EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University’s “Lisztomania: The Bicentennial of Franz Liszt” festival, Oct. 20 through Nov. 5, will celebrate the 19th-century Hungarian Romantic era composer’s 200th birthday and the creative and historical significance of his works.
Presented by the University’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, the seven fall lectures and performances -- featuring special guest artists Thomas Mastroianni, Richard Zimdars, Jerome Lowenthal, Read Gainsford, Yoshikazu Nagai, Dmitry Rachmanov and Mykola Suk and music faculty pianists James Giles, Sylvia Wang, Elizabeth Buccheri and Alan Chow -- will showcase Liszt’s influence on the development of classical music.
A related Dec. 3 concert will feature a complete performance of one of Liszt’s most famous works, “Annees de pelerinage” (“Years of Pilgrimage”) -- a set of three suites the composer wrote for solo piano.
All of the following concerts and events are open to the public and take place in Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place, on the University’s Evanston campus.
• 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20 -- The festival begins with “Liszt and Transcendence,” a lecture and recital presented by Thomas Mastroianni, president of the American Liszt Society. The program will focus on the third book of Liszt’s “Annees de pelerinage.” Admission is free.
• 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21 -- After an introduction by noted scholar and pianist Richard Zimdars, Bienen School faculty pianists Sylvia Wang and Elizabeth Buccheri will perform the tone poem “Les Preludes” in Liszt’s four-hand arrangement. Pianist Read Gainsford will play Liszt’s “Six Paganini Etudes” during the program. A reception will follow the performance. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.
• 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22 -- Marking Liszt’s 200th birthday, Bienen School faculty pianist James Giles will perform a “largely Liszt” program that incorporates works by some of Liszt’s composer friends, including Schumann and Chopin. Birthday cake will be served to audience members at a post-performance reception. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.
• 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28 -- Pianist Jerome Lowenthal, who recently released a critically-acclaimed recording of Liszt’s complete “Annees de pelerinage,” returns to Northwestern with an all-Liszt program. It will include a rare performance of the B Minor Sonata as arranged for two pianos by Camille Saint-Saens. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $6 for students with valid IDs.
• 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 -- Pianists Yoshikazu Nagai and Dmitry Rachmanov will share a program of Liszt solo works that include transcriptions of music by Schubert and Wagner as well as Liszt’s famous “Mephisto Waltz.” They then will form a duo to play Liszt’s two-piano paraphrase of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” Tickets are $10 for the general public and $6 for students with valid IDs.
• 7:30 p.m. Friday Nov. 4 -- Bienen School faculty pianist Alan Chow will perform works representing heaven and hell. Chow’s recital will highlight Liszt’s spiritual quest with “Benediction de Dieu dans la solitude” and “Dante Sonata,” as well as Chopin’s Second Sonata. Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for students with valid IDs.
• 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5 -- Distinguished Lisztian pianist Mykola Suk will close the festival with music by Liszt and Liszt’s onetime rival, Sigismund Thalberg. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $6 for students with valid IDs.
• 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3 -- A complete performance of all three books of Liszt’s “Annees de pelerinage” (“Years of Pilgrimage”) by piano students of Bienen School faculty member James Giles, will range from fiery virtuosity to poignant expressiveness. This magnum opus reflects Liszt’s musical development through experience and travel. Tickets are $6 for the general public and $4 for students with IDs.
Ticket prices are indicated in two ranges: the first for the general public and the second for full-time students with IDs. Northwestern faculty and staff with a valid WildCARD ID receive a 15 percent discount off the general public ticket price.For more information, call the Pick-Staiger Concert Office at (847) 491-5441 or visit www.pickstaiger.org. To order tickets by phone, call the Pick-Staiger Ticket Office at (847) 467-4000.