By Jacob Stockinger
Two weeks ago, buried in a New York Times review by Anthony Tommasini of a recital by the Turkish pianist Fazil Say – the only solo pianist to perform at the Metropolitan Museum of Art recital series this reason — was news of local interest:
Christopher Taylor, the well-known and widely acclaimed University of Wisconsin-Madison professor and piano virtuoso, will be the ONLY solo pianist on the concert schedule next season at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Here is a link to The New York Times story about Taylor and the Met:
Taylor (below) is known for his advocacy of new and modern music. This past semester, he performed the world premiere of William Bolcom’s Piano Quintet No. 2 with the Pro Arte String Quartet, as part of the Pro Arte’s centennial season. He will record that work with the Pro Arte this spring.
At the Met, Taylor – who graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in theoretical mathematics while pursuing piano studies with Russell Sherman at the New England Conservatory of Music — was described as “brilliant” and “brainy” in the Times review.
Taylor — who won the bronze medal at the Van Cliburn International Competition in 1993 — will play one of his specialties: The very long and very difficult work “Vingt Regards sur l’enfant Jesus” (Twenty Meditations on the Infant Jesus) by the French composer Olivier Messiaen (below). The performance — only Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. — will be themed to the holiday season and held near the Met’s Medieval Sculpture Hall.
Taylor performed the same work before in New York City in February of 2001, and the same New York Times senior music critic Anthony Tommasini called it one of the 10 best concerts of the year. And that is against some pretty stiff competition. (A sample is at bottom.)
If you are interested in attending, here is a link with information about tickets and the ocncert:
As I recall, Taylor has played parts of the same work in Madison but not the whole series straight through and from memory – an impressive feat, indeed.
Also of related interest: The busy Taylor will NOT be performing at this summer’s Aspen Festival, as he often does.
But he will be busy nonetheless.
Instead he will do a week-long concert tour to distant Russian industrial city of Perm, Russia, near Siberia – it takes some 11 hours to fly the 4,500 miles one-way — where he will play May 17-24.
He has a solo recital of Messiaen’s “Vingt Regards” plus a joint recital a few days later in which his contribution will be some of the Messiaen; J.S. Bach’s Duetto in A minor; Schumann’s “The Prophet Bird” from the late “Forest Scenes”; and the Ligeti etude “Autumn in Warsaw.” Then there will also be a performance of a new work called “Gereven” by Vladimir Nikolaev, which is scored for an ensemble similar to the one used in Stravinsky’s “Les Noces.”
Then in late August, Taylor will travel to Sarajevo (below) – dates are not fixed yet – to perform a solo recital with the last Schubert Sonata in B flat major, D. 960, and the second book of Brahms’ “Paganini” Etudes plus some chamber music.
The Ear would love to hear Taylor perform that same program here, maybe with some his exceptional Bach thrown in – some duets or a partita: Bach and Brahms, then Schubert. Could it get better?