LEWISBURG, Pa. — American pianist Ursula Oppens will perform music by Chopin, Schumann, Elliott Carter and William Bolcom on Friday, Sept. 12, at 8 p.m. at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts at Bucknell University. Tickets are $20.
Oppens, who has performed with virtually all the world's major orchestras, in most of the great concert halls, and at many important music festivals, has won equal renown as an interpreter of the established repertory and a champion of contemporary music.
A highlight of the evening's program will be Carter's "Night Fantasies," his first major work after he turned 70, according to Bill Boswell, executive director of the Weis Center. Carter turned 100 this year.
Flickering of neurons
"Oppens, one of four American pianists who commissioned the work, gave the first performance in England just two weeks after Carter finished the fiendishly difficult score, which (and I quote) 'captures the unpredictable flickering of neurons in the sleepless brain at night.'
"She is considered one of Carter's favorite interpreters and has played this work and all of his other piano music many times since. There are two other pieces by Carter on the program," said Boswell, "which also includes two piano rags and a 'Ballade' by William Bolcom and masterpieces by Chopin and Schumann.
"This year also marks the 125th anniversary year of the start of co-education at Bucknell University," Boswell added. "This makes it particularly appropriate that the Weis Center season begins with Ursula, who is well-respected for her activities as an educator along with her worldwide status as a piano virtuoso."
A native New Yorker, Oppens holds degrees from Radcliffe and the Juilliard School. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in 1969 under the auspices of Young Concert Artists and won the Busoni International Piano Competition that same year. In 1976 she won an Avery Fisher Career Grant which led to a performance with the New York Philharmonic.
After 14 years as the John Evans Distinguished Professor of Music at Northwestern University, she has joined the faculty of the Brooklyn College Conservatory of Music and City University of New York Graduate Center.
Tickets for this Weis Center series concert are available in person from the Campus Box Office in the Weis Center weekdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or at the Bucknell University Bookstore on the ground floor of the Elaine Langone Center weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Advance tickets also are available by calling 570-577-1000 or visiting www.bucknell.edu/Boxoffice. The box office in the Weis Center lobby opens one hour prior to performances.
This concert is made possible in part by a generous private contribution. The 2008-09 season of Weis Center Events is generously supported by grants from the Bucknell University Association for the Arts and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support for the series is provided by numerous and generous private donors including members of the Weis Center Green Room Circle and Green Room Board.
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