The UTC Music Department will present the 4th Annual Piano Festival Feb. 28-March 2.
Duo-pianists Yakov and Aleksandra Kazman will perform in the Roland Hayes Concert Hall at the UTC Fine Arts Center, 752 Vine St., on Friday, Feb. 28, at 7:30 p.m, and will feature Rachmaninoff’s Suite for Two Pianos No. 1 and 2, and Symphonic Dances. The performance is presented free of charge.
Rachmaninoff’s “Suite No. 1 for Two Pianos, Op. 5” is a composition for two pianos. Composed in 1893, this suite illustrates four extracts of poems written by Mikhail Lermontov, Lord Byron, Fyodor Tyutchev and Aleksey Khomyakov. It was first performed in November of 1893 by Rachmaninoff and Pavel Pabst in Moscow, and is dedicated to Tchaikovsky. Composed in the first months of 1901, “Suite No.2 for two pianos, Op. 17” in contrast to the first suite, was not based on literature, but approached the form of a traditional suite. It was first performed in November of 1901 by the composer and his cousin Alexander Siloti. Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances, Op.45” is an orchestral suite in three movements. It was completed in 1940 and is his last composition. Composed four years after his Third Symphony, the first dance quotes the opening theme of his First Symphony, thus bringing us full circle.
Yakov Kasman’s was born in the city of Orel, near Moscow and began his studies at the age of five. His debut in America in 1997 as a Silver Medalist in the 10th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth was the culmination of several competition triumphs and tours in Europe and the Middle East. Since his American debut, he has given concerts globally, and taken part in countless competitions and CD recordings. Mr. Kasman is also an active teacher and adjudicator, including a jury member of the Busoni International Piano Competition (Bolzano), and the International Piano Competition in Memory of Vladimir Horowitz (Kiev). He has been guest artist and faculty at the Piano Texas International Academy (Fort Worth), Don-Eui International Piano Festival and Academy (Busan, South Korea), and the International Summer Music Academy (Kiev, Ukraine). Recent engagements include performances with the Dayton Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic, Orchestre Lamoureux at the Theatre de Champs Elysees in Paris, France, and master-classes in Japan. His students are winners of regional, national and international competitions.
Aleksandra (Sasha) Kasman, is a student of internationally renowned pianist and teacher Yakov kasman, Professor of Piano/Artist-in-Residence at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). A prizewinner of numerous state and regional piano competitions, she has received numerous awards and accolades for her performances including the national winner of the NFMC’s Stillman-Kelley Award. She made her European solo debut recital at Salle Cortot in Paris, France in 2009, and has since performed world-wide. Sasha became a soloist with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra in its 2008-09 season. Despite her young age, she has performed with several symphonies and orchestras. She recently appeared in two performances of Saint-SAens’s Carnival of Animals with the Brevard Symphony, Florida, and with the New York Chamber Players in Birmingham, Alabama. In addition to her classical music studies, Sasha recently graduated from the Alabama Dance Academy, where she danced for 11 years. She is also fluent in French, active in various societies, a freshman at UAB and a University Honors Program student.
The Piano Extravaganza will feature compositions for one-ten hands on up to five pianos, featuring former, current and future students of Dr. Sin-Hsing Tsai, as well as UTC staff. This performance is sponsored by Summitt Pianos, who have also provided three grand pianos. It will take place in the Roland Hayes Concert Hall at the UTC Fine Arts Center, 752 Vine St., on Sunday, March 2, at 3 p.m. The performance is free of charge and open to the general public.
Since its beginning, the UTC Spring Piano Festival has been global in concept and featured renowned artists, in addition to the piano students. This year they will host Van Cliburn International Piano Competition’s Silver Medalists Yakov Kasman and his daughter Aleksandra, as well as Argentinian composer and pianist Martin Kutnowski, who is currently the director of Fine Arts at St. Thomas University in Canada.
This year’s performance will include the North American premiere of Dr. Kutnowski’s composition entitled “Five Argentinean Folk Pieces for Piano Four Hands.” Additionally, this recital will showcase an evening of musical ability as the students performing at this recital are all either winners or runner-ups of various music competitions, as well as recipients of numerous awards.
The opening piece, Overture to William Tell, by Gioacchio Rossini, is best known as the easily recognizable theme music of the TV series The Lone Ranger. It is followed by Alexander Scriabins’s Prelude and Nocturne, Op. 9, Sergei Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 7, Kutnowski’s Five Artgentinean Folk Pieces, Das Dreyblatt, by Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst Back, and Albert Lavignac’s Galop-Marche, which is written for one piano and four players. The second half of the program opens with Edvard Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King”, from the play and incidental music Peer Gynt. In this particular movement, Peer Gynt is being chased by trolls. Our five performers will be using some special effects to convey the adventure, action and ultimate escape. This will be followed by Carlos Guastavino’s Tres Romances Argentinos, Fantasy of Themes from Bizet’s Carmen, by Mack Wilberg, Variations on a Theme by Paganini, and Aram Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance, which has been popularized by its frequent use in movie sound tracks.
UC Foundation Professor of Music at the UTC, Dr. Sin-Hsing Tsai is considered one of the best trained pianists of her generation. She teaches piano, piano pedagogy, and piano literature at UTC, and is involved in the community where she has presented several outreach concerts and workshops. She is a Steinway artist and her credentials include having received numerous awards and acknowledgements for her outstanding musical performances. Dr. Tsai is travelled and has collaborated with musicians on both sides of the Atlantic. Furthermore, she is credited with several world premieres of contemporary compositions. She recently returned from concertizing and teaching in Thailand and can be heard on AUR’s label performing Immensity on the Loose by Jonathan McNair. Her other overseas activities include performances and master classes at Shanghai Conservatory of Music Pre-College Division and several universities in China, Korea, and Argentina.
For more information call the UTC Music office at 425-4601 or visit the Music Department website at http://utc.edu/music.