Inaugural SF International Piano Festival

The first International San Francisco Piano Festival ended yesterday and I was really happy to both see and listen to some fabulous performances from, among others, Eunmi Ko, Johnandrew Slominski, and Bobby Mitchell. Very inspiring and thought-provoking. 

Performing Indeterminacy in Summer 2017

I’m very excited about making a presentation this summer at the Performing Indeterminacy conference, to be held at the University of Leeds, 30 June – 02 July. My talk will focus on indeterminate elements in Rzewski’s “The People United”. More updates as we get closer. 

Recital, Adjudication, and a Piano Master-Class at MANC

I really enjoyed serving as guest artist for the Constance Kotis Piano Festival at the Music Academy of North Carolina (Nov 7-8, 2014). On Friday evening, Nov 7, I played a solo program consisting of works by J. S. Bach, C. P. E. Bach, Bartók, and Chopin to a friendly and appreciative audience. Bright and early on Saturday morning I co-adjudciated one group of students, who came from all over North Carolina, four of which, were chosen to play on an honors recital at 1:00 pm. My wonderful fellow-judge was my good friend and colleague Pamela Howland. Finally, at 2:00 pm (Nov 8) I conducted a master-class with four students who played works by Bach, Lecuona, and Kuhlau. Many thanks to Thomas Swenson, the folks at MANC and its underwriters for supporting this event. It was a pleasure meeting the other two judges as well: Constance Kotis and Dr. Paul Stewart of UNCG.

Fall 2014 Solo Recitals: J. S. Bach, C. P. E. Bach, Bartók, and Chopin

This fall, I’m performing a program of J. S. Bach, C. P. E. Bach, Bartók and Chopin at Elon University, Gettysburg College (Sunderman Conservatory), and the North Carolina Music Academy. I’ll also be presenting a lecture-recital on C. P. E. Bach’s Sonata in f-sharp minor, Wq. 52/4 at Eastern Carolina University.

The Elon recital took place  on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 in Whitley Auditorium.

Here’s a PDF of the program.

Gettysburg College: Saturday, October 4, 2014.

NC Music Academy: November 7, 2014. This recital is part of the Constance Kotis Festival, where I’ll also be conducting a master-class and adjudicating a piano contest.

Successful Performance and Presentation at Focus on Piano Literature

On June 6, I presented and performed at Focus on Piano Literature symposium, which was held at the University of N. Carolina Greensboro. This year’s theme was Brothers Bach, the music and legacy of J. S. Bach’s most illustrious sons: Carl Philipp Emanuel, Wilhelm Friedemann, Johann Christian, Johann Christoph Friedrich.

My performance and presentation took place on Friday, June 6. I focused on performing CPE’s music on the modern piano, with all the challenges and questions it raises. The piece I played was the F-sharp minor Sonata, Wq. 52/4. It comes from a collection called “Second Continuation of Sonatas with Varied Reprises”. If you don’t know the piece, I encourage you to check it out.

The featured guests included noted musicologist and author Christoph Wolff, musicologist and keyboardist David Schulenberg, and harpsichordist/fortepianist Jacques Ogg from the Royal Conservatory in the Hague.

The conference attracts a friendly and devoted crowd of keyboard lovers, performers, teachers, amateurs, and students.

For a review of the entire event, including my session, click here: (Jeffrey Simon for Classical Voice of North Carolina).

Composer Dan Asia Concludes a Successful Two-Day Visit to Elon University

Dan Asia lecture at Elon 20140303

 

This past week I had the pleasure of hosting composer Daniel Asia for a two-day visit to Elon University. Dan is a professor of composition at the University of Arizona (Tucson) and a prolific composer who has written for a variety of performing forces. Last May, I had won a grant from Elon’s Fund for Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, to host Dan and perform his music with colleagues.

As the visit’s producer (and principal performer), I put together a lecture (by Asia), a pre-concert panel discussion, and a recital featuring three of Asia’s vocal works.

The recital consisted of “Breath in a Ram’s Horn”, a song cycle for tenor and piano, based on texts by American poet Paul Pines. The lovely Timothy Sparks of UNC Chapel Hill sang, with yours truly at the piano. Second on the program was “Why (?) Jacob”, a work for mixed choir, four speakers and piano solo, written in memory of a lost a friend. Here I collaborated with the Elon University Camerata (chamber choir) under the direction of my colleague Stephen A. Futrell (and me at the piano for the extensive solo). Finally, to conclude the program, Tim Hill (bass-baritone) and I collaborated on Asia’s “Amichai Songs”, a collection of six songs with text by prominent Israeli poet, Yehuda Amichai.

An hour before the concert began, I convened a panel to discuss Amichai’s poetry (and Pines’), with Rabbi Steven Sager (Rabbi Emeritus at Temple Beth El in Durham, NC), Kevin Boyle (and Elon English professor and poet), Dan Asia, and myself (as facilitator). We explored themes of Jewish and Israeli identity in Amichai’s (and Pines’) poetry, and the way in which Asia set these texts to music.

Here’s a link to an article from the Elon Pendulum (student newspaper) about a lecture Asia gave on Monday, March 3, 2014. The lecture was sponsored by the Lori and Eric Sklut Emerging Scholar in Jewish Studies Fund.

A view of the recital’s final bow (from left to right, Omri Shimron, Dan Asia, Tim Hill).

Asia Hill Shimron bows in Whitley

Two-Piano, Eight-Hand Band Performs at Eastman

Our two-piano, eight-hand team, consisting of Rebecca Penneys, Johnandrew Slominski, Eunmi Ko and myself performed our latest program on the Faculty Artist Series at Eastman on November 24, 2013. Ms. Penneys had invited us to join her in Rochester for this event, which took place in Kilbourn Hall. Rochester, as usual this time of year, was miserably cold, gray, rainy, and snowy. On the bright side, it was lovely to have Huan join me for part of this trip and my dear friend Nigel Maister hosted us graciously. Here are few photos:

The concert listing in the Main Hall (now named Lowry Hall in memory of Dean Lowry)

Rebecca Penneys, Faculty Artist Series listing

The program’s front page:

Program Front page

Typical Rochester, NY weather:

IMG_2403

Review of my recent recital with violist Kirsten Swanson

Here’s a link to a review of my recital with Kirsten Swanson at Elon. The review was written by Kelsey Higgins, who is a double-major in music and communications at Elon University.

Kirsten Swanson (viola), Omri Shimron (piano).

Kirsten Swanson (viola), Omri Shimron (piano).

Mid-way Report from the Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival

I’ve had a fantastic time teaching and performing at the inaugural Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival, which is being held at the University of South Florida, School of Music, through August 4th. With more than 80 applicants, the festival has accepted about 30 highly accomplished young pianists, ranging from high-school age to doctoral students. The participants all play at a high level and attend excellent music programs around the country and the world. Speaking of the world, we have students from Chile, Guatemala, Colombia, Korea, Japan, Russia, Macedonia, Poland, China and the US (I may have forgotten one country). There are daily masterclasses, performance classes, recitals, lecture-performances, as well as classes and training sessions on attention, memory and vision (with Dr. Ray Gottlieb). Last week’s guests included Christopher Harding from the University of Michigan, Svetozar Ivanov from USF and John O’Connor (who had just returned from teaching at the Aspen Music Festival). This week we have Roberta Rust from Lynn University and Father Sean Duggan, who will be giving a special lecture and performance on Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” sonata.

To celebrate the festival ending, Rebecca Penneys, Johnandrew Slominski, Eunmi Ko and myself will present the annual 2-piano, 8-hand concert, aka “what pianists do for fun concert”. After that it’s pizza, cry, bye, and fly.

Here’s a tiny little promo produced by my colleague, Johnandrew Slominski, from my lecture-performance on the Brahms, Ballades, Op. 10.

Gearing up for the inaugural Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival

The Rebecca Penneys Piano Festival is just around the corner. It will take place at the University of South Florida School of Music, July 21 to August 4. Click here for a schedule of events. In addition to Rebecca Penneys, the festival’s founder and artistic director, I’ll be working with Dr. Ray Gottlieb, Johnandrew Slominski, Eunmi Ko and a host of exciting guests. Check out the RPPF website for more details.

After a fascinating trip to Nicaragua with Huan, I’m now preparing for the festival and, in particular, for my soirée on the Brahms, Ballades, Op. 10. These pieces are very dear to me — I’ve played them many years ago and they remind me of many of my former teachers. In the next couple of weeks I’m going to read up on the circumstances surrounding the composition of these four miniatures. If you have any leads, shoot me a line.