Happy Birthday, Liszt
Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.
at Kenan Auditorium on the UNCW campus
Sponsored by First Citizens Private Wealth Management
WHQR-FM, Media Sponsor
Norman Bemelmans, Paolo Gualdi, Domonique Launey, Barry Salwen, pianists
Franz List was born on October 22, 1811, and on Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. in Kenan Auditorium the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra lights all 200 candles with a monster concert including four fabulous pianists and a dazzling display of Lisztian virtuosity.
Helping celebrate Liszt’s birthday are pianists [left to right] Norman Bemelmans, Domonique Launey, Paolo Gualdi, Barry Salwen who join the Wilmington Symphony in four enduring masterworks drawn from Liszt’s towering career. Conductor Steven Errante notes that “the four pieces we’re performing display Liszt’s extraordinary versatility when writing for his own instrument.”
Barry David Salwen will be playing the Wanderer Fantasy, which Errante describes as “Liszt's piano-with-orchestra take on what Franz Schubert wrote as a piece for piano-only.” Joining the Wilmington Symphony for Liszt’s Fantasy on Beethoven's “Ruins of Athens" is Florence, South Carolina-based Paolo Gualdi. “In this tribute to Beethoven we see more of Liszt’s own musical personality emerging,” Errante notes, “and we hear innovation in his Piano Concerto No. 1 that Domonique Launey performs in his compressing of four movements into one powerful unified form.” The evening’s birthday celebration concludes with Norman Bemelmans playing Liszt’s exhilarating audience favorite, Hungarian Fantasy.
Hungarian born Franz Liszt was raised as a child prodigy by his amateur musician father who immediately recognized his son’s musical gifts. By age nine the youngster had mastered piano playing, and was composing and making concert appearances. He quickly became an acclaimed concert pianist and the teenaged pet of Paris society. That status eventually evolved into Liszt’s becoming the 19th century concert version of today’s rock superstar. His image was complete with flamboyant costumes, bejeweled sword and medaled chest, velvet gloves, facial contortions, a tossed-around mane of hair, and frequent public love affairs. It was during his concertizing that Liszt began the concert hall tradition of turning the piano sideways so that his admired profile would be visible to the audience.
Wilmington Symphony Conductor Steven Errante will also provide a concert preview for twenty minutes starting one hour prior to the concert, sharing background about the composers along with his insights into some pre-recorded highlights of the music to be performed.
Pianist Norman Bemelmans was appointed the Director of Cultural Arts at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2005. An active recitalist in both the United States and Europe, Mr. Bemelmans' interpretation of the works of Franz Liszt and Frederic Chopin in particular has received enthusiastic critical acclaim. Domonique Launey has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Jamaica as soloist, chamber musician, and accompanist. Residing in Wilmington, she performs numerous concerts locally throughout the year. Italian pianist Paolo André Gualdi has won the top prize in numerous piano competitions. He is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Francis Marion University and has played recitals in Italy and the United States as a soloist and chamber musician. UNCW faculty member Barry Salwen is an international concert pianist performing and teaching master classes in the U.S., Europe, Israel, and Asia. As the recipient of a prestigious Fulbright Scholars Grant he presented a semester's seminar at the Music Conservatory in Freiburg, Germany, and his annual master classes at UNCW are attended by students from all over eastern North Carolina.