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Malcolm Bilson, Fortepianist and Bard Alumnus, in Concert on February 15

Emily M. Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Thursday, February 15, internationally known fortepianist, Malcolm Bilson ’57, performs in concert at Bard College in conjunction with the reunion of Hungarian freedom fighters and the conference “The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and After: Impact and Contributions.” Free and open to the public the concert begins at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. Bilson, who was a language tutor to the Hungarian freedom fighters during their residence at Bard from December 1956 through February 1957, is performing this program in tribute to them. The program includes Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Fantasy in C Minor and Sonata in B-flat Major, and Johann Baptist Cramer’s Eleven Variations on “Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen wünscht Papageno sich,” from Mozart’s Magic Flute. Bilson’s instrument is modeled on a circa 1790 Johan Shanz fortepiano. In the forefront of the period instrument movement for more than thirty years, Malcolm Bilson has been a pianist in the Cornell University Music Department since 1968. During in the early 1970s he began his pioneering activity as a performer of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert on late 18th- and early 19th- century pianos. His work has made a key contribution to the restoration of the fortepiano to the concert stage and to fresh recordings of the “mainstream” repertory. In addition to an extensive career as a soloist and chamber player, Bilson has toured with the English Baroque Soloists with John Eliot Gardiner, the Academy of Ancient Music with Christopher Hogwood, the Philharmonia Baroque under Nicholas McGegan, and with Tafelmusik of Toronto, Concerto Köln, and other early and modern instrument orchestras around the world. Bilson has recorded the three most important complete cycles of works for piano by Mozart: the Piano Concertos, with John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists; the solo Piano Sonatas; and the Piano-Violin Sonatas, with Sergiu Luca. He has also recorded all the Piano-Cello Sonatas of Beethoven with Anner Bylsma, and his traversal of the Schubert Piano sonatas on period pianos (including the so-called incomplete sonatas) was completed in 2003. A disc of Schubert’s four-hand music was done with Robert Levin in November 1997, and in 2005 a single CD of Haydn Sonatas appeared. In the fall of 1994, Bilson and six of his former artist-pupils from Cornell’s DMA program in historical performance practice presented the 32 Piano Sonatas of Beethoven in New City, the first time that these works had been performed as a cycle on period instruments. The New York Times said that “what emerged in these performances was an unusually clear sense of how revolutionary these works must have sounded in their time.” In 1996 the group recorded the series for the Claves label; it garnered many very positive reviews and has recently been reissued. Bilson teaches undergraduate piano in addition to directing the Graduate Program in 18th-Century Historical Performance Practice for Keyboards. He is also adjunct professor at the Eastman School of Music. He gives annual summer fortepiano workshops at various locations in the United States and Europe, as well as master classes and lectures (generally in conjunction with solo performances) around the world. In 1991 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Bard College, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. For further information about the concert or the conference, call 845-758-7080, e-mail, or visit # # # (01.18.07)

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This event was last updated on 02-17-2007