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Erica Kiesewetter and Blair McMillen Perform Works by Mozart, Mellits, Bacewicz, Ysaÿe, and Brahms on Saturday, March 7

Eleanor Davis

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Violinist Erica Kiesewetter and pianist Blair McMillen perform in concert on Saturday, March 7. Free and open to the public, the program is presented by The Bard Center and begins at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. No reservations are necessary; seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The duo will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Sonata in B-flat, K. 454; Marc Mellits’ Two Etudes for Piano; Grażyna Bacewicz’s Sonata No. 4; Eugène Ysaÿe’s Violin Sonata No. 3, Op. 27 (“Ballade”); and Johannes Brahms’ Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 108.

Violinist Erica Kiesewetter has been the concertmaster of the American Symphony Orchestra since 2000 and has appeared as soloist with the orchestra in the Sibelius violin concerto and two concerti of Alban Berg. She also performed the Berg concerto with Maestro Leon Botstein with the Jerusalem Symphony in Israel, an event that was also broadcast throughout the United States on NPR. This past season she performed the Sibelius concerto with the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and the Long Island Philharmonic, and Baroque concerti with the Stamford Symphony and Amici New York; Kiesewetter is the concertmaster of the aforementioned orchestras as well as the Opera Orchestra of New York and the New York Pops. Last season she performed the North American premiere of two violin pieces by Enrique Granados with pianist Douglas Riva, and is currently preparing an edition and recording of these works.  

Kiesewetter is also an avid chamber musician and was the first violinist of the Colorado Quartet from 1979–1982, garnering prizes at the Evian and Coleman competitions. She was also a member of the Leonardo Trio for 14 years, making a number of recordings and touring the United States and Europe. She has been a member of the Perspectives Ensemble, Columbia Synfonietta, and numerous others, and for many years toured internationally and recorded with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Her chamber music performances have taken her to the Bard Music Festival, Festival Inverno in Brazil, Aldeburgh Festival in England, and many others. Educated at the Juilliard School, Kiesewetter was a student of Ivan Galamian and a fellowship teaching assistant to the Juilliard Quartet. Her other significant teachers have included Charles Castleman, Joyce Robbins, Emanuel Vardi, Gerry Beal, and Robert Mann. Erica Kiesewetter has taught at Columbia University and has done orchestral coaching at Juilliard, S.U.N.Y Purchase., Mannes, and the Manhattan School. This past June she inaugurated a new program at the School for Strings Summer Program, encouraging students to expand their chamber music experience to a conductorless chamber orchestra. Kiesewetter is currently on the faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music.

Blair McMillen has established himself as one of the most versatile and sought-after pianists today. The New York Times has described him as “riveting,” “prodigiously accomplished and exciting,” and one of the piano’s “brilliant young stars.” He has appeared at the Moscow Conservatory, Miller Theatre, Bard SummerScape, the Aspen Music Festival, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Caramoor, the Library of Congress, Casals Hall (Tokyo), the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and Musica Antica e Nuova at Columbia University. His concerto performances have included the American Symphony Orchestra, the Juilliard Orchestra on a tour of Japan, the Albany Symphony, and the Zankel Orchestra in New York City. In 2006 McMillen made his Carnegie Hall debut as soloist, under the baton of David Robertson.

Known for his imaginative and daring programming, McMillen’s repertoire spans late-medieval keyboard manuscripts to today’s up-and-coming younger generation of composers. Recent recitals have included performances of selections from the Codex Faenza (some of the earliest-surviving keyboard music in the world, composed in the early 15th century), a New York recital of piano music inspired by the art of improvisation, and a “Composer Portrait” concert of music by Los Angeles Philharmonic music director/composer Esa-Pekka Salonen. His first solo CD, Soundings, featuring music of Debussy, Scriabin, Liszt, and Bolcom, was released in 2004 to critical acclaim. Other solo recordings include Powerhouse Pianists (with Stephen Gosling) on Lumiere Records, Concert Music of Fred Hersch on Naxos, and Multiplicities: Born in ’38 on Centaur.

Dedicated to new and groundbreaking projects, McMillen is intensely committed to performing the music of today. He has premiered hundreds of pieces, and constantly works with both established and emerging composers in commissioning new works for the piano. A founding member of the composer/performer collective counter)induction and pianist for the Naumburg Award–winning Da Capo Chamber Players, he also plays regularly with the downtown-Manhattan–based Avian Orchestra and the American Modern Ensemble. A self-taught jazz pianist, he is regularly involved in improvisation projects ranging from the straight-ahead to the avant-garde. McMillen holds degrees from Oberlin College, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Juilliard School. A past winner of the Aspen Music Festival’s Time-Warner Award, he won the Gina Bachauer Competition and the Sony ES Grant for Musical Excellence while studying at Juilliard. He resides in New York City and serves on the piano faculty at Bard College.

For further information about the program, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7425.




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This event was last updated on 03-03-2009