This weekend, it’s Jeremy Denk times two

Noted pianist (and MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellow) performs with Keyboard Concerts and the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra

When you have an artist with the prestige and virtuosity of pianist Jeremy Denk come to town, why not double the impact? That was the thinking of Keyboard Concerts and the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra, which are both putting the spotlight on Denk in separate concerts this weekend.

Denk returns to the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series for an 8 p.m. performance on Friday, April 27, at Fresno State’s Concert Hall. The next evening, at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 28, in the same location, Denk will perform Beethoven’s famed “Emperor” piano concerto with the Fresno State orchestra.

Jeremy Denk, 2013 MacArthur Fellow
Jeremy Denk performs with Keyboard Concerts and the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra. Photo / © John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Denk is a winner of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the Avery Fisher Prize, and Musical America’s Instrumentalist of the Year award. He’s written for The New Yorker magazine and has a popular blog. His musical collaborators have included Joshua Bell and Steven Isserliss, and his recordings have reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Classical Chart.

How is Fresno lucky enough to have not one but two Denk performances?

Andreas Werz, artistic director of Keyboard Concerts, explains that the timing was fortuitous.

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For classical music fans, it’s a winning weekend

Enter to win tickets to Keyboard Concerts, Fresno State Symphony Orchestra, Fresno Community Chorus and ‘Broadway on Van Ness’

Just call it the Big Ticket Giveaway.

This coming weekend is huge for the Fresno-area classical music scene. To celebrate, I’m giving tickets away to FOUR events. And you can enter all four giveaways with just one comment. Here’s what you can win:

A pair of tickets to hear acclaimed pianist Jeremy Denk perform for Fresno State’s Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series (8 p.m. Friday, April 27, Fresno State Concert Hall). His program includes Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 30, Shubert’s Sonata in B-flat, and Prokofiev’s complete “Visions fugitives.”

Jeremy Denk 7
Jeremy Denk performs April 27-28 at Fresno State, first with Keyboard Concerts, then the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra.

♦ A pair of tickets to hear Denk — in a great crossover collaboration — perform Beethoven’s famed “Emperor” piano concerto with the Fresno State Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Thomas Loewenheim (8 p.m. Saturday, April 28, Fresno State Concert Hall). The program also includes Prokofiev’s monumental Symphony No. 5.

♦ A pair of tickets to the Fresno Community Chorus big spring concert featuring its Master Chorale and Coro Piccolo ensembles, all in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth (2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 29, Shaghoian Concert Hall). “Chichester Psalms,” here we come.

♦ One of two pairs of tickets to “Broadway on Van Ness,” featuring past chorus members from Fresno Grand Opera (5 p.m. Sunday, April 29, with a reception an hour beforehand, First Congregational Church). The program includes classics such as Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” to newer tunes such as a selection from “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.”

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (April 6)

You can win a pair of tickets to hear the Alexander String Quartet, which performs Sunday. Also: The Fresno Master Chorale salutes Bernstein

I have two promising picks for you this weekend, both music-related: the Alexander String Quartet; and a cheery sounding cabaret performance put on by members of the Fresno Master Chorale.

Famed quartet

On my monthly talk show, “The Munro Review,” I got a chance to interview David Fox of the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series and Jack Fortner of Orpheus chamber ensemble. Those two august institutions are partnering to present a performance by the world-class Alexander String Quartet at Fresno State.

alex string quartet

You can catch up with the interview on the clip below, starting at about the 4:40 mark and going through to about the 12:00 mark. Fox (who calls himself an ASQ “groupie”) tells us a little background about the quartet, and also fills us in on Keyboard Concerts (which later this month is bringing noted pianist Jeremy Denk to Fresno, on April 27). And Fortner fills us in on Orpheus, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this season. (Along with the ASQ special event, Orpheus is planning a big concert on April 29.)

Details: 3 p.m. Sunday, April 8, at the Fresno State Concert Hall. Tickets are $25 general, $18 seniors, $5 students.

Win tickets: I’m giving away a pair of tickets to Sunday’s concert to a lucky reader. To enter, leave a comment on this post telling us why you’d like to hear the Alexander String Quartet. Deadline to enter is 10 a.m. Saturday. I’ll pick a winner at random.

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Keyboard Concerts welcomes back famed Irish pianist Barry Douglas, and you can win tickets

Barry Douglas, stellar pianist and gold medal winner in the 1996 International Tchaikovsky Competition, is a favorite of Fresno’s classical-music community. And it seems that Fresno is a favorite of his, too.

Douglas returns for the fifth time to the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 11, at the Fresno State Concert Hall.

barry douglas
Barry Douglas performs March 11, 2018, at Fresno State. Photo / Katya Kraynova

It’s no surprise to series artistic director Andreas Werz that Douglas will be back on campus.

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Keyboard Concerts: Win tickets to Armenian chamber ensemble

Chilingirian, Hakobyan and Bagratuni will perform Friday at Fresno State’s Concert Hall

Keyboard Concerts is best known for the world-class pianists it brings to Fresno on a regular basis. But the series also hosts several special events each season, including chamber music.

A concert at Fresno State (8 p.m. Friday, March 2) brings together three of today’s most prominent Armenian musicians: violinist Levon Chilingirian, cellist Suren Bagratuni and pianist/composer Karen Hakobyan. They have received international acclaim for their activities as performers, pedagogues, competition jurors and recording artists.

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World-class piano on Valentine’s Day: What could be more romantic than that?

You can win a pair of tickets to the Feb. 14 concert featuring Yefim Bronfman with the Fresno State Keyboard Concerts season

The Chicago Tribune once described pianist Yefim Bronfman’s style as “a marvel of digital dexterity, warmly romantic sentiment, and jaw-dropping bravura.” That “romantic” part is a good sell for Bronfman’s Valentine’s Day performance as part of Keyboard Concerts at Fresno State.

Yefim Bronfman, pianist
Yefim Bronfman performs Wednesday, Feb. 14, at Fresno State. Photo / Keyboard Concerts

Bronfman regularly plays the world’s top concert venues, including Carnegie Hall in New York, Hertz Hall in Berkeley, the Schiller Theater in Berlin, and Symphony Center in Chicago, among others. The Israeli-American pianist is a regular soloist with the Vienna, New York and Los Angeles philharmonics, the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras, and the Boston, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco and Seattle symphonies.

He last performed for the Keyboard series in 2016.

His program for the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series at the Fresno State Concert Hall includes Beethoven’s Sonata in F major, Schubert’s Sonata in C minor, Debussy’s “Suite Bergamasque” and Stravinsky’s “Trois Mouvements de Pétrouchka.”

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Jan. 5)

As January’s cultural scene slowly begins to ramp up, here are two weekend picks for you:

Keyboard Concerts

If you’ve never heard a professional organist play the Elizabeth V. Lyles Pipe Organ in the Fresno State Concert Hall, you owe yourself the experience. (Fun fact: The impressive instrument was built by the Martin Ott Pipe Organ Company in St. Louis and installed in 1996.)

Kimberly Marshall, organist
Acclaimed organist Kimberly Marshall performs Sunday, Jan. 7, at the Fresno State Concert Hall. Photo / Keyboard Concerts

You’ll get that opportunity when Kimberly Marshall, who has an illustrious performance and academic background (at one point she was dean of postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music), returns to the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series on Sunday, Jan. 7.

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Nov. 10)

Options include Keyboard Concerts, the Fresno Film Festival and Fall Dances at Fresno City College. Plus: events at Bitwise and Sequoia Symphony

Here’s a roundup of promising arts/culture picks for the weekend:

Keyboard Concerts

This highly regarded series has brought some of the world’s most famous, seasoned pianists to Fresno. But the series is also a way to experience some of the most accomplished young talent as well.

Daniel Hsu, pianist

That’s the case with Daniel Hsu, who will perform as part of the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series at Fresno State. Hsu is winner of the bronze medal at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which made him an instant star. The 19-year-old Bay Area native on Friday will present a virtuoso program consisting of works by Schubert, Chopin, J.S. Bach/Busoni, Rachmaninoff, and Marc-André Hamelin’s Toccata on “L’homme armé.

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