Pianist resumes Piano Talk series

Pianist Brian Ganz performs “Chopin: Bel Canto of the Piano” at The Music Center at Strathmore in Rockville in this 2016 photograph. The performance was the sixth in a 10-part, decade-long project to perform all of Chopin’s works.

Brian Ganz will resume his popular “PianoTalk” series on the Zoom platform. He will offer two live PianoTalks this month, the first on April 20 (on Ludwig van Beethoven) and the second on April 30 (on Frederic Chopin). For each event he will play a major piece from each composer and discuss its significance. Both PianoTalks will premiere at noon and will be free and open to all who register for them, and both will later be available through streaming.

“It is so wonderful to return to live, real time music making after so many months,” pianist Ganz said. “Sharing pre-recorded music certainly has its place, but nothing can replace the excitement and electricity of live music,” he continued. “The April 20 PianoTalk will feature one of Beethoven’s most anguished and heartfelt works, the Pathétique Sonata. It’s a perfect vehicle to express what many of us have been feeling through this incredibly difficult year. I argue that Beethoven was the first to give full expression to that dimension of human experience, and that in doing so he began to pave the way from the Classical to the Romantic era. I’ll discuss that and then play the entire sonata.”

On April 30, Ganz will focus on Chopin. “We’ll take a look at a work that Chopin may well have intended as a response to Poland’s attempted revolution in November of 1830. Most of us know the Revolutionary Etude, but this nocturne I’m calling ‘Revolutionary’ is just as powerful in its own way,” Ganz said.

He hopes to be the first to perform all the works of Chopin. Ganz began his “Extreme Chopin” quest at Strathmore in North Bethesda in January 2011 in a sold out recital that launched the ambitious campaign to perform the composer’s approximately 250 works.

The 10th recital in the series, Chopin and the Growth of Genius, took place on Feb. 1, 2020. This year’s recital was broadcast virtually in December, and will be rebroadcast on April 25. It can be heard at this link: https://nationalphilharmonic.org/event/music-that-connects-us-all-encore/. Ganz will return to the stage of Strathmore for the 11th recital of the series on Feb. 26, 2022.

Ganz has appeared as soloist with such orchestras as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the National Philharmonic, the Baltimore and the National Symphonies, the City of London Sinfonia, and L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo. He has performed in many of the world’s major concert halls and has played under the baton of such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pinchas Zukerman, Jerzy Semkow and Yoel Levi. A critic for La Libre Belgique wrote of Ganz’s work: “We don’t have the words to speak of this fabulous musician who lives music with a generous urgency and brings his public into a state of intense joy.”

To register for April 20, entitled “Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata: What Lies Within,” visit this link: bit.ly/SMCMApril20 To register for April 30, “Chopin’s Revolutionary... Nocturne!” use this link: bit.ly/SMCMApril30 For more information call 240-895-4498.

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