Joshua Ross, piano
Lyapunov - Transcendental Etude Op. 11 No. 1 "Berceuse"
Chopin - Nocturne Op. 15 No. 1 in F minor
Chopin - Scherzo Op.31 No. 2 in B flat minor
Brahms - Rhapsody Op. 79 No. 2 in G minor
Liszt - Au bord d'une source
Ravel - Jeux d'eau
Schumann - Kinderszenen Op.15
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Among the winners of the 2013 American Protégé International Competition of Romantic Music, pianist Joshua Ross recently made his Carnegie Hall debut in Weill Recital Hall in February 2014. He holds a Master of Music degree in Piano Performance from the University of Georgia, where he studied with Dr. Martha Thomas, and a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from The Florida State University, where he studied with Dr. Heidi Louise Williams. He also studied with Dr. James Nalley, performed and studied at the 2008 Schlern Music Festival, in Vols am Schlern, Italy, and has played in master classes for renowned pianists Angela Cheng, Natsuki Fukasawa, David Northington, and Richard Cionco, among others.
Among recent engagements, Mr. Ross performed for the Steinway Piano Society of Bonita Springs in their Past Winners Recital Series, as well as the 2013 American Bandmasters Association conference in Tampa, Florida as featured pianist with the internationally-acclaimed University of Georgia Wind Ensemble. Recent competition performances include the 2012 Georgia Music Teachers Association National Competition as well as the UGA concerto competition.
Pursuing his passion for teaching, Joshua was on the faculty of the UGA Community Music School, where a gave private and group piano lessons to both children and adults. He currently teaches at the Steinway Piano Gallery of Bonita Springs, Florida. Originally from Naples, Florida, Joshua is a devoted alumni of the FSU Marching Chiefs, in which he played the saxophone, enjoying many high-profile engagements including the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, and the 2011 Inauguration of Governor Rick Scott.
PROGRAM NOTES by Edward Lein, Music Librarian
Russian composer and concert pianist Sergei Lyapunov (1859-1924) was also a professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, among other teaching positions. His Douze études d'exécution transcendente ("12 Transcendental Etudes," Op. 12) contain his best-known pieces, including the Berceuse ("Lullaby," Op. 11, no. 1). Lyapunov intended his set as a continuation of Franz Liszt's Transcendental Etudes, which Liszt had planned as a cycle of 24 etudes in all the major and minor keys but did not live to complete.
The Polish-born pianist Frédéric Chopin was the first composer to make full use of the expressive qualities of the piano when it was a still-developing keyboard instrument, and he rightly has been called the "Poet of the Piano." Much of all piano music by subsequent composers shows his influence, and his revolutionary use of chromatic harmonies and unusual key relationships profoundly influenced composers of symphonic music and operas as well, such as Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner--thus Chopin's importance in the development of the "Romantic" style in general can not be overestimated.
Among his best-loved works are the 21 Nocturnes ("Night Pieces"). Published in 1834, Nocturne Op. 15, no. 1 opens and closes with lyrical sections in F major, flanking a "fiery" middle section in F minor.
Among his many other achievements, Chopin was the first to "liberate" the scherzo from its previously subsidiary role as an interior movement in multi-movement works. With Chopin the scherzo becomes an independent piece that retains the lively tempo and 3/4 time of its precedents, but which often dispenses with the jocularity implied by the title ("scherzo" is the Italian word for "joke"), and which rather expansively elaborates on the traditional "ABA" formal design. First published in 1837, in his 3-part Scherzo No. 2, Op. 31 the beginning and concluding "A" sections share characteristics of sonata-allegro design, but are interrupted by the central, episodic "B" section.
At a time when it was fashionable to write programmatic music that illustrated specific scenes, poems, or stories, the great German composer Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was recognized by his admirers as “Beethoven’s true heir” (Grove Concise Dictionary of Music) by demonstrating that established abstract formal procedures could be used to organize musical discourse without sacrificing the passion and deeply individualistic expression that defines 19th-Century Romantic music. Thus, Brahms joined Bach and Beethoven as one of the great “Three B’s” of classical music. As a youth, Brahms earned a living as a pianist, but after he became established as a composer he limited his public performances to playing only his own works. His Rhapsody, Op. 79, No. 2 in G minor is from a pair of like-titled works dating from 1879.
Hungarian-born Franz Liszt (1811-1886) is widely regarded as the greatest pianist of all time, and his performances excited an hysteria that today is reserved for only the most popular of rock stars. Despite great fame following a sometimes impoverished youth, Liszt remained unspoiled and donated great sums of his concert earnings to a wide variety of charitable causes, and in later life he even took orders in the church. An innovative composer, Liszt is credited with creating the symphonic tone poem as a form, developing the technique of thematic transformation, and anticipating some of the harmonic devices of Impressionist composers. Au bord d'une source ("Beside a Spring") is the 4th piece in his suite, Années de Pèlerinage,Première année: Suisse (Years of Pilgrimage, 1st Year: Switzerland), which he captioned “In the whispering coolness begins young nature’s play” (quoting poet Friedrich Schiller).
Maurice Ravel (1875–1937) was a great French composer and master orchestrator who maintains a place among the most performed and recorded composers of all time. He is often identified with Debussy as a chief proponent of musical Impressionism, but Ravel melded exotic harmonies with classical formal structures to create a personal, refined style that transcends a single label. About his famous piece inspired by Liszt and with a title translated as "Water Games," Ravel provided the following commentary: "Jeux d'eau, appearing in 1901, is at the origin of the pianistic novelties which one would notice in my work. This piece, inspired by the noise of water and by the musical sounds which make one hear the sprays water, the cascades, and the brooks, is based on two motives in the manner of the movement of a sonata—without, however, subjecting itself to the classical tonal plan."
The hopes of the great German Romantic composer Robert Schumann (1810-1856) to become a concert pianist were dashed in his early twenties when he permanently damaged his hand, so he redirected his energies to both composing and music criticism. From childhood he was torn between literature and music, but he managed to combine these two loves even in some of his purely instrumental music by using poetry and dramatic narrative to color and direct the musical discourse. Composed in 1838, the 13 pieces that comprise Schumann's Kinderszenen ("Childhood Scenes," Op. 15) are not really intended specifically for children, as one might suppose at first glance. Rather, they are nostalgic remembrances of youth filtered through the experience of adulthood.