On Sunday, October 26, 2014, at 4 p.m., a concert titled Bach – A Three Part Invention will open “Castleton in Performance,” the 2014 fall series presented by the Castleton Festival in Virginia.
This concert is dedicated to the memory of Lorin Maazel, one of the great conductors of the 20th and 21st centuries, who was the founder and artistic director of the Castleton Festival.
Italian pianist Stefano Greco will perform the complete Goldberg Variations, to be followed by a “Coffee Cantata” (afternoon tea/coffee and discussion between the performers and the audience), and concluded by the performance of an arrangement of the Goldberg Variations by Colonel John Bourgeois for chamber winds and timpani, conducted by Col. Bourgeois.
Colonel Bourgeois told Lorin Maazel about the arrangement during their last encounter in July and was assured by Maestro Maazel that the piece would be performed. In programming the new series, Dietlinde Turban Maazel (widow of Lorin Maazel, now Artistic Director and Director of Administration of the Festival) included the Bourgeois arrangement and consulted members of the Keyboard Trust (with whom Castleton has had a long relationship) about recommending a Bach specialist to perform the Goldberg Variations. The Trust immediately put her in contact with Stefano Greco.
The all-Bach program was chosen as a tribute to the late Maestro Maazel because of his special fondness for the music of the composer, which, as a Fulbright student in Italy from 1951 to 1953 studying Baroque music, he came to love.
Stefano Greco’s appearance is a collaboration between the Castleton Festival and the Keyboard Trust, as Mr. Greco is both a highly respected pianist and a Bach specialist.
The concert will take place in the Theatre House, an intimate, 140-seat proscenium theatre, in Castleton, VA.
Tickets for the concert are $40 for adults, $20 for youth under 18 (group discounts available upon request).
The event will be live streamed and replayed on castletonfestival.org.
To purchase tickets, please visit www.castletonfestival.org or call the Box Office at 1-866-974-0767.
Ms. Turban Maazel commented: “The Goldberg Variations are so special and popular, because each variation has its own distinct personality. They represent a complete emotional world captured in music – every human emotion is present. This, and the fact that Bach gives no tempo, dynamic and (with a few exceptions) articulation indications, forces the performer to be supremely sensitive and creative. In the tradition of the grand interpreters such as Glenn Gould, Wilhelm Kempff and Murray Perahia, Stefano Greco has created his own very personal concept while remaining a deeply respectful and true Bach scholar. I am enthusiastic about presenting this extraordinary pianist in Castleton, in a rare pairing of the keyboard piece with a transcription. The work is scored for wind instruments and timpani. The instruments are used in diverse combinations: the smallest unit is a trio, and the largest (in Variation Sixteen) includes all the instruments. The color of each wind instrument enhances the emotional quality of each variation, from introvert to comical, melancholy to joyous, from despair to religious consolation.”
About Stefano Greco
Stefano Greco brings to his interpretations the dedication of a scholar; the curiosity of an explorer concerning the culture from which the music he plays has sprung; and the technical excellence that gives him the freedom to realize his interpretive concepts.
His involvement with J. S. Bach’s unfinished The Art of Fugue brought to light several discoveries, resulting in a conference and concert held in Brussels in January, 2014, and his upcoming book, The Language of J. S. Bach: Enigmas and Their Resolution. His performances of the French Suites incorporate two suites that, though published separately, he regards as part of that group; and after comparison of the numerous manuscripts, he has restored some movements and made textual changes in others, to achieve complete, more definitive versions.
Mr. Greco’s performances of the Goldberg Variations reflect his expertise in the music of Bach. Because the work was originally written for a two-keyboard harpsichord, pianists have had to make “adjustments” for the single keyboard piano. Mr. Greco says that he has formulated a way of playing all of the Goldberg Variations without any such adjustments. He has also chosen his tempos based not on personal taste but from a careful analysis of Bach’s writing.
Mr. Greco has performed The Art of Fugue in cities around the world, including Florence, Verona, Los Angeles and New York. Another program, “The Later Art of the Fugue,” presented at London’s Wigmore Hall, included premieres of works by Puccini in Greco’s transcriptions, and by Dinu Lipatti, as edited by Greco.
Mr. Greco has appeared as part of the Carnegie Hall Notables series in New York; in London at St. James’s Piccadilly, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and St. John’s, Smith Square; Steinway Halls in London, Munich and New York; and in recital on a seven-city tour of North and South America (Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile). A tour of the United States, Canada and Japan brought him to prestigious venues such as the Opera City Concert Hall in Tokyo and Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center in New York.
Mr. Greco has made frequent recital, chamber music and concerto appearances in Italy and has performed in Amsterdam, The Hague, Prague, Hamburg, León, Aleppo and Damascus. He has been heard on radio and TV stations such as CNN, RAI, RAI International, Radio Vatican, Radio Beethoven in Chile, Opus 94 in Mexico, and on David Dubal’s program “Reflections from the Keyboard” in New York.
The recordings Mr. Greco has released include J.S. Bach’s The Art of Fugue; Goldberg Variations; and his Wigmore Hall recital program, “The Later Art of the Fugue.” Still to be released is the first truly complete series of the Keyboard Suites of Handel.
Among Stefano Greco’s publications are editions of J. S. Bach’s works, including his transcription of 14 Canons on the First Eight Fundamental Notes of the Aria from Goldberg Variations for solo piano, and the two-piano versions of A Musical Offering and Erbarme dich, mein Gott from the St. Matthew Passion.
After graduating with honors from the Conservatory in Lecce, Italy, where he studied with Antonio Serrano, Mr. Greco won prizes in several Italian piano competitions before continuing his studies with Hector Pell and Aldo Ciccolini. In Ciccolini’s school, Stefano Greco lectured on “The Mechanics of Piano Technique,” “The Golden Section,” “Mathematical Proportions in Music” and “Bach’s Polyphony.” He studied also with Joaquín Achúcarro at Accademia Chigiana of Siena, and with Alberto Portugheis. He was Top Winner in the Ibla Grand Prize International Competition — also winning the Bach Special Mention Award — and was prize winner of the Glenn Gould International Piano Competition.
Mr. Greco has taught, lectured and presented master classes at prestigious institutions of higher learning such as Bard College in New York State, California State University and New York University, working with students on repertoire ranging from keyboard music by William Byrd to contemporary works for piano. His 2014-2015 season will include concerts, lectures and master classes in London, Brussels and Rome, where he will appear twice under the auspices of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. Mr. Greco is a Steinway Artist.
About the Castleton Festival
The Castleton Festival was founded in 2009 by Maestro Lorin and Dietlinde Turban Maazel.
Its mission is to present great classical music, theater and opera in performances by the foremost members of the upcoming generation in collaboration with established artists.
The site of the Festival is in the rolling hills of Rappahannock County, Virginia, on the Maazel family property.
The Castleton Festival is unique among festivals in the Greater Washington area because of its combined roles as a producing entity, a modern performance venue and, most importantly, an unparalleled mentoring program for young artists that also serves as a national educational resource and career hub for emerging opera stars, instrumentalists and conductors.
After the passing of Maestro Lorin Maazel in the summer of 2014, his wife, Dietlinde Turban Maazel, became Artistic Director for both the Castleton Festival and the Castleton in Performance series.
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