Piano Celebration

Saturday, February 7
Free admission – all are welcome
6:00 p.m. – Potluck supper in the Fireside Room (salads and side dishes encouraged; cookies will be provided)
7:00 p.m. – Performance in the sanctuary
The first part will consist of performances by parishioners playing works of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and others.
After a short interval, our featured guest artist Osip Nikiforov will perform this program:
Beethoven: Sonata #28 in A Major, Op. 101
Mompou: Trois Variations
Scriabin: Sonata #1 in F Minor, Op. 6
The piano was originally owned by a retired professor of piano at MacPhail Center who is a neighbor of Phillip Baird, one of our vergers and choir members. Phillip helped make the connection that brought the piano to St. John’s.
Robert (Bob) Horn purchased the piano last year and donated it as a memorial to his late wife, Mary Ann (1939-1990).
In the first half of the program, we will hear performers known to the parish, including Bob Baumann, Jayson Engquist, Sharon Kleckner, John MacBain, and Nancy Wellington.
In the second half, we will hear Osip Nikiforov, a U of M student from Russia who graduated from Shattuck-St. Mary’s. He has already won numerous international and local awards. He visits his homeland regularly to perform both solo recitals and with national orchestras, including a recent performance of Prokofiev’s Concerto #2. In the United States, Osip performed Beethoven’s Concerto #3 with the Minnesota Orchestra. Parishioner Dick Lyman is acquainted with Osip and has been instrumental in bringing him here to perform for this special celebration.
Osip will perform three very different works.
He will open with Sonata #28 in A Major, opus 101, by Beethoven, written in 1816 at age 48, shortly before he started work on his Ninth Symphony. At this point he was totally deaf. In this work, he departs from the straightforward structures of the Classical style and makes use of complex forms and harmonies, leading many scholars to consider it the first Romantic composition. Some subtitle this sonata “Immortal Beloved,” as Beethoven addressed the unknown recipient of a love letter that was never sent.
A more impressionist style is heard in “Three Variations” by Federico Mompou (mum-pow), who was born in Barcelona in 1893 and lived in Paris or Barcelona, where he died in 1987. He was very shy and introspective; three times he fled from war. Describing his music, Mompou said, “It’s all so free.” It has also been called “music of evaporation”. He had great affection for the piano and was a master of tonal color. His favorite composers were “almost all, with the exception of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven;” the Russian composer Scriabin was a particular favorite.
And it is with Scriabin’s Piano Sonata No. 1 in F Minor that Osip will close the program. Scriabin composed this work in 1892, shortly after he had damaged his right hand so severely by over-practice that his doctor said he would never play again. This sonata, “a cry against God, against fate,” has been described as dark, passionate and melancholy.
Osip will also have an encore prepared: bring lots of applause!
Featured Guest Artist Osip Nikiforov was born in Siberia, Russia to a family of musicians. He began studying piano with his father at age seven.
In 2008, at the age of fourteen, Osip shared Third Prize in the First International e-Piano Junior Competition in Minnesota. He was the First Prize winner of the Music Teachers National Association Competition, Senior Division in 2011 and the Second Prize winner in the Young Artist Division in 2014. In that same year, He was awarded First Prize in the Schubert Club National Piano Competition in St. Paul.
Osip has resided in the U.S. since 2010. He graduated from Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minnesota and is now attending the University of Minnesota, where he studies piano with Alexander Braginsky. He has also appeared on the web pages of Minnesota Public Radio, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the University of Minnesota. Playing clarinet is his favorite hobby.

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