URI features Liszt birthday anniversary concert, October 22

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KINGSTON, R.I. — October 5, 2011 — The University of Rhode Island will celebrate the 200th birthday anniversary of the great 19th century pianist/composer Franz Liszt with a concert on Saturday, Oct. 22. “Happy Birthday Franz!” will feature favorite Liszt piano works plus art songs for solo voices and piano starting at 8 p.m. in the URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston. URI alumni, faculty, and students from the piano and voice programs will perform. Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students, available starting 45 minutes before the concert.

The program is expected to include: “Liebestraum” (Dream of Love), one of the most loved piano classics, performed by URI student pianist Christopher Woyak of Carolina; Concert Etudes performed by Dorothy Schrock of Providence and URI Music Department Associate Professor Dr. Manabu Takasawa; Hungarian Rhapsodies performed by URI alumnus John Norigian, and underclassmen Jonathan Audette of Lincoln and Michael Galib of Portsmouth; Liszt transcriptions of vocal music by other composers: Mendelssohn’s “On Wings of Song” played by Alexander Gorelick of Jamestown, Schumann’s “Widmung” played by Michael Galib, and Schubert’s “Ave Maria” performed by Dr. Takasawa. Liszt’s “Years of Pilgrimage” will be performed by Jonathan Audette and URI alumnus Justin Cahoon, and rarely heard late works will be offered by URI alumnus Danny Kutty and underclassman Justin Kisch of Providence. Dr Takasawa and Grace Urrico are the piano faculty coaches.

In addition to the piano works on the program, students in the URI Voice Performance Program will sing a number of Franz Liszt art songs for solo voice, accompanied by student pianists. Those expected to perform include Kelsey Hopkins, mezzo-soprano from West Warwick; Rebecca Cunha, soprano from Middletown; and Anthony Malerich, tenor from Wakefield, all coached by Voice Faculty member Margaret Frazier, as well as Marina Ferri, soprano from Coventry; Leah Kenney, soprano from Warwick, and Olivia Mathis, soprano from Cranston, coached by Voice Faculty member Rene de la Garza.

Cranston resident John Norigian holds a Bachelor of Music degree from URI (2004) and a Master of Music from the Cleveland Institute of Music. North Providence resident DannyKutty earned both his Bachelor of Arts degree (2009) and his Master’s Degree in Music (2011) at URI, and Providence resident Justin Cahoon graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music.

Liszt’s influence on piano music and also other genres of 19th century classical music was immense. His teaching revolutionized piano technique, and his work as a composer popularized programme music as a genre. Dr Takasawa, who coordinated this concert, describes Liszt as a man whose “good looks and showmanship on stage earned him the status of a super celebrity similar to ones we see in pop culture today.” He adds, “His piano writing, highly idiomatic, original, and technically challenging, pushed the limits of the instrument which was still going through its structural development. He also taught many talented performers and teachers who influenced their next generation of musicians. In fact if a pianist traces the ‘genealogy’ of his/her teachers, one will often find Franz Liszt on the far end.”

The URI Concert Hall is handicap-accessible, and parking is available in the lot behind the Fine Arts Center, off Bills Road. For more information, please contact the URI Department of Music, 874-2431, or check the website: www.uri.edu/music.