The Clayton Center will host the Clayton Piano Festival  February 10-17. The four-concert series features music by Jonathan Levin, Angelo Rondello, Christian McLeer, and Matthew Harrison.

Clayton Piano Festival: Romantic Fantasies by Jonathan Levin Fri, February 10, 7:30pm – 10:00pm

Kicking off the festival is Jonathan Levin, who will explore the genre of the Fantasy as envisioned by three titans of the Romantic era and reveal some of the hidden meanings behind them. The centerpiece of the program is Schumann’s Fantasy in C Major, one of the most intensely personal works of the 19th century, of which the composer himself admitted he had never written anything so passionate. Following this will be the F Minor Fantasy of Chopin with its marches, both martial and solemn, and intimations of the transcendent. Music of Franz Liszt will close the program with his fantasy based on Dante’s Inferno from the Divine Comedy – music that takes you from hell to heaven – and back!

Clayton Piano Festival: Tales, Fables & Poetry Mon, February 13, 7:30pm – 10:00pm

Tales, Fables & Poetry featuring Angelo Rondello takes listeners from the stormy Greek tale of the two ill-fated lovers Hero & Leander, depicted in Liszt’s grand Ballade in b minor, to Alkan’s brilliant and humorous setting of the Aesop fables, and Schubert’s masterful handling of Göethe’s Erlkönig and Gretchen am Spinnrade. The final work on the program is Poulenc’s highly unique Histoire de Babar, le Petit Elephant (The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant), in which the pianist narrates the timeless children’s story of Babar while playing the colorful setting Poulenc devised around it.

Clayton Piano Festival: A Night At The Theater Thu, February 16, 7:30pm – 10:00pm

Matthew Harrison explores the dramatic impulses behind three unique sonatas spanning over a century. The journey begins with Beethoven’s enigmatic Tempest sonata, a work which has captivated audiences since its inception with its often violent contrasts between stormy intensity and lyrical introspection. Then we are treated to a look at another side of the American composer Aaron Copland, most beloved for his Appalachian Spring and Rodeo. The Piano Sonata by Copland was a favorite work of Leonard Bernstein and possesses a uniquely American sound. The program concludes with the milestone work by Liszt, the Sonata in B Minor, a testament to the range and expressive scope of the piano.

Clayton Piano Festival: Piano Music Of The 21st Century Fri, February 17, 7:30pm – 10:00pm

Praised for his “richness of ideas” and “charming and expressive musical panorama” by the New York Times, Christian McLeer will close out the final concert of Clayton Piano Festival. Comprised entirely of his own original compositions for the piano, some selections which will be premieres commissioned especially for the festival. The diverse range of selections include music for piano and electronics and his song, Meaningful from G Train: The Musical.

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