professor and chair, Department of Music and Performing Arts, 308.865.8118
Renowned Australian pianist Leigh Harrold will perform the works of Robert Muczynski at the University of Nebraska at Kearney on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
The performance, which takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Recital Hall, will feature several examples of Muczynski’s work, including his “Piano Sonatas,” “Fables” and “Suite for Piano.” The pianist will also deliver an analysis of Muczynski’s compositional style, as well as an explanation of the composer’s place within the lexicon of 20th century music. The lecture-recital is titled “Best Since Barber: Contextualizing the Piano Sonatas of Robert Muczynski.”
Harrold’s upcoming visit to UNK is not the result of happenstance, but because of a UNK professor’s expert knowledge of Muczynski and his work.
Dr. Valerie Cisler, professor of music and performing arts and chair of the music department, wrote her doctoral dissertation on the composer’s works, biography and influences.
“Muczynski’s music is much loved, but there is very little information available to those who are interested in learning about specific pieces, compositional context, or even about the composer himself,” Dr. Cisler said.
She said Harrold had contacted her last fall and had inquired about a possible visit to the university in order to learn more about the composer’s music. Harrold is currently finishing his doctor of music arts degree at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne, which includes research on Muczynski’s works.
“After exchanging a good many e-mails with Mr. Harrold, I discovered that he had a program already prepared,” she said. “So I asked if he would be willing to perform here at UNK, and he said he was delighted to do so.”
Harrold has received numerous accolades and awards for his skills as a virtuoso pianist, including the Geoffrey Parsons Memorial Award and the prestigious Beta Sigma Phi Classical Music Award. In addition, The Advertiser, an Australian newspaper, has described the pianist as “a musician of rare talent and intelligence,” and his playing as “of the highest caliber.”
Composer Robert Muczynski, the centerpiece of Harrold’s performance and Cisler’s dissertation, was born in Chicago in 1929. At the age of 29, he made his Carnegie Hall debut, and earned numerous honors, including a Pulitzer Prize nomination for his 1982 composition, “Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra.”