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“New American Piano” series to feature competition winner

March 29, 2002

WHAT: New American Piano, IV, Concert

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., (Monday) April 15

WHERE: Katzin Concert Hall, Music Building, 40 E. Gammage 
Parkway, Tempe

TICKETS: Free admission, no tickets required; doors open at 7 p.m.

INFORMATION: 480-965-TUNE (8863)

New American Piano, IV showcases innovative and infrequently performed works for the piano from the 20th and 21st centuries. It is presented by the School of Music in the Herberger College of Fine Arts at ASU. Admission is free to the event, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. April 15 (Monday) in Katzin Concert Hall, which is in the Music Building on the main ASU campus at 40 East Gammage Parkway in Tempe. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Now in its fourth season, this always-intriguing event is dedicated to showcasing more infrequently performed works for the piano from the 20th and 21st centuries. According to founder and concert coordinator, ASU professor of piano, Madeline Williamson, special interest to the series "are innovative works for the piano that utilize the vast resources of timbre inherent to the instrument as well as programming which draws upon the wide diversity of American composers in ethnicity, locale, style, and gender."

Williamson notes that this is the first year the series has been able to include a guest artist among the performers. Korean pianist Ji Sun Lee will headline this year's concert with her performance of the Pulitzer Prize winning pieces of William Bolcom, The New Etudes. Lee was awarded first prize for her recent performance of this work Contemporary Music Competition, held annually on the ASU campus. Lee was born in Seoul where she began her musical studies at the age of four. Already regarded as an exceptional young artist, her musical tastes include not only contemporary classical music, but jazz and world-ethnic music as well. Her most recent performance was as jazz soloist with the Tucson Symphony and Jazz Orchestra and she has also concertized throughout Korea, Italy and the U.S. This summer, Lee will tour Brazil, where she will both perform and lecture on the works of William Bolcom. With her avid interest in jazz, she hopes to interact with major Brazilian jazz artists and contemporary composers.

ASU's newest piano faculty member, Baruch Meir, will also be a featured soloist in the jazz-inspired work for solo piano, Dream Sequence, by composer Charles Argersinger. "Dr. Meir says that the beauty of Argersinger's suite for piano is resulting from the combination of past and present; romanticism with a contemporary design, and is an equilibrium of intellect, emotion and intuition," explains Williamson.

A native of Israel, Meir has received numerous piano distinctions such as the American-Israel Cultural Foundation award, the British Counsel Fellowship, and numerous competition awards from all the institutions where he has studied, including the Royal College in London. A frequent performer in the Phoenix area since joining the School of Music faculty in 2000, Meir has performed extensively as soloist and collaborative artist in England, France, Portugal, major U.S. venues, and his native Israel.

Concluding Monday night's program will be the rarely performed Dances for Two Prepared Pianos by American avant-gardist, John Cage. This dynamic work is seldom heard in live performance due to the complexity and rehearsal difficulty of using a pair of prepared pianos (i.e. inserting various screws, nuts, bolts, and pieces of plastic and rubber into the strings of both pianos). According to pianist Williamson, "This transforms the two pianos into a Kaleidoscope of tumultuous sounds - bangs, thuds, buzzes, and gongs - all of which are quite exhilarating to the listener." Brazilian pianist, Rubia Santos, currently a doctoral student in piano at the School of Music, will join Williamson in this performance. Williamson describes the Cage work as "virtuosic in temperament, physically energetic, and intricate to execute. The syncopations and cross-rhythms should leave the listener breathless."

Media Contact:
Mary Brennan