Friday Nights at the Keyboard Series begins with the faculty

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The University of Indianapolis Friday Nights at the Keyboard held its second concert of the season, entitled “Friday Nights at the Keyboard: Old World, New World,” which featured faculty musicians Elisabeth Hoegberg, Gregory Martin, Sharon Parr, Richard Ratliff, Rebecca Sorley and Mitzi Westra. The concert was held in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center in the Ruth Lilly Performance Hall.

The concert included many pieces written by various composers from French, Austrian and American backgrounds. The piano was played by Hoegberg, Martin, Parr, Ratliff and Sorley while Westra was the mezzo-soprano vocalist.

The concert was organized to emphasize the piano while Westra’s vocals accompanied throughout the pieces.

Mitzi Westra (Vocalist) and Elisabeth Hoeberg (Pianist) perform together on Sept. 26 during “Friday Nights at the Keyboard” in Ruth Lilly Performance Hall.

Mitzi Westra (Vocalist) and Elisabeth Hoeberg (Pianist) perform together on Sept. 26 during “Friday Nights at the Keyboard” in Ruth Lilly Performance Hall.

Freshman nursing major Alyssa Clapp thought the performances were quite enjoyable. It was her first time attending an FACS concert.

“I actually really enjoyed it,” Clapp said.  “I am learning to play the piano right now, so it was interesting to see other people play the piano that were really good at it .

Clapp also enjoyed seeing the professors play on stage.

“… It’s definitely interesting and kind of weird for them to go from actually being a professor to being on stage performing in front of an audience.”

The concert opened with four sets from French composer Jean Francaix’s 1960 “Piano Sonata.” The pieces included “Prélude: Allegrissimo,”  “Elegié: Andantino con moto,” “Scherzo: Vivace” and “Toccata: Allegretto.” The four pieces were performed as a solo piano set by Martin.

Before each piece was performed, whether it was solely a piano piece or piano and vocal piece, the background of each composition was provided by one of the performing professors.

The audience included a variety of community members and students.

Directly following the first performances, the audience was led into a piece entitled “Four Songs, Op. 2,”  by Australian composer Alban Berg. The pieces that were performed were “Schlafen, schlafen, nichts als schlafen,” “Schlafend trägt man mich,” “Nun ich der Riesen Stärksten überwand” and “Warm die Lüfte.”

The German pieces were performed by Hoegberg playing piano and Westra singing mezzo-soprano.

Sophomore communication major James Kennedy thought the performances were of great quality.

“I’m proud to know that such gifted musicians are here on campus,” Kennedy said. “The portion when two people were playing piano at once was very impressive.”

The audience was then led into three pieces from French composer Francis Poulenc’s 1918 “Sonata.” The pieces were played four hands on the piano by Hoegberg and Ratliff. The pieces consisted of “Prélude: Modéré,” “Rustique: Naif et Lent” and “Final: Trés vite – Presto.”

Ratliff then played a solo piece entitled “Lament,” by American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.

The concert concluded with pieces from American composer William Bolcom. Sorley and Parr played “Recuerdos,” which included “Chôro (Homage to Nazareth),” “Paseo (à la mémoire de Louis-Moreai Gottschalk)” and “Valse Venezolano (à la mémorie de Ramón Delgado Palacios).

The next Friday Nights at the Keyboard concert is titled “Musical Imagery,” will be held in Ruth Lilly Performance Hall on Friday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m.

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