Vancouver pianist’s two recitals close pro series season

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To bring another successful season to an end, the Brandon University (BU) School of Music’s pro series presents pianist Corey Hamm in two, back-to-back recitals at the Lorne Watson Recital Hall.

Beginning on Tuesday, March 3, the University of British Columbia pianist professor and recording artist will give his interpretation of American composer Frederic Rzewski’s theme and 36 variations, entitled The People United Will Never Be Defeated! The following evening, Hamm’s programme will be comprised of Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 8, Op. 84, Dutilleux’s Piano Sonate and Kapustin’s Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 54.

Notable for its scope, The People United Will Never Be Defeated! is a one-hour long virtuosic masterpiece for solo piano. After more than a decade of composing, Rzewski — a composer and a pianist — created this work in 1975. It displays the many musical influences in his life as well as reflects the global political climate of the times. Though this work contains inflections of various genres, including jazz and popular music of the day, it is composer Sergio Ortega’s song El pueblo unido jamás será vencido (which translates to The People United Will Never Be Defeated), that serves as the backbone for the entire work and is at the heart of the Rzewski’s theme. Through this piece, Rzewski shares his views on the plight of oppressed peoples of the world.

Rzewski has praised Hamm’s recording, stating that it “may be the best recording” of the work.

“Hearing The People United Will Never Be Defeated! will be a rare pleasure,” said Greg Gatien, Dean of Music at BU. “It is the first time that pro series audiences will have the chance to hear not only Corey Hamm, a talented pianist, but to hear him play this poignant composition. I truly look forward to experiencing this unique performance.”

A great proponent of 20th- and 21st-century works from around the globe, Hamm has commissioned more than 200 compositions — some for solo piano, some for piano and ensembles, and others for piano and erhu, a two-stringed instrument usually heard in the music of China.

For his Wednesday, March 4 programme, Hamm chose 20th-century works: the final of three “War Sonatas” by Prokofiev, namely the Piano Sonata No. 8 in B-flat major, Op. 84, along with Henri Dutilleux’s 1948 Piano Sonate and, to complete the evening, Russian composer Nikolai Kapustin’s 1989 work, Piano Sonata No. 2, Op. 54.

“Corey Hamm is the quintessential contemporary musician — one who teaches, who performs, who looks to the future and who expands the catalogue for his generation and those to come,” said Gatien. “In his case, his commissions are not only for the piano, but also for chamber music and the integration of lesser known instrumentation.

“The future of music relies on pioneering performers like him.”

Hamm’s performances on Tuesday and Wednesday will both begin at 7:30 p.m., in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall, located in the Queen Elizabeth II Music Building at BU. Admission to both recitals is the price of one ticket—$20 for adults and $15 for students, seniors and alumni. Tickets will be available at the door or in advance in the Main Office, in the School of Music.

Prior to the back-to-back concerts by Hamm, the Brandon University Clarinet Festival will take place on Saturday, Feb. 29 and Sunday, March 1. Saturday will feature a pro series performance by clarinetist Franklin Cohen, violinist Diana Cohen, and pianist Roman Rabinovich, beginning at 7:30 p.m., in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall. Tickets for Saturday’s performance are $20 for adults and $15 for students, seniors and alumni, and are available at the door or in advance in the Main Office in the School of Music.

As part of the BU Clarinet Festival, audiences can also hear André Moisan, a clarinetist with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, on Sunday at 1:30 p.m., at the School of Music. In addition to Moisan, this free concert will feature guest artists from the Clarinet Festival, including Jenny Maclay and Lisa Canning, along with Catherine Wood and other BU faculty members.

The pro series returns in September 2020 with a new lineup of talented Canadian musicians and innovative programming.

The School of Music gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of Manitoba, through a Consolidated Arts Programming Grant through Culture, Heritage and Tourism.

Please note that seating in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall is limited and that programmes are subject to change. For an up-to-date listing of pro series and student performances, please visit


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