Fairfield University and The Stecher and Horowitz Foundation present The Young Artists Series concert February 21


Image: Jonathan CoombsFairfield University, in association with The Stecher and Horowitz Foundation, presents pianist Jonathan Coombs, the first artist chosen to perform in "The Young Artists Series," Sunday, Feb. 21, at 3:00 p.m. in the Egan Chapel on the campus of Fairfield University. Admission is free and the public is welcome. Fairfield University will host two more concerts later in the year that will feature other artists. This presentation is a part of Fairfield University's Arts & Minds season offerings.

Reverend Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., president of Fairfield University is host to the inaugural partnership between the University and the Stecher and Horowitz Foundation and will introduce the new series. Dr. Laura Nash, assistant professor of classical music, will introduce the young pianist and his program.

It is the mission of the Stecher and Horowitz Foundation to encourage young artists, ages 16-21, by providing them with the rare and valuable opportunity to hone their performance skills with appearances before audiences at more than 30 recitals.

Coombs began his musical studies at the age of three and has been the recipient of multiple national and international awards. He has been a guest soloist with the Utah Symphony on six occasions, including his orchestral debut at the age of eleven.

In June of 2002, Coombs received the Second Prize for the solo competition and First Prize for the ensemble competition at the inaugural New York Piano Competition, held in New York City under the auspices of the Stecher and Horowitz Foundation. Coombs' participation in this competition has been viewed nationally in the documentary, Speaking With Music, a behind-the-scenes look at the competition, shown on PBS.

Coombs' program for the Feb. 21 concert includes works from composers Haydn, Chopin, Liszt and Debussy.

Haydn is recognized as one of the great three of the classical period - along with Mozart and Beethoven. His piano works have often been overlooked, but in many ways their harmonic language and motific development foreshadow Beethoven.

Though Liszt and Chopin are contemporaries, they represent two extremes in Romantic era music - Chopin writes introspective pieces, many based on Polish rhythms, and did not like performing, whereas Liszt was the first rock star and often reoriented the piano so people could admire his profile while he played. He wanted his music to be as technically dazzling as possible.

Debussy, referred to as an Impressionist (though he hated the designation), wrote music that pushed outside of the tonal idiom as he tried to create impressions of light and color in his music. Rather than taking place in time, his music often suspends time.

The New York Piano Competition is a biennial event open to pianists of all nationalities. The 2010 competition will accept contestant applications from outside the United States and will, henceforth be known as the New York International Piano Competition.  Fairfield University shares the goals of the Stecher and Horowitz Foundation and joins with the Foundation to nurture the careers of talented young musicians by presenting two more concerts later in the year that will provide young musicians the opportunity to perform in concert.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 2, 2010

Vol. 42, No. 185