Award-winning, Chinese-Canadian pianist Ang Li will make her Weill Recital Hall debut at Carnegie Hall with a program entitled “Years of Pilgrimage.” The concert celebrates the Liszt’s 200th birthday year and offers a selection of his works including several transcriptions as well as later compositions that reflect the influence Liszt had on later generations of composers. Ms. Li’s program also includes two premieres by fellow Canadians: the world premiere of Jared Miller’s Souvenirs d’Europe, commissioned by Ms. Li for this performance and inspired by Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage; and the US premiere of Jérôme Blais’ Es ist genug! (2007).
Other featured works are: Wagner-Liszt: Isolde’s Liebestod; Liszt: Les jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este (from Troisième année of Années de pèlerinage); Schubert-Liszt: Wohin!, Der Müller und der Bach, and Gretchen am Spinnrade; Liszt: Ballade No. 2 in B minor; Debussy: Three Preludes: Brouillards, Minstrels, Feux d’artifice, and Granados:Allegro de concierto.
Commenting on the relationship between Liszt and his new work, Souvenirs d’Europe, composer Jared Miller writes, “Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage are an extremely important milestone in his compositional output. In addition to being breathtaking displays of virtuosity, these pieces exemplify how Liszt matured musically through his years of travel. When I received this commission, I had just finished back-packing through Europe for the first time and was incredibly inspired by the sights, sounds and feelings that I experienced there. Although I do not usually write music with a particular image or program in mind, it felt natural to do this after my trip. Like Liszt, my personal pilgrimage has helped me approach music in a different way, and Souvenirs d’Europe is the result of that experience.”
Miller’s tripartite work represents the composer’s impressions of three unique and fascinating places in Europe. The first movement, entitled Fontaines, pays homage to the Cascade Donjon Waterfall in Le Parc du Chateau in Nice, France. The second movement, Origines is inspired by the significance of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, a building where millions throughout history have pondered the origins of our world. It is also the location where Western contrapuntal music originated in the 12th century and formed the basis for almost everything that came after it. The final movement, ¡La Rambla!, evokes Barcelona’s main tourist drag.
Ms. Li was introduced to the music of Jérôme Blais by the Canadian Music Centre. Originally commissioned by pianist Barbara Pritchard as part of a project of new contemporary piano music celebrating Christmas, Es ist genug! (2007) is made up of selected fragments from Bach’s music. It is left to the performer to mix the fragments and combine them into a piece of music, creating an improvisational aspect to the work. While the link to Liszt’s work is less direct, Mr. Blais stated “Bach and Liszt were both men of great faith, and supreme improvisers.”
Pianist Ang Li made her first public appearance at Beijing Concert Hall at age six. At thirteen, she made her orchestral debut with the Little Orchestra Society of New York at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. In 2007, Ms. Li was invited by The China National Center for the Performing Arts to replace pianist Yundi Li in a performance of the Ravel Piano Concerto in G major with the China National Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, Montréal Symphony Orchestra, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Staten Island Symphony, The Lanaudière Music Festival Orchestra, City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong, and American Academy of Conducting Orchestra at venues in North America, Europe and Asia. She has appeared at The Kennedy Center; Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center; National Arts Centre, Ottawa; Ruïnekerk of Bergen, Netherlands; Hong Kong City Hall; and Forbidden City Concert Hall, Beijing. She was awarded first prize and five special prizes at the 2003 OSM Competition in Montréal. She has also won first prizes at the Manhattan School of Music Concerto Competition, The Kingsville International Piano Concerto Competition, Isabel Scionti Piano Solo Competition, The Chiang Wen Yeh International Music Competition, Kiwanis Concerto Competition in Toronto, and American Academy of Conducting Piano Competition at The Aspen Music Festival. Ang Li holds a bachelor’s degree from The Curtis Institute of Music, a master’s degree from The Juilliard School, and an Artist Diploma from Texas Christian University.
Hailed by CBC Radio as “someone to watch for decades to come,”22-year old composer-pianist Jared Abraham Miller is emerging as one of Canada’s important classical musicians. Recent successes include second prize in the SOCAN Foundation National Competition for Young Composers for his piano piece Instincts, first prize in the American Protégé International Piano Competition, commissions from the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Sara Davis Buechner, and debuts at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Chan Center for the Performing Arts. Miller’s 2011-2012 season includes such highlights as eight performances of his orchestral piece, 2010 Traffic Jam by different orchestras throughout North America, the commission from Canadian pianist Ang Li for her Carnegie Hall recital debut, a collaboration with choreographer Ingrid Kapteyn and the Juilliard Dance and Music Departments and an Emerging Composer Residency with Musikon Chamber Music in Halifax, NS. Jared is currently completing his Master’s in Music Composition at The Juilliard School under Samuel Adler.
After studying Music Theory at McGill University, Jérôme Blais completed masters and doctoral degrees in composition at the University of Montreal. His works, which feature a unique encounter between traditional composition and improvisation, have been performed by several ensembles, among which are Symphony Nova Scotia, Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, Rosa Ensemble of Amsterdam, Quasar Saxophone Quartet, Bozzini String Quartet, Bradyworks, Array Music and Continuum. He has been invited as featured composer by festivals such as Newfound Music in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Shattering the Silence in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. In 2010 he was keynote speaker at the Canadian University Music Society’s annual congress and in January 2012, an excerpt of his song cycle Songs for Milena (dedicated to the memory of Czech journalist Milena Jesensnká) will be performed by Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal. He is now Professor of Composition and Music Theory at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.