Mark your calendar – you won’t want to miss the Second Sundays at Two Season Finale! Classical Crossroads‘ very own artistic director of this series is none other than internationally acclaimed Belgian pianist Steven Vanhauwaert.
Despite his insanely busy concert schedule, Steven graciously granted me an interview about his upcoming concert. I’m excited to share the story with you. Concert details revealed at the end.
LRW: I understand that in addition to being an in-demand solo and collaborative pianist, you are also the artistic director for Classical Crossroads’ Second Sundays at Two series. For my students and readers, what does an artistic director’s duties entail?
SV: The Second Sundays at Two series has been active since 2009. I had the pleasure of performing here for many of the seasons since then, and a few years back Jim Eninger, who had been organizing the series, asked if I would lend a hand by taking on Artistic Director duties for the series. Basically the artistic director plans out the scheduling of various artists for the concerts.
LRW: Wow, 12 years and the program is still going strong. That’s amazing and encouraging. I’ve enjoyed attending several of your solo and ensemble performances for this concert series, both in person and online, and look forward to more. #worththedrive Thanks for clarifying what an Artistic Director’s responsibilities are. The description sounds simple, but naturally the work behind the scenes is anything but that. No doubt your taste and knowledge of concert repertoire and connections with world class musicians made it an obvious and easy choice. As for your June 13, 2021 online concert, what inspired your selection of the program for the season finale?
SV: At Second Sundays at Two we try not to nail down programs too far in advance. Typically we will book the performers, and leave the programming choice up to them. This allows for the performers to select what they are excited about a month prior to the concert as opposed to 18 months prior to the concert, which makes a big difference.
LRW: Good strategy for both performer and venue. So, how did you select your program?
1. Noctuelles (Moths)
2. Oiseaux tristes (Sad Birds)
3. Une barque sur l’océan (A Boat on the Ocean)
4. Alborada del gracioso (The Jester’s Aubade)
5. La vallée des cloches (The Valley of Bells)
Rautavaara’s Etude No.1, Op.42 for solo piano, Terssit (Thirds)
SV: For my recital on June 13, I suddenly felt inspired to resurrect Ravel’s cycle Miroirs; I had played it about 15 years ago, and it felt very nice to revisit it after all this time. I chose the Etude by Rautavaara as an encore mostly because the score happened to be right next to my Ravel score in my cabinet. My eye caught it and I thought it would make a great encore; with its lavish arpeggio rolls, and slightly Ravel-inspired harmonies.
LRW: I love the spontaneity in which you chose the Ravel and the serendipity of the Rautavaara!
If I may, I’d like to briefly interrupt the interview to share a few important concert program details with my students and readers:
French composer, pianist and conductor Maurice Ravel lived from 1875-1937. His compositions are classical in structure, but sometimes infused with a jazz-like quality.
Miroirs is French for “Mirrors”. Ravel composed his Miroirs in 1904 and 1905. This composition of five incredibly challenging pieces demands not just technical prowess, but sensitive artistic interpretation.
I’ve attended concerts where the pianist performs just one of the pieces, usually at the end of the concert. This is the first concert I’ll be attending where the pianist presents all 5 in one program. Prepare to have your socks knocked off!
Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara lived from 1928 to 2016.
I’ve not heard of him until now. Another reason I love these concert series – always something new to learn! According to sources his music is considered both romantic and mystical.
“Etude” is French for an instrumental musical composition, usually short, designed to perfect musical skill (a workout, if you will). My curiosity is piqued.
And now, back to our interview. Steven, as concert venues reopen and touring resumes, will you be performing this program live, or is this program reserved for this season finale?
SV: As per county regulations, we are not doing any live concerts this season. We are currently discussing options for having partial live performances starting next season (September 2021). Stay tuned for more information on that.
LRW: Thanks for clarifying. Fingers crossed for next season. In the meantime, how may my students, readers and I be kept informed of your future concerts?
LRW: Thank you so much for the links. Duly noted. I hope my students and readers will enjoy perusing your website and following your Instagram posts. Looking forward to your July 13 online concert and beyond. It was an honor interviewing you and I wish you all the best.
And now for the Concert Details ~
Date: June 13, 2021
Time: 2:00 PM
Place: The concert will be videotaped and streamed-as-live at the scheduled concert time.
Film location: Rolling Hills United Methodist Church
Instrument: Yamaha C7 concert grand piano
Link: YouTube “Premiere” link. You may also find the link on Classical Crossroads’ YouTube Channel
Cost: Free (Donations appreciated)
Pro tip from Jim Eninger: “You are encouraged to set aside time as you would for a live-audience concert, get comfortable, and watch on a large-screen TV with a high-quality soundbar. Alternatively, watch on an iPad or other quality computer screen with headphones.”
P.S. At the discretion of the artist, the concert will be available to stream-on-demand for one month after the YouTube concert premiere at the Classical Crossroads YouTube Channel.
Hope to “see” my students and readers at the concert. 🙂
Enjoy a behind-the-scenes peek from Steven Vanhauwaert’s concert videotaping!
Oh, before I forget, for those of you who would like to learn more about award-winning Belgian pianist Steven Vanhauwaert, please enjoy my in-depth blog interview with him!
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