CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Feb. 9, 2001
Pianist Constance Keene will present free UI recital
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Constance Keene, a pianist who
has won not only the coveted Walter W. Naumburg Piano Competition but also
the admiration of other pianists -- including international superstars Artur
Rubinstein and Vladimir Horowitz -- will present a free recital at 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 25 in Clapp Recital Hall on the University of Iowa campus.
Keene, who teaches piano at the Manhattan School of
Music, will visit the UI as the final guest of the School of Musics
Piano Festival 2000-2001.
During her visit to the UI campus, Keene will present
a master class with UI students at 9:30 a.m. Monday, March 26 in Clapp Recital
Hall. The master class may be observed by the public free of charge.
For her program March 25, Keene will play a transcription
for piano of J. S. Bachs famous Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, the Sonata
in E Flat Major, op. 13, by Johann Nepomuk Hummel, and the four Scherzos of
Designed to help young artists at the beginning of
their careers, the Naumburg prize -- awarded to pianists every four years
-- has been called by the New York Times "in its quiet way the most prestigious
(musical prize) of them all." Like many other esteemed artists, Keene
credits the Naumburg award with getting her professional career started on
a firm footing.
Keene soon achieved another distinction and extensive
attention from press and public alike, when she became the first woman ever
asked to substitute for Horowitz, for an engagement with the Boston Symphony
Orchestra. And her career received another boost when Rubinstein heard her
recording of the Rachmaninoffs preludes.
"I was flabbergasted by the fantastic color,
sweep and imagination, and last but not least, by the incredible technique,"
he wrote of the recording. "I cannot imagine anybody, including Rachmaninoff,
playing the piano so beautifully."
Since then Keenes international career, on stage
and on disc, has included appearances on major recital series and with the
worlds leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the
Philadelphia, the Chicago, the Halle and the Berlin Philharmonic. In chamber
music, her collaborations with Yehudi Menhuin at the Gstadd Festival won critical
acclaim, as did her celebrated tour, playing Gershwins Rhapsody in Blue,
with Benny Goodman.
Keenes discography includes, in addition to
the preludes and etudes of Rachmaninoff, music by Griffes, Mendelssohn, Chopin,
Liszt, Dussek, Brahms, MacDowell, Schumann, Beethoven, Godowsky, Albeniz and
her husband, pianist/author Abram Chasins.
Featured in David Dubals book, "Remembering
Horowitz," she is herself a contributor to Clavier magazine. She is a
frequent adjudicator for a number of international competitions, including
the Van Cliburn, the Naumburg, the Scottish International, Young Concert Artists
and several others. Her master classes have taken her to Asia, Europe and
She is the recipient of numerous critical awards,
including High Fidelitys Critics Choice; Stereo magazines Special
Merit; and Billboards Classical Special Merit. She was also singled
out twice in one year by the American Record Guides Composers Overviews
for her outstanding recordings of Chopin and Rachmaninoff. She is vice-president
of the Leschetizky Association, dedicated to excellence in the performance
and teaching of the piano.
An annual event, the Piano Festival is a celebration
of piano performance and teaching. It includes master classes and performances
from outstanding visiting artist-teachers from around the world. This year,
the festival has featured Keene and Hungarian pianist Gabor Csalog.
The Naumburg competition was founded in 1926 by Walter
W. Naumburg, an investment banker and an amateur cellist who wanted to help
bring recognition to young artists by giving them recitals and other assistance.
Today, the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation continues in the pursuit of his ideals.
His desire to assist the young gifted musician in America has made possible
a long-standing program of competitions and awards in solo and chamber music
performance, composer recordings, conducting and commissions. The competitions
in 2001 and 2002 will be for the cello and the piano.
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing
Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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