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Auburn Cottle

DIY 4th of July inspired magnet activity

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Use the template to help measure the length of your stripes. Glue your stripes and the blue rectangle with stars onto your magnets with a glue stick. When dry, cut out your magnets. You can also use colorful foam pieces and other materials in your art supplies to create magnets! (Note: You may need hot glue to adhere some materials to a magnet backing). When finished, assemble your artwork onto a magnetic surface, such as a cookie sheet or a refrigerator.
The flag magnet can help you and your child practice visual literacy with shapes. Start a conversation about how shapes create everything around you…What shapes can you find outside in flowers? Trees? Buildings? After you practice with the magnet and search for shapes in objects around you, create drawings using only shapes like squares, rectangles, and circles. You can also use the flag as a math connection to practice counting in art! Count the stripes and stars together, and then have a safe and fun Fourth of July!

Visiting Soprano Will Bring Cabaret Music to Museum Series

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Loralee Songer and Perry Mears from Iowa Will Perform

On Thursday, April 6 from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert in the Auditorium featuring soprano Loralee Songer with pianist Perry Mears. The duo will present a program of cabaret songs by Benjamin Britten, Arnold Schoenberg, and still-living composers William Bolcom and Dominick Argento.
A gift from an anonymous friends of the series has helped to make this concert possible.
Cabaret, from a French word for nightclub, is a form of musical entertainment that gained popularity throughout the 19th century in Europe and into the beginning of the 20th century in the United States. “We could think French, we could think New York,” said Songer, who is developing a repertoire of cabaret songs.
Though Songer said she is often called on to sing operatic roles, she loves the intimacy of performing art-song recitals. “I like to be able to see people and communicate that way,” she said, pointing out that cabaret is similar. She said it was meant to be sung in small rooms to an up-close audience. But unlike at most art-song concerts, cabaret’s listeners are usually dining or drinking.
Songer doesn’t consider herself a lifelong cabaret specialist, but rather came upon the genre organically. “I started collecting music and sort of stumbled on a theme,” she said. “It’s a really fun program.”
Composer William Bolcom won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1988 and is famous for writing new cabaret songs. She said she met him at a training festival, and was able to work and even perform with him on his music.
Thursday, Songer and Mears will perform Bolcom’s “Over the Piano” and a set of songs called “Minicabs”. “Minicabs” lasts about five minutes and contains eleven very short songs. “They’re very humorous and clever,” said Songer. A big part of cabaret’s entertainment value is in the humor.
Though Songer said there are a lot of different kinds of humor in Bolcom’s music, the short format of the songs in “Minicabs” lends itself to a simple type. “It’s not hard to get the joke,” she said. “Over the Piano” leans perhaps more toward burlesque, she said, adding “It’s nightclub-appropriate.”
Arnold Schoenberg, who lived during cabaret’s turn-of-the-century golden age, was known for being a pioneer in serial music. Serial music is composed based on strict mathematical patterns and rules that were very different from what came before.
Songer said those who know Schoenberg’s serial works may get a little bit of a surprise when they hear his cabaret songs. She and Mears will perform three from his song cycle, “Brettl-Lieder”. Songer said she finds these enjoyable, melodic, and very much tonal. “I think you expect something different,” she said.
The duo will close the program with three songs from still-living composer Dominick Argento’s “Cabaret Songs”. Argento was also a Pulitzer prizewinner.
In 2014, Songer was a vocal fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center and was a 2013 Stern Fellow at SongFest. Roman & Littlefield recently published her book, “Songs of the Second Viennese School: A Performer’s Guide to Selected Vocal Works.” She is on the music faculty at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and can be found online at www.loraleesonger.com
Mears’ recent performances include recitals at the University of Alabama with Songer, at Sneed State College with the Poplar Wind Trio, and in Memphis with the Luna Nova ensemble. Previously on the faculty at Lee University, he has also been on the musical staff of the Schumann Liederfest in Zwickau, Germany, and Ash Lawn Festival Opera. He currently resides in Davenport, Iowa and serves as the music director for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Bettendorf.

Pianist Perry Mears

Soprano Loralee Songer

AU Faculty Bill Schaffer Will Perform Chamber Music for French Horn

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On Thursday, March 30 from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert of chamber music featuring Bill Schaffer on French horn. Joining him will be pianist Joshua Pifer and trombonist Matthew Wood. The concert will feature music by Louis Piantioni, Nicolas de Krufft, Alex Wilder, and Luigi Caracciolo.

Gifts from Bob Ekelund & Mark Thornton and anonymous friends of the series have helped to make this concert possible.

Luigi Caracciolo was a late-1800s composer. His “Tuscan Folk Songs” includes colorful titles like “A Streamlet Full of Flowers” and “Oh! Happy Are the Blind.” Caracciolo wrote the songs for soprano and baritone voices with piano, a popular type of song during that period. Schaffer arranged Thursday’s version of the piece, substituting French horn and trombone for the vocal parts. Wood will play the trombone part.

Schaffer said arranging for his instrument is a big part of his life. Some of it is published by RM Williams Publishing, a small firm that specializes in music for the horn. He said he’s been arranging since college and does a lot ensemble pieces.

French horn player Bill Schaffer


As a faculty member at Auburn, Schaffer acknowledged that publishing music for his instrument is part of Promotion and Tenure. But he said he is also very motivated by a desire to make new repertoire for students of the instrument. “You want to do stuff so that horn players will have stuff to use.”

Though there is a small income stream from his specialized arrangements, Schaffer said it isn’t very much. “This is really not about the money,” he said, adding that his entire market is the country’s 200-or-so horn ensembles. He said it’s more about getting your music performed and supporting the community of people who play and study the instrument.

“There is a real fraternity among horn players,” said Schaffer, adding that the idea is instilled early in a player’s formation. He said one of his teachers once told him, “You’re a part of a family of people who get up every morning and wrestle with the dragon that is going to bite you.”

Schaffer said his teacher was referring to the extreme difficulty of the instrument. Perhaps more than with most instruments, Schaffer said there is the constant danger of making a very loud, very noticiable mistake, and that it happens even to the very top players. “Everyone face plants,” he said. He said they don’t judge or criticize each other for it, because, “Next week, it will be you.”

As he will do Thursday, Schaffer likes to open recitals with a piece by Louis Piantoni, “Air de chasse,” from the early 20th century. Pifer will join him on what he described as a happy, short piece that sounds like a composer writing music for his students to play on recital.

Schaffer and Pifer will perform “Five Love Songs,” originally written by Alec Wilder (1907-1980) for horn and orchestra and commissioned by Morris Seacon. He said all five movements sound like 1950s New York City jazz ballads.

Nicolas de Krufft lived and wrote music around the turn of the 19th century. Schaffer said this period of the late 1700s and 1800s was a great one for horn music. Very well-known composers like Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Luigi Cherubini, Johannes Brahms, and Camille Saint-Saens wrote for the instrument.

But Schaffer said a lot of lesser-known composers added to the repertoire during that period. He likes to highlight those, and de Krufft is one of them. Schaffer holds the piece in as high regard as the more commonly heard ones. “I think it’s as good as or better than most of the pieces that get played.”

During Schaffer’s career he has taught every level from Kindergarten through graduate school. He has remained active as a performer since the early 1980’s and currently serves as principal horn with Sinfonia Gulf Coast in Florida.

Pifer is Lecturer in Piano at Auburn University. In December 2015, Joshua released his solo CD, “Alexander Tcherepnin: My Favorite Piano Works” with Puros Records.

Wood is Associate Professor of Low Brass at Auburn. In 2015, he was awarded a Southeastern Conference Visiting Travel Grant. Prior to joining the Auburn faculty, he was a performer, educator, and clinician in the Austin and San Antonio areas.

Serebryany Will Perform Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata

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On Thursday, March 23 from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert in the Auditorium by pianist Vadim Serebryany. The concert will feature Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata (Op. 106) and music by Béla Bartók.

A gift by anonymous friends of the series is helping to make this concert possible.

Serebryany will open Thursday’s program with a short, four-movement suite by the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók. Typical of Bartók’s work, the piece draws its influence from the folk music of Eastern Europe.

But Bartok is only a warm up. The main event will be Beethoven’s famous Sonata in B-flat, Op. 106. “It’s just really notoriously hard for the pianist,” he said. At 40 minutes long, he added that it can even take some work from the listener.

Serebryany described the sonata, nicknamed “Hammerklavier,” as extremely complex, dense music. For instance, it includes a fugue section that he described as “relentlessly, densely contrapuntal all the way through for ten minutes.” And he said its slow movement is easily Beethoven’s longest, outside of the string quartets he wrote during the same later period of his life.

“His late music is unique as far as how deeply personal it is,” said Serebryany of Beethoven’s last ten years or so of compositions. “It’s not unfair to say that they are all uniquely strange pieces of music,” he added.

Beethoven is often painted as a tortured person. Some connect his complex and intense music with the struggles of his life. But Serebryany doesn’t see it that way.

Serebryany acknowledges Beethoven’s troubled life, especially during the last years. In addition to the composer’s famous loss of hearing which forced him to stop performing, Serebryany noted the extreme toll taken on him by turn-of-the-century European politics.

Beethoven took much hope for mankind from what was happening in France after its revolution, said Serebryany. He said the composer was a great believer in the steps Napoleon was taking, moving forward in the new democracy of the French Republic. But when Napoleon declared himself Emperor in 1804, Serebryany said Beethoven was crushed.

The subsequent Napoleonic Wars that included two campaigns through Austria put further stress on Beethoven, said Serebryany. Though a proponent of universal brotherhood, the composer’s closest friends were in the Viennese aristocracy. The wars forced them to flee the country.

Despite all of this, Serebryany sees Beethoven’s art as less affected by his troubles and more by his artistic temperament. Unlike Beethoven’s contemporary, composer Richard Strauss, who wrote his waltzes in his signature way until the end, Beethoven was always looking for solutions to musical problems, said Serebryany.

“He was the epitome of the idea of never being satisfied,” said Serebryany. “He pushed the boundaries of the harmony he inherited.”

In fact, the “Hammerklavier” sonata was the first piece Beethoven wrote after a ten-year period of producing nothing. Serebryany said Beethoven felt he had nowhere to go, so didn’t see any reason to write anything at all.

But even if Beethoven’s work, and especially his later work, seems at times dark and brooding, Serebryany said there is evidence of hope. He referenced Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony setting of Friedrich Schiller’s poem, “Ode to Joy,” as evidence of the composer’s persistent faith in people’s ability to come together for the sake of a better world.

Serebryany said Beethoven’s life and music support the idea that all was not gloomy for the composer. “Beethoven ultimately doesn’t have a pessimistic worldview,” he said, adding that there are always glimpses of Paradise, even in the intense and complex “Hammerklavier.”

Serebryany has performed in Europe, South America, Australia and throughout the US, Canada and Japan. He has been a guest soloist with the National Arts Center Orchestra, The Kingston Symphony, the Osaka Century Orchestra, and the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra.
In 2005, Serebryany founded Trio+ with violinst Yosuke Kawasaki and cellist Wolfram Koessel. The trio has performed to critical acclaim throughout North America and Japan.
Serebryany is a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto, the Juilliard School and Yale University. From 2008 to 2016, he was professor of music at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, and in 2015 was named Huntingdon’s first ever Belcher-Cheek Artist in Residence. He joined the piano faculty at the Ithaca College School of Music in 2016.

The Bunnies are Saved!

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Thank you for your support!

Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art would like to thank you, for saving the bunnies! With 112 donors raising $8,330, and reaching 104% of our goal, Alex Podesta’s “Self-Portrait as Bunnies (The Bathers)” is now added to our permanent collection. Please listen to our project ambassador, Tracy Awino (senior), send a personal thank you to everyone who made this possible.

Solo Cellist Will Feature Works Created to Pair with Bach Suite

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Former MSO Fellow Laura Usiskin Will Perform for Museum Series

On March 2 from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert in the Grand Gallery by cellist Laura Usiskin. The concert will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s third cello suite and two pieces commissioned by the performer to complement it.
A gift from Bill and Josie Walsh has helped to make this concert possible.
Composer Peter Susser is on faculty at Columbia University, and was there when Usiskin was earning her undergraduate degree. Composer Patrick Greene wrote “abstractEXTRACTION” a chamber piece Usiskin once played and really liked. Johann Sebastian Bach is arguably the most famous composer in all of western music. Now, the three composers have Usiskin in common.
Motivated by the desire to bring about more music for solo cello, Usiskin contacted Susser and Greene to commission a new piece from each of them. She asked them to use Bach’s third cello suite as inspiration, with the intent to use the new works as companion pieces to the suite. “I wanted to make a cohesive program,” said Usiskin.
Usiskin said it was really interesting how the two new composers were inspired by Bach’s music in similar ways. She said they both used ostinato, which is a note or short sequence of notes that is repeated while harmonic and melodic material change around it.
Also like Bach, Usiskin said the new composers used repeated rhythmic ideas and changed their rhythms, often suggesting a different basic pulse, or meter, from what came before. She said since the new pieces are modern concert pieces, the composers took more liberties with rhythm than Bach did. Bach’s suites were Baroque dance pieces, and so required a more consistent meter for people to dance to.
Usiskin said Susser somewhat paired his six short movements with the six dances in Bach’s third suite. The new composer pays homage in his own Prelude to the famous Prelude from Bach’s first cello suite. Greene’s four movements were less connected to the original structure of Bach’s suites.
Usiskin said she has recently recorded Bach’s third suite and will do the same with Susser and Greene’s pieces as part of a new CD to be released by the end of summer.
A regular performer for A Little Lunch Music since 2010, Usiskin has performed throughout North America and Europe in such venues as Alice Tully Hall, Weill Hall, Palazzo Chigi Saracini, Barge Music, and many others. Recent performances include concertos with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra and performances of the complete Bach Suites in Los Angeles and Connecticut. She has held orchestral positions with the New Haven Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, and is currently Principal Cello of the Orchestra Iowa.
From 2011-2013, Usiskin served as Founder and Executive Director of the Montgomery Music Project, a program that provides intensive string-music instruction to underserved children in Montgomery. Based in Birmingham, She is on faculty at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Birmingham Southern College, and STEP Birmingham. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University, Master of Music from The Juilliard School, and Doctor of Musical Arts from the Yale School of Music.

Pianist Brings Beethoven’s “New” Music to Museum Series

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Lawrence Quinnett Returns to A Little Lunch Music

On February 23 from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert in the Grand Gallery by pianist Lawrence Quinnett. The concert will feature Ludwig van Beethoven’s first three piano sonatas. Thanks to Bob Ekelund & Mark Thornton for helping to make this concert possible.

Gifts from Bob Ekelund & Mark Thornton have helped to make this concert possible.

When Beethoven wrote his first sonatas, committing full piano concerts to memory was well on its way to becoming standard practice for pianists. But the music Beethoven wrote was so new and different that many performers refused to do it, said Quinnett. The idea was that no wrong note would be played, honoring the genius of the composer.

Quinnett said even the renowned composer Clara Schumann, who championed Beethoven’s works in her late career, was disparaged by critics for playing his music from memory.

Musicians had good reason to put Beethoven on a pedestal, said Quinnett. Many things about these pieces were markedly different from what came before, challenging music conventions of the time.

And Quinnett said he enjoys challenging himself with the pieces. “All these sonatas are new to me,” he said.

Quinnett said Beethoven had a brilliant mind, and was known for his ability to play difficult music at high tempos. He said Beethoven’s compositions showcased these abilities and that the sonatas display this technique clearly. “They tend to land better at slightly quicker tempos,” said Quinnett.

Beethoven also used a new approach to tempo, said Quinnett. He said though the composer included conventional tempo markings in his music, he didn’t use them in the same way. Not only did Beethoven usually intend the music to be played a bit faster than the tempo markings instructed, he also took liberties with the tempo. When he performed, he made tempo adjustments even during the course of a short musical phrase.

“Contemporaries of Beethoven would say than he rarely played a couple bars the same tempo,” said Quinnett. “He had a sense of freedom with his performances.”

Beethoven’s music is complex, said Quinnett. It makes use of harmonic shifts that hadn’t been heard before and cadenzas, or extended virtuosic passages. Quinnett said Beethoven had a penchant for playing impressive improvised solos, and that the cadenzas he wrote sounded like the music he improvised. Though cadenzas are mostly found in his concertos, Beethoven included one in his third sonata.

Quinnett said in Beethoven’s time, it was commonplace for classical performers to improvise. “There was a culture of improvisation,” he said, adding that it was found not only with Beethoven, but in earlier music as well.

Born in Montserrat, Quinnett has played solo and chamber music in the Caribbean, United Kingdom, and United States. He has judged competitions, given masterclasses, and been featured as performer and pedagogue in festivals including the 2015 Montserrat Music Festival, the Colour of Music Festival, the 2013 Ligeti Symposium, and the Fayetteville Piano Festival. He holds a doctorate from Florida State University and teaches as professor at Livingstone College in Salisbury, NC.

Museum presents Gospel-Jazz Experience

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David Banks Gospel Jazz Experience to perform at A Little Lunch Music

On February 16 from noon to 1:00 pm, the series will present a free concert in the auditorium by the David Banks Gospel Jazz Revue. The concert will feature original music as well as David’s (and others’) stylized versions of classic Gospel hymns and songs.
Anonymous friends of the series are helping to make this concert possible.
Pianist, composer, and arranger Banks is returning to the museum with his jazz Gospel group’s Silver Lining project. The project recruits and showcases older musicians whose talent Banks feels is often neglected.
Performing with Banks will be Patrick Davis on percussion; Elwood Madeo on guitar; Sam Williams on woodwinds; Charlie Person on trumpet; Barbara Banks, Louville Holstick, Florence Miller, Maxie Fleming, and Lucius Fleming on vocals; Bobbie Shipman as humorist.
As a boy growing up in Tuskegee, Banks said he was able to listen to a lot of different music. He said jazz, big band, and R&B were mixed up on the radio at the time, and there were lots of bands playing in the area. As he got older, he got involved in mostly R&B bands and forgot the other music. He said he toured a lot and made a decent living as a performer.
Banks said a very painful break up put him in a dangerous emotional state. He said he asked God to get him through it, and in return he would only play Gospel music. Almost immediately, he said his life turned around. He said played in church and eventually went to graduate school at Auburn. There he said he was part of the team that helped to secure the Auburn University Gospel Choir as a regular ensemble course offering.
As an educational technology instructor at Tuskegee University and still playing music, he began to notice national artists like Ben Tankard, Kirk Whalum, and Hart Ramsey who were able to fuse jazz and Gospel. He decided that was the direction he wanted to go.
Saxophonist Sam Williams will perform with the group on Thursday. He runs a late-night jam session on Sunday nights in Montgomery at 1048 Jazz & Blues that features musicians from all over the state. Banks said the session was an important part of his decision to follow a jazz/Gospel path.
Now called the Silver Lining Writers Project, it features some original music by the group’s members. Adding to Banks’s jazz arrangements of classic and new Gospel songs, the group will perform Singer Louville Holstick’s “Three Pictures High,” and singer Maxie Fleming’s “Spend Some Time with the Master,” as well as guitarist Elwood Madeo’s jazz arrangement of the standard “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”
Though Banks has been bringing a group to A Little Lunch Music for years, he said that last February’s Silver Lining performance was this project’s first gig. Since then they’ve performed at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Tuskegee University Chapel, churches, and jazz clubs around the region.
Banks said working with seniors has been eye opening. With age comes health problems. One member lost her sight, another her hearing. Saxophonist Charles Cochrane recently passed away. “If you want to do something, you better go on and do it while you can,” said Banks.
But against the transportation and health problems, Banks said a mature musician with a lifetime of professional experience and a high degree of talent is invaluable. He said audiences and musical groups are missing out by not using older performers. He described the Gospel jazz platform as an ideal launching pad for this much overlooked artistic resource of diverse artistic talent.
Banks said his group members have amazing talent that only gets better with age. “You become wiser, and you learn to do what counts,” he said. He added that sometimes it’s not so important how many fast and high notes musicians use, but how well they place the ones they choose. “Life experience finds its way into the music,” he added.

Save the Bunnies on Tiger Giving Day 2017

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Help us add “Self- Portrait as Bunnies (The Bathers)” to our permanent collection

Auburn’s art museum needs your help to give a permanent home to Self-Portrait as Bunnies (The Bathers). This sculpture is part of a series, in which Alex Podesta of New Orleans draws parallels between imagination’s role in children and adults. The piece is the second-place winner of the biennial Out of the Box: A Juried Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition and a community award winner. The bunnies, as they are affectionately now known, tell a unique story—whether you are five or 65. But they are on temporary loan and scheduled to leave. Your gift can save the bunnies!

Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art represents Auburn’s commitment to advancing the arts. The outdoor sculpture program showcases the beautiful grounds and makes art accessible. Interacting with sculpture in nature is a unique experience unlike one has within the museum walls. But often, these works are on temporary loan by the artist. Through philanthropic gifts, the museum can create an engaging sculpture park for campus, the community and visitors.

By presenting this sculpture and other works, the museum offers art experiences to nearly 40,000 visitors annually—from elementary, high school and college students, to faculty and staff, plus lifelong learners—not to mention countless others visiting the grounds for recreation and relaxation.

Your support extends Auburn’s outreach nationally and internationally through this professionally accredited institution. Thank you for believing “art changes lives!”

Visiting International Pianists Featured on Two Upcoming Recitals

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Visiting International Pianists Featured on Two Upcoming Recitals

On Thursday, February 9, from noon to 1:00 pm, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University, will present a free concert in the auditorium by pianist Dino Mulić, violinist Kay Lee, and pianist Sangmi Lim. Mulić will perform solo piano music by Domenico Scarlatti, Joseph Haydn, Alban Berg, and Boris Papandopulo. Lee and Lim will perform a sonata by Sergei Prokofiev.
The performance is part of the museum’s weekly series, A Little Lunch Music. Gifts from George Kent and anonymous friends of the series have helped to make this concert possible.
Drs. Mulić and Lim will also perform a piano four-hands recital on Wednesday, February 8, at 7:30 pm at Goodwin Recital Hall. Wednesday night’s concert, hosted by the Auburn University Music Department, is a ticketed event and will feature music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert and Astor Piazzolla.
When violinist Kyungha Kay Lee first performed with pianist Sangmi Lim, they were in middle school in South Korea. Lee said they were close friends, and continued to perform throughout high school and college. Both moved to the US to do graduate work in music, though at different schools.
Now, both having performed throughout the world, Lee is based in Auburn as a teacher and performer, and Lim is on faculty at Texas A&M University. The two will come together again at the museum to share a concert with Lim’s husband who is also a pianist. It will be the first time the two friends have performed in public together since 2006.
On Thursday, the duo will perform Prokofiev’s “Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Major, Op. 94,” which Lee said is dramatic and lyrical. She said violin virtuoso David Oistrakh was a good friend of Prokofiev and loved the piece, which was originally written for flute. So Prokofiev arranged the sonata for Oistrakh.

Pianists Sangmi Lim

Kyungha Kay Lee, violinist

Lee said she loves to travel and to get out in nature. “When I travel somewhere, I always think of some music to blend with that scenery,” she said. The reverse is also true. She said the Prokofiev piece reminds her of beautiful scenery, which she visualizes as she plays, especially during the lyrical moments.
Lee said the sonata is one of her favorites and has a nice balance between lyricism and technical fireworks. She said the piano parts are very hard, but are no match for Lim’s talent.
“We have a very good synergy,” said Lee of her pianist colleague and friend, whose playing she described as energetic and dramatic. “When I play with her, she gives me energy to play very powerfully.”
Lim’s husband Dino Mulić is from Bosnia and Herzegovina. They met in 2009 at Michigan State University where she was a graduate student and he was a part of the US State Department’s Visiting Scholar program. He will perform the other half of Thursday’s program on solo piano. The two will perform together at Goodwin Hall the night before.
“When we met, our English was poor,” said Mulić, who said he fell in love with her immediately. Though it was hard to communicate, he said they had the language of music. Over time, they developed a repertoire of music for piano four-hands. “For me it is very special to play with Sangmi,” he said. “It’s wonderful.”
Mulić was born in Yugoslavia before the Bosnian War. He was very young when it started, and wasn’t able to go to school. He credits his mother’s encouragement to continue with his education by reading and studying. “She told me, ‘Don’t worry, when this is over, if we survive, we will start over,’” he said. And they did.
One of Mulić’s solo pieces on Thursday will be a one-movement sonata by Alban Berg. Mulić said the piece is extremely moving for him and connects him to the war. “At one point it’s so tragic. It’s devastating,” he said, still feeling that it is one of the most romantic pieces he’s ever played.
Berg was from the Second Viennese School, which is what scholars call a group of composers in the 20th century. They broke traditional rules of music, experimenting with new ways to present harmony, melody, and musical form. Mulić said Berg’s sonata doesn’t even establish a key until the very end, a tragic b-minor.
“It’s tragic, but proud,” said Mulić. He said it reminds him of what his family endured during the war, and how they came through it.
During the war Mulić moved to Sarajevo with his family into his grandfather’s apartment that had formerly been the residence of composer Boris Papandopulo. Papandopulo was opera conductor and teacher in Sarajevo from 1948-1953. Mulić said Papandopulo was called “Mozart from the Balkans,” because of his cheerful friendly character which Mozart was famous for.
Mulić said he loves Papandopulo’s music as well as his life story. When Russia took control of the composer’s home country Croatia after World War II, officials ordered him to abandon music, and he took a job as truck driver. Mulić said while doing that, Papandopulo, the son of a Croatian nobleman, got to know and love the common people of his country. Later, he was able to re-enter the world of music and became well known and loved.
Music by Mozart will open Wednesday night’s program, followed by what Mulić said is probably the most famous piano four-hands piece, Franz Schubert’s “Fantasy in F Minor.”
Still-living Serbian composer and friend of Mulić’s family Vladimir Đenader wrote his “Three Pieces” for piano four-hands one morning after dreaming it the night before. Kyoko Yamamoto arranged the famous “History of the Tango” by Astor Piazzolla which Lim and Mulić will also play Wednesday at Goodwin Hall.

Pianists Dino Mulić

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