Orin Grossman Presents Afternoons at the Piano

Orin Grossman Presents Afternoons at the Piano: 4 p.m. Fridays from Oct. 22 to Nov. 19

Pianist Orin Grossman, PhD, has enraptured audiences all over the world with his talent. This fall, he brings his masterful musicianship back to Fairfield University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts for a series of five livestreamed Friday afternoon performances.

Media Contact: Robby Piazzaroli, rpiazzaroli@fairfield.edu, 203-254-4000 x2597

On Friday, October 22 at 4 p.m., Orin Grossman, PhD, will present the first of his five-part Afternoons at the Piano fall performance series. As part of Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Arts virtual programming on The Quick Live, each 30-minute livestreamed performance will feature a different international theme, and showcase Dr. Grossman’s expertise at the piano. 

Orin Grossman discovered his enthusiasm for music at the age of five, when he began piano and theory instruction at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in music from Harvard magna cum laude, and a doctorate in music from Yale. A skilled interpreter of the music of George Gershwin, Dr. Grossman has performed the American composer’s work across the globe, from Italy to Russia, Egypt, and Australia.

A member of the Fairfield University faculty since 1975, Dr. Grossman has served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and academic vice president, and is currently emeritus professor of visual and performing arts.

Experience the talents of Dr. Grossman, as he delights listeners with these charming, captivating Friday afternoon piano performances:

Paris and Ragtime: Claude Debussy Does the Two-Step
Friday, October 22, 2021 at 4 p.m.

The ragtime craze that swept the United States in the late 1890s and early 1900s reached Europe as well. American entertainers came to Paris and amused sophisticated Parisians, including Claude Debussy, who captured his impressions of American popular culture in three piano pieces. Many people know Golliwog’s Cakewalk, but few have understood the humorous compliment Debussy paid to the U.S. in two of his piano preludes. Dr. Grossman’s presentation will feature all three of Debussy’s piano tributes to the new popular American style: Golliwog’s Cakewalk, Minstrels, and General Levine, Eccentric.

Tangos and Habaneras: Spain and the New World Part 1
Friday, October 29, 2021 at 4 p.m.

In the 1850s, a dance from Cuba came back to Spain, where its ancestor had originated, changed in the New World by African influence. Europeans called the new dance the habanera, which literally means “that thing from Havana.” The habanera from Bizet’s Carmen is the most famous of a number of European habaneras. In the New World, the dance begins a related series of great dance rhythms, including the tango, and what early jazz musicians called “the Spanish Tinge.” Dr. Grossman’s presentation will feature Debussy’s habanera, The Gate of Wine, and include habanera/tango music by Scott Joplin (Solace) and the great Brazilian composer Ernesto Nazareth (Perigoso—Dangerous). 

It’s Safe to Travel: Claude Debussy’s International Impressions
Friday, November 5, 2021 at 4 p.m.

Just as French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painters like Gauguin, Monet, and Degas depicted scenes in Italy, England, and far-off Tahiti, so Debussy sketched beautiful impressions of foreign lands and cultures. The difference is that Debussy rarely left Paris to do so. This presentation will feature three piano preludes that take us to England (Homage to S. Pickwick, Esq.), Italy (The Hills of Anacapri), and India (The Terrace for Audiences by Moonlight).

Beyond Malaguena: Ernesto Lecuona, “The Cuban Gershwin”
Friday, November 12, 2021, at 4 p.m.

The perennial popularity of Ernesto Lecuona’s Malaguena obscures the beauty and significance of his many other compositions. A talented pianist, Lecuona wrote more than 150 piano pieces as well as theater works, film scores, and songs. His music spans multicultural Cuba, with compositions from the late 1920s through the ’50s that highlight the Spanish and African roots of much Cuban music. This presentation will focus on his Afro-Cuban dances, as well as the lovely song, “Why Must You Go?”

Frederic Chopin: The Last Piano Works
Friday, November 19, 2021, at 4 p.m.

After a tumultuous nine years, the strange relationship between Chopin and author George Sand (pseudonym of the Baroness Amandine Aurore Lucile Dudevant) came to a bitter end. Chopin made one final journey to England and Scotland where he met his final patroness, Jane Stirling. Totally in love with Chopin, Stirling arranged for his medical care and provided him with much-needed financial assistance during his last years. Too sick with tuberculosis to engage in a romantic attachment, Chopin famously remarked that he was “closer to a coffin than a bridal bed.” Still, he wrote one final extended composition, his great barcarolle based on the flowing rhythm of Venetian gondoliers’ songs. This presentation includes a performance of Chopin’s final masterpiece, The Barcarolle Opus 60.    

Beginning Oct. 22, the Orin Grossman Presents Afternoons at the Piano series will continue on Friday afternoons at 4 p.m. through Nov. 19. Tickets are $10 and available at Quickcenter.com. This and several upcoming premiere Quick events are free for Quick Center Members. To become a Quick Center Member today, visit quickcenter.com. or call the box office at 203-254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396.

Posted On: September 30, 2021

Volume: 53 Number: 22

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