Artist Series Concerts Of Sarasota Launches with Return of PIANO GRAND
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota launches its 23rd season with an exuberant reprise of "Piano Grand," the sell-out concert featuring five Steinway & Sons concert grand pianos together on one stage, Saturday, October 6, 4:00 p.m., at the Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota. Joining last season's quintet of male pianists will be five of the most celebrated female pianists in southwest Florida performing another selection of specially arranged favorites, including "Eine Kleine Nachtmusick," the "Blue Danube Waltz," the Overture to "Candide," "Malagueña," "Carousel Waltz," and more. Reserved seat tickets are $20 to $55 and are available online at www.artistseriesconcerts.org or by calling 941-306-1202. $10 student tickets are available at the door with current student ID.
When "Piano Grand" sold out last year for the second season in a row, Artist Series Concerts' artistic director Joseph Holt had a happy dilemma on his hands. "Audiences can't seem to get enough of 'Piano Grand' with its 'quintet' of five pianists joyfully playing five Steinway grand pianos," Holt says. "The applause for 'Piano Grand II' had barely died down last year when we began thinking about how we could top it with 'Piano Grand III.'"
Adding more pianos was out of the question, but adding more pianists wasn't and in fact, this year's Piano Grand will boast not five but ten world-class pianists on stage playing the five Steinways. The concept of doubling the number of pianists was not a new one to Holt, who organized similar multi-piano concerts during his tenure with the U.S. Army Band in Washington, D.C. "Multi-piano performances have been around since the 19th century and it's easy to see why. They're entertaining for the audience and a novel experience for pianists who typically don't perform with each other," says Holt. Finding five more pianists was not a problem either. "This area has such a wealth and diversity of talented musicians and we also thought it would be fun to showcase the talents of some our area's fabulous female pianists. We're thrilled to be adding five of them to this year's lineup."
Joining Holt and the four other returning pianists (noted composer and arranger Don Bryn, Steinway artist Andrew Lapp, piano virtuoso Tom Purviance and Sarasota Orchestra principal pianist Jonathan Spivey), will be Church of the Palms' music director Genevieve Beauchamp, Steinway artist Avis Romm, Artist Series Concerts co-founder Lee Dougherty Ross, Manhattan Piano Trio co-founder Milana Strezeva and award winning performer Aza Torshkoeva. While all ten artists will occupy the stage for much of the concert, it won't be a battle of the sexes. "We're all excited to work together and we're having a blast preparing for this concert," notes Holt. "Integration and equality have never sounded so good as in the hands of these wonderful musicians."
This year's program offers up such familiar favorites as the "Blue Danube Waltz," "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik," and "Carousel Waltz," plus Holt's own arrangements of a ragtime medley for ten performers and the Overture to "Candide," the latter in honor of the 100th birthday of the legendary Leonard Bernstein. The concert also features a guest performance by renowned castanet artist Carmen de Vicente, spicing up Ernesto Lecuona's "Malagueña" with her rapid-fire castanet artistry, and the "1812 Overture," complete with a surprise "canon" salute. Holt encourages music lovers to get their tickets soon. "This concert has sold out twice before, and with 100 talented fingers tickling the 440 keys of five grand Steinways, it's going to be musical cacophony at its best!"
Tickets for Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota's 2018-2019 season are on sale now. Visit www.artistseriesconcerts.org for more information.