Dec. 25, 2002 – The 16th season of concerts under the stars in Tillett Gardens returns to the original concept of classical music, with one performance each in December, January, February and March starting with a program by pianist Julian Lawrence Gargiulo on Thursday night.
Gargiulo made his Carnegie Hall recital debut in 1997 and was invited back to perform for the following two seasons. Meanwhile, he received a Peabody Grant for his participation in the 1998 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow. For his Tillett Gardens debut, he will perform works by Beethoven, Schumann, Rachmaninoff, Schubert and Chopin in a program he has titled "The Romantic Piano."
The other concerts this season will be:
Jan. 29 The Claremont Trio (violin, cello and piano).
Feb. 12 Pianist Awadagin Pratt and cellist Zuill Bailey.
March 19 The Auréole Trio (harp, viola and flute).
Born in Italy, Gargiulo studied music at the Verona State Conservatory. He had a year's internship year at the Moscow State Conservatory then moved to the United States, where he received his undergraduate degree from Rowan University, his master's degree from the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University and a doctorate in musical arts, last year, from the University of Maryland.
His doctoral dissertation consisted of the first-ever recording of the complete solo piano works of a 20th century French composer, Germaine Tailleferre, whose career spanned seven decades.
The only woman in the renowned Groupe des Six composers in Paris in the 1920s, Tailleferre kept company with the likes of Pablo Picasso and Charlie Chaplin and was greatly influenced by Maurice Ravel. Her prodigious output encompassed solo works for piano, chamber music, concertos, ballets, operas, film and television scores and feminist tributes. Much of her music was unpublished and has been lost; most of it had, until Gargiulo's dissertation work, gone unrecorded.
His recording, for which he received a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, is scheduled for release on the Centaur label.
For his Virgin Islands appearances, however, Gargiulo has chosen to perform works of 19th century Romantic composers. To the clarity and restraint of the Classical period which preceded it, the era of Romanticism saw the addition of emotion, imagery, narrative, nationalism and traditional folk melodies. Much of the music of the Romantics is technically demanding simply because so many of the composers of this period were such virtuosos.
Gargiulo, lauded by a German reviewer for his synthesis of "talent, musicality, technique and charisma," will perform:
– Sonata No. 17 in D Minor by Beethoven
– Arabesque by Schumann
– Three preludes by Rachmaninoff
– Two impromptus by Schubert
– Four Chopin pieces — the Mazurka in A Minor, Scherzo in B Minor, Nocturne in C-sharp Minor and Scherzo in B-flat Minor.
Gargiulo currently is on the piano faculty at the Westerhoff School of Music and performs regularly with a variety of other instrumentalists and singers in addition to maintaining an active solo schedule.
For the last five years, the Arts Alive concert season has included four non-classical concerts showcasing blues, jazz and other popular genres in addition to four classical programs.
"The original format for concerts in Tillett Gardens was Classics in the Garden," Rhoda Tillett, president of the Arts Alive board, said, "and so we thought that we would try that again this year with a super-dynamic roster." She added: "Arts Alive has been happy to see blues concerts flourish in various venues on the island and is eager to see music festivities continue in more locations."
As has been the case in recent years, all four Tillett Gardens classical performances will be repeated on the following night at the St. John School of the Arts in Cruz Bay.
Ruth "Sis" Frank, executive director of the St. John school, said she is "happy to have what we have" and doesn't mind letting someone else present non-classical concerts on the island "especially with Steve Simon, jazz entrepreneur, to fill the gap." (Simon presented the first of three planned jazz and blues concerts this season on Nov. 30; the second, featuring Latin jazz, is set for Saturday night at the Westin Resort.)
Tillett Gardens, 8 p.m. Thursday: Tickets are $30 for Gargiulo's performance or $108 for a season subscription to all programs. Optional dinner will be served before the concert at JKay's restaurant in the garden for a prix fixe of $30 excluding bar service and gratuity. Serving will begin at 6 p.m. and conclude before the program begins. Reservations are recommended for the concerts and required for the dinners.
Tickets are available at Tillett Gallery in the arts complex. Reservations and charge-card purchases may be made by calling 775-1929 or faxing to 775-9482.
For ticket information on the St. John School of the Arts performances, see "Pianist Gargiulo to open classics season".
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