The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: At 96, pianist Frank Glazer returns to Farley’s this Friday night to perform an impressive program of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and Liszt.

September 22, 2011
1 Comment

By Jacob Stockinger

Pianist Frank Glazer (below) happens to be 96 years old.

“But he is not just a 96-year-old pianist. He is a 96-year-old-pianist who plays really well,” says Renee Farley, who has heard her share of pianists, old and young.

A piano professor at the University of Wisconsin School of music hasn’t heard Glazer lately, but he also says Glazer was an impressive pianist for many years in both live performances and recordings.

You can decide for yourself if he still has the touch.

This Friday night, Sept. 23, at 7:30 p.m. Farley’s House of Pianos – at 6522 Seybold Road on Madison’s far west side near West Towne — will host a recital by Glazer. This is the second year in a row Glazer will perform at Farley’s on his way to Milwaukee, where he will perform the same program the next day.

Glazer’s impressively long and difficult program includes Bach’s Toccata in D Major; Mozart’s Rondo in A Minor, K. 511; Beethoven’s Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111; Chopin’s “Trois Nouvelles Etudes” and “Polonaise-Fantaisie,” Op. 61; and Liszt’s “Au lac de Wallenstadt,” “Petrarch Sonnet No. 104” and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12.

Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for students and seniors. Tickets can be reserved with a credit card by calling (608) 271-2626, or can be purchased at Farley’s House of Pianos or Orange Tree Imports on Monroe Street.

As a concert pianist, Glazer — a Wisconsin native who once had his own TV show in Milwaukee — studied ways to reinvent piano technique, beginning with a study of anatomy and analyzing the most efficient way to create sound. He credits this study with his ability to play successfully into his 90s.

Glazer taught at the Eastman School of Music from 1965 to 1980. In 1980, he left Eastman and became artist-in-residence at Bates College in Maine. For his many distinguished performances of varied repertoire, Glazer was awarded the Paderewski Piano Medal in London, given annually to an “Artist of Superlative Degree.” Among other distinctions, he has performed the complete cycle of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas.

In his teenage years, Glazer played in vaudeville. Alfred Strelsin, a New York signage manufacturer and arts patron, provided the funds for him to travel to Berlin in 1932 to study with the famed Artur Schnabel; he also studied with Arnold Schoenberg. In 1939, Glazer performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Serge Koussevitzky.

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Posted in Classical music

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