SMU Meadows Presents Rare Solo Recital by Internationally Renowned Pianist Joaquín Achúcarro
All-Chopin concert will honor the memory of Jeanne Roach Johnson, longtime supporter of SMU and the Meadows School of the Arts
The Distinguished Performer Concert Series at SMU Meadows School of the Arts opens its 2017-18 season with a rare solo recital by world-renowned concert pianist, recording artist and Joel Estes Tate Professor Joaquín Achúcarro. The concert will be held Friday, September 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Caruth Auditorium, 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus. Admission is $14 for adults, $11 for seniors, and $8 for SMU students, faculty and staff. Tickets are available from the Meadows box office at 214-768-2787 or online at http://bit.ly/AchucarroConcert.
The all-Chopin concert will feature six works by the 19th-century Romantic composer, including his Prelude, Op. 45 in C-sharp minor; Fantasia Impromptu; Nocturne, Op. Posth. in C-sharp minor; Barcarolle, Op. 60; Polonaise, Op. 53 in A-flat major; and, after an intermission, 24 Preludes, Op. 28. Following the concert, Achúcarro will fly to London to record these Chopin works for a new CD.
The concert is dedicated to the memory of the late Jeanne Roach Johnson (1932-2017), a Dallas civic leader, investor and philanthropist who was a longtime supporter of SMU and of the Meadows School. A lifelong music lover, she gave several major gifts to establish endowment funds and initiatives for Meadows piano programs.
“Whether they know it or not, Jeanne Johnson’s legacy of philanthropy at the Meadows School has touched virtually every single music student for the last 20 years,” said Samuel Holland, Meadows School dean. “The impact of her giving included a complete renovation of the music practice room complex, new and refurbished Steinway pianos, and scholarships for deserving students – not to mention a major gift to the National Center for Arts Research. Over many years, in part because of her love for the piano, Jeanne and our distinguished artist-in-residence,Joaquín Achúcarro, developed a warm and wonderful relationship. Jeanne was seen at virtually every piano event at the Meadows School and eagerly followed the careers of Joaquín’s students and alumni. I can’t imagine a more fitting tribute for this great lady than for Achúcarro to dedicate this recital – of repertoire Jeanne particularly loved – to her memory and her legacy.”
Joaquín Achúcarro has been described by the Chicago Sun-Times as “the consummate artist.” In October 2015, the prestigious French magazine Diapason selected Achúcarro’s BMG-RCA recording of Bernard Herrmann’s Concerto Macabre for Piano and Orchestra with London’s National Philharmonic Orchestra as one of “The Best 100 Piano Recordings of All Time,” along with such legends as Rachmaninoff, Horowitz and Rubinstein. He has even had a planet named after him: The International Astronomical Union christened the miniplanet 22191 “Achúcarro” in his honor.
Since winning the 1959 Liverpool International Competition, Achúcarro has had an exceptional, uninterrupted artistic career that has earned him global recognition. He has toured 61 countries, performing in recital and as a soloist in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Berlin Philharmonie, Royal Albert Hall and Sydney Opera House. He has performed with over 200 major orchestras, from the New York, Los Angeles and London Philharmonics to La Scala of Milan and the Tokyo Symphony. He has also played with an impressive list of more than 350 conductors, including Claudio Abbado, Zubin Mehta, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Seiji Ozawa and Sir Simon Rattle. His numerous, critically acclaimed recordings include Achúcarro plays Brahms, which was named “Editor’s Choice” of Classic FM Magazine and rated “Outstanding” by theInternational Record Review, and prizewinning recordings of de Falla, Granados, Ravel and Brahms on the BMG-RCA, Claves and Ensayo labels. He has also received the highest honors in the arts bestowed in his native Spain: the Gold Medal of Fine Arts, The National Award for Music and the Great Cross of Civil Merit.
Since 1989, Achúcarro has held the Joel Estes Tate Chair in piano at the Meadows School of the Arts, adjusting his teaching periods to his busy concert schedule. He also serves as a summer professor at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Italy. In 2007, The Joaquín Achúcarro Foundation was created by a group of individuals – including Jeanne Roach Johnson – and institutions in Dallas to “perpetuate his artistic and teaching legacy” and to help young pianists at the outset of their careers.
The Distinguished Performer Concert Series presents concerts by outstanding music faculty and guest artists. The next concert is “Brahms Among Friends” at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, October 22, featuring violinist Emanuel Borok, distinguished artist-in-residence and retired concertmaster of the Dallas Symphony, and pianist Mikhail Berestnev, a Performer’s Diploma student of Joaquín Achúcarro at Meadows and award winner at numerous international competitions. For more information about the concert series, visit here.