Vijay Venkatesh, piano, Pro Musica

Sunday, December 4, 5pm
St Paul's Church, Cardo 6
$600, $400 tickets

"dazzling pianism verging on the impossible, effortless technical command and authority with a sense of poetry and refinement that belies his years." ~ The Herald-Tribune.

Dear Music Lover,

Pro Musica is thrilled to welcome the brilliant pianist Vijay Venaktesh, who will play for us in St. Paul’s Church on Sunday, December 4 at 5pm. Indian-American, Venkatesh “is blessed with it all: transcendent technique, unbridled passion, and irresistible charisma.” (Washington Post) Recognized on three continents for his profound musicianship and sparkling pianism, Vijay has been a top prizewinner in the San Jose, Seattle, Zimmerli, World Piano and Waring International Piano Competitions. He has also been a Davidson Fellow Laureate at the Library of Congress and Grand Prize Winner of the Los Angeles Music Center’s Spotlight Awards. An Artist Diploma candidate at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, he has degrees from USC Thornton and IU Jacobs School of Music, where he held the Barbara and David Jacobs Fellowship under Norman Krieger and André Watts.

An immersive and versatile soloist, Vijay has performed across the United States and Europe with the Seattle, Vienna, and numerous other symphony orchestras. An active chamber musician, he tours as the Vieness Piano Duo with his wife, pianist Eva Schaumkell. “Working hard is very important,” he says, but so are “relishing the moments of life that touched my heart, and the ability to compound them into art that changes others’ lives just as much as it has changed mine.”

The program opens with two sonatas in D minor by Scarlatti, 141 and 213. The rapid repeated notes, evoking the guitar, that open 141 are joined by arpeggiated chords—the notes in the chord are performed sequentially rather than simultaneously, as on a harp (from which the word “arpeggio” derives). Next, Schubert’s Ständchen (Serenade) originated as a song from his lieder collection, Schwanengesang (swan songs). Brahms’s Klavierstücke (piano pieces) follow; they’re dedicated to Clara Schumann, celebrated concert pianist and Brahms' dear friend and musical advisor. Next, Shostakovich’s Prelude and Fugue No. 24 in D minor, inspired by Bach's Art of the Fugue, and very much written for himself, rather than the Soviet government’s approval, which all musicians had to comply with.

After the intermission, Chopin’s famous Sonata No. 2 in B-flat minor has, uncharacteristically, one section with a descriptive, rather than a musically prescriptive name. That section, the universally acclaimed Marche Funèbre was performed at his death. Next, Clara Schumann’s Impromptu in E major was, like most of her work, composed before becoming Robert's wife and mother of eight (she did continue her concert-pianist career!). In the Liebestraum No. 3 in A-flat major that follows, Liszt freely moves in and out of the poem on which it’s based, using "garlands of sound” (cadenzas) to connect the three sections. Finally, in Chopin’s Barcarolle in F-Sharp major—named for the traditional songs of Venetian gondoliers—the peacefully swinging meter evokes the gentle motion of waves.

Tickets for the concerts at St. Paul’s are $400 and $600 pesos donation each, and are on sale through our website, and at the concert 45 minutes before performance time. Details of all Pro Musica’s concerts and Patron Membership are on our website, www.promusicasma.org, or contact us at promusicasma@aol.com .


Michael Pearl
President, Pro Musica.

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