31-year-old pianist Andrew Tyson—called a “poet of the piano” by BBC Radio 3 and a “phenomenal musician” by La Libre—will make his regional debut with Symphony Tacoma in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major. Conducted by Sarah Ioannides, the concert will also include the Firebird Suite of Igor Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4. The performance will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, November 18 in the Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway, Tacoma. Sponsors include Skelley Piano and Alaska Airlines. For tickets, starting at $19.50, call 800-291-7593 or 253-591-5894, or visit www.symphonytacoma.org
“Tyson is a real poet of the piano,” wrote BBC Radio 3. “His playing is exquisite, flexible, subtle, colorful, passionate, and daring.” “A phenomenal musician, a refined artist, an accomplished pianist,” raved La Libre. “Tyson employed his immense skills and his musical genius to serve us an enchanted vision.” As winner of the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 2011, Tyson was awarded YCA’s Paul A. Fish Memorial Prize and the John Browning Memorial Prize. In 2013, he was the Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient. He is a Laureate of the Queen Elisabeth Competition and won the Eastern Music Festival Competition at the age of 15.
Recent performances include the Chopin Society in Hong Kong; Caramoor, New York; and Piano Aux Jacobins in Toulouse, France. Later this season he performs in Music at Evergreen; with the Kansas City Symphony; and the Haydn Philharmonic Orchestra in Vienna.
Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G dates from 1929 when, after having achieved financial security through the success of Bolero, the French composer began a concerto as a showcase for his pianistic abilities. Although he was a gifted virtuoso, the resulting work proved too formidable for his talents. He decided to pass along the premiere to his protégé, Marguerite Long. Influenced by Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, the concerto is among a number of compositions during this period, by different composers, reflecting the popularity of American jazz.
Also featured on the program will be Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, the 27-year-old composer’s first major full-length work. Originally scored as a ballet, and based upon a Russian folk tale, the score contains many brilliant effects, including horn and trombone glissandos (sliding between pitches) and the natural-harmonic string glissando near the beginning, which the bass chord touches off like a Catherine-wheel.
Concluding the program will be Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, hailed as one of the most “towering symphonic structures in our whole literature” by music experts. The opening “fate” fanfare, centered around only three notes, reflects the two-note main motif of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, which it rhythmically recalls.