Works by renowned Russian composers Rachmaninoff, Gershwin and Tchaikovsky will be among the featured pieces in the Mary Pappert School of Music’s new Moscow on the Bluff series.
The five-concert series will highlight music by some of Russia’s greatest composers and feature performances by numerous members of the music school faculty, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and other internationally acclaimed artists. David Allen Wehr, the Jack W. Geltz Piano Chair in the music school, returns as the series’ artistic director and pianist.
“I hadn’t done Russian music before, partly because so much of it is heard regularly in concerts, but it’s always been a repertoire I have loved—it’s not hard to see why,” Wehr said. “The music is highly emotional, dramatic and virtuosic—all qualities that are crowd-pleasing. I’ve put together programs that balance the perennial favorites with less-heard Russian repertoire; and strong, early ticket sales indicate a high level of interest.”
Throughout the series, Wehr said that popular favorites such as Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Gershwin’s Summertime and Our Love is Here to Stay will rub shoulders with hidden gems from Stravinsky, Glinka and Shostakovich.
All concerts are at 3 p.m. in the PNC Recital Hall. Each will be preceded by a 2:30 p.m. pre-concert conversation with the featured artists to enhance the audience listening experience and encourage a “closer rapport” with the performers.
Moscow on the Bluff kicks off Sunday, July 29, with Concert I: Summertime. Soprano Sari Gruber and bass guitarist Bill Purse will join jazz pianist Joe Utterback on Gershwin’s Someone to Watch Over Me, Our Love is Here to Stay, Embraceable You and Summertime. In addition to Utterback’s improvisations on themes from Porgy and Bess, Gruber and Wehr will present a group of songs written by Rachmaninoff followed by Wehr’s performance of Fantasy Pieces and Prelude in C-Sharp Minor by the same composer.
Other Moscow on the Bluff series dates include:
- Concert II: Rachmaninoff Doubled, Sunday, Sept. 9
- Concert III: Tchaikovsky in Italy, Sunday, Sept. 23
- Concert IV: Pictures at an Exhibition, Sunday, Jan. 20
- Concert V: Nissman Plays Prokofieff, Sunday, March 3.
Season pass holders for last year’s Schubert on the Bluff series (year three) may renew their same seats now for $75 until 10 a.m. Monday, June 18, at which point new season passes will be available for $75. Individual concert tickets go on sale on Monday, July 2, for $15 each.
For more information on the Moscow on the Bluff series, visit duq.edu/bluffseries.