Jason Chiu, piano
Ludwig van Beethoven 32 Variations in C minor, WoO 80
Robert Schumann Fantasie in C major, Op. 17
Charles Tomlinson Griffes Fantasy Pieces, Op. 6
Lowell Liebermann Gargoyles, Op. 29
Jason Chiu, a recent prizewinner in the American Protege and American Prize competitions, presents a solo piano program which explores the connections between sound and feeling. The first half features music from two of the greatest masters of musical expression. The 32 Variations in C minor are a wonderful platform for Beethoven’s innovation and creativity, and the variety of rhythm, textures, and dynamics, that he weaves throughout the work is astounding. With Schumann’s Fantasie in C major, the listener is taken along one of the most powerful emotional journeys in the piano literature. Schumann’s genius in transcribing feelings into sounds becomes apparent as the music progresses from one psychological state to another. Along with Beethoven, he is an expert in musical storytelling. The second half of the program showcases some works by two American composers. Charles Tomlinson Griffes was fascinated by the exotic, mysterious sound of the French Impressionists. The influence of Claude Debussy can especially be heard in his Fantasy Pieces, Op. 6, which were written between 1912 and 1915. Lowell Liebermann composed Gargoyles in 1989, and the music depicts four of these grotesque creatures. Each of the gargoyles are different in nature, from the frightfully anxious character of the first one, to the eerie and otherworldly qualities of the next two. The last gargoyle is quite possibly one of the most menacing and uncompromising pieces ever written for the piano.