By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Pianist Paavali Jumppanen will perform in concert on Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 8 p.m. in the Rooke Recital Hall of the Weis Music Building at Bucknell University.
Jumppanen will give a rare performance of the complete Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant Jesus by Olivier Messiaen. Roughly translated as "20 Considerations [or contemplations or meditations] on the Infant Jesus," this is one of the most grandly conceived works in all of the piano literature. It was written in Paris in 1944, during very difficult and troubled times (some might consider today to resonate as a parallel).
Messiaen was a deeply religious man, a devout and possibly mystic Catholic, and certainly a unique musical genius. Among his life-long interests was birdsong. Bad times, religious fervor, and birds are just a few of the influences informing this rich and deeply felt music, which is by turns joyful, introspective, ecstatic, dissonant, sweet, and so much else.
Stamina is required of the listener and especially the performer for whom this is a musically, physically, and emotionally demanding endeavor.
The concert is free to the public as part of Bucknell University's ongoing Gallery Series of performing art and experimental music. The Gallery Series is funded in part by grants from the Kushell Music Endowment and Bucknell’s Department of Music.
Jumppanen is no stranger to large, demanding enterprises. To mention a few: He has recently completed a cycle of all 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas performed in the United States at Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and at several venues in Europe. He will soon do the same for all of Mozart's Sonatas. In 2004, his first CD for Deutsche Grammophon was of all three Boulez Sonatas, recording under the guidance of the composer. With violinist Corey Cerovsek, he recorded all of the Beethoven Violin and Piano Sonatas.
Jumppanen first performed in Bucknell's Weis Center as winner of the Pennsylvania Presenters Prize at the 2000 Young Concert Artists International Competition in New York City, where he was awarded a First Prize among others. His most recent return to the Bucknell campus was in 2007 with the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra.
Winner of the first prize in Finland’s national Maj Lind Competition in Helsinki at age 19, Jumppanen made his New York concerto debut in 2002 with the New York Chamber Symphony.
The Feb. 3 performance is the first in a three-week residency by Jumppanen which includes a performance with the Czech Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 6 – he is stepping in for the announced soloist who is indisposed – and a solo performance on Feb. 21, both in the Weis Center at 8 p.m. The residency is made possible, in part, with support from the Kushell Music Endowment of Bucknell University.
He also will give a private concert for donors and friends of the Weis Center and will participate in many outreach and educational activities with Bucknell and local community students.
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