Launching Beethoven Year
Yesterday I played on the first concert on the Beethoven piano sonata series at the Toledo Museum of Art. The program consisted of the first four sonatas. U of M students Gabriel Merrill-Steskal and Shuntaro Sugie performed Op 2, Nos 1 and 3, and Dr. Matthew Bengtson performed Op 2, No 2, all on a fortepiano that was a replica of an authentic instrument from around the time when these sonatas were first composed. After a short break (to give everyone the chance to fast-forward their ears by about 100 years and mentally prepare for the much-louder modern piano), I performed Op 7 (yes, on the modern piano).
The Toledo Museum of Art is an amazing institution - I was almost sorry I had to play, because I wanted to spend the afternoon browsing the exhibits, and by the time the concert was over, the museum was closed.
The Great Gallery is the perfect setting for a concert like this - it is long and wide, with art on all of the walls, and a lot of seating capacity. The venue was at capacity, with about 250 people in the audience and many standing in the back.
It was my first performance of this sonata. The piano there is a delight; I gave a solo recital in the same venue in 2017, and I remember it being such a rewarding place to play.
I was very happy to see my former student Leah there - she completed an undergraduate degree with me and is now pursuing her MM in music at Bowling Green State University. We all went out to a local brewpub afterwards before embarking on the long drive home.
Here are some photos from the day: