«Back to all Press Releases

«Back to all ArtsWestchester Press Releases

RiverArts® Presents: T.S. Eliot & Benjamin Britten – An Immersive Dialogue of Poetry and Music

Dobbs Ferry, NY: On Sunday, March 26 at 3pm, RiverArts will present an immersive experience of poetry and music featuring a reading of TS Eliot’s The Waste Land and performance of Benjamin Britten’s Suite for cello 1, op 72.  These two works of art will be brought to life together in an intimate concert setting.

Award-winning narrator/actor Edoardo Ballerini will render the 100-year-old poem while virtuoso cellist Peter Seidenberg interprets the complex passions woven throughout Britten’s solo cello suite. Poetry and music, intertwine, underscore, and respond to one another, deepening our experience of these singular artistic masterpieces. The audience will sit in semi-circle around the artists, creating an immersive experience for both performers and audience.

There will be a conversation with the performers and Dr. Neil Arditi, Professor of English Literature at Sarah Lawrence College, led by RiverArts’ Producer & Artistic Director of Artist Conversations & Theater, Marie-Louise Miller immediately following the performance.

Details –

Date: Sunday, March 26th, 3 pm

Location: 145 Palisade Street, Lobby Suite, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522

Tickets: $20/ea; tickets must be purchased in advance at:


The twentieth century was a time of mass barbarity and extraordinary hope marked by two world wars, the negation and re-generation of civil society and the emergence of a new definition of the individual in art, in society and in politics. Artists like T S Eliot and Benjamin Britten grappled with the starkness and the beauty of their time by creating new forms of expression which shape us to the present day.

The Waste Land, published in 1922, is a melding of literary tradition with the experimentalism of free verse. The poem uses allusion, quotation in several languages, a variety of verse forms and poetic fragments to create a new voice for a culture in crisis. Eliot stated, “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” What he sought, as both a writer and a reader, was “some direct shock of poetic intensity.” For many, The Waste Land is a symphony of shocks which continue to enthrall readers and listeners alike.

“What always surprises people after hearing The Waste Land is how much of a narrative it has. For something so famously rich and complex, it is also wonderfully accessible.”, notes Edoardo Ballerini.

Suite for Cello 1, was written in 1964 as one of three suites for solo cello inspired by and dedicated to Britten’s good friend, Mstislav Rostropovich. The men were often separated by the on-going conflicts generated by the Cold War. In his speech on receiving the Aspen Award in 1964, Britten said, “Rostropovich was such a gloriously uninhibited musician, with that enormous feeling of generosity you get from the best Russian players. I immediately realized this was a new way to play the cello, in fact a new vital way of playing music.” The Suite is defined by an emotional range, epic in nature. By turns anguished, reflective, menacing and fervent. The fluid tonality can be incredibly tense. Yet there are also notes of humor and triumph at the end of the piece.  “This suite was such an important war protest in 1963. And I cannot think of a more appropriate time to present this poignant plea for peace,” states Peter Seidenberg.

About the Artists

Edoardo Ballerini is a two-time winner of the Audio Publishers Association’s Best Male Narrator Audie Award. Among many screen credits, he is best known for his roles in The Sopranos, and the film Dinner Rush. In 2022, Mr. Ballerini was commissioned by the Estate of T.S. Eliot to record the “Centenary Edition” of “The Waste Land,” and has subsequently done several public readings of the work. For more information on the artist, please visit: edoardoballerini.com.

Peter Seidenberg (cellist and Artistic Director of RiverArts’ Chamber Music Series) has played in major halls throughout the US, Europe, and Asia, and served as principal cellist with the Century Orchestra of Osaka. He was a founding member of the critically acclaimed Elements Quartet which created groundbreaking commissioning projects of 30 composers. He is the cellist for the Oracle Trio, The Queen’s Chamber Band, and the New York Chamber soloists. For more information on the artist, please visit: peterseidenberg.com

About the Artist Conversation Series RiverArts creates opportunities to amplify the artistic voice, bringing insight and delight to our community. We are proud to spotlight leading voices in art, music, poetry, dance, and theater.

Under the direction of Marie Louise-Miller, our Artist Conversation series offers a chance to get up close and personal with artists. The Conversation Series seeks to illuminate the process of creativity across all forms of art, from the fine artist to performance artist. Recent events have featured Malcolm MacDougall on the reimagination of material and form in sculpture, Maxine Sherman and Bennett Rink of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, and an exploration of Spirituals and their stories with soprano Yolanda F. Johnson. Further, RiverArts creates immersive, interdisciplinary explorations in art. RiverArts proudly presented the world premiere of Braiding, an original performance piece integrating music, dance, art, and video directed by Marie-Louise Miller.

 About RiverArts

RiverArts inspires Hudson River communities in lower Westchester County to come together through art. RiverArts’ year-round season of events and programming includes our two signature free, multi-village artists’ Studio Tour and Music Tour; an annual dance concert; a three-part Chamber Music series; theater performances; and smaller community events such as Drink & Draw, Salon Sundays, Swing Dance night, artist conversations and pop-up concerts; plus Music Education and its SummerArts camp for kids of all ages.

For over half a century, RiverArts has been the catalyst that connects performers, musicians, and art-makers with Rivertowns audiences. We believe in the power of art to express, transform, and bring joy to our lives and our community.

Please visit RiverArts on-line to read more about its mission, core values and programming calendar.