Local pianist hosts concert featuring music from all seven continents at Wildridge home
Gena Bedrosian, who moved to the Vail Valley recently with her husband, is hosting free, socially-distanced classical piano concerts at her house in Wildridge, Avon on Thursday, Sept. 3 and Thursday, Sept. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. It will also be livestreamed to YouTube, and light refreshments will be available to purchase. The program, billed as a Concert Under the Stars, will feature composers from each of the seven world continents.
“A year ago, nobody really thought of doing this, but now we’re in the situation that we’re in. It’s all about fresh air, people to sit as they feel comfortable,” Bedrosian said. “Who’s ever heard of a composer from Tasmania?”
Up to 175 guests will enjoy the music from Bedrosian’s lawn, patio, deck and driveway. An audio setup will broadcast the sound from inside the house — she’ll be playing from the grand piano in her piano room — and she’ll project an accompanying slideshow onto her garage door.
Since Bedrosian relocated from Naples, Florida, she’s been searching for ways to foster community around her great passion: classical music. She’s started a chorus group, Distant Voices, that sings traditional choral tunes.
She’s been working on this world program for more than a year. Her plan always included a recital performance, but now with the pandemic, she’s been forced to get creative with how she does it. She hopes music enthusiasts will come out and hear something they’ve not experienced before.
“It would be like going to an international buffet. You go down the line of the vendors and you have no clue what Nigerian food tastes like, or what Tasmanian food tastes like, but you get to experience it. That’s the good part about it,” Bedrosian said. “I wanted to have the extreme variety, learn the background of the composers, their ethnicity, the way they compose, and share that with people.”
Some of the pieces are recognizable: she will be playing Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64, a ballet by Sergei Prokofiev, which was used as the soundtrack for the 1968 version of “Romeo and Juliet” with Olivia Hussey.
“It was one of those movies where every guy at the time thought she was hot,” she said.
Bedrosian selected the key moments from the full piece: where they dance together, where they fight. It’s brimming with all the typically Russian motifs that those who know a bit about classical music will recognize.
Then there’s Manayangath Subramanian Viswanathan’s version Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram. MSV, as he’s known, created a piano version of this Hindu folk song made popular by Mahatma Gandhi during his peaceful fight for India’s independence from Great Britain. It was used in the video game “Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories” for the Asian and Middle Eastern radio station Radio Del Mundo.
From Africa, Bedrosian will play Joshua Uzoigwe’s Talking Drums. The Nigerian composer was inspired by talking drums, which were used to communicate and tell stories.
“Not all words are said at the same volume, at the same degree of harshness, and at the same pitch. These drums imitate that,” she said.
Selections from Europe will include compositions by Claude Debussy (France), Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, (Great Britain), Edvard Grieg (Norway) and Béla Bartók (Hungary). George Gershwin will represent America.
The composer representing Antartica is George Fenton, a British composer who’s worked on many films including “Groundhog Day,” “Gandhi” and “The Bounty Hunter.” His connection to Antartica comes from his trip to Antartica and his work with BBC’s nature documentaries “Planet Earth” and “The Blue Planet.”
For more information about the concert, including directions, where to park, and the YouTube stream, contact Gena Bedrosian at firstname.lastname@example.org.