PianoFest is the long-running keyboard spectacular at Roosevelt University, and we’re teaming up with two of our favorite pianists in Chicago for a characteristically new-old Spektral program. Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major Op. 44 is one of those pieces that captures the hearts of pretty much anyone who listens to it, with its unabashed romanticism and virtuosic interplay between the strings and piano. It was written in something like six weeks during the same year as the three Opus 41 quartets and premiered by no less than Felix Mendelssohn at the keys. This piece holds a special place in our hearts as it was the quintet we performed to celebrate the life of Deborah Sobol (a Spektral mentor) at Rush Hour Concerts this past summer. Rush Hour’s own associate artistic director Kuang-Hao Huang is our collaborator for this half of the program!
If you’ve seen a season program from the Cleveland Orchestra or New York Phil in recent history, you’ve seen the name of composer Anthony Cheung. Anthony has been tearing it up nationally and abroad, and just last year we commissioned and premiered his “Real Book of Fake Tunes” with flutist Claire Chase. We found ourselves hungry for more of his super-sophisticated-and-super-relatable music, so this season we’re digging into his “Bagatelles” for piano quintet. “Bagatelle” may mean “trifle” or “trinket,” but this piece is anything but disposable. We’re itching to play it with our longtime friend (and PianoFest head-honcho) Winston Choi, who is one of the most preternaturally talented new-music performers with whom we’ve ever come into contact.
Here’s a little taste of Anthony’s music, to whet your whistle:
Schumann - Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44
Anthony Cheung - Bagatelles