“A Messiaen Matrix”
Directed by Steven Dennis Bodner
Williams College Department of Music presents A Messiaen Matrix, directed by Steven Bodner and Matthew Gold on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. in Chapin Hall on the Williams College campus. Performers include guest pianist Steven Beck and members of the Williams Chamber Players, Percussion Ensemble, Chamber Winds, Brass Ensemble, and Chamber Choir. Beck will also offer a master class to Williams College students on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 4:15 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall. These free events are open to the public.
The final concert in a semester-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the composer Olivier Messiaen, A Messiaen Matrix juxtaposes works of Messiaen with those of his teacher Paul Dukas (Fanfare from La Peri) and two of his most famous students, Karlheinz Stockhausen (Refrain) and Iannis Xenakis (Plekto). Messiaen considered himself a rhythmician, theologian… and an ornithologist, and so tonight’s concert explores his passion for and knowledge of birdsong by presenting two of his “bird” works—his monumental piano concerto Oiseaux exotiques and an excerpt from Sept Haïkaï—along with works for solo piano and the motet O sacrum convivium!
American pianist Steven Beck was born in 1978. He is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where his teachers were Seymour Lipkin, Peter Serkin and Bruce Brubaker. Described as “…one of the city’s most admired young pianists…” by The New Yorker, Beck made his debut with the National Symphony Orchestra, and has toured Japan as soloist with the New York Symphonic Ensemble. Other orchestras with which he has appeared include the New Juilliard Ensemble (under David Robertson), Sequitur, the Jupiter Symphony Chamber Players, and the Virginia Symphony.