And then there were three…

So…In my last post, I mentioned that all four pieces on our December 14 program are new to us, and you may have thought that was very ambitious for three such busy musicians. You would be right! In our rehearsal Monday, we decided to postpone performing the Shulamit Ran Soliliquoy until another time. A piece of this nature — lyrical, impressionistic and virtuosic at the same time, and full of rubato — deserves to be played way beyond the notes on the page, and our time constraints just weren’t going to allow that this time around. We want to live with it a bit longer.

Fans of shorter programs will think this was a doubly good decision, and there will be no shortage of beautiful and intense trio music at the Agnes Flanagan Chapel this Friday at 7:30! We still have Gabriela Lena Frank’s exciting Folk Songs, Jennifer Higdon’s popular Piano TrioPale Yellow and Fiery Red — and an incredibly tuneful trio by Robert Schumann. I hope you’ll join us.



A program to build our repertoire


We’re actively working to build our repertoire, and this program is all about that — must mostly about music we’ve been eager to play! Susan suggested the first of Robert Schumann’s trios, and it is a typically lyrical, energetic and quirky piece of prime Romantic real estate. Schumann tends to write moments here and there that are awkward to play and much of his music needs a bit of sculpting to reach its potential, but would you have it any other way? His music is like none other’s, with his heart resolutely on his sleeve and an ardent Romanticism that always brings to life for me a time and place — and a group of friends — where Art had a capital A and really mattered.

The Jennifer Higdon Piano Trio, written only fifteen years ago in 2003, has nearly reached standard repertoire status. It’s no wonder; it’s fun to play and accessible to listeners in the best sense of the word. The two movements are named Pale Yellow and Fiery Red, and are as contrasting as those titles would lead you to expect.

Shulamit Ran’s Soliloquy (1997) captured our fancy upon first reading. It is an exquisitely written piece of Impressionistic beauty, with a classic arch shape and gorgeous sonorities. She is the second woman to have won a Pulitzer Prize for composition, having won for her Symphony in 1990.

We’re especially excited to be playing Gabriela Lena Frank’s Folk Songs for piano trio. She’s a fascinating person to begin with, and much loved by every musician who works with her. Her positive, visionary nature and warm personality are deftly sketched in this quick article. Her music is utterly deserving of the overused descriptors “unique” and “colorful,” and this piece is no exception. The movements are each evocations of a place and time in Peru. When you hear her work, you know that no one else but she could have written that music. So deeply creative, and so satisfying to play!

We hope you can join us. Find the practical details here.

Upcoming concert for PPI Summer Festival

We are really looking forward to our concert on August 2, 2018 at the beautiful Agnes Flanagan Chapel at Lewis & Clark College! For this year’s Summer Festival, Portland Piano International has an elegant array of concerts and a new series of Kaleidoscope Lectures, and we’re providing a taste of chamber music alongside the wonderful pianists featured.

At 7 PM, Katherine Fitzgibbon will talk about “Words and Music, the Chicken or the Egg?” and at 8:00, we’ll play works of Bloch, Piazzolla, Haydn and Brahms. It’s worth mentioning that our very own Susan DeWitt Smith is curator for this excellent series of short lectures, and they’re sure to be fascinating.

You can find the full list of offerings and a “button” for purchasing tickets here. 

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