By Rachel Miles
CLINTON, S.C.— Master pianist and scholar Andrew Willis will perform on an authentic fortepiano, the forerunner to the modern piano, on Monday, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in Edmunds Hall. The concert is part of the Spring 2014 Presbyterian College Performance Series and is hosted by the Department of Music.
Tickets are $5 for general public and $3 for PC students, faculty and staff. For more information, contact the PC Department of Music at 864-833-8470.
Willis is a graduate of the Curtis Institute, Temple University and Cornell University, where his mentors included Mieczyslaw Horszowski, Lambert Orkis and Malcolm Bilson.
Currently, Willis performs in the United States and abroad on pianos of every period. His recording of Op. 106 for the first complete Beethoven sonata cycle on period instruments 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 and early Romantic song cycles with soprano Georgine Resick, as well as 20th-century works with flutist Sue Ann Kahn.
At UNCG, where he joined the keyboard faculty in 1994, Willis performs on and teaches a range of keyboard instruments from harpsichord to modern piano. Since 2003 he has directed the biennial UNCG Focus on Piano Literature, for which he commissioned, premiered, and recorded Martin Amlin’s Sonata No. 7 (2000). Keenly interested in the history of the piano and its performance practice, he contributes regularly to conferences on keyboard music. A past president of the Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society, he serves on the Board of the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies and was a finals juror of the first Westfield International Fortepiano Competition in 2011.
In recent seasons Willis has appeared at the Boston Early Music Festival, the Bloomington Early Music Festival, and the Magnolia Baroque Festival and has performed with the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, the Apollo Ensemble, and the Philadelphia Classical Symphony. He currently extends his investigation of historical performance practice into the Romantic era with performances on an 1848 Pleyel and an 1841 Bösendorfer, and into the Baroque with performances of J. S. Bach and Italian masters on a replica of a 1735 Florentine piano.
The February performance is the fourth of the Five Concerts of Distinction at PC. The final concert is on March 10 and is a performance of the Irish band Caladh Nua.
Founded in 1880, Presbyterian College is a Carnegie One liberal arts college and is fully accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The institution confers B.A. and B.S. degrees in 32 courses of study, including music, and nine pre-professional programs including pre-law, pre-med, pre-pharmacy and pre-theological.