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by Guytano Parks

GriffithThe second Festival Event of The Cleveland International Piano Competition held in the Recital Hall at The Cleveland Museum of Art, “Classical Improvisation and the Cadenza,” featured one of Cleveland’s finest improvisational pianists, Marshall Griffith. Appointed to the preparatory faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music in 1975 and the conservatory faculty in 1982, Mr. Griffith spoke about and demonstrated the art of improvisation in an extremely engaging manner.

This morning’s enlightening conversation began with the simple question, “what is appropriate?” There are many considerations to ponder if one were to improvise a cadenza or add extra notes to the score during a concerto performance in modern-day presentations of concert music. Undoubtedly, a daunting and perhaps terrifying prospect for most, but in Mozart’s time, it was customary and second nature for the performer to not only improvise a cadenza at that special moment in a concerto, but to also add notes throughout the piece, as the solo part was rarely ever completely written down. Soloists of that period had all sorts of tricks and devices up their sleeves — scales, arpeggios, trills, themes, motives, etc. — and the technique and wisdom to know how and when to utilize them. Read the rest of this entry »


by Mike Telin

Ars-Futura-Wang-HallmanThe recently-formed new music ensemble Ars Futura describe themselves as a forward-thinking, mixed-chamber, new music ensemble dedicated to commissioning, performing and popularizing new works. The group’s mission is to insure the continuation of their art form by steadily adding to the repertoire and exposing audiences to the great artists who are composing today. “Our first season is dedicated to the Cleveland connection,” says pianist Shuai Wang who co-founded the group with flutist Madeline Lucas. “I have a great respect for musicians in Cleveland,” Wang adds, “and this season all of the compositions we performed were by Ohio composers.”

On Friday, May 17 beginning at 7:00 pm at Survival Kit Gallery, located on the 3rd floor of 78th Street Studios in the Gordon Square Arts District, Ars FuturaShuai Wang and Hyunsoo Kim, piano, Madeline Lucas, flute, Jinjoo Cho, violin and Carlos Javier, cello — present the final performance of the group’s inaugural season. The concert features the music of Keith Fitch, Marshall Griffith, Eric Charnofsky, Tim Mauthe and Joseph Hallman. (Pictured above: Wang and Hallman). Read the rest of this entry »

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