Pianist Brian Ganz performs "Chopin: Bel Canto of the Piano” at The Music Center at Strathmore in Rockville, MD, on Jan. 9, 2016. The performance was the sixth in a 10-part, decade-long project to perform all of Chopin’s works. Part of the performance included an appearance with Polish-born mezzo-soprano Magdalena Wór, who sang songs by Chopin. Photo: Jay Mallin

Classical Pianist Brian Ganz Offers a Series of Four Free Concerts At SMCM with a Focus on Chopin

By: Marc Apter

St. Mary’s City-(November 12) – Brian Ganz will offer a series of four recitals over the next few weeks for classical music lovers in the St. Mary’s College of MD community.

Musician-in-Residence Ganz resumes his popular noon concert series with two PianoTalk offerings, the first on Tuesday, November 19 and the second on Wednesday, December 4. He will also play one full-length evening recital, at 8 pm on Tuesday, December 10. Finally, his students will perform their year-end recital at 5 pm on Wednesday, December 11. 

All programs will take place in the Auerbach Auditorium of St. Mary’s Hall on the college campus and are free and open to the public. For more information call (240) 895-4498 or visit http://www.smcm.edu/events/organizer/music-department/

“I’m excited about the PianoTalks because we’ll be taking a deep dive into what I call Musical Gardening,” the pianist said. “I’ve found it to be a wonderful way to present early works of Chopin. I show how those works contain the seeds of his genius, and then I play more mature works in the same genres to demonstrate the full flowering of that genius.”

On November 19 at noon Ganz will look deeply at some mazurkas and nocturnes. Then on December 4, he will tackle several polonaises, including one of Chopin’s greatest masterpieces, the Polonaise-Fantaisie.

In his evening recital on December 10, Ganz plans to play several of the works considered in the PianoTalks and also take Chopin requests from the audience, so he urges music lovers to come prepared to ask for their favorite works of Chopin.

On December 11 at 5 pm, his students will play a program to include duets by Maurice Ravel and solo works by Bach, Chopin, Mendelssohn, and others. 

Ganz hopes to be the first to perform all the works of Chopin.  He began his “Extreme Chopin” quest at Strathmore in North Bethesda in January of 2011 in a sold out recital that launched the ambitious campaign to perform the composer’s approximately 250 works. The 10th recital in the series, Chopin and the Growth of Genius, will take place on February 1, 2020. Tickets and more information are at www.nationalphilharmonic.org

Ganz has appeared as soloist with such orchestras as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the National Philharmonic, the Baltimore and the National Symphonies, the City of London Sinfonia, and L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo. He has performed in many of the world’s major concert halls and has played under the baton of such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pinchas Zukerman, Jerzy Semkow and Yoel Levi. 

A critic for La Libre Belgique wrote of Ganz’s work: “We don’t have the words to speak of this fabulous musician who lives music with a generous urgency and brings his public into a state of intense joy.” 

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