Arts Society & Culture

University pianists come together for ‘Steinway Spectacular’

Athens, Ga. – More than 25 pianists will join forces for “Steinway Spectacular,” the latest entry in the University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music’s 2nd Thursday Scholarship Concert series, March 21 at 8 p.m. in the Hodgson Concert Hall.

The musicians, drawn from the ranks of the Hodgson School’s keyboard faculty and students, have selected a broad variety of compositions for the performance, including arrangements of pieces by J.S. Bach, Handel, Gershwin, Wagner and Beethoven as well as original works by Milhaud, Lutosławski, Dahl and Schubert. The concert will culminate in Albert Lavignac’s “Galop-March” for four pianos—requiring 24 hands for 352 keys.

“It’s a real rarity to see this many pianists onstage at once,” said Richard Zimdars, Despy Karlas Professor of Piano at the Hodgson School and one of the evening’s performers. “There are interesting logistics in play with multiple people at one piano—simply in terms of space—and half the fun of putting together a program like this is collaborating with others and figuring those aspects out.”

The concert, which marks UGA’s 10th year as an All-Steinway School, is a celebration of the school of music sharing in the tradition of great American company Steinway & Sons, Zimdars said.

The performance also will feature piano faculty Evgeny Rivkin, Peter Jutras, Martha Thomas and Nancy Elton along with school of music students, who lend a hand—or hands—to help flesh out the more robust arrangements.

“No two pianists’ playing style is precisely the same, and a performance of this scope allows students to expand their musicianship and match one another in a unified vision,” Zimdars said. “It also lets these young pianists, who don’t always have the opportunity to perform in the grandeur of Hodgson Hall like our large ensembles, showcase their talent on their primary instrument.”

Tickets are $18 for the general public and $5 for UGA students and are available at the Performing Arts Center box office, by calling 706/542-4400 or online at www.pac.uga.edu.

Established in 1980, the 2nd Thursday Scholarship Series offers showcase performances by UGA students and faculty the second Thursday of each month throughout the academic year. Proceeds from individual ticket sales and season subscriptions allow for year-long academic scholarships and assistantships for students and gives donors the opportunity to sponsor individual students of the music school at several levels of giving. In 2011, the 2nd Thursday series provided scholarships to 30 students based on faculty recommendations, academic achievement and performance ability.

The next concert in the series will feature UGA piano faculty, students and friends in “Romantic and Elegiaque: Chamber Music for Strings and Piano” April 11 at 8 p.m. in the Hodgson Concert Hall.

For more information on the 2nd Thursday Scholarship Series or the Hodgson School of Music, see www.music.uga.edu.