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Wittenberg Department of Music Collaborates On Liszt Festival

October 31, 2011  
 Filed in Community, Events

Kemal Gekic

Springfield, Ohio – Wittenberg University and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (SSO) have joined forces to celebrate the bicentennial year of composer Franz Liszt (1811-86) during a three-day festival of concerts and presentations honoring his music. The first two events take place on campus in Weaver Chapel, and both events are free and open to the public.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, Guest Artist Alan Walker, professor emeritus of music at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and author of a three-volume, prize-winning biography of Franz Liszt offers “Liszt and the Keyboard: How the Wizard Cast his Spells,” a multi-media presentation.

“Following his talk, we will be treated to performances of Liszt’s piano works by Croatian pianist Kemal Gekić – whom many consider to be the greatest Liszt interpreter of his generation,” said Professor of Music and Department Chair David Schubert. “Gekić will be playing on two separate pianos: the Chapel’s Boesendorfer and a French Erard – grand pianos produced by manufacturers Liszt greatly admired.”

Described as flamboyant, daring, provocative, exciting, seductive and sensitive, Gekić is a Yugoslav-American classical pianist and professor of piano at Florida International University.

At 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, Gekić will give a masterclass in Krieg Hall, Room 300. During the class, Ziaza Qiu, class of 2015 from Shelby, Ohio, Heepke Wendroth, class of 2013 from Lexington, Ky., and Jarred Sorauf, class of 2012 from Troy, Ohio, will perform works by Liszt.

At 7:30 p.m. Friday, a number of Liszt’s works for organ and voice will be featured by Professor Emeritus of Music Trudy Faber, organ, and Assistant Professor of Music Jessica McCormack, soprano. Director of Choral Activities and Vocal Music Education, Associate Professor of Music Adam Con will be conducting the Wittenberg Choir and the Wittenberg Singers. Walker will provide commentary, as well as moderate a discussion with the artists that will invite audience participation.

The festival concludes at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, as the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Peter Stafford Wilson, conductor, presents MasterWorks II, “Lisztomania” at Kuss Auditorium, Clark State Performing Arts Center (PAC). Tickets are required and admission is charged.

Gekić joins the SSO for performances of “Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major” and Piano Concerto No. 2 in A Major.” Designated as Wittenberg Night at the Symphony, the program will also include “Dances of Marosszek” by Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály and the Hungarian Dances of Johannes Brahms.

Faber will present a pre-concert lecture at 7:15 p.m. in the Turner Studio, and a reception will take place in the studio following the concert.

Wittenberg’s portion of the event is sponsored by the Department of Music with generous assistance from Wittenberg alumni Jim, class of 1970, and Nike Pavlatos Lagos, class of 1974, (Professor Emeritus of English) Arthur and Trudy Faber, Donald Hageman, The Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation, The L. David Miller Fund for Music Projects and The Wittenberg Faculty Endowment Fund.

For symphony tickets, call the Clark State PAC ticket office at 937-328-3874 or visit the SSO website at

For complete details about the festival events and guests, visit the Wittenberg Department of Music website at

Written By: Phyllis Eberts


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