St. Mary's College of Maryland Musician-in-Residence Brian Ganz will kick off the spring semester's musical offerings on Thursday, January 23 with an all-Chopin recital on the theme of Ganz's signature Musical Gardening. The recital, which will be a preview of the next installment of his “Extreme Chopin” series at the Music Center at Strathmore, will take place at 8 p.m. in the Auerbach Auditorium of St. Mary's Hall on the College campus and is free of charge 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 this year’s recital because the entire program will be devoted to 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.” The Chopin works to be featured in episodes of Musical Gardening include mazurkas, polonaises, nocturnes, funeral marches and waltzes.
“Take the nocturnes, for example,” Ganz said, “I'll play the very first nocturne Chopin composed, the E minor published later as Op. 72, No. 1, and talk about how it may have been inspired by the family’s loss of his younger sister Emilia. Chopin was 17 and manages to express his grief quite eloquently in the nocturne. He revisits the theme of grief in his C-sharp minor nocturne, Op. 27, No. 1, composed about 8 years later. The later nocturne is a work of the profoundest depth and demonstrates how his storytelling gifts have evolved, treating loss and acceptance with the insight of a master psychologist or healer.”
In the episode of Musical Gardening featuring Chopin's waltzes, Ganz will be joined by one of his students at the college, pianist Michael Casey, who will play Chopin’s beloved Waltz in C-sharp minor, Op. 64, No. 2.
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. College students pay $10 and kids 7-17 are free. There is a 25% discount for military and their families.
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.”