The Young Artists Series presents "Reflections of Walter Piston"


Pianists Jonathan Coombs and Igor Lovchinsky
Commentary by Melvin Stecher and Norman Horowitz

3 p.m., Sunday, February 17, 2013
Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts

Free Admission

Award-winning pianists Jonathan Coombs and Igor Lovchinsky perform at 3 p.m., on Sunday, February 17, 2013, at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts as part of its Young Artists Series. The special program, entitled "Reflections of Walter Piston,"features commentary by Melvin Stecher and Norman Horowitz and compositions by Walter Piston (1894-1976), one of the most respected composers and teachers of the 20th century. Admission is free and open to the public.

Melvin Stecher and Norman Horowitz are internationally acclaimed duo-pianists and music educators to whom Walter Piston dedicated his Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, later transcribed in a second version for two pianos soli. This work is included in a program that features the complete piano repertoire of Piston as well as a work by his colleague Aaron Copland, "El Salon Mexico," transcribed by Piston's student Leonard Bernstein. The Quick Center's Young Artists Series is presented in association with The Stecher and Horowitz Foundation, which through its flagship program, The New York International Piano Competition, is committed to furthering the education, recognition and fostering of a new generation of talented young musicians. The Foundation helps aspirants achieve their personal and professional goals through mentoring, career guidance, artistic development, and performance opportunities throughout the year.

Image: J CoombsAmerican pianist Jonathan Coombs began his musical studies at the age of three and has since been the recipient of many national and international awards. Described by Alex Ross of The New Yorker as "soulful and unbuttoned," Jonathan has elicited enthusiastic responses from audiences and critics alike. He made his orchestral debut at the age of eleven. Shortly after his 15th birthday, he was named recipient of the Guimar Novaes award, given by the Brazilian Ambassador to a young citizen of the United States for distinguished accomplishments in the field of fine arts. Jonathan has competed both at national and international levels and has garnered many top honors, including Second Prize in the solo category as well as sharing First Prize in the one-piano, four hands ensemble competition at the 2002 Inaugural New York International Piano Competition under the auspices of the Stecher and Horowitz Foundation. He has given solo, chamber, and orchestral concert performances in prestigious venues throughout the United States including Alice Tully Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, New York's Temple Emanu-El, Hann Hall, and Maurice Gusman Hall. Jonathan's 2009-12 concert season tours included performances at Wigmore Hall in London, Ravinia's "Rising Stars Showcase" in Chicago, the Lucas Theatre in Savannah, and with the Metropolitan Opera Chamber Orchestra in New York City. He received both his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from The Juilliard School and combines his concert career with the position he holds as Assistant to the Directors of The Stecher and Horowitz Foundation.

Image: Igor LovchinskyPianist Igor Lovchinsky, hailed by Gramophone as a "star of the future" and acclaimed by Germany's Piano Magazine for the "elegance and rapturous beauty" of his music-making, has performed at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Auditorium, the Bushnell Center, the Eastman Theater and the Ohio Theater. Internationally, he has presented recitals at the National Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw, the American Embassy in Beijing, and the Rosza Centre in Calgary. Mr. Lovchinsky is a multi-faceted performer whose innovative programs often combine the classical repertoire with jazz, and he is an avid exponent of new music. Born in Kazan, Russia in 1984, Igor Lovchinsky began playing the piano at the age of two. Very quickly, he showed extraordinary promise – not only as a pianist, but as a composer and improviser as well - and by the age of four, was already playing entire recitals for his friends and family. In 1989, he entered the Kazan Special Music School for Gifted Children and after coming to the United States in 1994, garnered first prizes at the Eastman International Piano Competition and the National Chopin Piano Competition of the Kosciuszko Foundation. Mr. Lovchinsky was a finalist at the 2002 Inaugural New York Piano Competition held in New York City under the auspices of the Stecher and Horowitz Foundation. Mr. Lovchinsky holds a Bachelor's degree from the Juilliard School and a Master's degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston. In addition to music, Mr. Lovchinsky is a student of Physics at Harvard University.

Walter Piston is considered to be one of the greatest musical architects, imparting his skills into all who were fortunate enough to study with him at Harvard. He encouraged individuality, yet allowed enough freedom for each student to express his own concepts without undue criticism or justification. There was a traditional method of teaching, overridden by the creative genius of Dr. Piston, whose wisdom rated his output and productivity as the greatest orchestrator of whom one could be a most fortunate student. They included Elliott Carter, Leroy Anderson, Leonard Bernstein, Harold Shapero, Daniel Pinkham, Frederic Rzewski and Jon Harbison.

The "Reflections of Walter Piston"program features Melvin Stecher's "Improvisation" (1945); "Passacaglia" (1943); "Sonata for Piano" (1926); "Concerto for Two Piano Soli" (1967); and "El Salon Mexico," Aaron Copland (1936), transcribed for two pianos by Leonard Bernstein (1943).

For Quick Center Box Office information, call (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396 (1-877-278-7396). Visit online at www.quickcenter.com.

(This performance was originally scheduled for Nov. 4, 2012, and rescheduled due to circumstances from Hurricane Sandy).

The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Entrance to the Quick Center is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Free, secure parking is available. Access for people with disabilities is available throughout the Quick Center for audience members and performers. Hearing amplification devices are available upon request at the Box Office. Fairfield University is located off exit 22 of Interstate-95. For further information and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396, or visit www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Mike Horyczun, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2647, mhoryczun@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 7, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 181