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The Berkshire Beethoven Piano Project

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There is a new musical enterprise making its debut on Sunday June 2 (at 5 pm in the Kellogg Music Center, Bard College at Simon’s Rock). We call it “The Berkshire Beethoven Piano Project” in the optimistic belief that our program of four Beethoven piano sonatas, performed by four Berkshire pianists, will be the first in a series of such events. (With 32 sonatas to choose from, that means we might be able to do this seven more times!)

Each of us has chosen a work that has special personal significance; I am thrilled to have the chance to play no. 28, Op. 101, in A major for the first time in public. I have loved and studied this amazing work for more than forty years, but up to now I have kept it to myself.

My colleagues are Daniel Shulman, Mack Evans, and David Anderegg, who suggested the project and immediately claimed Sonata no. 31 in A-flat, op 110. The other sonatas will be Op. 10 no. 3 in D major (Dan) and Op. 90 in E minor (Evan).

Beethoven’s thirty-two piano sonatas form a bible for pianists, and each work offers challenges and rewards unlike any others in the literature, and no two works are alike. My piano teacher, Henry Danielowitz, loved and played them all. When I visited him in his retirement on the coast of Maine, he was still playing them, one after another, in order of composition; when he had completed the cycle he would start all over again. Eventually he could no longer hear (like Beethoven) so he listened to them in his mind while reading the scores, and he did this until he was 100 years old. I am dedicating my performance to him.

Please join us for this event which is the first, but hopefully not the last of its kind here in the Berkshires.

About Laurence Wallach

Larry Wallach is a pianist, musicologist, and composer who lives in Great Barrington, Massachusetts and heads the Music Program at Simon’s Rock College of Bard. He has also taught composition at Bard College. He studied piano privately with Henry Danielowitz and Kenneth Cooper, and was trained at Columbia University where he studied music history with Paul Henry Lang, performance practices with Denis Stevens, and composition with Otto Luening, Jack Beeson, and Charles Wuorinen. He earned a doctorate in musicology in 1973 with a dissertation about Charles Ives. In 1977, he was awarded a grant to become part of a year-long National Endowment for the Humanities seminar at the University of North Carolina directed by William S. Newman, focussing on performance practices in earlier piano music. He went on to participate in the Aston Magna Summer Academy in 1980, where he studied fortepiano with Malcolm Bilson, both privately and in master classes.

Larry Wallach has been an active performer of chamber music with harpsichord and piano, and of twentieth century music. He has collaborated with harpsichordist Kenneth Cooper, with recorder virtuoso Bernard Krainis, with violinist Nancy Bracken of the Boston Symphony, with violinist/violist Ronald Gorevic, with gambist Lucy Bardo, and with his wife, cellist Anne Legêne, performing on both modern and baroque instruments. He has appeared with the Avanti Quintet, the New York Consort of Viols, and is a regular performer on the “Octoberzest” series in Great Barrington. He has been on the staffs of summer early music workshops at World Fellowship and Pinewoods Camp.
In 1996, he presented a program at the Bard Music Festival devoted to Charles Ives designed around a performance the composer’s Second Violin Sonata along with all the source tunes that are quoted in it. Part of this program was repeated at Lincoln Center in NY. He has also appeared on programs in Washington DC, and at St. Croix VI. As a composer, his works have been heard in New York, Boston, Amherst, the Berkshires, and at Bard College.

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