Public performances Oct. 18 & 19 provide an introduction to his music
By Peter Alexander
If you don’t know the music of American composer Lowell Liebermann, the coming week is your opportunity.
Actually, if you do know his music, the coming week is an opportunity, too. The composer of accessible, intriguing, and often surprising works in many different genres, Liebermann will be in residence at the CU College of Music through Thursday (Oct. 19). The residency includes two full programs of Liebermann’s music—at noon Wednesday at the Dairy Arts Center and at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Grusin Concert Hall. (See the schedule below for details and admission information.)
A Roser Visiting Artist at CU, Liebermann was invited by Peter and Helen Weil Prof. of Piano David Korevaar, who met Liebermann when they were both undergraduates at Juilliard. “We’ve known each other since we were, dare I say, still teenagers!” Korevaar says. “And I’ve been interested in his music ever since.”
Korevaar has been playing some of Liebermann’s pieces in concerts over the past year, and just completed a recording of his music. “I was thinking very much about Lowell,” he says, “so I thought it would be great to have him come. [CU composition professor] Dan Kellogg was very supportive and together we applied for funding from the Roser Visiting Artist’s Fund.”
As part of the Roser fund’s support, Liebermann will be meeting with many different groups of CU students this week. Activities include masterclasses with piano and flute students, coachings with all the performers of his works being presented during the residency, and extensive work with composition students.
For those who may not know Liebermann’s music, Korevaar explains that it’s “accessible in the best sense. Often very lyrical, often dramatic. There’s a lot of variety— what he’s got first of all is an amazing craft. He can write anything, and for anything. He also has a great imagination, but he manages to integrate everything so well.
“His music, especially what he wrote in the 1990s, tended to have a lot of very, shall we say, nominally pleasant and familiar sounds. And some of it is not pleasant—one of the things that Lowell can do is really create some nightmarish sounds. He’ll do that by twisting your expectations, but he balances it well. He knows how to balance things, as any good composer does.”
Korevaar, who has been very busy with performances lately, from Beethoven with the Boulder Philharmonic to several Faculty Tuesday recitals and a Brahms concerto on tour, will be part of several of the performances. In spite of everything on his plate, he likes Liebermann’s music so much that he was unable to resist joining in.
“My original plan when I put this whole thing together was I wasn’t going to do any of the playing,” he says. “But how can I not put myself in? Lowell has some recent chamber pieces that he was particularly interested having done, plus there was the Sonata for Two Pianos, and I thought that would be a great piece for me to finally get to play with Jennifer Hayghe.”
The performances during the coming week will feature Korevaar and other CU faculty, students and alumni. Several of the piano pieces are included, played by different artists, including Liebermann himself Wednesday at the Dairy.
A number of chamber pieces are also included in the two concerts, among them the Flute Sonata—probably Liebermann’s best known work—performed by flutist Joshua Hall and pianist Cecilia Kao, and the Sonata for Two Pianos by Korevaar and Hayghe.
Another that Korevaar thinks is especially impressive to hear is the Trio for clarinet, viola and piano, which he will play with clarinetist Daniel Silver and violist Ericka Eckert. (The full program for both concerts is listed below.) There will also be a talk-back with the composer following the Wednesday performance at the Dairy.
If you need one more reason to attend the concerts, Korevaar points out that there will plenty of flash and dazzle on display, including the Trio for clarinet, viola and piano. “I think one of the reasons that Lowell’s music has been very successful is that he also understands instrumental virtuosity, and there’s plenty of that,” he says.
“His music can be very brilliant and very showy.”
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Lowell Liebermann Residency
CU Boulder College of Music
2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16, Grusin Concert Hall
Piano class, with CU students playing works by Lowell Liebermann
3:30 pm. Tuesday, Oct. 17, Room NB59, Imig Music Building
Flute Class, Christian Jennings Studio
12 noon Wednesday, Oct. 18, Dairy Arts Center
Soundscape at the Dairy: Music of Lowell Liebermann
—Piano Quartet: Sharon Park, violin; Stephanie Mientka, viola; Zachary Reaves, cello; Sarah Rushing, piano
—Elegy for Clarinet and Piano: Emily Wrangler, clarinet; Adam Coleman, piano
—Nocturne No. 2: Ryan Grippo, piano
—Nocturne No. 7: Sophia Zervas, piano
—Nocturne No. 10: Lowell Liebermann, piano
—Trio for clarinet, viola and piano: Daniel Silver, clarinet; Ericka Eckert, viola; David Korevaar, piano
—Post-concert talkback with Lowell Liebermann, David Korevaar, and Sharon Park
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, Grusin Concert Hall
Faculty/student recital of music by Lowell Liebermann
—Flute Sonata: Joshua Hall, flute, and Cecilia Kao, piano
—Nocturne No. 8: Maria Wietrzynska, piano
—Piano Trio No. 3: Charles Wetherbee, violin; David Requiro, cello; David Korevaar, piano
—Violin Sonata: William Terwilliger, violin, and Andrew Cooperstock, piano
—Sonata for Two Pianos: Jennifer Hayghe and David Korevaar
—Daydream and Nightmare for two pianos, eight hands: Sarah Rushing, Jonathan Morris, Nathália Kato, and Barbara Noyes
Free and open to the public.
Edited 10.16 to correct the names of performers due to last-minute schedule changes.