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American Piano Quartet

The piano quartet founded by Paul Pollei continues the tradition of virtuoso concert music!

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Program

Waltz from Faust // Charles Gounod/ R. de Vilbac
Slavonic Dances, Op. 46 // Anton Dvorak/ Keller
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring // Johann Sebastian Bach/Mack Wilberg
Organ Fugue in D Major // Johann Sebastian Bach/Scott Holden
Finale from “Organ” Symphony // Camille Saint-Saëns

INTERMISSION

Fantasy on Themes from Offenbach // Mack Wilberg
Danse: Tarantella styrienne // Claude Debussy/Jeffrey Shumway
Pavane // Gabriel Faure/Robin Hancock
Les preludes, Symphonic Poem No.3 // Franz Liszt/Kronke

$20 general | $15 senior | $8 student

For senior and student tickets, please call ArtTix at 801.355.ARTS

Tribute to Paul Pollei

I first met Paul as a Bachauer competitor in 1998. Little did I know that he would become my good friend, mentor and bench partner in the American Piano Quartet for 10 years. When Paul retired from BYU, I took the vacant position. I could never honestly tell anyone that I replaced Paul Pollei at BYU because no one could possibly replace Paul Pollei.

Everything that Paul did was with done with passion, good humor, endless optimism and a great deal of humanity. Although Paul was by far the oldest member of the quartet, he was always the youngest in spirit. Once we were performing an evening concert in Florida and had to catch a 6 am flight the next morning. Knowing we would only get three or four hours of sleep at best during the night, someone joked that we should go a midnight movie after the concert and simply forego any sleep. After the concert and lengthy reception, nearly 70-year old Paul was so full of energy he wanted to plan our all-nighter at the movies. I was half his age and turned him down.

Rehearsals were not simply a two-hour block of practice, but started and ended with the latest anecdotes about his adventures and a sampling of some new exotic brand of black licorice. We frequently would stay for an extra hour or more to simply enjoy his friendship, hilarious stories and warm hospitality. He was always anxious to report on the latest book he had read that week. He adored being around people and especially before an audience. I can still hear his delighted laughter as we would finish the last note of a piece and the audience would burst into applause.

Paul seemed know just about everyone. Traveling with Paul meant that on the train or airport he would inevitably see an old acquaintance and it did not matter if it was in Dusseldorf or Denver. Paul had the rare ability to make you feel like you were one of his best friends, and thus he was loved by people around the globe.

The quartet came about almost by accident. A student brought some antique music that was curiously scored for 2 pianos and 8 hands. Calling in a few colleagues, they read through this brilliantly scored piece. Knowing there must be more, a full recital in the genre soon followed. Today, the American Piano Quartet boasts the largest library of works for this genre in existence and has performed hundreds of concerts around the globe. All of it can be traced back to that first piece. I could not possibly summarize the loss I still feel with Paul’s passing, but I cherish the memory of his insights, humanity, and infinite curiosity and passion for great music. He is a model for me and countless others.
     –Scott Holden, on behalf of the American Piano Quartet

About The American Piano Quartet: Robin Hancock, Scott Holden, Del Parkinson, Jeffrey Shumway

The American Piano Quartet, founded in 1984 by the late Paul Pollei, is dedicated to performing original works, transcriptions, and arrangements for the combination of two pianos/eight hands. This beloved art form of the latter19th century has found new popularity due to the efforts of the quartet in research, commissions, and performances over the last three decades. The quartet is composed of four musicians who focus their careers in all areas of performance, teaching, composing, and arranging. The quartet has performed throughout the United States, the Far East and Europe; from Piano Island in Xiamen, China, to the twilight of Forks, Washington. As a group they have been visiting professors and guest artists at Frankfurt, Germany Hochschule für musik; University of Goianias, Brazil; Prague, Czech Republic Chamber Festival; and Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary. They have been Pearl Award nominees, have appeared in Manila, Philippines National Center for the Performing Arts, and have been conducted by Hollywood film star Andie MacDowell. Their performances have raised over 10,000 Euros for various charities on their many tours through Germany. They were guest adjudicators for the national finals of the Japan Piano Teachers Association and premiered Alexander Peskanov’s two-piano, eight-hand concerto with the Hungarian Radio Symphony. The quartet represented the United States as the invited guest artist ensemble at the Anton Rubinstein Centennial Festival Celebration in Moscow, Russia (2010) and while there, appeared in a command performance for the American Embassy at Spaso House in Moscow. They have been praised for their dramatic programming and tight acoustics demonstrating an unusually synergistic orchestral sonority. Astonished critics have described them as ivory acrobats and “thundering lions of the salon in fourfold” (Taunus Zeitung, Friedrichsdorf, Germany, July 1995). One German critic praised “the four American artists for bringing a passionate, even erotic ambience to their performance of favorite masterworks.” (Bad Herrenalb “Bolero Evening,” May 2004). The quartet seeks to continue the legacy of its founder Paul Pollei: “to delight and surprise while educating the public to the wonderfully multi-faceted world of piano music.”

Robin Hancock is on the piano faculty at Brigham Young University, and is a graduate of Central Washington University, Brigham Young University, and Boston University. As accompanist and chamber artist he has played over 300 recitals in the past decade. He began his teaching career at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and was a competitor in the 1988 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition. He recently received the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award at BYU. He is a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Scott Holden is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Manhattan School of Music, and The Juilliard School, where he was awarded the Horowitz Prize. A prize winner in numerous piano competitions, his 1996 Carnegie Hall debut recital was a result of winning 1st prize in the 1996 Leschetizky International Piano Competition. A Fulbright scholar, he is currently chair of piano studies at Brigham Young University.

Del Parkinson is professor of piano at Boise State University. After completing studies in London as a Fulbright scholar, he earned a doctor of music degree from Indiana University and a postgraduate diploma from The Juilliard School. Parkinson is featured on four compact disc recordings and has performed in Europe, Asia, South America, and throughout the United States. A Steinway artist, he is the recipient of the governor’s award for excellence in the arts.

Jeffrey Shumway is a graduate of Brigham Young University, The Juilliard School, and Indiana University. His teaching career began at Tarleton State University in Texas, and he is currently on the piano faculty at Brigham Young University. Second-prize winner of the 1977 Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition, he is known for his performances of complete cycles of the piano music of Maurice Ravel and Ludwig van Beethoven. He was recently named national fellow with the Music Teachers National Association.
Publications of the American Piano Quartet Series are available through Kjos Music Company. Their commercial recordings are available on the HAUSMUSIK label and the BYU-Tantara label. They can be seen and heard on BYU-TV national and international broadcasting networks, and KBYU-fm classical 89.

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