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31st Annual International Piano Festival

The Q2 presents the International Piano Festival (IPF) January 31-February 2, 2014. UH Cullen Professor and renowned pianist, Abbey Simon, founded the festival in 1983 to bring Houston audiences concerts and master classes that celebrate the piano and feature world-class performers. The 31st season of the IPF introduces Houston to two young duo pianists who are creating a sensation on YouTube with their videos of works for two pianos and celebrates the inauguration of the Moores School of Music’s new Steinway concert grand pianos.

The festival opens with Abbey Simon’s recital of works by Beethoven, Schumann, and Chopin.  Guest performers at the 2014 IPF include Italian pianist Sandro Russo, whose playing has been praised as “…a throwback to the grand tradition of elegant pianism and beautiful sound.”  The dynamic piano duo Anderson & Roe are this year’s Discovery Series artists.  Recreating the piano duo for the 21st century, they have produced a series of videos that have captured the imaginations of listeners throughout the world.

2014 International Piano Festival Schedule

Friday, January 31

7:30 p.m.                                 ABBEY SIMON RECITAL

Beethoven: Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2 “Moonlight”

Schumann: Carnaval, Op. 9

Chopin: Sonata No. 3 in B Minor, Op. 58

Saturday, Feb. 1

9 a.m. – 12 p.m.                                  SANDRO RUSSO MASTER CLASS

12:30 – 1:50 p.m.                    ARTIST CONVERSATIONS LUNCHEON

(Includes boxed lunch during artist panel discussion/Q&A.) 

2 – 5 p.m.                                ABBEY SIMON MASTER CLASS

7:30 p.m.                                 ANDERSON & ROE PIANO DUO (Discovery Series)

                                                            Greg Anderson & Elizabeth Joy Roe, duo pianists

                                                Bach/various: Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, “Erbarme dich” from St. Matthew Passion

Stravinsky: Part I from The Rite of Spring

                                                Radiohead: “Paranoid Android” from OK Computer

                                                                Mozart: Papageno! (a short fantasy based on arias from Die Zauberflöte, K. 620)

“Soave sia il vento” from Così fan tutte, K. 588

Ragtime alla Turca (after the Rondo alla Turca, K. 331)

Rachmaninoff: “The Tears” from Suite No. 1 for Two Pianos

Bizet: Carmen Fantasy

Sunday, Feb. 2

11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.            ANDERSON & ROE MASTER CLASS

3 p.m.                          SANDRO RUSSO RECITAL

Chopin            : 4 Ballades

Scriabin: Sonata No. 5 in F-sharp major, Op.53

Deux Morceaux, Op. 57 (DésirCaresse danséeVers la flamme (Poème Op. 72)

Valse, Op. 38

Ravel: La valse   

All programs are subject to change. 

WHERE:                      Moores School of Music

University of Houston, Main Campus

I-45 at Cullen Blvd., Entrance #16

DETAILS:                    Series Packages:           Recitals Only – General $60, Students/Seniors $35

Recitals & Master Classes – General $85, Students/Seniors $45

Single Recital Tickets:  General $25, Students/Seniors $15

Single Master Class Tickets: General $10, Students/Seniors $5

Artist Conversation Luncheon: $15

Tickets may be purchased in advance online at www.music.uh.edu or are available at the door.

CONTACT:                 Moores School Ticket Office   713-743-3313


Abbey Simon has been hailed as a super-virtuoso whose appearances in the concert halls of the world are eagerly anticipated not only by music lovers, but also by professional musicians who come to hear him spin his own particular magic.  He is recognized as one of the grand masters of the piano. After a recent Boston concert, The Globe critic, Richard Dyer, wrote “Simon’s recital offered more than a glimpse into the fabled golden age of piano playing…His virtuosity is marked not only by speed, power, lightness and accuracy but also by intricate interplay of voices and lambent colors.”  And critic Scott MacClelland reported from the West coast that “when they’ve written the final chapter on great pianists of the 20th century, the name Abbey Simon will be included.  Indeed, that name might well mark the first chapter on 21st-Century pianists as well.”

Through the years, critics have hailed Mr. Simon’s master and noted that his playing has its roots of the great pianists of the past.  Improvising at the piano at the age of three, he had natural perfect pitch and began taking lessons at the age of five.  After studying with David Saperton, the son-in-law of celebrated pianist Leopold Godowsky, Saperton took him to play for the great pianist Josef Hofmann.  At the age of eight, Simon was accepted by Hofmann as a scholarship student at the Curtis Institute where he trained with fellow classmates Jorge Bolet and Sidney Foster.

Upon graduation from Curtis, Simon went on to win numerous awards.  He made his official debut in New York’s Town Hall as winner of the prestigious Naumburg Award.  Following this success he performed at Carnegie Hall a number of times before his debut tour to Europe.  His success in Europe was so great that he did not return to the U.S. for some 12 years.

He has been the recipient of the Federation of Music Clubs Award, the National Orchestral Association Award, and a Ford Foundation Award.  Following his debut in Europe, he received the Harriet Cohen Medal and the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Award.

Simon’s recordings for Philips, EMI, HMV and Vox make him one of the most recorded classical artists of all time.  He has recorded all the concertos of Rachmaninoff, the complete works of Ravel, and Schumann’s Carnaval and Fantasy.  His Chopin collection encompasses some 20 disks.

Abbey Simon has served on the faculties of such noted schools as Indiana University and the Juilliard School.  Simon currently holds a Cullen Distinguished Professorship at the University of Houston Moores School of Music, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1977.

Anderson & Roe Piano Duo

“… the most dynamic duo of this generation…explosive creativity…refreshing… exuberant…Their recital gave further proof that the survival of “classical” music depens on remaining relevant in today’s culture.”

–––San Francisco Classical Voice 

Known for their adrenalized performances, original compositions, and notorious music videos, GREG ANDERSON and ELIZABETH JOY ROE are revolutionizing the piano duo experience for the 21st century. Described as “the intense synchronization of genius” (Third Coast Digest) and “the most dynamic duo of this generation” (San Francisco Classical Voice), the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo aims to make classical music a relevant and powerful force around the world. Their recent album, When Words Fade (Steinway Label), was released to critical acclaim in 2012 and spent over a dozen weeks at the top of the Billboard Classical Charts, while their Emmy-nominated and self-produced music videos have been viewed by millions on YouTube. 

The Anderson & Roe Piano Duo has appeared on NPR and MTV, toured extensively around the world, and presented at numerous international leader symposiums. Graduates of The Juilliard School, they are featured on the Sounds of Juilliard CD celebrating the school’s centenary. Highlights of the 2013/14 season include tours throughout North America, Asia, and South Africa; an appearance at the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival; a new all-Mozart album on the Steinway Label; and the release of their ambitious—and literally explosive—music film, The Rite of Spring.

www.andersonroe.com | facebook.com/andersonroe | twitter.com/andersonroe  

Sandro Russo

“…projects crystalline clarity in sonorities, and transparency of sound, which did not lack moments of extreme intensity.  He displayed a propensity for intimacy, meticulousness, and a soaring acrobatic virtuosity.”

 –––Giornale di Sicilia 

Acclaimed for his profound sense of poetry and distinctive style, Sandro Russo has been in great demand as a soloist in many venues around the world. He unanimously receives accolades for his sparkling virtuosity and his playing has often been referred to as a throwback to the grand tradition of elegant pianism and beautiful sound. A winner of numerous competitions while still a student, he won the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition. Early in 2002, Mr. Russo gave an acclaimed Chopin recital at the prestigious Politeama Theatre in Palermo, Italy, and later appeared at the Nuove Carriere Music Festival, an international showcase for the world’s most promising young musicians. With performances in such prestigious concert halls as the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Weill and Zankel halls at Carnegie Hall, Salle Cortot (Paris) and Teatro Politeama (Palermo), his recitals include performances for The Rachmaninoff Society, the Dame Myra Hess series (Chicago), Concerts Grand (Santa Rosa, CA), the American Liszt Society, the Husum Festival of Piano Rarities (Germany), and the Chetham’s International Piano Festival in Manchester (U.K.), among others. His performances have aired on WFMT Chicago, WQXR New York, RAI Sat Show and the Slovakian TV.  Mr. Russo has also appeared as a soloist with the Slovak Philharmonic in Bratislava, Jacksonville Symphony (Florida), and Brussels Chamber Orchestra. He was also the featured soloist with the New York Asian Symphony for a tour of Japan. Mr. Russo’s extensive repertoire comprises well-known masterpieces of all periods as well as more obscure and challenging works of the piano literature, by such composer-pianists as Medtner, Sorabji, Cziffra and others. He has also been given the honor of premiering compositions by Lowell Liebermann, Paul Moravec, and Marc-André Hamelin. www.sandrorussopianist.com