Yuja Wang

New Season: Cliburn Concerts

The Cliburn to present a crazy-quilt variety in 2011-'12.

published Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The 2011-2012 Cliburn Concerts season was recently announced by David Chambless Worters, Cliburn Foundation President and CEO. The Bass Hall series has a mix of pianists, chamber music and a surprise vocalist. The Cliburn at the Modern (Art Museum of Fort Worth, that is) brings one composer and two events that are pretty unique.

The pianists at the Bass Hall series run the gamut from the young and brilliant to an established genius. On September 13, 2011, Canadian pianist Louis Lortie will play a Franz Liszt rarity in honor of the composer’s 200th birthday, a complete performance of the composer's epic piano masterpiece Années de Pèlerinage (Years of Pilgrimage).

October 11, 2011 we will get to experience first-hand the 23-year-old prodigy, Yuja Wang, in her Cliburn Concerts debut.  Tongues have been wagging about her technical mastery and insightful performances. On January 17, 2012  the silver medal winner at the 2005 Cliburn Competition, Joyce Yang, will return to the scene of her triumph to impress us all again. May 1, 2012 brings a true legend to the stage, pianist Emanuel Ax. His name is on everyone’s list of the greatest pianists of our generation.

For chamber music, pianist Jon Kimura Parker and violinist Cho-Liang Lin will appear on November 15, 2011 with a Paris oriented program of music by Stravinsky, Ravel, Debussy, and Poulenc. On the eagerly awaited list is an appearance by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center on February 27, 2012. They promise a program that explores the folk music traditions of Eastern Europe.

The singer surprise is a doozy. Soprano Deborah Voigt will present a recital with pianist Brian Zeger on March 20, 2012. The newly slimmed down Ms. Voigt is the toast of New York as, just one month before her appearance here, she sings Brunhilde in the new Ring Cycle (by Wagner) at the Met. There has been much mutterings about her voice and the effect of the weight loss with passionate arguments on both sides of that explosive issue. It will be telling to hear her in Bass Hall.

The Cliburn at the Modern is a small recital hall where you can experience the featured artist up close. This is especially effective with a composer, where various artists play the music and the composer reflects on it. John Corigliano will be in the hot seat on October 29, 2011. His mantle is crowded with a Pulitzer Prize, a Grawemeyer Award, three Grammy Awards and an Academy Award.

"Liaisons: Re-Imagining Sondheim" with pianist Anthony de Mare occurs on February 4, 2012. It is hard to imagine what this concert will entail. Here is the description direct from the press release. See if you are as mystified and intrigued as I am.

"For this landmark commissioning and concert project, 30 of the world's foremost composers were enlisted to create short solo works based on the music of Stephen Sondheim. Pianist Anthony de Mare will perform these works, encompassing a broad range of styles from classical and jazz, to pop and musical theater.”


Also on the strange and new list is the concert on April 14, 2011. José Feghali, the 1985 Cliburn gold medalist will present a concert entitled “Zenph: Great Performances Live Again.”

Zenph is a technology company that takes old recordings and, as the website says, “convert(s) them back into the precise, nuanced keystrokes and pedal motions that would have been used to create them. This is done in new data formats which can be played back with phenomenal reality on corresponding high-resolution computer-controlled grand pianos.” 

Somewhat alarmingly, the site also says that they can “touch up” the performances. Further down the Frankensteinway road, they claim that they can build a musical DNA profile of a pianist so that they can create a hypothetical performance of a work that the pianist didn’t record.  They claim that they can “…build a software template for Horowitz that might be applied to other musical scores.”  José Feghali, a wonderful pianist himself, will be demonstrating the technology. Will he then be beside himself?

Subscription packages for the upcoming season range from $66 to $546 and go on sale Friday, March 11 at 10 a.m., online at or by calling 817-212-4280. Thanks For Reading

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New Season: Cliburn Concerts
The Cliburn to present a crazy-quilt variety in 2011-'12.
by Gregory Sullivan Isaacs

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