Ursula Oppens Performs Modern Piano Classic In Midtown, March 2
The 20th-century's greatest set of piano variations will be played by the artist for whom the work was written, when Ursula Oppens performs Frederic Rzewski's "The People United Will Never Be Defeated!" on the Chamber Music Society of Detroit's Midtown Series Friday, March 2, 2018 at 8:00 PM. The concert takes place at Schaver Music Recital Hall, located at 480 W. Hancock (between Cass & Second Avenues) in Detroit on the Wayne State University campus. Tickets, all general admission, are priced at $30 for adults and $15 for students and are available online at www.CMSDetroit.org or by phone at 313-335-3300.
American composer Frederic Rzewski composed "The People United Will Never Be Defeated!" as a gigantic set of 36 variations on a song once sung by the Chilean supporters of Salvador Allende. Unfolding over about 50 minutes, it explores virtually every resource of the contemporary piano. Rzewski dedicated the composition to Ursula Oppens, who had commissioned and premiered it, and who recorded it in 1979; her recording was named "Record of the Year" in that year by Record World, and received a Grammy nomination. Ms. Oppens re-recorded the work in 2016 to mark its 40th anniversary, and the new recording was again nominated for a Grammy Award.
To help familiarize the audience with the work, Ms. Oppens' March 2 performance will be preceded by a brief spoken introduction by former Detroit Free Press music critic Mark Stryker, and followed by a moderated "Talk Back" session, giving audience members a chance to ask questions of the artist. A Meet and Greet reception will follow with complimentary refreshments.
A legend among American pianists, Ursula Oppens is widely admired particularly for her original and perceptive readings of new music, as well as her knowing interpretations of the standard repertoire.
No other artist alive today has commissioned and premiered more new works for the piano.
A critically acclaimed recording artist with five Grammy nominations, Ms. Oppens has performed with virtually all of the world's major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony in the U.S., and abroad with the Berlin Symphony, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, and the London Philharmonic Orchestras among many others. Ms. Oppens is also an avid chamber musician and has performed with such ensembles as the Arditti, Cassatt, JACK, Juilliard, and Pacifica quartets.
In a review of Ursula Oppens' recent performance of "The People United" at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Washington Post said, "It is probably safe to say that no single performer has done more for the cause of American piano music than Ursula Oppens," but "her greatest achievement is surely the eloquence of her piano playing, which exudes warmth, intelligence, contagious enthusiasm, fierce integrity and, to a great degree, the calm that emanates only from wisdom."