On Stage at Curtis

Graduation Recital by Pianist Andrew Hsu

The premiere of Season Eight of “On Stage at Curtis” features a graduation recital by pianist Andrew Hsu. The multi-talented Mr. Hsu, a native of Fremont, California, was a student of Eleanor Sokoloff and Gary Graffman. His Curtis studies also include composition and conducting. His program:

Griffes: Roman Sketches, Op. 7
Charles Tomlinson Griffes was born in Elmira, New York in 1884, and died of influenza at age 35. He composed mainly for voice, piano and chamber ensembles, and is considered to be the most prominent American proponent of musical Impressionism. Griffes’ four-movement piano suite “Roman Sketches” includes:The White Peacock, Nightfall, The Fountains of Acqua paola and Clouds. Griffes adapted this suite from poems by William Sharp.

Andrew Hsu: Dickinson Songs
With Sarah Shafer, soprano
Andrew Hsu showcases his compositional chops with his “Dickinson Songs,” based of course on verses by Emily Dickinson. He is joined by soprano and fellow Curtis graduate Sarah Shafer.

Barber: Sonata for Piano, Op. 26
Samuel Barber was the first in an illustrious line of Curtis-trained composers, which includes Gian Carlo Menotti, Leonard Bernstein and Jennifer Higdon, among others. To mark its silver anniversary in 1950, the League of Composers commissioned a new piano sonata from Barber. The composer’s condition was that it be premiered by Vladimir Horowitz, who did just that. Ever since, the sonata has remained a staple of the literature, and is surprising in its use of many dissonant techniques from this quintessentially post-Romantic composer. The movements are marked: Allegro energico, Allegro vivace e leggero, Adagio mesto and Fuga: Allegro con spirito.

Musical Word of the Week: Fugue:
“…a composition in which three or more voices (very rarely two) enter imitatively one after the other, each ‘giving chase’ to the preceding voice.”
(from the Oxford Companion to Music)

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