September 26, 2014
Award-winning international concert pianists Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung and Dallas Symphony percussionists Douglas Howard and Brian Jones, all of whom are SMU Meadows faculty members, will join forces for a dynamic concert at SMU on Sunday, Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m.
The concert is the second offering in this season’s Faculty Artist and Distinguished Alumni Recital Series at SMU Meadows, which features performances by outstanding faculty and/or alumni who maintain concert careers.
Bax and Chung, who are husband and wife, will perform masterpieces of the 20th century from the two-piano repertoire. The program opens with Lutoslawski’s Variations on a Theme by Paganini; its punchy rhythms and sharp edges take Paganini’s famous 24th Caprice to an exciting new level. It will be followed by Bartok’s epic Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion with Howard and Jones. One of Bartok’s most unusual and beloved works, it features two pianists and two percussionists playing seven different instruments.
The second half of the concert will showcase two early 20th-century French works. Debussy’s En blanc et noir was inspired by the sonorities of two pianos – its title translates to “In black and white,” a reference to the color of piano keys. Composed during World War I, it incorporates numerous references to war and recalls the gloomy and fantastic imagery of Velásquez and Goya. The concert concludes with Ravel’s La Valse, composed in 1919-20. Originally scored for two pianos, it “takes the waltz as a symbol of 19th-century opulence and, through the filter of reality and the tragedy of war, distorts and corrupts it before spinning it into oblivion,” said Bax. “It is one of the most engrossing pieces of music of the 20th century, a symbol of uncertainty and the end of an era.”
The concert will be held in Caruth Auditorium, located in the Owen Arts Center, 6101 Bishop Blvd. on the SMU campus in Dallas. Tickets are $13 for adults, $10 for seniors and $7 for students and SMU faculty and staff. For more information, call the Meadows ticket office at 214-768-2787 or visit meadows.smu.edu.
ABOUT THE PERFORMERS
Born in Montréal, Canadian pianist Lucille Chung has been acclaimed for her “stylish and refined” performances by Gramophone. Since her debut at age 10 with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, she has toured with Charles Dutoit in Asia and has performed with over 65 leading orchestras around the world, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Moscow Virtuosi, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, KBS Orchestra, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica de Tenerífe, Staatskapelle Weimar, UNAM Philharmonic (Mexico), Flemish Radio Orchestra, Belgrade Philharmonic, and New Jersey Symphony as well as all the major Canadian orchestras, including Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, among others. She has appeared with conductors such as Nézet-Séguin, Penderecki, Spivakov, Oundjian, Petrenko and Dutoit.
Chung has given solo recitals at the finest concert halls in over 30 countries including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, Washington’s Kennedy Center, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Wigmore Hall in London, and Madrid’s Auditorio Nacional. Festival appearances include the Verbier, Dresden, Bard, Music@Menlo and Santander festivals.
She graduated from both the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School before she turned 20. She furthered her studies in London with Maria Curcio, at the “Mozarteum” in Salzburg, and in Weimar and Imola, Italy with Lazar Berman. She also studied with Joaquín Achúcarro at SMU where she is now on the faculty. In Dallas, she serves as co-artistic director of the Joaquín Achúcarro Foundation.
Chung has received excellent reviews worldwide for her discs of the complete works of Ligeti as well as Scriabin piano works on the Dynamic label, garnering 5 Stars from the BBC Music Magazine and Fono Forum in Germany, as well as R10 from Répertoire Classica in France. She also recorded “Saint-Saëns Piano Transcriptions” and ”Mozart & Me” on the XXI/Universal label and recently released a piano duo album with Alessio Bax for Signum Records.
Highlights of this upcoming season include her debuts with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Teatro Colón Philharmonic in Buenos Aires, and a recording of music by Poulenc for Signum Records.
She is fluent in French, English, Korean, Italian, German and Russian. She and her husband, pianist Alessio Bax, live in New York City with their daughter Mila.
Pianist Alessio Bax creates “a ravishing listening experience” (Gramophone) with his lyrical playing, insightful interpretations, and dazzling facility. First Prize winner at the Leeds and Hamamatsu international piano competitions – and a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient – he has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras, including the London and Royal Philharmonic orchestras, the Dallas and Houston symphonies, the NHK Symphony in Japan, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic with Yuri Temirkanov, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Sir Simon Rattle.
After a summer residency debut at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Bax launched the 2014-15 season with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, playing two Mozart piano concertos for the society’s opening-night gala. October brings the release of his next solo album for Signum Classics, an all-Beethoven program featuring the “Hammerklavier” and “Moonlight” Sonatas. Upcoming orchestral engagements include Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto and Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto with London’s Royal Philharmonic on a UK tour, as well as appearances with orchestras in Denmark, Finland and the U.S. With violinist Joshua Bell, Bax embarks on three extensive tours of Europe and the United States, crowned by dates at London’s Wigmore Hall and L.A.’s Disney Hall.
Among recent highlights are Rachmaninov and Mozart with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic under Temirkanov, Barber with the Dallas Symphony under Jaap van Zweden, Mozart with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra under Hans Graf, and debuts at Washington’s Kennedy Center, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and 92nd Street Y, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Besides giving solo recitals last season at Lincoln Center, in Atlanta, Dallas, Minneapolis and Tokyo, Bax partnered with pianist Lucille Chung in the U.S., Canada and Hong Kong, and Joshua Bell in South America. In 2013, he received the Andrew Wolf Chamber Music Award and Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, which recognizes young artists of exceptional accomplishment.
Bax’s acclaimed discography includes Bax & Chung (Stravinsky, Brahms, Piazzolla), Alessio Bax plays Mozart (Piano Concertos K. 491 and K. 595), Alessio Bax plays Brahms (Gramophone “Critic’s Choice”), Rachmaninov: Preludes and Melodies (American Record Guide “Critics’ Choice 2011”), and Bach Transcribed; and for Warner Classics, Baroque Reflections (Gramophone “Editor’s Choice”).
At age 14, Bax graduated with top honors from the conservatory of his hometown, Bari, Italy, and after further studies in Europe moved to Dallas to study with Joaquín Achúcarro at Southern Methodist University where he now serves on the piano faculty. A Steinway artist, he resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Lucille Chung.
Douglas Howard is the principal percussionist and assistant timpanist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. He has been an adjunct professor of percussion at SMU since 1977 and is a founding member of the percussion group D’Drum. After earning a B.S. in music education from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1970, Howard joined the United States Air Force Concert Band in Washington, D.C., where he played timpani and percussion for four years. While serving in the Air Force he earned a Master of Music degree in percussion performance from the Catholic University of America. Upon completion of his military duties, Howard was a fellowship student at the 1974 Aspen Music Festival where he studied with retired Philadelphia Orchestra principal percussionist Charles Owen.
In 1974 Howard was appointed principal percussionist of the Louisville Orchestra where he played one season before accepting the position with the Dallas Symphony in 1975. In 1982 he was invited to join the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School where he spends five weeks teaching and performing each summer. He is also the principal percussionist for the Peninsula Music Festival in Door County, Wis., each August.
In 2006 Howard received the Sabian Lifetime Achievement award at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC). He has presented clinics at PASIC on several occasions and is a former member of the PAS board of directors. He has also been on the faculty of the Oberlin Percussion Institute and the Ludwig International Percussion Symposium. Howard has toured Europe and Asia with the Dallas Symphony and has played multiple concerts with the orchestra in New York’s Carnegie Hall. He can be heard on numerous Dallas Symphony recordings on several different record labels including RCA, Angel-EMI, Telarc, Dorian, Delos and Pro Arte.
Brian Jones joined the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as principal timpanist in 2011, after having served thirteen seasons as principal timpanist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Jones has also performed as guest principal timpanist with the orchestras of Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco and Columbus, and has performed as a percussionist with the orchestras of Chicago, Boston, Houston and the Grand Teton Music Festival. He has toured and recorded with the Empire Brass Quintet, appeared as a performer on NBC’s The Today Show, and was featured in a command performance for Prince Rainier of Monaco. As an undergraduate at The University of North Texas, he was a member of the Grammy-nominated One O’clock Lab Band, playing drum set and bass trombone in alternate semesters. Jones served as adjunct professor of percussion at The University of Michigan from 2001 to 2011 and is currently a faculty member at SMU Meadows. He has been recorded in a wide variety of musical settings and has premiered solo works with the Detroit Symphony, the New World Symphony and The University of Michigan.