Classical Pianist Brian Ganz Continues His "Extreme Chopin" Quest Oct. 16 in Germantown MD

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Ganz's goal is to be the first to perform all 250 works of Chopin. He began his quest in January with a capacity crowd of 2000 at Strathmore Hall in Bethesda. In Germantown he will offer some "Musical Gardening"

Last January, pianist Brian Ganz embarked on his quest to perform all of Frédéric Chopin’s approximately 250 works over the next decade in what has been called “Extreme Chopin.” On Sunday, October 16, at 7 pm, Ganz will perform a selection of Chopin pieces from the first installment of the Chopin Project at BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown. In addition to Chopin, Ganz will also perform Sonata in C sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 by Beethoven; Consolation No. 3 in D flat major by Liszt; Reflets dans l’eau, from Images by Debussy. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at 240-912-1058 or online at http://www.blackrockcenter.org

“I have titled part of the program 'Musical Gardening,'” Ganz explained. "I play very early works followed immediately by more mature works. In this way I show how the early pieces contain ‘seeds’ of Chopin's genius, metaphorically speaking, and the later works demonstrate the full ‘flowering’ of that genius."

Ganz, who is known for delving into the music and explaining its context and history, said, “I will speak to the audience about the 'Musical Gardening’ metaphor and show how it operates in the pieces.” The Chopin pieces, which are part of The Musical Gardening performance include: Walz in E major, Waltz in C sharp minor, Op. 64, No. 2, Mazurka in B flat major, and Mazurka in F sharp minor, Op. 6, No. 1. Ganz will end the performance with Chopin’s Ballade No. 3 in A flat major, Op. 47.

Ganz’s recordings have been released on the Accord label in Paris. He has begun a project with Maestoso Records to record the complete works of Chopin and has also recorded on the Gailly label in Belgium. In addition, he has been named an artist/editor for the Schirmer Performance Editions, which has already published his Chopin Preludes.

“Chopin’s music is the language of my soul, and I have dreamed since childhood of someday performing all of his works,” said Ganz, who is widely regarded as one of the leading pianists of his generation.

“There isn’t much about Chopin that Brian Ganz doesn’t know,” The Washington Post has written. “The pianist has explored the nocturnes, the etudes, the sonatas and concertos and the rest in concerts, master classes and recordings for years now. His delight and wonder in this music seems to grow, apparently without bounds, as time goes on.”

In January 2010, Ganz visited Poland, where he was invited by the renowned conductor Miroslaw Blaszczyk to play with the Filharmonia Slaska and Filharmonia Pomorska. The experience of visiting Chopin’s home country affected Ganz profoundly. “Chopin is Poland’s national treasure. His face was pictured everywhere, sometimes with no name under it and no caption of any kind. It is almost as if he is the air people breathe. This was profoundly satisfying to me, because he has always been the air I breathe,” Ganz said. “I visited the church where his heart lies in Warsaw. I visited the monument where outside concerts take place under a graceful, sweeping statue of him. I took a taxi to his birthplace in Zelazowa Wola. The whole experience was a pilgrimage for me.”

On numerous occasions, Ganz has brought his entire collection of Chopin’s music to a performance so that he can accept requests from the audience. "One of my lifelong goals has been to study every single note Chopin composed," Ganz said. "This project gives me a lovely framework within which to reach that goal." In an exuberant review of a Ganz performance, The Washington Post wrote, “One comes away from a recital by pianist Brian Ganz not only exhilarated by the power of the performance but also moved by his search for artistic truth.”

Ganz has shared First Grand Prize in the Marguerite Long Jacques Thibaud International Piano Competition and won a silver medal (third prize) in the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium International Competition. He has performed as a soloist with such orchestras as the St. Louis Symphony, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the City of London Sinfonia and Paris’s L’Orchestre Lamoureux and under the direction of conductors such as Leonard Slatkin, Mstislav Rostropovich and Piotr Gajewski.

He is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music, where he studied with Leon Fleisher. Earlier teachers include Yida Novik and Claire Deene. Gifted as a teacher himself, Ganz is a member of the piano faculty and Artist-in-Residence at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. He also serves on the piano faculty of the Peabody Conservatory. He has served on the jury of the Long Thibaud Competition in Paris.

“We are thrilled to be bring Brian to BlackRock during his quest to play all of Chopin’s works,” said Charlotte Sommers, BlackRock executive director. “This is history in the making, and we are honored to be a part of it.”

BlackRock Center for the Arts is a cultural cornerstone of Germantown that engages the communities of Upper Montgomery County to explore, experience, and celebrate the arts. For further information about BlackRock, call the center at 301.528.2260 or visit http://www.blackrockcenter.org. BlackRock is located at 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown, Maryland, near the intersection of Middlebrook Rd. and Route 118 (Germantown Rd.).

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