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NSMS Lecture Recitals at Princeton Public Library

Faculty from the New School for Music Study (NSMS) in Kingston present a series of three lecture recitals, in which they play and discuss historic repertoire for the piano. The events will be held in the Princeton Public Library Community Room.




PART I: Romantic Snapshots: Piano Miniatures of Schumann and Rachmaninoff

May 18, 2024; 2-3:30 p.m. - Presented by Derek Hartman



PART II: French Piano Music of the Long Twentieth Century

May 25, 2024; 2-3:30 p.m. - Presented by Alexa Stier




Part III: Peruvian Musical Elements in Selected Peruvian Piano Compositions by Duncker Lavalle, Ayarza de Morales, and E. Valcárcel

June 8, 2024; 2-3:30 p.m. - Presented by Gonzalo Aguilar



PART I: Romantic Snapshots: Piano Miniatures of Schumann and Rachmaninoff

May 18, 2024; 2-3:30 p.m.


The nineteenth century represented the heyday of the piano, as the instrument became a staple of cultural and domestic life across the Western world. Much of this era's piano music reflected not the lofty aesthetics of the concert hall but the tastes of the general community. Thus, the "piano miniature" became the go-to genre for Romantic-era composers. Brief, accessible, and perfectly suited for the home or the salon, piano miniatures offer vivid depictions of scenes, stories, or emotions relatable to ordinary musical amateurs and connoisseurs alike. The works of Schumann, a pioneer of the genre, feature descriptive titles that invite performers and listeners to open their imaginations to literary, narrative, or other references within the music. Rachmaninoff, on the other hand, represents the twilight of the Romantic piano tradition. Written in the early twentieth century, Preludes offer nostalgic refuge from the turbulent modern world with heart-on-your-sleeve emotionalism and romantic drama. Schumann and Rachmaninoff were each among the finest pianists of their time, so these works offer us an opportunity to experience their transcendent musical genius up close.


ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-1856)

From Fantasiestücke, Op. 12

"Des Abends" ("In the Evening")

"Aufschwung" ("Soaring")"

Warum?" ("Why?")

"Grillen" ("Whims")

"In der Nacht" ("In the Night")


SERGEI RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)

From Preludes, Op. 23

No. 5 in G minor

No. 6 in E-flat Major

No. 9 in E-flat minor

No. 10 in G-flat Major

No. 7 in C minor


About the Pianist:

Derek Hartman joined the New School for Music Study in 2023. He is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts candidate at the Yale School of Music, at which he also received his Masters of Music in 2021 under the instruction of Boris Slutsky. He completed his undergraduate studies in piano performance and music theory at Northwestern University in 2019, whilst studying with James Giles. 



PART II: French Piano Music of the Long Twentieth Century

May 25, 2024; 2-3:30 p.m.


French piano music of the long twentieth century In the mid-nineteenth century, the classical music scene was dominated by Germans. Today, France is firmly recognized as a center of musical activity and innovation. The French keyboard music of the "long twentieth century," a period of time stemming from the late 1800s to today, represents a microcosm of the era's most important artistic currents. This lecture recital journeys from the often-controversial label of impressionism to the school of spectralism and beyond: it takes off with the music of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, samples from Olivier Messiaen’s tremendous output for the piano, and follows his influence on the works of the following generation of composers, such as Maurice Ohana, Henri Dutilleux, Tristan Murail, Philippe Manoury, and Michael Levinas. The artistic trends changed through the course of the century, yet one distinctly French aesthetic remained: the idea that music ought to be, at its core, a pleasurable experience. In each of the featured works, the composer prioritizes sound and color to create a hedonistic listening experience which sets it apart from the music of other nations. To quote Debussy: in music, “pleasure is the law.”


About the Pianist:

Alexa Stier joined the New School for Music Study in 2023. Ms. Stier earned her Bachelor of Music degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where she studied with Fali Pavri. She completed her Master of Music degree at the Yale School of Music, where she is currently a candidate of the Doctorate of Musical Arts program, studying with Professor Boris Berman and Professor Wei-Yi Yang. Ms. Stier is also the founder and artistic director of the ContemporArt Association based in Romania, which aims to contribute towards the cultivation of chamber music in her hometown through a concert series and a workshop program designed for local music students. 



Part III: Peruvian Musical Elements in Selected Peruvian Piano Compositions by Duncker Lavalle, Ayarza de Morales, and E. Valcárcel

June 8, 2024; 2-3:30 p.m.


This lecture recital focuses on Peruvian musical elements used by three Peruvian composers active in the twentieth century: Luis Duncker Lavalle (1874-1922), Rosa Mercedes Ayarza de Morales (1881-1969), and Edgar Valcárcel Arze (1932-2010). The presentation is centered upon three solo piano works: Duncker’s "Leggenda Appassionata" (published 1964), Ayarza’s "Marinera y Resbalosa" (n.d.), and Valcárcel’s "Cuatro Piezas Infantiles" (1963). These composers represent a cross section, not only chronologically, but also geographically. Relevant Peruvian traditional music (such as mestizo music; Arequipan yaraví; música criolla: marinera, zamacueca; cueca chilena; as well as music of Cuzco and Puno—including from the latter arayachi, phujllay, huiphala de Asillo, pantomino, and that of the sikuri ensembles) and some of its respective features are discussed. Biographical information for each of the three composers is also included as little presently exists in the English language.



About the pianist:

Gonzalo Aguilar joined the New School in 2022 began taking piano lessons at 17 years old with Professor Larissa Belotserkovskaia, and graduated from the National Conservatory of Music in Lima, Peru, with the highest accolades. In 2013, Dr. Aguilar was invited to attend the Golandsky Institute Summer Symposium at Princeton University. Dr. Aguilar holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance in Piano Performance from The University of Southern Mississippi, with minors in collaborative piano and music theory. He was a student of Elizabeth Moak, and his dissertation is an analysis of folk elements found in three piano compositions by Peruvian composers.Master’s Degree in Piano Pedagogy and Performance from Westminster Choir College, where he studied with Ingrid Clarfield.

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