Thursday, December 8, 2011

Intermezzo Sunday Concert, 1/8/2012 @ 2:30 p.m.

Tuğçe Tari, piano

At the age of five, Tuğçe Tari (TOO-tchay TAH-ree) took the entrance exam for the Istanbul University State Conservatory, and she was one of only twenty accepted from among more than 600 applicants. She was the only applicant who got a perfect score on the exam, and by the age of six she was performing publicly. In her teens, Tuğçe won the 26th International Istanbul Music Festival, and her Festival performance and interviews were conducted on national television, earning her rave reviews.

After completing her Bachelor of Music degree from the Istanbul University State Conservatory--in one and a half years instead of the usual four--Ms. Tari moved to the United States. She was awarded scholarships and grants to study at the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where she earned her Master of Music degree in piano performance under Boris Slutsky. In addition to Turkish and English, Ms. Tari is fluent in French, and she pursued further post-graduate performance studies with Huseyin Sermet at the École Normale de Musique (National School of Music) in Paris, France. She has participated in numerous international music festivals, and in over 20 master classes conducted by many of the world's foremost pianists, including Leon Fleisher, Yoheved Kaplinsky, Vladimir Feltsman, and Alexander Korsantia.

Her international career includes chamber music collaborations as well as solo performances, and she was featured in a 90-minute television program, Kunst Tempel ("Temple of Art"). The program, which included a live solo concert and interview, was hosted by Turkish composer Betin Güneş, the conductor of Symphony Orchestra Cologne (Germany), and was broadcast several times in 2008-2009. Among Ms. Tari's solo recitals have been several command performances at the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., at the request of the Turkish Ambassador, and also a 2005 command performance at the Mayport Naval Station for Britain's Royal Navy and the United States Navy, at the request of Queen Elizabeth II.

Ms. Tari was on the board of the Steinway Society from 2003-2008, and during this time she gave a benefit concert which raised $1,500 for financial assistance to young artists. In 2009, she performed a benefit concert for the Princes' Islands Government (Istanbul, Turkey), raising $15,000.

Tuğçe Tari has been teaching privately since she was 14 years old, and she also taught several undergraduate courses during her time at the Peabody. She has been invited to teach masterclasses at Philadelphia's famous Curtis Institute of Music, as well as at Stetson University. In addition to her concerts in the U.S. and abroad, Ms. Tari maintains a piano studio in Jacksonville, and her devotion as a teacher has prepared many of her students for acceptance into the music programs at such prestigious universities as Yale, Wesleyan, Auburn, and Florida State.

PROGRAM NOTES by Ed Lein, Music Librarian
Once dismissed by many of his contemporaries as being too old-fashioned, the great German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) now ranks with Beethoven (who himself studied Bach’s music) as the most influential composers of all time. From 1717-1723, Bach was employed by Prince Leopold of Cöthen, and it was during this period that he wrote the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, BWV 903. Although Bach had become famous as a church organist, Cöthen was essentially a Clavinist town, so instrumental music was not usually a part of religious services there. But Leopold was a great lover of music and a very capable performer, and he encouraged Bach to write music for the enjoyment of the court. It was during this time the Bach wrote much of his famous secular music, including the The Well-tempered Clavier (Book I), the Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, the six Suites for solo cello, the four Orchestral Suites, and the famous Brandenburg Concertos. Even though Cöthen lacked any fine church organs, Bach obviously kept up his keyboard skills on the harpsichord, as demonstrated by the improvisatory, virtuosic display of the Chromatic Fantasy. Its companion 3-voice Fugue is in 3/4 time, and is one of the longest fugues Bach ever wrote.
Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) was a child prodigy who made his public debut as a pianist at age seven, and who, at twelve conducted a performance of a Stabat Mater he had composed. During his life he was best known as a virtuoso pianist of the highest order, but he also was respected internationally as a composition teacher--among his famous students are Kurt Weill, Edgard Varèse, Percy Grainger, Dimitri Tiomkin, and Stefan Wolpe. Busoni called J.S. Bach's keyboard works "the foundation of pianoforte playing," and he began adapting and editing Bach's music in 1888, continuing the practice throughout his career. Busoni's famous transcription of Bach's Chaconne (originally Ciaconna) was undertaken in 1892, during his brief professorship at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Busoni's is one of several adaptations for piano of the monumental piece, including one for the left hand alone by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897). Like the Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue, the Chaconne was written during Bach's Cöthen years, circa 1720, and it is the fifth and final movement of the Partita in D minor, for solo violin (BWV 1004). Its 3-part form is built over a repeated four-measure bass pattern, D | D-C# | D-B flat | G-A(-C#), with its middle section in D major. Brahms observed about the original violin composition:
On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.

Austrian-born Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), unquestionably one of the greatest composers in history, began his career touring Europe as a 6-year-old piano prodigy, and he absorbed and mastered all the contemporary musical trends he was exposed to along the way. Mozart wrote 22 operas, as well as 40 symphonies (“No. 37” is by Michael Haydn, but with a new introduction by Mozart), 27 concertos, chamber music, sonatas, and choral pieces, numbering over 600 works all together. Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K. 311, gets its "Alla Turca" nickname from the famous last movement, which is often performed on its own as Turkish Rondo or Turkish March. The "Turkish" style was meant to conjure the sound of Janissary bands which had become quite the rage throughout Europe--Haydn and Beethoven, among others, also imitated the style in several pieces. Mozart's first movement is a theme with six variations. Following the 2nd-movement (minuet with trio), the Alla Turca rondo tune has been described as beginning like a 7th variation of the first-movement theme, perhaps providing the whole Sonata with a cyclic unity unusual for the time.
This year [2012] marks the 150th birth anniversary of Achille-Claude Debussy (1862-1918), a quintessentially French composer, pianist and music critic whose own revolutionary music ushered in many of the stylistic changes of the 20th Century. Debussy, whose teachers included César Franck, is usually identified as the chief proponent of musical “Impressionism,” but he did not approve of that label himself. Debussy was a great fan of Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) and he even edited a French edition of the Polish composer’s piano music for publication. Debussy proved himself to be a true successor of Chopin in writing for the piano, and his 24 Préludes, composed between 1909 and 1913 and grouped into two books of 12 each, may be regarded as a tribute to the Pole. Like Chopin, Debussy continued a Baroque tradition with his Préludes while expanding the harmonic language and piano technique of his contemporaries in ways previously unimagined.

Tuğçe Tari performing Chopin: Revolutionary Etude, and Beethoven: Appassionata Sonata, 3rd Movement

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