“Piano virtuosity” often calls to mind fast and flamboyant technical passages like those in Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes or pianists crashing through Rachmaninoff’s piano concerti playing fists full of notes. However, pianists of the 20th and 21st centuries have contended with the fact that “virtuosity” now demands an ever-expanding technique that includes inside the piano preparations, finding harmonics directly on the strings, and even speaking or singing while playing! The piano has always been valued for its tremendous expressive capabilities, inspiring composers and performers to explore the piano in exciting and challenging ways. As this practice has developed, so have notions about what constitutes a “good recital” of new classical music.
New Virtuosity juxtaposes the historical with the contemporary, exploring the very nature of modern performance practice on the “King of Instruments.” The program features Francois Couperin’s orde 18ème de clavecin in F major alongside three newly commissioned works. The Couperin was one of the first pieces to demand the sort of precision, dexterity, and stamina that have become iconic aspects of keyboard virtuosity. The commissioned works by Joseph Bourdeau, Annie Hui-Hsin, and Anthony Vine incorporate new and novel approaches to virtuosity using a variety of techniques, from electronics and theatrical elements to delicate inside-the-piano manipulations. Join us to take a kaleidoscopic journey through the nearly symphonic worlds that only the piano can create.