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We welcome Dr. Weng for an exclusive All-Beethoven performance at UNC Campus Commons on November 13th, at 3:00pm!

About the Artist:

Steinway Artist Dr. Lei Weng enjoys a successful international career as an accomplished pianist, a dedicated teacher, and a sought-after adjudicator and clinician. Hailed as “a colorist of exemplary control” by the New York Concert Review for his sold-out Carnegie Hall debut, he has performed at prestigious venues around the world, including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Merkin Concert Hall, Chicago Culture Center, Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., China National Center for Performing Arts, Taiwan National Concert Hall and Kaohsiung Cultural Center, Royal College of Music (U.K.), Banff Center (Canada), Peterskirche (Vienna), Basilica di San Pietro (Italy), and Singapore National University. He has performed at such renowned music festivals as Tanglewood Music Festival, Cliburn Institute/PianoTexas International Festival, Messiaen Festival (University of Chicago), Music Fest Perugia (Italy), Pianoforte-Fest Meissen (Germany), Sarasota Festival, Vianden Festival (Luxemburg), Rocky Ridge Music Center and Breckenridge Music Festival.

As a frequent concerto soloist, he has appeared with such conductors as Gerhardt Zimmerman, Steven Smith, Uri Segal, Robert Olson, Geoffrey Simon, Glen Cortese, Wes Kenney, Lingfen Wu, Zushan Bian, and with more than thirty orchestras in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, including the Symphony Orchestras of Fort Worth, Fort Collins, Gimhae (Korea), Kaohsiung (Taiwan), Alicante (Spain), Perugia (Italy), Campinas (Brazil), Beijing (China), Costa Rica, Breckinridge Music Festival, and the China National Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

As an avid chamber music performer, he has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Associate Concertmaster Stephanie Jeong, Dallas Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Nathan Olson, Naumburg Competition Winner David Requiro, and members the of New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra and Boston Symphony. He has also worked closely and performed with such eminent musicians as Jerome Lowenthal, James Levine, Emmanuel Ax, Cho-Liang Lin, Pamela Frank, James Tocco, Dawn Upshaw, and Lucy Shelton.

A dedicated educator, Dr. Weng is the Professor of Piano and Keyboard Area Head at the University of Northern Colorado. He was the recipient of the “2015 College of Performing and Visual Arts Scholar of the Year”. He has been frequently invited as guest professor by conservatories and universities around the world, including the Royal College of Music (UK), Conservatoire de Versailles (France), University of Saarbrücken (Germany), China Central Conservatory and Shanghai Conservatory, Singapore National University, Taiwan National Normal University, and universities of Boston, Cincinnati, Texas and Colorado. His students have won top prizes in numerous national and international competitions. They have been admitted to such top schools as Julliard School, Eastman School of Music, Peabody Institute of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, New England Conservatory, University of Cincinnati, Oberlin Conservatory, and Manhattan School of Music. Dr. Weng is the Founder and Director of the Colorado International Piano Academy & Festival and Colorado Piano Festival, two intensive piano programs that take place at UNC.

As a frequent jury member of national and international competitions, Dr. Weng has been invited to serve in jury panels of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, International Rachmaninoff Piano Competition (Moscow), Beethoven Piano Competition (UK), Hong Kong International Music Competition, “Nuova Coppa Pianisti” International Piano Competition (Italy), China National Piano Competition, “Parnassus” Piano Competition (Mexico), “Concurso Internacional de María Clara Cullell” (Costa Rica), and MTNA Competitions. In addition, he has been serving as the Chairman of Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation Keyboard Scholarships since 2012.

 

Dr. Weng holds degrees of BM from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, MM and DMA from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. His primary teachers include Frank Weinstock, William Black, Claude Frank, Jerome Lowenthal, Zhou Guangren, Guo Zhihong, and Xie Yuan.

RECITAL PROGRAM

 

Ludwig van Beethoven

 

Bagatelles, Op. 119

G minor. Allegretto
C major. Andante con moto
D major. A l'Allemande
A major. Andante cantabile
C minor. Risoluto
A minor. Vivace moderato
B♭ major. Andante, ma non troppo

 

Piano Sonata in C Major, Op. 53 “Waldstein”

I. Allegro con brio

II. Introduzione. Adagio molto

III. Rondo. Allegretto moderato – Prestissimo

 

INTERMISSION

Piano Sonata in C minor, Op. 111

I. Maestoso – Allegro con brio ed appassionato

II. Arietta: Adagio molto semplice e cantabile

 

PROGRAM NOTES

by Hanguang Wang

Ludwig van Beethoven 

Bagatelles, Op. 119:

G minor. Allegretto
C major. Andante con moto
D major. A l'Allemande
A major. Andante cantabile
C minor. Risoluto
A minor. Vivace moderato
B♭ major. Andante, ma non troppo

 

The Harvard Dictionary of Music contains the entry, “Bagatelle—a short piece by Beethoven whose Bagatelles Opus. 33, 119 and 126 mark the beginning of the extensive literature of the nineteenth century character pieces. Masters contributed to the vast field of character pieces beginning with Beethoven who opened this repertory with his Bagatelles.” Beethoven’s Bagatelles are short, lyrical, delicate and often whimsical miniatures that he viewed as occasional works. He composed 26 bagatelles in total, of which Für Elise in A minor is the best known of all. The first six bagatelles of Op. 119 existed as sketches and were probably written during the last decade of eighteenth century, bearing the composer’s inscription “Kleinigkeiten”, meaning “little trifles.” The last five pieces emerged in 1821 were originally written to be included in Friedrich Starke's Wiener pianoforte Schule. As Starke observed, “the connoisseur will soon realize that not only is the individual genius of the famous master brilliantly displayed in each piece, but that what Beethoven with characteristic modesty calls trifles are in fact full of instruction for the performer and demand the most complete penetration into the spirit of the composition.”

 

Piano Sonata in C Major, Op. 53 “Waldstein”                

I. Allegro con brio

II. Introduzione. Adagio molto

III. Rondo. Allegretto moderato – Prestissimo

 

Piano Sonata No. 21 in C Major, Op. 53 is given the name “Waldstein” after Count Ferdinand von Waldstein, his first protector as well as a close friend in Bonn, the one who arranged for Beethoven to study with Haydn in Vienna. The music is also known as “L’Aurore” (The Dawn), as a result of the aesthetical significations of the work: light and serenity. The movements of the sonata can be interpreted as different moments of a day. The first movement is a pleasant yet noisy and roaring day. The second movement can be interpreted as a calm night while the third movement is the ardent dawn of a new day.

 

The “Waldstein” sonata was composed in 1804, in the period known as Beethoven’s “Heroic” decade (1893-1812), and also at the same time as the "Eroica" Symphony. These two outstanding works profoundly reflect Beethoven's understanding of life, society and nature from different perspectives. The "Eroica" Symphony concentrates on revealing Beethoven's view of heroes, while the “Waldstein” sonata distinctly reflects Beethoven's view of nature. His love for nature, the spiritual power and philosophical inspiration he gained from nature are fully reflected in this sonata.

 

The most striking feature of the “Waldstein”, one of the most dazzlingly brilliant of all Beethoven’s middle-period works, is that it presents an extraordinary technical challenge, far beyond the scope of Beethoven’s previous works for solo piano. As the American pianist and music critic, Charles Rosen pointed out, many harmonic, figurative and textural procedures that had formerly been reserved for concertos are introduced into the framework of a sonata for the first time, lending the “Waldstein” its special drama and brilliance. In this way, the “Waldstein” is representative of both the composer’s evolving style and the increased technical capacity of the 19th-century fortepiano.

Piano Sonata in C minor, Op. 111

I. Maestoso – Allegro con brio ed appassionato

II. Arietta: Adagio molto semplice e cantabile

           

Piano Sonata in C minor, Op. 111 was Beethoven’s last piano sonata, finished in 1822 and published the following year, dedicated to Archduke Rudolph, Beethoven’s devoted patron and pupil. From 1803, Rudolph began taking piano and composition lessons from Beethoven. They became friends and continued their relationship until the end of their lives.

 

In Beethoven’s late music, private ideas and personal pain found their way into public discussion. Extremes of despair and sublimity find expression within the same piece, notably in his piano sonata, Op. 111. Beethoven casts the sonata in just two movements that both contrast with and complement one another. The first is majestic, chaotic and passionate, with its brusque dramatic gestures, terse octave statements, downward plunging sequences, and extremes of register; while the second movement enters another sound world, altogether calmer, more reflective, and serene. The music charts a characteristic Beethoven journey from darkness to light. More than that, he embodies this dichotomy on multiple planes: sonata and variation forms, major and minor, Allegro and Adagio, heroic and reflective, turmoil and serenity.

 

At the same time, the work is extremely refined and compact in its emotion and energy, casting aside all constraints. The magnificent first movement is followed by a second movement that is far removed from the mundane realm. After this celestial music, the piece is all but finished, and there is no longer any need for a witty Scherzo or lively final movement.