Thu, Apr 01 | thorntonlive.usc.edu

Solo works with the Keyboard Studies program

Registration is Closed
Solo works with the Keyboard Studies program

Time & Location

Apr 01, 7:00 PM PDT
thorntonlive.usc.edu

About the Event

Contemporary solo works for piano are performed by students from the Keyboard Studies program. Led by Antoinette Perry, the virtual concert features pieces by composers Zhang Zhao, Astor Piazzolla and the world premiere of “Crystal Preludes” by Reena Ismael.

Program

“Pi Huang” (Peking Opera)

Composed by Zhang Zhao

Keke Luo, piano

"Adios Nonino"

Composed by Astor Piazzolla

Francisco Kiko Torres-Velasco, piano

"Crystal Preludes"

Composed Reena Esmail

Crystal Rivette, piano

“Chùm hoa Việt Nam” (Bunches of Flowers of Vietnam)

  • Mvt. III., Lúng liếng (Loving Look)
  • Mvt. IV., Bướm & hoa (Butterfly & Flower)
  • Mvt. V., Trống cơm (Rice Drums)

Composed by Dang Huu Phuc

An Hoang, piano

"Suite Andalucía"

  • Mvt. IV., Gitanerías
  • Mvt. V., Quadalquiver
  • Mvt. VI., Malagueña

Composed by Ernesto Lecuona

Jennifer Cruz, piano

Department Coordinator: Kyle Shafiee

Faculty advisors: Antoinette Perry, Bernadene Blaha, Stewart Gordon

PROGRAM NOTES

Pi Huang "Peking Opera" (1995)

Composed by Zhang Zhao

"Pi Huang," translated as "Peking Opera," was composed by the Chinese composer and pianist, Zhao Zhang. Professor Zhang currently works in the composition department of Minzu University in China. This work was composed using the traditional structure of the Peking Opera while integrating memories from the composer's childhood. The music is picturesque and was also inspired by the scenery of Zhang’s hometown, reflecting his pursuit of peace in nature and freedom of heart.

Zhao Zhang uses the variation format of western music with each variation portraying one role from the original Peking Opera. For example, the characters—Sheng (gentlemen), Dan (women), Jing (rough men), and Chou (clowns)—are presented from his remembered childhood experience. Through the use of customary melodic arias, fixed-tune melodies, and percussion patterns, Professor Zhang has composed a charming piece that introduces traditional Chinese musical arts on a western instrument.

"Adios Nonino" (1959)

Composed by Astor Piazzolla

A classically trained composer, Astor Piazzola discovered his musical voice in Classical-Tango fusion. He created a new genre of music, paving the path for many more Latin American classical composers to follow. This piece, Adios Nonino, was written shortly after his father passed away. Adios Nonino roughly translates to "Goodbye Father," and, as such, is a deeply emotional piece of music. I played this piece two days before Dia de Los Muertos; being of Mexican descent, this time of year is always a very personal and reflective time for me and my family. It seemed fitting that I should play this piece during this time, as it has allowed me to truly embrace the piece as more than just a performer. - Francisco Kiko Torres-Velasco

"Crystal Preludes" (2020)

*World Premiere

Composed by Reena Esmail

The title Crystal Preludes has taken on many meanings. The texture of these pieces can be brilliant and luminous at times. The succinct, pithy form of the prelude has allowed me to crystallize elements of my own piano writing that I’ve been yearning to explore. But truly, this set of preludes is named for the person they are written for: my dearest friend, pianist Crystal Rivette. Crystal and I became friends as teenagers, when all our dreams were still ahead of us. Over decades of friendship, we’ve supported one another’s dreams as they’ve found their way into being. These pieces are as much for the professional musicians we are today as they are a tribute to the intense, awkward, wildly creative, passionate people we were then. Young pianists, finding your way in the world: These are for you. We see you. We were you. We’ve got you. - Reena Esmail

“Chùm hoa Việt Nam” [Bunches of Flowers of Vietnam] (2009)

Composed by Dang Huu Phuc

Dang Huu Phuc was born in 1953 and is one of the most successful pianists and composers in Vietnam. He studied music at the Vietnam National Academy of Music and majored in both piano composition and piano performance. He studied piano with Cao Huu Hue, Issac Katz and Ghenxler. Mr. Dang continued his training at the National Conservatory of Paris in France from 1991-1992. To date, he has written over 60 works, including music for film, theatre, orchestra and piano. His music combines the traditional European style of music with elements of traditional Vietnamese music. In 2001, he won the Vietnam National Film Award for Best Music, and subsequently, the Best Music prize in 2005 at the 8th Shanghai International Film Festival.

Chum Hoa Viet Nam (Bunches of Flowers in Vietnam) is a suite of five pieces that was written in 2009. Each uses familiar North Vietnam folk tunes, which are based on the pentatonic (five-note) scale as the main material. Through various rhythmic patterns and moods, this work depicts the natural beauty of Vietnam.

Mvt. III., Lúng liếng (Loving Look): The dominating 5th interval notes of the same rhythm flow continuously through the whole piece. The harmonies of 5th intervals create a special effect of music in Eastern Asia. To me, this movement intimately paints a beautiful picture of the mountains and hillsides of Vietnam.

Mvt. IV., Bướm & hoa (Butterfly & Flower): Marked “grazioso,” the graceful dotted rhythm pattern depicts the flying gesture of butterflies. This piece has diverse moods, from intimate to brilliant. The vibrant glissando passages remind me of thousands of butterflies of various patterns and colors soaring together through the sky. In the end, the last butterfly disappears and leaves with the gesture of wings.

Mvt. V., Trống cơm (Rice Drums): The dominating pattern is the staccato note, which imitates the sound of the traditional barrel-shaped drum of Vietnam. One of the unique and modern characteristics of this piece is the use of tone clusters to be played by the hand. Mixed with the familiar folk tune and lively rhythm, with intermittent strong accents, this work is very fun to hear for the audience as well as to play for the performer.

"Suite Andalucía" (ca. 1927)

Composed by Ernesto Lecuona

For much of the last century, Ernesto Lecuona's piano suite Andalucía was the hidden source of a variety of musical compositions and performances. Its fiery finale, Malagueña, exists in several arrangements for guitar, became a popular song with a text by Marian Banks, and showed up for years on easy listening LPs by the likes of Andre Kostelanetz and the 101 Strings. Other pieces from the suite also appeared with added English texts, and no doubt Lecuona himself popularized the music during his years in New York as leader of the band Lecuona's Cuban Boys. But the original work, written around 1927, was largely forgotten outside of Cuba until pianist Thomas Tirino began to revive the music of the "Cuban Gershwin" in the late '90s. What Tirino revealed, to growing acclaim at first centered on South Florida, was a splendid six-movement concert showpiece that fused dynamic pianism rooted in Romantic virtuosity, Spanish and gypsy folk rhythms, and Lecuona's own unerring melodic sense. The six movements evoke various Spanish sounds and scenes, alternating lyrical pieces with dance rhythms topped by spectacular runs. "Gitanerías" is a flamenco-influenced piece, while "Alhambra," an evocation of Spain's Moorish-era palace, is one of several pieces that reveals Lecuona's familiarity with impressionist idioms. All in all, Andalucía (also known as the "Spanish Suite" or "Suite Española") fully lives up to the Gershwin comparison: it is classical piano music enlivened by popular vigor and informed by a distinctive compositional intelligence.

Notes: Manheim, James. “Ernesto Lecuona: Andalucia, suite for piano (Suite Española).”  All Music Guide.  Accessed November 2, 2020.

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