Ogunquit Performing Arts celebrates its 11th Annual Elizabeth Dunaway Burnham Piano Festival by bringing two of the world’s best pianists to Ogunquit. This year’s festival features the music of the masters, as performed by two Maine-based, internationally renowned artists: Laura Kargul and Masanobu Ikemiya. Receptions to meet the artists follow the performances.
On Friday, October 6th at 8 pm, Laura Kargul opens the Festival with a program entitled “A Night at the Opera”, featuring opera-inspired works by Mozart, Chopin, and Liszt. Ms. Kargul, Director of Keyboard Studies, Univ of Southern Maine, concertizes widely to rave reviews.
On Friday, October 13th at 8 pm, Masanobu Ikemiya performs works by Bartok, Brahms, Copland and Haydn. A popular international performer, Mr. Ikemiya returns to Ogunquit for his 4th appearance with OPA from an acclaimed concert tour in Japan.
On Sunday, October 8th, at 3 pm, the “middle Sunday” of the Festival, OPA’s Student Piano Recital showcases the area’s best young pianists. It is here that talented local students have the opportunity to perform on OPA’s fabled Concert Model C Steinway grand piano before a live audience. Admission to this performance is free.
The Festival honors the memory of Elizabeth Dunaway Burnham, founder and first chairperson of Ogunquit Performing Arts. A pianist herself, Betty saw to it that OPA acquired its splendid Steinway.
Laura Kargul has been hailed as a pianist for her range of performance abilities “powerful and poetic, deeply lyrical and profound” Wiesbadener Kurier. Her program will feature solo piano works by Mozart, Chopin and Liszt that were influenced by the genre of opera. She will open with the Mozart Sonata in C Minor, K. 457, which she calls “one of the most dramatic and operatic of all his keyboard works.” She notes that most of Mozart’s solo keyboard works are “rich with the theatrical musical gestures and sudden changes of character and mood typically found in his operas.”
Also featured on the program will be a set of four nocturnes by Frédéric Chopin, who, according to Kargul, “was profoundly influenced by the operas of his brilliant contemporary and friend, Vincenzo Bellini. These nocturnes, with their soaring Italianate melodies, are like soprano arias for solo piano.”
Composer and pianist Franz Liszt also paid tribute to the world of opera but he preferred to create virtuoso solo piano transcriptions of other composers’ operatic works. Composers usually welcomed his arrangements, knowing that his wildly popular performances of the transcriptions would give favorable publicity to their operas. Kargul will play two of Liszt’s most beloved transcriptions, the “Liebestod” from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, and the Réminiscences de Norma, based on Bellini’s opera. “Norma is perhaps the most ravishingly beautiful of all of Liszt’s transcriptions. And Norma happens to be one of the operas that inspired Chopin to develop his ‘operatic voice’ on the piano,” says Kargul.
Kargul has appeared as a soloist, chamber musician, adjudicator and master teacher throughout Europe and the USA, as well as in Canada and the West Indies. She has been greeted with critical acclaim in venues such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Schleswig-Holstein and Nordhessen Music Festivals in Germany, the Opera Theater and Music Festival of Lucca in Italy and the Evian Music Festival in France. A noted Liszt interpreter, she is one of very few artists ever invited to perform a full recital on Liszt’s own Bechstein piano at the Liszt-Haus in Weimar. Her solo CD of Liszt’s virtuoso transcriptions, Liszt and Ravel: Transcriptions for Piano, was produced by Grammy winner Bob Ludwig of Gateway Mastering. She is also a popular lecturer and locally she is often featured on the Portland Ovations Pre-Performance Lecture Series at Merrill Auditorium. Her informative and humorous comments from the stage have become a trademark of her performances. Ms. Kargul will perform the same program at Corthell Concert Hall at USM in Gorham on Friday, October 13 at 8 p.m. Information at http://usm.maine.edu/music/boxoffice
Masanobu Ikemiya will perform Haydn’s Sonata No. 62 in E flat Major; Bartok’s Suite Op. 14 (1916); three intermezzi and the Rhapsody in E-flat Major by Brahms; and excerpts from Aaron Copland’s ballet suite “Rodeo”.
He was born in China to Japanese parents, grew up in Kyoto and Kansas, and was educated at Oberlin College Conservatory and Indiana University, and has received world-wide attention for his many concerts throughout Japan, Mexico, Argentina, Taiwan, Cambodia, Philippines, Bulgaria, El Salvador, the former Soviet Union, Portugal, Brazil, Guam, Hawaii, India, Korea, Canada, and the United States.
In 1980, he founded the Arcady Music Festival, of which he was the artistic director for 24 years. He is widely known through his many performances, and his appearances on Public Television or Public Radio.
Mr. Ikemiya has appeared in solo recitals at New York’s Lincoln Center and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., and other venues.
He developed an interest in American ragtime music while volunteering at a homeless shelter started by Mother Teresa in Harlem. He has made 5 ragtime CD’s and was nominated for a Grammy Award for the album, “Ragtime Classics” in 1994. He certainly has given “new life” to this American Art Form.
Since 1995, he has toured annually in Japan with members of the New York Philharmonic and with the New York Ragtime Orchestra of which he is the founder-leader-pianist. He also appeared with them at the 50th Anniversary Gala Celebration at the United Nations and received an award from the UN for promoting world peace through music.
With the invitation from Peace & Justice Center of Maine, Mr. Ikemiya has honored the anniversaries of Hiroshima by giving concerts in memory of the bomb victims and to promote peace in our world.
In recognition of this peacemaking quality of his work, he has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards. The Philharmonic Society of Kaugan, Russia, presented Mr. Ikemiya with an Honorary Certificate for strengthening the friendship between Siberian and American people through music.
In addition, Mr. Ikemiya received an Official Recognition Award from the Maine State Senate for his “contribution to the cultural life of the state.”
He has stated that he and his wife Tomoko are presently trying to simplify their lives. They are enjoying a self-sustaining life style with organic farming at their permaculture homestead with a passive solar house on Mt. Desert Island, Maine. Mr. Ikemiya’s teacher was the late Frank Glazer, who he considers to be the most life changing influence on his piano playing.
These are two thrilling concerts by two brilliant artists. Don’t miss Laura Kargul on Friday, Oct 6th at 8:00 pm, and Masanobu Ikemiya on Friday, Oct 13th at 8:00 pm. Meet and greet the artists following the performances. Refreshments will be served.
And don’t forget the Student Recital on Sunday, Oct 8th at 3:00 pm, to hear the piano stars of the future!
All concerts are at the Dunaway Center, 23 School Street, Ogunquit.
TICKETS are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, $25 Series, and $5 student, and may be purchased at the Dunaway Center, Ogunquit Camera Shop, Ogunquit Welcome Center, and Ogunquit Playhouse Downtown Box Office until 24 hours prior to the concerts. Tickets may also be purchased online here.