Andrew Willis will perform a recital of Chopin’s music on an 1848 Pleyel Grand Piano, a model beloved by Chopin and one for which he intended much of his music to be performed. At the beginning of the concert, Mr. Willis will give a short introduction to the instrument and demonstrate some of its specific characteristics.
The program will sample variously from Chopin’s output, ranging from such early works as the Bolero and the Etude op. 10, no. 6 to such late works as the Fantasy and the Barcarolle.
Andrew Willis performs in the United States and abroad on pianos of every period. Noted for his mastery of early keyboard instruments, Willis recorded several Beethoven sonatas in the first complete recording of the cycle on period instruments, a project directed by Malcolm Bilson and presented in concert in New York, Utrecht, Florence, and Palermo, in which his recording of Op. 106 was hailed by The New York Times as “a ‘Hammerklavier’ of rare stature.” He has also recorded Schubert lieder and Rossini songs with soprano Julianne Baird, early-Romantic song cycles with soprano Georgine Resick, and music of Rochberg, Schickele, Luening, Kraft, and Ibert with flutist Sue Ann Kahn.
Willis appears frequently as soloist with period-instrument chamber orchestras such as the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, the Apollo Ensemble, the Magnolia Baroque Festival, and the Philadelphia Classical Symphony. His recent recital appearances include the National Music Museum, the Bloomington and Boston Early Music Festivals, and early-music societies in San Diego, Los Angeles, and London. At the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he is Professor of Music, he directs the biennial Focus on Piano Literature. For the 2000 Focus he commissioned and premiered Martin Amlin’s Sonata No. 7 (2000), which he recorded for Albany Records along with other works of Amlin, Fine, and Copland. He currently extends his investigation of historical performance practice into the Romantic era, performing Chopin on an 1848 Pleyel and Mendelssohn on an 1841 Bösendorfer, and into the Baroque, performing J. S. Bach and Italian masters on a replica of a 1735 Ferrini.
In 2005, Andrew Willis toured China presenting works of American, Chinese, and Chinese-American composers, performing and teaching under the auspices of the Central Conservatory in Beijing and the Conservatories of Shenyang, Dalian, Xi'an, and Chengdu.
Andrew Willis studied piano with Mieczyslaw Horszowski at The Curtis Institute of Music, with George Sementovsky and Lambert Orkis at Temple University, and with Malcolm Bilson at Cornell University. For a number of years, his multifaceted musical career was based in Philadelphia, where he served as keyboardist of The Philadelphia Orchestra for several seasons.
This event is part of the Chopin Bicentennial Celebration at the University of Virginia (September 16-19, 2010), which is sponsored by the Page-Barbour Fund, the Mcintire Department of Music, the Center for Russian and East European Studies, the American Institute of Polish Culture, the Chopin Foundation of the United States, the Slavic Literatures and Languages Department, the Media Studies Department, and by an Arts Enhancement Grant from the Vice Provost for the Arts to increase access and engagement with the Arts. For a listing of all festival events please visit: http://www.virginia.edu/music/chopin.