by Mike Telin
Piano Cleveland has a lot in store for Northeast Ohio this summer. But before PianoDays@CLE kicks off on July 24, why not take a deep dive into how to listen to piano music by enrolling in the Prelude to Piano Days 2022 Listening Series? During the three sessions you’ll discover how two pianists work together, what it means to immerse yourself in the work of a single composer, and what exactly is involved in improvisation. Click here for more information.
“We call this ‘education for adults,’” Piano Cleveland president Yaron Kohlberg said during a Zoom conversation. “It’s all part of our mission to make piano music as accessible as possible. And to help everybody, regardless of their knowledge of piano music, find something to connect with.”
Following the success of last year’s listening series which touched on the basics, Kohlberg said that this year the series will go one step further. “Everything that is being presented during the listening series will be heard during the summer performances. So there is a direct connection.”
The series kicks off on April 27 at 7:30 pm in Tucker Hall at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church with “Piano Duo Do’s and Don’ts.” The evening will feature 2021 Cleveland International Piano Competition second and third prize-winners Lovre Marušić and Byeol Kim. More information here.
“They connected wonderfully during the Piano Duo round of the competition,” Kohlberg said. “They’ll talk about the repertoire and the difference between playing alone and playing with another pianist. They’ll also discuss the difference between playing music for two pianos vs. piano-four-hands.”
Kohlberg said that whether you’re playing with one other person, with an ensemble such as a string quartet, as a soloist with orchestra, or as part of the orchestra, each situation presents a different role for the piano.
“Whatever Lovre and Byeol have to say is going to be very interesting — I know they have many good ideas for the session. They have such different personalities, yet at the same time they became good friends, so this will be a collaboration to enjoy.
Of course they were two of the best contestants during the competition and we’re very excited to bring them back to Cleveland.”
The session prepares listeners for Duo Amal’s concert on July 24 and the two-piano performance during the August 14 gala.
On May 11 at 7:30 pm at the Maltz Performing Arts Center, Jonathan Biss will take listeners into “The Mind of Beethoven.” During the presentation, the lifelong Beethoven scholar will focus on the composer’s last sonatas and will perform two of them. Find out more here.
“We’re thrilled to have someone like him taking part in the series,” Kohlberg said. “A lot of pianists like to focus on a single composer, whether it’s Uchida and Mozart or Gould and Bach. Jonathan has done so much with Beethoven and I think it will be wonderful for the public to get that understanding of the last sonatas. They are very complex, but they are so interesting and deep, and they provide so much to learn about. I think that he will help the audience appreciate his performances in the second half even more.”
This session is a prelude to Michelle Cann’s program dedicated to the works of Florence Price on August 11 at Karamu House.
On June 1 and 2 at 7:30 pm at the Bop Stop, four-time Grammy-nominated jazz pianist and composer Gerald Clayton will take listeners into the world of improvisation. Click here for more information.
“Although we have not presented a lot jazz in the past, as part of presenting the piano in all its forms, we are looking at the genre as part — even if not the primary — of our programming moving forward,” Kohlberg said. “I think that for classical music audiences and performers, improvisation is a totally different animal. And understanding the way that jazz performers are thinking will be something really thrilling. And Gerald is wonderful at explaining all of this.”
This session will entice people to attend the August 14 Dueling Piano Gala featuring two-time Grammy nominee Benito Gonzalez and Cleveland’s own Jackie Warren.
“We’re really thrilled that all of these great musicians have agreed to come to Cleveland,” Kohlberg said. “I highly recommend that everybody attend all three — this is just the start of a lot of exciting summer events.”
Published on ClevelandClassical.com April 13, 2022.
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