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Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Presents Live Luncheon and Virtual Concert With Classical Accordionist Hanzhi Wang

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The virtual event will take place on October 13 at Michael’s On East.

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota Presents Live Luncheon and Virtual Concert With Classical Accordionist Hanzhi Wang

Artist Series Concerts presents a unique live luncheon/virtual concert experience with classical accordionist Hanzhi Wang, the first accordionist to win a spot on the Young Concert Artists' roster in its entire 60-year history. Wang, who lives in Denmark and earned her Masters degree at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, was to have performed here live but is presently unable to tour. So she has prepared and recorded a recital video, made exclusively for Artist Series Concerts. The video will be shown on the big screen of the expanded ballroom of Michael's On East, which continues to maintain 50% capacity and strict staff protocols for all indoor dining. Wang's program includes works by Bach, Scarlatti, Alfred Schnittke, YCA composer Katherine Balch and Wang herself. Following the concert and prior to the luncheon, Wang will beam in virtually from Denmark for a live-streamed conversation with ASC's director of artist programs, Joseph Holt. The performance and interview begin at 11:00 a.m. followed by a luncheon at 12:15 p.m. Tickets are $53 and are available until October 6, either online at ArtistSeriesConcerts.org or by calling 941-306-1202, Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

The performance and interview will also be streamed live. Virtual tickets for the live stream are $15 and will be available soon.

Innovative young accordionist Hanzhi Wang isn't about to let the pandemic and its travel restrictions stop her from sharing her music with the world. Wang was to have performed here live in October with her Young Concert Artists colleagues, the Omer Quartet (who will now be here on May 23). When those plans were scuttled, Wang embraced technology and put her video chops to work to record a video concert crafted exclusively for Artist Series Concerts.

Her ambitious program, which includes Bach's Chaconne in D Minor and three of Domenico Scarlatti's Sonatas, will be shown on the big screen of the expanded and socially distanced ballroom at Michael's On East. Artist Series Concerts' director of artist programs Joseph Holt has this to say about Wang's program: "I find it fascinating that she can play the Bach Chaconne on the accordion as well as the Scarlatti Sonatas. Granted, an accordion does have a keyboard configuration like a piano but these are virtuoso works that display dexterity on the keyboard. The transfer to accordion should be an eye-opening delight that reveals these works in a new light. The famous Chaconne could be a tour-de-force. The original transcription has both hands flying around the keyboard, and she's accomplishing that on an accordion!"

Wang grew up in the south of China and began playing the accordion at age five, after hearing it played in an Italian movie that her father was watching. At the beginning, she played mainly folk songs but gravitated to classical music because, as Wang explains: "I heard a lot of Western classical music when I was a child. We had many collections of Deutsche Grammophon, so I started listening to a lot of orchestras and piano solos, and I'm also very much into choir music." In addition to being the only accordionist to ever win a place on the Young Concert Artists roster, Wang has also been named a Musical America "New Artist of the Month." She performed on the 2,145th episode of New York WQXR's Young Artists Showcase as the first solo accordionist on the program, and recently released the Naxos label's first-ever solo accordion CD, "On the Path to H.C. Andersen," which was nominated for the prestigious DR (Danish Radio) P2 Prize in 2019.

"This is a concert of 'firsts' for us" notes Holt. "Hanzhi is the first accordionist to be presented in our entire 25-year history and the first ever to be presented onscreen. We'll be incorporating teleconferencing technology for the first time to beam Hanzhi in from Denmark for a live video Q&A session with her after her performance. And we'll also be offering live streaming of the concert and talk for those who are unable to attend in person. Live, or live-streamed from the ballroom of our longtime partner Michael's On East, which has been the vanguard of safety protocols throughout the pandemic, this is going to be unique, and a real treat."


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