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Pianist to Perform Grieg Piano Concerto

Feb 07, 2011 06:59PM ● Published by Anonymous

Pianist Brian Ganz will play Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor with the National Philharmonic, led by Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski, on March 12 at 8 pm at the Music Center at Strathmore. Also on the program are Grieg’s Wedding Day at Troldhaugen and Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 2 in D Major.

Ganz has shared First Grand Prize in the Marguerite Long Jacques Thibaud International Piano Competition and won a silver medal in the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium International Competition. He has performed as a soloist with the St. Louis Symphony, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the City of London Sinfonia and Paris’s L’Orchestre Lamoureux, among other orchestras, under the direction of such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Mstislav Rostropovich and Piotr Gajewski.

He is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Leon Fleisher. Earlier teachers include Yida Novik and Claire Deene. Gifted as a teacher himself, Ganz is a member of the piano faculty and Artist-in-Residence at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. He also serves on the piano faculty of the Peabody Conservatory and has served on the jury of the Long Thibaud Competition in Paris.

In an exuberant review of a Ganz performance, The Washington Post wrote, “One comes away from a recital by pianist Brian Ganz not only exhilarated by the power of the performance but also moved by his search for artistic truth.”

Filled with passionate melodies and harmonic vitality, Grieg’s (1843-1907) only concerto is among the most popular in the piano concerti literature. It was written in 1868, when the 24-year-old composer was visiting Denmark to escape the harsh climate of Norway.

From the crashing opening chords to the thrilling climaxes and sublime melodies, the work has captured the imagination of listeners for more than a century. The piece was inspired by Robert Schumann’s music, which combines Germanic precision with the powerful emotions and melodies of Romanticism. Grieg’s large-scale work was unsual for the Norwegian composer, who mostly penned miniature works. The enduring popularity of this concerto has ensured its use in a wide variety of media. It has been used in several films, including the 1945 British melodrama The Seventh Veil, a Nike commercial and the TV show Twin Peaks.

Grieg immortalized the name of his home in the vivacious Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, a recollection of his 25th wedding anniversary. Troldhaugen and its surroundings are now a museum dedicated to the memory of Norway’s most famous composer.

The last piece of the evening is by the early-20th century Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius, who forged an independent path for himself with his strong, heroic Symphony No. 2 in D Major. This work demonstrates great boldness and individuality yet is also infused with a dark, brooding and characteristically Nordic quality.

A free lecture will be offered one hour before the performance in the Education Center at the Music Center at Strathmore. To purchase tickets to the Grieg Piano Concerto with Brian Ganz on March 12, 2011 at 8pm at the Music Center at Strathmore, please visit nationalphilharmonic.org or call the Strathmore ticket office at (301) 581-5100. Tickets are $32-$79; kids 7-17 are FREE through the ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program (sponsored by The Gazette).  ALL KIDS tickets must be purchased in person or by phone. In addition, parking is free. Attached is a photo of pianist Brian Ganz (photo credit Michael Ventura).


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