Marc-André Hamelin, ranked among the elite pianists of the world, will perform at Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave, Kalamazoo, MI, on Saturday, November 5, 2016 at 8pm, as part of The Gilmore’s Piano Masters Series. Hamelin is respected as one of the most “prolific, technically meticulous and programmatically adventurous pianists” (WQXR) in the world. With more than 70 albums on the Hyperion Label, he is considered a master of the classical repertoire as well as an advocate of neglected music from the 19th and 20th centuries and of contemporary music.
Tickets start at $30 ($6 for students), and may be purchased at The Gilmore’s box office, located on the first floor of the Epic Center in downtown Kalamazoo, by phone at (269) 359-7311, or online at thegilmore.org. There will be a pre-concert talk by Zaide Pixley, Emeritus Professor of Music at Kalamazoo College, at 7 PM.
Anne Midgette of the Washington Post describes Hamelin’s playing as a “kaleidoscope of permutations.” She says Hamelin is always “looking for ways to express everything [he] is thinking, pushing up against the limits of the keyboard and its dynamics.” For Midgette, Hamelin plays with a scientific-like precision, but he can “thunder out the fireworks more ardently, and loudly, than any 20-year-old wunderkind.” Today Hamelin is recognized by fans and colleagues alike for his “brilliant musical mind, with total recall and a seemingly encyclopedic memory,” according to Masumi Rostad of the Pacifica Quartet. Hamelin is also known for his “intrepid exploration” of rare works, and in an article by the Chicago Tribune, Hamelin muses that he always carries an extra suitcase when traveling in case he finds an uncommon book, score, or “musical nugget.”
Once heralded as a “super-virtuoso” by The New York Times critic Harold Schonberg, Hamelin now says that “virtuosity doesn’t interest [him],” and he avoids the word “like the plague.” Instead, Hamelin wants to “celebrate with audiences, the miracle of human creativity.” As a recipient of the 1985 Carnegie Hall Competition, the 1989 Canada Council for the Arts’ Virginia Parker Prize, the 2015 German Record Critic’s Award Lifetime Achievement Prize, and as an inductee into the Gramophone Hall of Fame in recognition of his remarkable discography, it is no surprise the Hyperion Label considers Hamelin an “avatar” of the piano.
Born in Montreal, Hamelin began composing and playing the piano when he was five years old, and even as a child he says he would “[scribble] all sorts of nonsense on music paper,” to satiate his limitless curiously. Hamelin later studied music at École de musique Vincent-d’Indy in Montreal and then at Temple University in Philadelphia. Since then Hamelin has gone on to international success playing at some of the most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, Chicago’s Symphony Center, the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, Shanghai Concert Hall, and the Maison Symphonique. He has appeared with most of the world’s major orchestras, and as a recitalist he has made a name for himself with performances of a broad variety of repertoire.
As a composer, Hamelin has acquired critical acclaim for his 12 Etudes in All the Minor Keys, furthering his reputation as one of the most well-rounded pianists living today. Hamelin is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Chevalier de l’Ordre du Québec, and a member of the Royal Society of Canada. Later this year Hamelin will play a duo piano recital at Carnegie Hall with 1998 Gilmore Artist Leif Ove Andsnes.
For more information, visit The Gilmore’s website at www.thegilmore.org.