VAIL — Bravo! Vail’s 26th season concludes Saturday with “Four Piano Bash” featuring Bravo! Vail Artistic Director Anne-Marie McDermott and acclaimed pianists Pedja Muzijevic, Stephen Prutsman and Joyce Yang in performance of Carl Czerny’s Quatour Concertant for Four Pianos and Bach’s Concerto for Four Keyboards. The concert begins at 6 p.m. at the Vail Mountain School and is the crowning glory of the Chamber Music Series, offering the rare opportunity to experience four acclaimed pianists – who also happen to be friends – in performance of works written for two and four pianos. Tickets are on sale and start at $29.
This concert features an eclectic blend of the “new” and the “old,” and journeys musically from the age of Bach to present-day America. Featured music includes Arensky’s Suite for Two Pianos, No. 1, Op. 15; Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre for Two Pianos, Op. 40; the Overture from the opera The Magic Flute by Mozart/Arrangement for Two Pianos by Busoni; and American composer Patrick Zimmerli’s Crazy Quilt for Two Pianos.
Composed in 1830 by the Austrian pianist and composer Carl Czerny, the Quatour Concertant for Four Pianos is currently experiencing a renaissance as the music world rediscovers Czerny’s vast musical production of more than 1,000 pieces. Czerny, who studied with Beethoven and later became his assistant, cultivated a career as a music teacher to Vienna’s elite. Among his pupils was a young Franz Liszt, not to mention Beethoven’s nephew Carl. Czerny also wrote a substantial number of piano solo exercises and is considered the “father of modern pianistic technique” by many today.
The rediscovery of Czerny began almost 20 years ago in Canada when pianist Anton Kuerti found an old score of a Czerny piano sonata in a store and was inspired to seek more works by this relatively mysterious composer. The outcome was the world’s first Czerny Music Festival in 2002. For the “Four Piano Bash,” McDermott, Muzijevic, Prutsman and Yang will perform Czerny’s Quatour Concertant for Four Pianos – a work he composed for four of his female students, after whom the parts are named.
About the artists
Pedja Muzijevic: Pianist Pedja Muzijevic has defined his 35 year career with creative programming, unusual combinations of new and old music, and lasting collaborations with other artists and ensembles. Muzijevic has performed with the Atlanta Symphony, the Residentie Orkest in The Hague, Milwaukee Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic, Shinsei Nihon Orchestra in Tokyo, Orquesta Sinfonica in Montevideo, Zagreb Philharmonic, and the Boston Pops, among others. Muzijevic’s solo recording entitled Sonatas and Other Interludes is available on Albany Records. It juxtaposes music for prepared piano by John Cage with composers ranging from W. F. Bach and D. Scarlatti to F. Liszt and R. Schumann. His discography also includes, besides his Carnegie Hall concerto debut, two CDs on fortepianos – a Schumann Salon and Mozart and Beethoven Quintets for piano and woodwinds.
Stephen Prutsman: Prutsman has been described as one of the most innovative musicians of his time. Moving easily from classical to jazz to world music styles as a pianist, composer and conductor, Prutsman continues to explore and seek common ground and relationships in the music of all cultures and languages. From 2004 to 2007, Prutsman was artistic partner with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. From 2009 to 2012 he was the artistic director of the Cartagena International Festival of Music, South America’s largest festival of its kind, programming and curating concerts with themes ranging from Mozart celebrations, to eclectic evenings of folk and popular music of the Americas, to hybrid programs fusing art and dance music of multiple musical dimensions. In the early ‘90s, he was a medal winner at the Tchaikovsky and Queen Elisabeth Piano Competitions, and received the Avery Fisher Career Grant. Since then, Prutsman has performed the classical concerto repertoire as soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras and his classical discography includes acclaimed recordings of the Barber and McDowell concerti with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland.
Joyce Yang: Pianist Joyce Yang captivates audiences across the globe with her stunning virtuosity combined with heartfelt lyricism and interpretive sensitivity. At just 26, she has established herself as one of the leading artists of her generation through her innovative solo recitals and notable collaborations with the world’s top orchestras. Yang came to international attention in 2005 when she won the silver medal at the 12th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition where she was also the youngest contestant. Since her spectacular debut, Yang has performed with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Houston Symphony, and BBC Philharmonic – among many others, working with such distinguished conductors as Edo de Waart, Lorin Maazel, James Conlon, Leonard Slatkin, David Robertson, Bramwell Tovey and Jaap van Zweden. In 2010, she received an Avery Fisher Career Grant.