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Pianist Alexandre Tharaud to Present Artist Series Recital Oct. 23

RELEASED: Oct. 10, 2008

Alexandre Tharaud
Alexandre Tharaud

EAU CLAIRE — Internationally acclaimed pianist Alexandre Tharaud will present an all-Ravel recital Oct. 23 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The Artists Series concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Gantner Concert Hall of Haas Fine Arts Center.

The pianist will be joined by the University Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Nobuyoshi Yasuda, for the second half of the program.

"The current It boy of young French pianists is Alexandre Tharaud," wrote the Toronto Star. "At times you wonder how human fingers can achieve such delicate playing."

Tharaud's Harmonia Mundi recordings dedicated to the music of Rameau, Ravel, Bach, Chopin and Couperin (the celebrated "Tic, Toc, Choc") have received critical acclaim. His Ravel CD was greeted with the highest awards from the press and resulted in invitations to perform worldwide.

French composer Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) was celebrated for his melodies and effective tonal colors. He used classical forms to present innovative harmonies, and drew inspiration from the sounds of jazz, Asian music and European folk songs. His works for piano demand virtuosic ability from the performer.

Tharaud will begin the program with Ravel's "Sonatine," "Miroirs" and "Le Tombeau de Couperin." The diminutive title of "Sonatine" (1903-1905) refers to the work's modest length rather than the ease of execution. Ravel himself made piano roll recordings of the first and second movements, but found the third too technically challenging to record. "Miroirs" (1904-1905) is a five-movement piece that evokes the effect of seeing one's reflection in a mirror. Each movement is dedicated to someone in Ravel's life. "Le Tombeau de Couperin" (1914-1917) is a reflective, six-movement piece, with each movement dedicated to the memory of friends Ravel lost during World War I.

The University Symphony Orchestra will join Tharaud for a performance of the Piano Concerto in G major (1929-1931), which Ravel wrote after his successful piano tour of America. The three-part work reflects the composer's admiration for jazz. "Personally, I find jazz most interesting," Ravel once said, "the rhythms, the way the melodies are handled, the melodies themselves. I have heard of George Gershwin's works and I find them intriguing."

Alexandre Tharaud graduated with top honors from the Conservatoire supérieur de musique in Paris. His first solo piano recording for Harmonia Mundi was one of the recording events of 2001. After this international success, he gave recitals in the leading concert halls of Europe, North and South America and Asia. He has performed as a soloist with major orchestras in France and abroad, and also devotes a large part of his activity to chamber music. He is an enthusiastic advocate of the music of his own time and dedicatee of many new works.

The University Symphony Orchestra is a 60-member student ensemble which presents an on-campus concert each semester, tours Wisconsin and Minnesota high schools each year, and is featured each spring at UW-Eau Claire's internationally known Viennese Ball. Nobuyoshi Yasuda was appointed orchestra director in 1991. He began his musical studies on the violin at the age of 3, and holds a bachelor of music degree from Soai University in Japan and a master of music degree from Indiana University, Bloomington.

Tickets are $17 for the public, $15 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff, and $7 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Student tickets are half-price ($3.50) until the day of the event. On the day of the event, students will be required to pay the full student ticket price.

Tickets are available at the Service Center in the east lobby of Davies Center, 715-836-3727, and will be sold at the door. Tickets for campus events also are on sale at the Service Center's ticket office in the main lobby of Haas Fine Arts Center. The ticket outlet is open Monday-Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and closed during holidays and academic breaks.

Patrons may charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call 715-836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free 800-949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.

The Artists Series is supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the state of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Wisconsin Public Radio and Community Television have contributed promotional support. Best Western Trail Lodge Hotel & Suites (715-838-9989) at 3340 Mondovi Road is the accommodations partner for the Artists Series.

Funded by UW-Eau Claire students, the Artists Series is administered by the Activities and Programs office of the University Centers.

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JS/JB

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