Piano Events, Fall 2021

Bach's Piano

To inaugurate one of the Center’s latest acquisitions – a copy of the famed fortepiano by Gottfried Silbermann that Bach was known to have endorsed late in his life by Paul McNulty (gift of Professor Emeritus Malcolm Bilson) – Mike Lee gives a solo lecture-recital that juxtaposes seldom-performed works by Haydn from the 1760s with Bach’s magisterial Partita in C minor, BWV 826.

Two performances of the same program will take place at 6pm and 8pm, Friday September 24th .

A. D. White House

Space is limited, please RSVP for one of the two performances here.

The Keyboard Salon

Hosted in the intimate setting of our keyboard gallery at 726 University Avenue, this semester sees the launch of a new series for the CCHK to connect more personally with our patrons and to engage in ideas and topics that are difficult to present in the traditional concert or lecture format. Each Salon begins at 6pm and is accompanied by complimentary refreshments (pending COVID-19 protocols), and the format will be informal and interactive. The first two Salons will be led by artist-in-residence Mike Lee. The first will engage with the topic of Beethoven’s pianism, specifically the “productive tensions” that he exploits with the instruments at his disposal; the second will make use of the collection’s 1859 Pleyel pianino to look closely at a yet undiscovered set of connections between Chopin’s difficult personal circumstances on the island of Majorca during the winter of 1838-39 and a well-known sketch leaf that contains two of the most iconic works for solo piano in the 19th-century dating from that time. Seating is limited to 12.

Salon 1: A Feature of Beethoven’s Pianism

5pm, Friday October 1st

Keyboard Gallery, 726 University Avenue

Salon 2: Chopin, the Pleyel Pianino, and a Sketch Leaf from Majorca

5pm, Friday November 19th

A. D. White House

Présences Lointaines (Distant Presences)

Distant Presences presents a panorama of formidable and rarely performed French piano music spanning three centuries, in advance of the release of Andrew Zhou’s upcoming album “Présences Lointaines” on the French label Solstice, which was supported in part by the Cornell Center for Historical Keyboards. The concert, played on a modern Steinway, will feature works by Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, one of the only well-known female composer-clavecinistes of the Ancien Régime (her grand suite in D minor from her second book of Pièces de clavecin, which received a first recording on a modern piano on this disc), the ex-naval officer Antoine Mariotte’s hyper-romantic piano sonata from 1905, Didier Rotella’s Etude en blanc no. 2 (Hommage à Maurice Ravel), a virtuosic, hallucinatory work commissioned for Mr. Zhou, and Zhou’s original transcription of Ravel’s Suite no. 2 from Daphnis and Chloé. Rounding out the program are gems by Marie Jaëll, Lili Boulanger, and Saint-Saëns. This disc and program were made possible with additional support from the Galaxie-y Foundation.

8pm, Friday November 5th

Barnes Hall

Future Imperfect:
Brahms and the Passage of Time

Future Imperfect: Brahms and the Passage of Time will continue this semester live in person. Having opened the series earlier this year with a complete performance of the original 1854 version of Brahms’s Op. 8 Piano Trio on our newly-acquired 1857 J. B. Streicher piano, Roger Moseley, John Haines-Eitzen, and Rebecca Anderson will reprise their performance in Barnes Hall and will pair the work with songs by Beethoven and Schubert that appear as fragmentary allusions in the work. On the preceding day, Mike Lee and Ji Young Kim will explore Brahms’ special relationship with Clara Schumann through the variation genre: this program will feature two variation sets that Brahms dedicated to Clara on the 1835 Simon piano – Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, Op. 9 and the “Handel” variations, Op. 24.

Brahms Op. 9 and Op. 24 Variations

Two performances of the same program will take place at 6pm and 8pm, Friday November 12th

A. D. White House

Brahms Op. 8 (original 1854 version)

3pm, Saturday November 13th

Barnes Hall

End of Year Gala

The CCHK presents a weekend-long end-of-year gala celebration. Xak Bjerken, Malcolm Bilson, and Mike Lee will share the Barnes Hall stage alongside students on multiple instruments from the center’s collection. This will be followed the next day by a mini-symposium with guest speakers on the topic of instrument conservation and collection management. The weekend will conclude with a celebration of the career of our longtime colleague and friend, Ken Walkup, who not only has served as Cornell’s chief piano technician but has been a key contributor to the Center’s maturation in more ways we can acknowledge.

Gala Concert

8pm, Friday December 10th

Barnes Hall


9:30am, Saturday December 11th

Lincoln Hall

*All in-person events will follow current Cornell COVID-19 protocols as detailed on our homepage.*