Pianist Jeffrey Kahane Plays Liszt Transcriptions, Chopin Boat Music, a Haas Piano Suite and Music About His Dog in Recital

Pianist Jeffrey Kahane comes to Cal Performances on Sunday, March 10 at 3:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall, playing an eclectic mix of works from the 16th to 21st centuries. Kahane began his musical career as an acclaimed solo pianist in the early 1980s, and later that decade expanded into orchestral conducting, where he earned additional accolades. Of late, he has returned to the intimate setting of the solo piano recital. Kahane performs “with expressive warmth and fleet-fingered high spirits” (Los Angeles Times).

Kahane’s program will lean heavily on the brilliant piano transcriptions of Franz Liszt. Liszt’s transcription for piano of J.S. Bach’s Organ Prelude and Fugue in A minor simulates the organ’s pedal parts with the left hand while retaining Bach’s intricate melodic figurations. Two other Liszt transcriptions—of Robert Schumann’s Widmung (Dedication) and Franz Schubert’s Auf dem Wasser zu singen (To be Sung on the Water)—cast these emotional lieder as equally heartfelt solo piano works. Another Schumann composition, the C major Fantasy, consists of three movements, the first of which is based on a motif from a Beethoven song cycle. The two works by New York–based musician (and Jeffrey’s son) Gabriel Kahane—Django: Tiny Variations on a Big Dog (commissioned by Jeffrey Kahane, the subject being the family dog) and Where are the Arms—were composed in the last five years. Pavel Haas’s Suite for Piano shows the Czech composer’s mastery of technique learned from his teacher Leoš Janá?ek, including the use of brief motives and folk-musical elements. Frédéric Chopin’s Barcarolle in F sharp Major is a transcendent, technically demanding example of a form—the “boat song” or “gondolier’s song”—that many composers wrote for 19th-century piano salons.

Jeffrey Kahane was born in Los Angeles in 1956 and began studying piano at age five. He trained with Howard Weisel and Jakob Gimpel, graduated from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and in 1981 was a finalist in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. In 1983 he won first prize at the Rubenstein Competition and received the Avery Fisher Career Grant; in 1987 he won the first Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award, and the next year made his conducting debut at the Oregon Bach Festival. He has appeared in recital and as soloist in major music centers throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel, and guest conducted orchestras and festival orchestras across the United States. He has also recorded widely, including works of Gershwin and Bernstein with Yo-Yo Ma. Kahane has been music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra since 1997, and in that capacity performed all five Beethoven piano concertos with the orchestra over two consecutive nights at the Hollywood Bowl in 2003—a feat he repeated twice in 2004. Kahane also served as director of the Colorado Symphony from 2005–2008, but a bout with hypertension—now controlled—led him to resign that post to focus more of his creative energy on piano performance.

Tickets for Jeffrey Kahane, piano on Sunday, March 10 at 3:00 p.m. in Hertz Hall are priced at $42.00, subject to change. Tickets are available through the Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at www.calperformances.org; and at the door.  Half-price tickets are available for UC Berkeley students. UC faculty and staff, senior citizens, other students and UC Alumni Association members receive a $5.00 discount (Special Events excluded). For select performances, Cal Performances offers UCB student, faculty and staff, senior, and community rush tickets.  For more information about discounts, go to http://calperformances.org/buy/discounts.php or call (510) 642-9988.

Bach-Liszt/Organ Prelude and Fugue in A minor, BWV 543
Schumann/Fantasy in C, Op. 17
Haas/Suite for Piano Op. 13
G. Kahane/Django: Tiny Variations on a Big Dog
G. Kahane/Where are the Arms
Schubert-Liszt/Auf dem Wasser zu singen
Chopin/Barcarolle in F-sharp Major, Op. 60

Tickets: $42.00 subject to change, and are available through the Cal Performances Ticket Office at Zellerbach Hall; at (510) 642-9988; at calperformances.org; and at the door.

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