Carolina as well as having lived in the scenic hills and valleys of West Marin county, California and in the Helderberg Mountains of Upstate, New York. Her background as a dance accompanist (both her parents were professional dancers), and her studies in music from other cultures also influence her compositions as she blends unique folk and classical elements into her compositions. She is a prolific songwriter having written many songs in the folk, pop, and country genres in addition to her instrumental compositions. Her extensive children's' music catalogue includes selections commissioned for school choruses in addition to two musicals with original scripts, 'The Little Seed' and 'The Trees' Song for Peace'. Several of Margaret's instrumental compositions have recently earned her international recognition through the UNISONG and West Coast Songwriters' Competitions, including the title composition on 'Full Circle', and 'Awakening Hearts and Souls Dance' and 'In the Direction of Home' found on the 'On the Threshold of Change' CD. In addition to her careers as a musician and composer, Margaret Bernstein is a New York State certified teacher in Music (vocal and instrumental) as well as in Elementary Education. Most recently, she has worked for the Schenectady City School district as a general music teacher and Chorus Director. She is founder of the Youth Sahavas, a retreat for teenagers held annually at the Meherbiography-new editionsbiography-new editions Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Her other interests include enjoying and preserving our natural resources as well as horse back riding and swimming. She currently resides with her six year old son and their animals in their old farm house in upstate New York. Reviews The gentle melodic strains of flute familiar to music lovers all over the world are featured on Margaret Bernstein's new CD, 'On the Threshold of Change'. The album, which is a perfect follow up to her debut CD, 'Full Circle', consists of ten original instrumental compositions. Like 'Full Circle', Margaret's virtuoso flute playing is often doubled up in exquisite harmony tracks and is also accompanied by herself on piano and keyboards. In addition, Bay Area cellist Gay Dunn graces three of the compositions with her beautiful cello playing and jazz guitarist Mimi Fox (courtesy of Monarch Records) adds upbeat Brazilian flavor to 'Breaking Through'. Margaret has a unique talent in bringing out an awareness of our connectedness to Nature through her music. She manages this partly by incorporating authentic nature sounds (such as babbling brook, buoyant birds and buzzy bumblebees in 'Living in Lagunitas') into the fabric of her music, interweaving her flute motifs with bird calls. Her music also evokes powerful images of Nature and Baba since her compositions have been inspired by the forests and hills of Northern California and upstate New York (where she has lived during the last few years), and her pilgrimages to Meher Center (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina) and Meherabad, India. Some musical highlights on the album include 'Awakening Hearts and Souls Dance', a waltz-like ballad dedicated to her horse, Rosie, and 'In the Direction of Home', which won honorable mention in the International UNISONG competition. The music on 'On the Threshold of Change' reflects Margaret's ongoing spiritual quest for union with the Beloved as well as the changes and transformations that she has undergone during the last few years, most notably giving birth to her son, Julian Song, who additionally helped to inspire the recording process from utero. There is a purity and honesty that comes through in Margaret's flute playing and in her musical compositions that transports the listener to an altered state where one cannot help but feel Beloved God's presence. There is continuity between the musical numbers yet enough contrast from meditative, peaceful pieces to upbeat, dance-type melodies to keep the listener engaged. This album is recommended for everyone! -Love Street Lampost, Los Angelos, CA 'Margaret is a virtuoso flutist who possesses much warmth and creativity in her playing as well as in her original compositions. I love playing with her.'...Mimi Fox (Monarch Recording Artist) (Margaret is) 'an excellent player, with good tone, intonation, and a very fluid improviser. Also (has a) good repertoire for flute music.'...Schawkie Roth (Musician / recording artist ) 'Wow! What BEAUTIFUL inspiring, enlightening, soulful music! Well worth the wait! I LOVE it!' (Mike Straud, Magician, Palo Alto, CA) '...Your music is so beautiful, I just cannot stop crying. I'm so moved...'(Robert I, sculptor, NY) 'We love your music! We listen to it when we are writing. It helps us concentrate. And it helps us to learn to be better writers.' (Children at Awakening Seed School, Phoenix, AZ) '(It) deeply touches my soul. Every time I listen..... I feel closer to myself and to God! This kind of gift is ine of the greatest gifts one can give.....' (Ron Schlegal, New York) On The Threshold of Change : description of pieces On The Threshold of Change (4:07) a lively, upbeat victory song flute, piano - Margaret Bernstein percussion, sampled bass - Warren Dennis Kahn Understanding Integration (4:30) a dreamy, spatial composition reminiscent of ocean waves flute, piano, synthesizers - Margaret Bernstein percussion - Warren Dennis Kahn Surrender to a Safe Place (6:52) a tranquil, meditative piece flute, piano, sampled harp - Margaret Bernstein cello - Gay Dunn Forgiveness (4:29) a melodic, classical-sounding tune flute, sampled strings - Margaret Bernstein cello - Gay Dunn In the Direction of Home (2:56) a passionate, mood-evoking melody flute, piano, synthesizers - Margaret Bernstein cymbal - Warren Dennis Kahn Breaking Through (3:00) a joyful and jazzy samba-like dance tune flute, piano - Margaret Bernstein percussion - Warren Dennis Kahn guitar - Mimi Fox (courtesy of Monarch Records) Awakening Hearts and Souls Dance ('Rosie's Theme') (5:03) a lyrical, flowing, waltz-like melody flute, piano, sampled strings - Margaret Bernstein cello - Gay Dunn Living in Lagunitas (7:15) a meditative mood piece integrating authentic nature sounds (stream, birds, etc.) flute, piano, synthesizers - Margaret Bernstein Embracing Intimacy (4:47) a Ronantic keyboard interlude piano, synthesizers - Margaret Bernstein Where do We Go From Here? (On The Threshold of Change - reprise) (2:26) a slower interspective rendition of the title track,bringing the musical journey to closure. Flute, piano, synthesizer - Margaret Bernstein.
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