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Monash University Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA) presents
Wood, Metal & Vibrating Air
The Piano – up close and personal
An intimate 6-part recital series featuring celebrated Australian pianists
Caroline Almonte, Stefan Cassomenos, Andrea Keller, Simon Tedeschi
Lisa Moore and Tamara Smolyar
Audience limited to 150 and seated on stage with the performer
Monash University Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA) presents Wood, Metal & Vibrating Air, an exquisitely intimate six part concert series spotlighting the piano and featuring lauded Australian pianists Caroline Almonte, Stefan Cassomenos, Andrea Keller, Simon Tedeschi, Lisa Moore and Tamara Smolyar.
From May through to September these fine musicians, perform the works of classical, contemporary and avant garde composers, immersing audiences in the musical worlds of Bach, Beethoven, Glass, Gershwin, as well as many more. Each recital will be an up close and personal aural treat with the audience limited to just 150 people who will be seated on the stage of Robert Blackwood Hall with the performer.
Launching the season on Tuesday 3 May is Caroline Almonte’s Gold through Glass. Almonte’s recital illuminates the timeless synergy between two supreme musical masters, Bach and Philip Glass. Bach’s iconic Goldberg Variations will be threaded with fragments of Phillip Glass’ etudes, Metamorphosis and music from his film score ‘The Hours’.
Melbourne-born Caroline Almonte studied with renowned pianist Stephen McIntyre at the VCA and Oxana Yablonskaya at the Juilliard School, New York. She has won numerous awards including the keyboard section of the ABC Young Performer’s Awards and 1st prize at the international chamber music competition “Trio di Trieste” in Italy.
On Tuesday 7 June, Cassomenos plays Beethoven is the second recital of the season. Having performed internationally since the age of 10 and premiered his own composition Piano Concerto No. 1: Aegean Odyssey with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra at the age of 16, Stefan Cassomenos’ credits are impressive. Cassomenos is an active composer, artistic director of various festivals, a founding member of PLEXUS, and has performed with the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn as well several Australian Orchestras. He is also highly awarded, receiving the recipient of the Second Grand Prize and the Chamber Music Prize in the prestigious International Telekom Beethoven Piano Competition Bonn (2013) and a prizewinner in the 2013 Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition amongst others. This performance includes Franz Liszt’s piano transcription of Beethoven’s Symphony No 5. Cassomenos performing Beethoven will be an unmissable experience.
At the midpoint of the season, multi award winning pianist and composer Andrea Keller presents a concert of original music and improvisations for solo piano and loop pedal. Her performance includes music from her 2013 release Family Portraitsm, which is an exploration of a geographically disparate family, alongside other selections from her considerable body of work.
Simon Tedeschi has been described by respected critics and musical peers as one of the finest artists in the world. I Got Rhythm Music of Gershwin takes audiences on a personal voyage through some of Gershwin’s works and those of composers from Gershwin’s world, and those who inspired him including Rachmaninov, Debussy, Grainger and Fats Waller. The program consists of Gershwin favourites I Got Rhythm, Summertime, ‘S Wonderful, The Man I Love and Rhapsody in Blue.
New York-based, Australian pianist Lisa Moore presents Soft/Loud, an eclectic program featuring the world premiere of Australian composer Kate Neal’s new work as well as compositions from Leoš Janáček, Missy Mazzoli, Martin Bresnick, J.S. Bach, Philip Glass, Frederic Rzewski and Monash’s own and Melbourne’s much loved, Paul Grabowsky. Lisa Moore performs all over the world and has collaborated with the London Sinfonietta, Bang on a Can, Steve Reich Ensemble, New York City Ballet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra and So Percussion.
In the final performance of the season, internationally renowned pianist and pedagogue, Tamara Smolyar presents a unique program of music by outstanding pianists who combine the arts of performance and composition. The evening of world premieres is crowned by Tamara Smolyar and Anthony Halliday new arrangement of Rachmaninov’s Trio Élégiaque No.2, which explores the tonal possibilities of Rachmaninov’s lushly romantic writing for piano, violin and cello in a new interpretation for solo piano. The evening also includes the world premiere presentation of a new work by Kenji Fujimura and the Australian premiere of Anatoly Documentov’s Preludes.
MAPA Executive Director, Prof Paul Grabowsky AO says of this series “One of the joys of music making is the closeness, the intimacy that can be shared between performers and audiences. This comes down to a one-on-one experience, when a particular moment in sound, that undefinable vibration of air that touches deep within the listener to the very core, touches the soul, transfixing, transporting. Sometimes the vastness and formality of a concert hall can work against the expectation of such epiphanies. The soloist is raised above the audience, the stage can act as a barrier, and the sheer formality of the situation can be intimidating.
We are very lucky at Monash to have a concert hall with sublime acoustics, and with this series, featuring great pianists playing our beautiful Steinway D, we are in a sense removing the wall by placing the audience onstage, to really share the music with the performer. There is a sense of engagement with music which comes with this intimacy. I am well acquainted with the benefits of close proximity to audiences through years of performing in jazz clubs; there is a feeling of directness, of connection, of really luxuriating in the sound of the instrument. In fact the listener is getting the best of two worlds, with the benefits of the room acoustic as experienced by the performers themselves.
The artists have responded to this opportunity by choosing fascinating and diverse programmes, in some cases world premieres, in others repertoire works rarely heard, or simply music that inspires them and that they are excited to share. Certainly the listeners will experience something to be treasured not simply a recital, but a conversation, a communion, the very spirit of music.”
WOOD, METAL & VIBRATING AIR THE PIANO SERIES Event Details
When: Tues 3 May 7.30pm CAROLINE ALMONTE Gold through Glass
Tue 7 June 7.30pm STEFAN CASSOMENOS Cassomenos plays Beethoven
Tues 21 June 7.30pm ANDREA KELLER Solo Piano & Loops
Thur 14 July 7.30pm SIMON TEDESCHI Tedeschi plays Gershwin
Tues 9 Aug 7.30pm LISA MOORE Soft/Loud
Thur 1 Sept 7.30pm TAMARA SMOLYAR Premieres
Where: Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University, Clayton
Tickets: Adults – $25.00, Concession – $20.00, Student – $15 for single performance
Discounts apply for ticket purchases to multiple performances. 30% discount on subscription purchases (6 concerts).
Bookings: To reserve a seat call MAPA Box office 9905 1111 and online – www.monash.edu/mapa