Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The New Piano Collective will Present its Inaugural Performances Next Month at Old First Concerts

The New Piano Collective is an approach to artistic alliance bringing together alumni of the Eastman School of Music. Jeffrey LaDeur, founding member of the Delphi Trio, is both Founder and Director of the group. The pianist members have established reputations as soloists, chamber musicians, and pedagogues; and they are all familiar with a repertoire that has Jean-Philippe Rameau at one end and Frederic Rzewski at the other. However, each member has established a unique area of interest that distinguishes him as an authority in the profession.

As may be deduced from the pronoun in that last sentence, all of the founding members are male. LaDeur is already well known in the Bay Area through his solo recitals and his performances with the Delphi Trio. As a soloist he is currently involved in an ambitious project to prepare all of the solo piano music of Claude Debussy for performance in time for the 100th anniversary of the composer’s death on March 25, 2018. Two weeks ago LaDeur played the second book of preludes for a Noontime Concerts recital. The other founding members of the New Piano Collective are as follows:
  • Igor Lipinski, who has developed a unique approach to synthesizing a magic show with a classical piano recital
  • Johnandrew Slominski, who is currently an Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Eastman and matches his skill for performing music with a skill for talking about it
  • Owen Zhou, who combines performing with his work at Opus Zero Recording & Audio, which he founded and where he is Chief Executive Officer
  • Bobby Mitchell, whose keyboard skills include historical, as well as modern, instruments
  • Paul Sánchez, the only American concert pianist to earn a Master of Spanish Music degree under Alicia de Larrocha
  • Jiyang Chen, who is equally at home with the piano concertos of Johannes Brahms and George Gershwin
The New Piano Collective will give two inaugural concerts during a single weekend next month. The first recital will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, August 12, when LaDeur will be joined by Slominski, Mitchell, and Zhou. The selections will be Franz Schubert’s D. 760 “Wanderer” fantasy in C major, George Tsontakis’ “Ghost” variations, and Robert Schumann’s Opus 17 fantasy in C major. This will be followed by a recital at 4 p.m. on Sunday, August 14, when LaDeur will be joined by Sánchez, Chen, and Lipinski. The latter will demonstrate his magic skills by performing his own piece, “Piano Illusions.” In a similar vein the program will also include Federico Mompou’s “Cants magics” (magic songs). Other works for solo piano will include Franz Liszt’s second ballade, in the key of B minor, and the three pieces in Debussy’s first book entitled Images. There will also be an arrangement of the aria “Tristes apprêts” from the second act of Rameau’s opera Castor et Pollux, as well as transcriptions of works by Mompou, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Both of these recitals will be presented by the Old First Concerts series. These events all take place at the Old First Church, located at 1751 Sacramento Street on the southeast corner of Van Ness Boulevard. General admission is $20 with a $17 rate for seniors and a $5 charge for full-time students showing valid identification. Tickets purchased online in advance receive a $2 discount. The first and second concerts each have a separate event page for online ticket purchases. There is also a discount available for those parking at the Old First Parking Garage at 1725 Sacramento Street, just up the street for the church.

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