News Release, Marc Apter

St. Mary’s City- (February 18) – St. Mary’s College of MD Musician-in-Residence Brian Ganz will continue his popular “PianoTalk” series on Tuesday, February 25 with a program devoted to exploring Fryderyk Chopin’s two Funeral Marches.  The PianoTalk, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 12 noon in the Auerbach Auditorium of St. Mary’s Hall on the college campus. For more information call (240) 895-4498 or visit http://www.smcm.edu/events/organizer/music-department/

“I think this will be a fascinating PianoTalk, because almost everyone knows one of the two Funeral Marches, though they may not know that Chopin composed it, and almost no one knows the other,” the pianist said. “I expected the unknown march to be entirely forgettable, since I had never heard of anyone’s playing it, but was delighted when I began learning it to discover a lot of lovely, substantive music in it. Followed by the later march- a masterpiece- the early march shows exactly the kind of flashes of genius that make ‘Musical Gardening’ so interesting.”

For those not familiar with Ganz’s signature “Musical Gardening,” the pianist explains: “I show how Chopin’s early works contain the seeds of his genius, and then I play more mature works in the same genres to demonstrate the full flowering of that genius.” 

“Because the program features just the two marches, we’ll be able to take a deep look at what connects them and what separates them,” the pianist continued. “For example, the rhythms Chopin employs in the two marches are remarkably similar. Also, the formal structure is basically the same. You can almost hear in the earlier march a rough draft of the later masterpiece. So in this episode of Musical Gardening, more than in most, it will be possible to delve deeply into the subtler aspects of the question: ‘What makes a work of genius?'” 

Ganz hopes to be the first to perform all the works of Chopin.  He began his “Extreme Chopin” quest at Strathmore in North Bethesda in January of 2011 in a sold-out recital that launched the ambitious campaign to perform the composer’s approximately 250 works. The 11th recital in the series will take place at Strathmore in February of 2021.

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.” 


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...