University of Washington piano professor and veteran concert pianist Craig Sheppard already started his concert season with a bang in October when he appeared at Meany Hall with the Emerson String Quartet for a feisty performance of Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet.
This week, Sheppard returns to the Meany stage with markedly different fare. His “Mostly Brahms” concert on Tuesday is the final recital in a series which began in late 2010. It packages Schumann’s Fantasy in C, Opus 17 (“arguably the greatest large-scale solo piano work of the 19th century,” he says) with Brahms’ earliest published solo piano work (Scherzo in E flat minor, Opus 4) and his final two published works (Sechs Klavierstücke, Opus 118, and Vier Klavierstücke, Opus 119).
In a phone interview last month, Sheppard explained that Schumann was Brahms’ mentor and close friend for a short period: “So there’s a whole tie-in that way. I’m hoping to make a case for that.”
The Nov. 5 concert is the only solo recital Sheppard will give this year. After that he’ll concentrate on preparing his six-CD set of Brahms piano pieces for release on Romeo Records in late spring 2014.
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For anyone knocked out by Sheppard’s performance with the Emerson String Quartet in October, there’s good news on the Shostakovich front. His next big solo recital, scheduled for the spring of 2015, is the Russian composer’s epic-length 24 Preludes and Fugues, Opus 87.
“It will be the 40th anniversary of his death,” Sheppard notes, “so it will be a sort of Shostakovich year, anyway. And it’s something I’ve really wanted to do for a long while. So that will be my project.”
Michael Upchurch: firstname.lastname@example.org