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Viterbo concert series to celebrate musical mentors

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Mary Ellen Haupert

Mary Ellen Haupert

The second concert of the Viterbo University Out of Our Minds Chamber Series will be performed in the Fine Arts Center Nola Starling Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20.

This season’s series features the first three Op. 101 piano trios by Czech-born composer Anton Reicha, an under-represented composer who is known more for his youthful friendship with Beethoven than for his music. This concert series brings Reicha’s talent as both composer and teacher to the stage, featuring the first Grand Trio Concertant for Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 101 and two works by one of his students, César Franck.

Reicha was an esteemed teacher of composition who left a legacy at the Paris Conservatory of Music. He taught his students to be creative and innovative as composers, while offering encouragement and practical techniques.

“One only has to listen to the works of Liszt, Franck, Berlioz, and Farrenc to note their own unique style,” said Viterbo music faculty member Mary Ellen Haupert. “Anton Reicha was the very best brand of teacher because he helped to unlock each composer’s voice, while humbly ceding his role in the face of his students’ accomplishments.”

Franck’s Prelude, Fugue, and Variation, Op. 18 will be performed on piano and harmonium, as the composer intended. Harmoniums are small, three-octave keyboard instruments that sound like an accordion. Haupert ordered a harmonium specifically for this performance and will play it alongside Meredith Mihm on the Steinway concert grand in the recital hall. Harmoniums were popular instruments in 19th century France because they were portable and handy for supporting choral singing. James Wilson, Viterbo’s newly hired director of choral studies, will perform Franck’s Nocturne for Voice and Piano, accompanied by Mihm.

The centerpiece of this concert will be Anton Reicha’s Grand Trio Concertant for Piano Trio in E-flat Major, Op. 101, No. 1, published as the first of six trios in 1824 and dedicated to his friend Amedée Ardisson. Haupert has been working on an edition of the six Op. 101 trios and plans to perform them over the next two years with the 2 Sisters Trio (violinist Kristina Gullion, cellist Monika Sutherland, and pianist Mary Ellen Haupert).

The concert is free and open to the public. There will be a free will offering to cover artist fees and marketing expenses.

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