At Home with Andrew Willis, fortepianist
SPONSORED BY JOHN SILLS
Acclaimed pianist Andrew Willis welcomes you to see and hear two of his own early keyboards: a Bösendorfer from 1841 and a Pleyel built in 1848. Both are ideally suited to the performance of Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Chopin. Andrew discusses differing Viennese and Parisian tastes and how these preferences influence each piano's basic mechanism and construction.
For several decades Andrew Willis has explored the historical development of keyboard instruments and their performance practice while maintaining a commitment to the study, performance, and teaching of the widest possible range of repertoire. His discography ranges from Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata to Martin Amlin’s Sonata No. 7 (1999), and includes collaborations with Julianne Baird, soprano, Brent Wissick, cello, and many others. Willis holds degrees from Curtis, Temple, and Cornell and is a Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he teaches keyboard instruments from harpsichord to modern piano.
In 2019 Andrew Willis joined with other Festival musicians for a rousing performance of Mendelssohn's Capriccio Brillant--a modest-sized piano concerto in all but name. Performing on a stunning replica of an 1830 Graf, Willis reveals the beauty of yet another early piano. Includes program notes.
Andrew Willis and Carsten Schmidt team up in 2019 for a performance of Schubert's Fantasie for four hands, one of the most compelling works in the genre. Program notes included.
Often heard in a version for solo piano, Chopin's Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise remains an audience favorite, combining the composer's brilliant bel canto lyrical style with spirited dance. Willis performs a version for piano with string quintet. Program notes included.
In 2017 Andrew Willis led a fabulous period-instrument performance of Schubert's beloved "Trout" Quintet. Featuring Guillaume Pirard (violin), Kyle Miller (viola), James Wilson (cello), and Heather Miller Lardin (double bass). Program notes included.
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