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This preview has been provided by the St. Stephen's Concert Series.
On Sunday, September 24 at 4:00 pm, the brilliant 22 year old pianist Alexander Beyer will open the 2017-2018 season of the St. Stephen's Concert Series with a program that features the music of Rachmaninoff. His recital at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Durham will include Rachmaninoff's Variations on a Theme of Corelli and will conclude with the composer's Second Piano Sonata, a favorite showpiece of Vladimir Horowitz. Rounding out the program will be selections from The Art of Fugue by Bach and from the 24 Preludes and Fugues by Shostakovich.
Recently, David Moran assessed Mr. Beyer's abilities in a review for The Boston Intelligencer titled "The Astonishing Alex Beyer." Here is the first sentence of the review.
"Already Beyer presents as — let me get my dictionary — a highly accomplished, confident, mature pro, complete in both skills and taste, constantly poised and strong, a player who even in savagely difficult works offers up interpretations of depth, probity and insight, and does so with easy brio, achieving renditions anyone twice or thrice his age would be grateful for."
Mr. Moran's words will come as no surprise to people who have attended concerts at St. Stephen's for the past four years. After being "discovered" at the Taos chamber music program during the summer of 2013, Mr. Beyer joined violinist Nicholas Kitchen and cellist Yeesun Kim (faculty members at Taos) to present Ravel's Piano Trio and Beethoven's "Archduke" Trio at St. Stephen's the following January. The concert was received with such enthusiasm that the three musicians gave an all Mendelssohn program a year later, and, during the 2015-2016 season, a program of piano trios by Haydn, Ives, and Schubert.
Since he was last at St. Stephen's Alex has been busy. During the coming academic year he will be completing a five year dual program at Harvard (majoring not in music, but mathematics!) and NEC (the New England Conservatory). This will culminate in a Bachelors Degree from Harvard and a Masters Degree from NEC. This would keep most mortals busy enough, but Alex has managed to find time to enter some international competitions. He won Third Prize in the 2016 Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition and was one of five finalists in American Pianists Association Awards. He has also appeared as concerto soloist with the Brussels Philharmonic, the National Orchestra of Belgium, the Royal Orchestra of Wallonia, the Harvard-Radcliff Orchestra, and the Irish National Orchestra. A year ago he gave solo recitals in The Netherlands and last January he was Young Artist in Residence on Performance Today and ClassicalMPR. Yes, he has been truly busy.
The music of Rachmaninoff has been a specialty of Alex. By going online you can hear and watch his final round performance of Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto at the Queen Elisabeth Competition and you can listen to him play five of Rachmaninoff's Etudes Tableux on Performance Today. While you are at it, you won't want to miss his youtube recordings of La Valse by Ravel.
Tickets ($25) will be available at the door (cash or check only) with free admission for those 18 or under. A half hour Pre-Concert Discussion will be held at 3:00 pm and a reception will follow the concert.