Having caught up with the monthly Piano Talks series with Sarah Cahill’s performance at the end of last month, presented by the Ross McKee Foundation and arranged by Executive Director Nicholas Pavkovic, I can now account for the programs in this monthly series for the remainder of the year. This offering was conceived not only to provide unique perspectives on the piano repertoire but also to examine the life and work of pianists, not only as performers but also as teachers. Each event begins at 7 p.m. with a duration between 40 and 60 minutes, and will it be live-streamed through the Ross McKee YouTube channel. After the performance the video is then archived on the YouTube Piano Talks 2020 playlist. The dates and content for the remaining three months of this year are as follows:
October 27: Peter Susskind will present a lecture entitled The Russian Tradition. He will review the achievements of the great Russian piano teachers of the nineteenth century. Those achievements will be framed in terms of their impact on students of these teachers that performed through the middle of the twentieth century. The teachers and students to be discussed will include Anton Rubinstein, Nikolai Rubinstein, Josef Lhévinne, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Shura Cherkassky, Emil Gilels, Vladimir Horowitz, and Sviatoslav Richter. To that list will be added two significant Poles, Artur Rubinstein and Mieczysław Horszowski. Susskind will supplement this content with both recordings and videos.
November 24: Carl Blake will prepare a “showcase” solo piano recital entitled Buried Treasures: Piano Music by Black and Non-Black Composers. The former category will be represented by composers dating as far back as the eighteenth century. These include the Chevalier de Saint Georges (known by his contemporaries as “the Black Mozart”) ), Blind Tom (an ex-slave), Nathaniel Dett (Black Canadian-American), Margaret Bonds (Harlem and Chicago Renaissance pianist and composer), Jacqueline Hairston (distinguished local African-American pianist and composer), and Richard Thompson (Black English folk rock composer and performer). Composers in the latter category influenced by Black cultural and musical traditions will include Claude Debussy, Jean Sibelius, George Gershwin, Federico Mompou, and Astor Piazzolla.
December 29: December will be the month of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th birthday. Conductor Teddy Abrams will present a program entitled 250 Years of Beethoven. His talk will address issues of what it means to perform Beethoven’s music today. He will address questions such as the following: How do we experience Beethoven in the context of our modern world? How do his timeless messages resonate today? Further details will be forthcoming.