Gwen Mok at the keyboard

200th Birthday Celebration for Composer Franz Liszt

Date: October 17, 2011

Locations: King Library’s Shiro Room, SJSU Music Concert Hall,

Description: Three internationally recognized pianists and interpreters of the music of Franz Liszt will join pianist Gwendolyn Mok, coordinator of keyboard studies at SJSU, in a day long series of concerts and a master class at San Jose State University. An evening gala will feature an 1868 Erard grand piano from Liszt’s time, a favorite piano of the composer. Get a sneak peak by viewing the video (right).

William Wellborn, founding president of the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the American Liszt Society, had the honor of presenting an all-Liszt concert at the Hofgärtnerei Museum in Weimar.  Michael Boyd was invited in 2007 to the opening concert of the American Liszt Society’ Festival at the San Francisco Conservatory, performing the rarely heard original 1838 version of Liszt’s Paganini Etudes. Chih-long Hu, awarded prizes from the Mauro Monopoli International Piano Competition in Italy and Concurs Internacional De Piano D’Escaldes-Engordany in Andorra, is currently recording a CD of Liszt’s songs.

All four pianists will be participating in three different events on Monday, October 17. At 12:30 p.m., there will be a free lunchtime concert in the Shiro Room, fifth floor of the Martin Luther King library, of works by Liszt, including songs performed by faculty member Joseph Frank and guest artist Chi-Long Hu. William Wellborn will perform Chopin-Liszt: The Maiden’s Wish, Beethoven-Liszt: Mignon, and Hungarian Rhapsody #15 “Rakoczy March”. Michael Boyd will perform Fantasy and Fugue on a theme B.A.C.H. and Gwendolyn Mok will perform Petrarch Sonnets 104 and 123.

At 3:30 p.m., there will be an open master class in the Concert Hall of the School of Music, performances by students from the music department, and a specially selected student from a private studio led by Boyd and Wellborn.

The evening gala concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall, will feature the 1868 Erard grand piano.  Liszt, who traveled extensively on concert tours, performed exclusively on Erards. The program will consist of pieces by composer/pianists who were contemporaries of Liszt. These works are from the 1841 Album Beethoven, published by Mechetti. Included in the album are works by Chopin, Mendelssohn, Kalkbrenner, Moscheles, Taubert, Thalberg, Dohler and Henselt.  You will also hear Liszt’s transcription of the Funeral March from Beethoven’s third symphony. The Beethoven Center has one of only two surviving Mechetti albums so many of these works will be heard for the first time. A PDF copy of some of these works will be made available online. Wellborn, Boyd, Mok and Hu will be joined by two students, Evan Chow and Yong Yu Gao, who were specially selected to perform in the Gala.

The day-long celebration is being sponsored by the School of Music and Dance and The Artch Foundation. Tickets for the evening Gala are $15 adults, $5 students and seniors and are available for purchase at the door.

— Submitted by SJSU Coordinator of Keyboard Studies Gwendolyn Mok