Pianist Orin Grossman to perform Albeniz and Gershwin at Quick Center for the Arts
Orin Grossman, Ph.D., a classical pianist who has won acclaim for his innovative integration of classical pieces with jazz piano solos, will be performing at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Friday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m. His program, featuring the music of George Gershwin and Isaac Albeniz, is being presented by the University's Open VISIONS Forum, an outreach program of the School of Continuing Education.
In selecting two composers who used the popular melodies and dance rhythms of their native culture to produce piano masterpieces, Dr. Grossman is following his own long-standing interest in jazz and popular music. Among the Gershwin pieces he will perform is the solo piano version of "Rhapsody in Blue." And he has selected Books I and II of Albeniz' great masterpiece of Spanish music, "Iberia." It is said that at one point, Albeniz almost destroyed the pieces, fearing they were too difficult to perform.
Dr. Grossman's extraordinary ability to move through different idioms, has led to a growing number of exciting and unusual recitals in New York, New England, and internationally. He was recently chosen to play for the New York City Mayor's Awards of Honor for Arts and Culture.
In recent years, Dr. Grossman has been particularly associated with the music of George Gershwin, performing concerts of his song transcriptions and classical pieces to critical praise around the world, including performances in Cairo and New York. In St. Petersburg, Russia, he performed Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" and gave the Russian premiere of Gershwin's "Second Rhapsody" with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic.
Noted Gershwin scholar Richard Kimball, describing a performance by Dr. Grossman, said it was "crisp, fluent, richly contrasted and wonderfully detailed. The way he put together, and presented a group of Gershwin's piano transcriptions, beginning with 'Swanee' and building to an exciting climax with 'I Got Rhythmn,' was a model of excellence."
Dr. Grossman began piano and theory instruction at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Mass., at the age of five. After giving several graduate recitals there he entered Harvard College. While there, he won the coveted Concerto Competition and performed the Beethoven Concerto No. 4 with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra. After graduating magna cum laude with a degree in music, he continued his studies at Yale University, earning a Ph.D. in music. In 1971, he toured France with the Yale Orchestra, winning particular acclaim in concerts in Paris and Lyon.
Dr. Grossman has the distinction of having masterfully navigated dual careers in education and music. In addition to his success as a concert pianist, last year he was appointed academic vice president of Fairfield University, where he is also professor of Visual and Performing Arts. He joined Fairfield in 1975 as an assistant professor of fine arts and was named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 1991.
Tickets for the performance are $15, with discounts available for seniors, students and groups. For tickets, please call the box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.
Posted on October 1, 2001
Vol. 34, No. 83