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ASU music professors present 'Liszt and his Influence' at Arizona chapter of the American Liszt Society festival


Photo of a painting of Franz Liszt, a 19th century musician.

Franz Liszt, 19th-century musician.

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February 24, 2022

The American Liszt Society, AZ Chapter Festival will be held at Arizona State University's School of Music, Dance and Theatre on Feb. 27.

The festival, organized by School of Music, Dance and Theatre piano faculty Cathal Breslin, associate professor, and Robert Hamilton, professor, explores the impact of Franz Liszt on the future of piano and features a master class for pianists from the Steinway/Avanti Future Stars Piano Competition with Baruch Meir, associate professor, and an exciting day of free concerts.

“Liszt was one of the greatest virtuoso pianists of all time,” Breslin said, “and as a composer, he transformed the technical, musical and expressive qualities for the piano. It is impossible to overemphasize his influence on the future of the piano and composers. He was a true innovator and changed the direction of future music through his work on thematic transformation, his experiments with large musical forms, unique harmonic innovations, and expanding the technical and expressive possibilities of the piano as an instrument.”

In addition to the music of Liszt, the concerts will feature a wide range of different styles. Breslin and Hamilton both agreed that most musicians regard Liszt, a 19th-century musician, as a forefather of future musical styles seen in the 20th century.

In 2019, ASU hosted the national festival of the American Liszt Society, a major annual event typically hosted by a different university each year. The festival was set to return to ASU in early 2020 with a newly reorganized Arizona chapter of the society but was postponed due to the pandemic.

Breslin assumed the position as the new president of the Arizona chapter, and Hamilton assumed the position as vice president. Both were officially added to the national chapter registry in February 2020. The current president of the national chapter is Jay Hershberger, an ASU DMA graduate and former member of Hamilton’s piano studio. 

Breslin and Hamilton were also performing guest artists at the national festival on Oct. 15–18, 2021, held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

According to the society’s website, it serves to promote scholarship and general understanding of the full creative and historical significance of Liszt on the education and development of both the composition and performance of music throughout the Western world.

The Arizona festival includes one master class, three concerts and a young artist concert. The concerts feature 26 ASU music students, six young artist performers from the community, one pianist from University of Arizona and four ASU piano faculty. Meir will present the piano master class for young artists at 12:30 p.m. Regents Professor Caio Pagano will present a concert of young artists at 2 p.m., and Hamilton and Breslin will perform Brahms and Bartok on the final evening concert at 7:30 p.m.

The opening concert features the young artists concert and Steinway/Avanti Future Stars Piano Competition finalists from 2 to 2:45 p.m. The concert from 3 to 4:30 p.m. features students performing the works of Liszt, Beach, Chopin and Robert and Clara Schumann. The concert from 5 to 6:30 p.m. features students performing the works of Chopin, Busoni, Brey, Ravel, Debussy, Messiaen, Shostakovich and Bartok. The final concert features faculty and students performing the works of Brahms, Bartok, Turina, Liszt and Wild from 7:30 to 9 p.m. The Liszt festival program shows the complete list of performers. The in-person concerts can also be watched via livestream on the Katzin Concert Hall Youtube channel.

American Liszt Society, AZ ChapterFestival
“Liszt and His Influence”
12:30 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27
Katzin Concert Hall, Tempe campus

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