Grand Encounters 2019-2020: our 40th Anniversary season!
American Pianists Association’s 2019-20 season presents a daring and dynamic collection of musical styles and approaches to the piano. From lauded winners of the American Pianists Awards in classical and jazz, to a contemporary music specialist, to a program of works from the classical canon, to an artist whose improvisations and compositions blur the line between classical and jazz, this season shows off the dizzying diversity of piano repertoire in the 21st century. Let's break it down!
A special 40th anniversary concert kicks off the season, bringing American Pianists Awards winners from all four decades of jazz and classical competitions. Since established in 1979, the Association has named 47 winners, six of which will perform on Wednesday, November 6th. Drew Petersen (2017 winner) is known to Indianapolis for his riveting solo recitals and performances with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. Aaron Diehl (2011 winner) became the first jazz pianist to open the New York Philharmonic’s season in 2017 and tours internationally. Thomas Rosenkranz (2003 winner), noted for performances of modern and international music, traveled as Cultural Ambassador on behalf of the United States Department of State. Lori Sims (1993 winner) has performed throughout America, Europe and China and is Professor of Piano at Western Michigan University. Jim Pryor (1992 winner) won the first jazz competition held by the American Pianists Association and has toured the world since. Jonathan Shames (1981 winner) won the organization’s first competition and is now professor of Orchestral Conducting at the University of Oklahoma.
Contemporary specialist and advocate Anthony de Mare arrives Sunday, November 17th with Frederic Rzewski’s De Profundis a 1995 work written for, premiered by and recorded by de Mare. All Music Guide hailed the recording as “a revelatory reading, in that those works that were written for piano and voice have never been heard outside of the composer's own interpretations.” Based on a letter Oscar Wilde wrote to his lover, the poet and journalist Lord Alfred Douglas, during his own imprisonment for gross indecency, The New York Times described De Profundis thusly: “Oscar Wilde’s prison cri du coeur makes Wilde’s suffering disconcertingly personal and physical. While playing the dizzying solo part, the pianist also speaks the text, hits his or herself, whistles and seems to sob.”
American Pianists Association Artistic Director & President/CEO Joel Harrison comments: "I know Tony and greatly admire the unique and substantial gifts he brings to his performances. No one does it better! This multi-media concert will have some familiar music but will also have works that unlikely you have heard- at least not in Indianapolis, most especially the monumental 'De Profundis' for speaking pianist by Frederic Rzewski. I invite you to take this challenge, open your ears, broaden your musical horizons, be amazed and rewarded!"
Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter sprang to international attention when she was awarded the 2006 Gilmore Artist Award. Harrison notes that "Gilmore comes with the largest cash prize in classical music--$300,000 and is in some sense a 'relative' to the American Pianists Awards in that one cannot apply, one is nominated through an anonymous process." Since then, she has performed in recital at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Museé d’Orsay, Tokyo’s Suntory Hall, Cologne Philharmonie, Salzburg Festspielhaus, London’s Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as venues in Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit, Vancouver, Montreal, and Santa Barbara.
On Sunday, March 8th, Fliter will celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday with two of his best-known piano sonatas from the middle part of his career: No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2 “The Tempest,” and No. 18 in E-flat Major, Op. 31, No. 3 “The Hunt.” Fliter will round out her program with Schumann’s Symphonic Études.
Dan Tepfer, as the 2007 American Pianists Awards winner, is no stranger to Indianapolis. The pianist-composer is known for his wide-ranging ambition, individuality and drive—“a remarkable musician” in the words of The Washington Post—and one “who refuses to set himself limits” in those of France’s Télérama.
Tepfer will play Bach’s complete Goldberg Variations, interspersing his own improvisations on Bach’s original variations. The jazz pianist recognizes Bach as a fellow improviser, and considers the Goldbergs to be an inspiring font for creativity. When he first performed the work to New York audiences in 2013, The New York Times called it a “riveting and inspired version.” Harrison adds, "I regard Dan as nothing less than a genius, and it shows in this mind-bending musical feat. I think Bach himself would be inspired!"
All tickets for Grand Encounters are general admission, $40 per concert; $10 students & seniors. Purchase a subscription to all four concerts and gain access to the reserved seating area. New this season: 50% of each ticket is a tax-deductible donation to advance the mission of the American Pianists Association. Subscriptions available here or by calling 317-940-9945.
Look for more features on the Grand Encounters artists throughout the season!
Seaon at a glance:
Date/Time: Wednesday, November 6th at 7:30pm
Pianist: Drew Petersen, Aaron Diehl, Thomas Rosenkranz, Lori Sims, Jim Pryor, Jonathan Shames
Location: Indiana Landmarks Center
Date/Time: Sunday, November 17th at 3:30pm
Pianist: Anthony de Mare
Repertoire: Frederic Rzewski’s De Profundis, Charles Ives’ “The Alcotts” from Sonata No. 2, Kenji Bunch & Stephen Sondheim’s “The Demon Barber” (a fantasia on “The Ballad of Sweeny Todd”), Steve Reich & Stephen Sondheim’s “Finishing the Hat – 2 Pianos” (from Sunday in the Park with George
Location: University of Indianapolis Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center
Date/Time: Sunday, March 8th at 3:30pm
Pianist: Ingrid Fliter
Repertoire: Schumann: Symphonic Études, Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 17 in D Minor, Op. 31, No. 2, “The Tempest,” Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 18 in E-flat Major, Op. 31, No. 3 “The Hunt”
Location: Indiana Landmarks Center
Date/Time: Sunday, May 3rd at 3:30pm
Pianist: Dan Tepfer
Repertoire: Bach’s “Goldberg Variations”
Location: Trinity Episcopal Church