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Arnowitt Piano Concert at Christ Church

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Michael Arnowitt at the piano. Photo by Charley Freiberg.
Michael Arnowitt returns to Montpelier to perform a classical piano concert at Christ Church in Montpelier on Saturday, March 2 at 7 p.m. The pianist, who lived in Montpelier from 1985 to 2017, will present an engaging program of colorful, diverse, and emotionally moving personal favorites, with a view to celebrating the church’s new grand piano and post-flood look.

The feature piece on the program is the last piano sonata Beethoven composed, his Sonata no. 32, opus 111, universally considered one of the greatest pieces of piano music ever written. Composed near the end of Beethoven’s life as his health was deteriorating, this visionary music leaves the physical world of the piano’s hammers and strings, taking us on inner journeys to sounds Beethoven could not hear in the external world because of his deafness but could hear in his imagination. This extraordinary sonata, touching upon themes of gratitude, healing, resurrection, wonder at nature, and spiritual ecstasy, has moved generations of music lovers around the world for 200
years.

The program also includes excerpts from Stravinsky’s ballet Petrushka, bright and lively music about three puppets coming to life at a country fair; as well as four of Brahms’ bittersweet intermezzos, Bach’s “Sleepers Awake” and two selections from The Art of the Fugue, and music by Arthur Lourié, a forgotten composer from 100 years ago whose absorbing and one-of-a-kind music is just now being rediscovered.

From more recent decades, Arnowitt will perform two masterworks by Ligeti, “Open Strings” and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” from a collection of piano pieces composed in the 1980s and 1990s that have become instant classics, and the Ukrainian composer Victoria Poleva’s 2019 “Ischia Island,” a soulful and atmospheric piece Poleva sent Arnowitt in January 2022, just before Russia invaded Ukraine.

Arnowitt has performed around the world, including Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Budapest, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Seoul. He has performed as piano soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Kyiv Chamber Orchestra. The Washington Post said of a concert Michael Arnowitt performed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., “he played with an exquisite sense of touch, color and musical imagination.” He is currently working on a book of essays about music, to be published later in 2024 by the Burlington-based Fomite Press. 

Tickets are $20 in advance, available at Naive Melody Instruments, 95 State Street in Montpelier, or $25 at the door or online at MAPiano.eventbrite.com. Students 18 or younger will be admitted free (student tickets at the door only). Christ Church is located at 64 State Street in Montpelier. For further information, email MA@MAPiano.com or call 802-229-0984.

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