St. Mary’s College of Maryland Musician-in-Residence Brian Ganz will resume his popular “PianoTalk” series on Tuesday, September 25 at noon in the Auerbach Auditorium of St. Mary’s Hall on the College campus. The program, entitled “The Exotic Chopin” and the first part of a two-part series called “Chopin: Spirit of Poland,” will explore Frédéric Chopin’s deep connection to his homeland of Poland and the many ways that connection is expressed in his music. Brian will play and discuss several of the composer’s most exotic mazurkas, the quintessential Polish folk dance. The program is free and open to the public. For more information call (240) 895-4498 or visit http://www.smcm.edu/events/organizer/music-department/.
“If I could only take one genre of Chopin’s music with me to a desert island, it would be the mazurkas,” Ganz said recently. “Okay, that’s partly because there are more of them than any other genre Chopin wrote!” the pianist admitted. “But truly they are Chopin’s creative laboratory. He takes more risks and does more musical experimenting than he does anywhere else. On the 25th, I’ll play one of his most foot-stomping ‘country dance’ mazurkas and also one of his most mysterious mazurkas- one that doesn’t resolve and leaves the audience aching for answers. And another one that uses a scale almost no one ever composes in, the Phrygian mode. It will be a feast of strange and beautiful miniatures.”
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.”
Earlier this year Ganz performed his 8th recital at the Strathmore Music Center in North Bethesda in his decade long journey through the complete works of Chopin, a project he has undertaken in partnership with the National Philharmonic. He began his “Extreme Chopin” quest at Strathmore in January of 2011 in a sold out recital that launched the ambitious endeavor to perform the composer’s approximately 250 works. The 9th recital in the series will take place on February 2, 2019. Tickets and more information are at www.nationalphilharmonic.org