On Friday, February 27 at 8 pm Brian Ganz, widely regarded as one of the leading pianists of his generation, will present “A Chopin Celebration.” Fresh from his fifth sold out Strathmore “Extreme Chopin” recital, Ganz will take Chopin requests from the audience and play some of his own favorite Chopin pieces. The concert will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis (UUCA), 333 Dubois Road. The program is part of the Fourth Fridays concert series featuring Brian Ganz and Friends, offered monthly to benefit the UUCA church’s work. Tickets are $15 at the door. For more information visit www.uuannapolis.org/slider/fourth-friday or call 410-266-8044.
“I love giving the audience the chance to choose what they want to hear,” Ganz said. “Inviting requests is often my favorite part of an informal recital. So I thought, Why not make the whole evening a choice? I’ll take requests throughout, so the audience should come prepared to ask for their favorite Chopin works! I’ll also throw in a few favorites of my own.”
Ganz first heard recordings of Chopin’s works at 9 years old, and he was immediately hooked. “They captivated me, and I utterly fell in love with his music,” he said. “It became a passion and sometimes an obsession — in a way, a pianist has to be obsessed in one way or another to become a pianist. It’s part of our landscape.”
Chopin’s gift for melody and harmony drew Ganz into the composer’s works, and he hopes his passion resonates with audiences. He tries to make his concerts as intimate as possible, with brief talks about Chopin’s craftsmanship and glances behind the scenes. “Performing, I’m not a big fan of that word,” he said. “When I play for people, it’s more of a sharing: This is what I love, what I find fascinating and beautiful about the music. Come and share this with me.”
Ganz has appeared as soloist with such orchestras as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the National Philharmonic, the Baltimore and the National Symphonies, the City of London Sinfonia, and L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo. He has performed in many of the world’s major concert halls and has played under the baton of such conductors as Leonard Slatkin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Piotr Gajewski, Pinchas Zukerman, Jerzy Semkow and Yoel Levi. A Washington Post review in September 2014 said “Brian Ganz chose an approach that was commanding yet thoughtful and totally musical. Ganz’s dazzling and informed playing captured the essence of each piece.”
Ganz began his “Extreme Chopin” quest to perform all of Frédéric Chopin’s works in 2011. His sold out recital at the Music Center at Strathmore launched Ganz’s ambitious endeavor to perform the approximately 250 works of Chopin over the next decade. The 2016 concerts in the series will take place at Strathmore on January 9 and February 6 and 7.
This month’s program, February 27, is one of a year-long concert series offered monthly on the 4th Friday at 8PM at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Annapolis (UUCA). Individual tickets are $15, and a “Friday five-pack” can be obtained at the door for $60, allowing the purchaser to attend multiple concerts at a discount or bring guests to a single concert. The March 27 concert will feature pianist Eliza Garth playing a meditative masterpiece by John Cage, and the April 24 concert will star jazz saxophonist Don Stapleson and the Clazzical Project with classical pianist Brian Ganz, a fusion of jazz and classical styles. See www.uuannapolis.org/slider/fourth-friday for more information and future programming.