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By Kathryn Kopchik
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Pianist Paavali Jumppanen will perform in concert on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 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.
"Messiaen was a deeply religious man, a devout and possibly mystic Catholic, and certainly a unique musical genius," said William Duckworth, Bucknell professor of music and director of the Gallery Series.
"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," he said.
Bill Boswell, director of the Weis Center, added, "Two years ago when Paavali was here for an extended residency, he performed this work and it was awe-inspiring and spell-binding. There were requests for him to repeat the performance when he returned, and a lot of people are looking forward to this. I should mention that seating is limited to fewer than 200 in this intimate and acoustically wonderful recital hall."
The concert is free to the public as part of Bucknell'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 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.
He has returned to the Bucknell campus several times, performing with the Hungarian Symphony Orchestra and violinist Corey Cerovsek.
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. 22 performance is the first in a three-week residency by Jumppanen that includes a Feb. 25 solo performance on the Weis Center Series, a free family matinee performance of Saint-Saens' "Carnival of the Animals" on Feb. 26 in the Weis Center, and a free performance of the complete cycle of William Duckworth's "The Time Curve Preludes" on March 5 in the Rooke Recital Hall.
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