gilmore keyboard festival

Carlin Ma

In a series of upcoming recitals and a concerto performance,  Elliot Wuu will demonstrate the qualities that earned him a Gilmore Young Artist award to Michigan audiences. Wuu says he's excited to have the opportunity to perform his program three times--  in Marshall, Vicksburg and Kalamazoo -- and he describes the musical selections by Gian Carlo Menotti, Chopin, Schubert, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff to Cara Lieurance.

The winner of the 2015 Hilton Head International Piano Competition, Elliot Wuu will also perform Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra on May 11. For more infomation, visit the Gilmore Keyboard Festival website.

Luxe Creative Imaging

Oscar Hernandez takes great pride in the top-level musicianship of the Grammy-winning Latin/Jazz band the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, which will perform at the Gilmore Keyboard Festival in Chenery Auditorium on Saturday at 8 pm. He tells Cara Lieurance how he and his fellow players push the boundaries of virtuosity and complexity while never losing touch with the traditions and foundations upon which the music is based.

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra is celebrating fifteen years as a group with a new album, AnniversaryHernandez says Kalamazoo audiences will be some of the first to hear the new songs played live. The new album includes nine original pieces, and four old standards that were "taken to the tailor to get a brand new suit of clothes." 

Gregor Hohenberg

It has been twenty years since Leif Ove Andsnes received the 1998 Gilmore Artist Award, which is given to  unusually gifted pianists with the potential to make an original impact on music. In the years since, Andsnes has found new wells of creativity through collaborations with singers, instrumentalists, and orchestras, and through his own solo playing. On Monday, April 30 the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival will present Andsnes in recital at Chenery Auditorium at 8 pm.

In a conversation recorded by phone from his home in Norway, Andsnes talks about his recent projects, which include a new recording of music by Jean Sibelius, whose solo piano works have been long overlooked. He touches on fatherhood, as well as the variety of pieces on his program: Carl Nielsen's Chaconne, Beethoven's Sonata Op. 31 No. 2 "Tempest," Idyll and Abyss by Jörg Widmann, and selected works of Schubert. 

Xie Guichen

Ninteen-year-old pianist Wei Luo, a recipient of a 2018 Gilmore Young Artist Award, has an affinity for Russian music. She tells Cara Lieurance about her program, filled with works by Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Schedrin, as well as Haydn and Chopin, highlighting the powerful emotions and storytelling that went into the creation of the pieces by the composers. 

Ms. Luo explains that when she first encountered a piano as a child she was fascinated with it, and begged her parents to let her play one. To make sure she was serious, her parents gave her a month to consider whether she would commit to learning the instrument before they agreed to purchase one for her to play. Now, she is a student at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she studies with Gary Graffman and Robert McDonald. 

Ms. Luo will perform solo recitals on April 27 in South Haven, April 28 in Kalamazoo, and April 29 in Battle Creek. She will appear with the Battle Creek Symphony Orchestra on May 5, performing the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Rachmaninoff. For tickets and more details, visit the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival website.

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Next Tuesday, American tenor Lawrence Brownlee will appear at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival in a song recital with pianist Myra Huang. They will perform two song cycles: 2018's Cycles of my Being by composer Tyshawn Sorey and poet Terrence Hayes, and Robert Schumann's Dichterliebe (A Poet's Love) from 1840. In a preview of the recital with Cara Lieurance, Brownlee discusses both works in passionate detail.

Cycles Of My Being was created by Brownlee, Sorey and Hayes, all African-American men, as they examined their existences as members of a society which often displays hatred and fear toward them. Brownlee quotes the first line of the first song in the cycle: "America - I hear you hiss and stare / Do you love the air in me / As I love the air in you?" And even though he is a celebrated bel canto tenor specializing in Italian opera, Brownlee set a goal for himself to perform a German song cycle in recital, partly inspired by the recordings of Fritz Wunderlich. While working in Germany recently, he sought out a teacher who shared stories about the history and poetry of Schumann's Dichterliebe.  His concert in Kalamazoo will follow the same program he performs in Carnegie Hall, New York on April 24.