Bluefield University in the News

PIANISTIC FIREBRAND COMING TO BC

by | Mar 15, 2011

Alpin Hong, Pianistic Firebrand.

World renowned pianist and showman Alpin Hong, often described as a “pianistic firebrand” who brings a bit of Beatlemania to classic concert halls, will perform live in concert on the campus of Bluefield College, Saturday, April 2.

As part of the Blue Mountain Performing Arts Series, the Hong performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. in BC’s Harman Chapel Auditorium. Admission for the concert will be $15 for adults and $10 for students. Blue Mountain Performing Arts season ticket holders will be admitted for free with their membership card.

Rooted in extensive classical training and a background in skateboarding, snowboarding, martial arts, and videogames, Hong is a creative force unmatched in his youthful vivacity and boundless energy. His astonishing ability to connect to people of all ages, experiences, and backgrounds distinguishes him and shapes his evolving performance style.

“Blue Mountain Performing Arts (BMPA) is thrilled to bring pianist Alpin Hong back to Bluefield for his third appearance,” said Bryant Moxley, president of BMPA and head of the BC Music Department. “He is one of those rare performers who simply must be seen to be believed. This concert will thrill the veteran concert-goer and the individual who has never attended a classical music concert.”

Whirlwind American tours and performances across the globe have earned Hong the reputation of a modern day Pied Piper. His combination of stunning technique, emotional range, and rare humor continues to bring audiences young and old to their feet. The New York Times lauded his “crystalline energy…clear and persuasive ideas…and remarkable breadth of coloration” and called him “a pianistic firebrand” in a review of his standing-room only New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall.

“Hong evoked a kind of Beatlemania when he came on stage,” added The Santa Barbara News Press about a Hong performance in California. “What a showman! What a musician!”

In July 2005, Gramophone magazine declared his first, self-titled CD — works of Scarlatti, Brahms, Debussy and Stravinsky — “a debut that enhances this young pianist’s reputation,” praising his “strong finger-work and keen ear for voice-leading.” The release of his second album, friendtaskmasterteacher, sold out of its first run within a matter of weeks and garnered critical acclaim.

A graduate of The Juilliard School, Hong’s recent performances have included the opening gala celebrations of Hahn Hall in Santa Barbara, California, and Strings Music Pavilion in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, as well as a sold-out return engagement with the Boise (ID) Philharmonic. A native of Michigan who made his orchestral debut with the Kalamazoo Symphony at the age of 10, Hong won the 1989 Stravinsky Piano Competition, 1993 SYMF Competition, 1994 Los Angeles Spotlight Awards Competition, and 2001 Concert Artists Guild Competition.

His April 2 concert on the campus of Bluefield College is part of a five-day residency in Bluefield. His uniquely humorous and visionary approach to arts education has resulted in artistic residencies from coast-to-coast. In recognition of the pianist’s gift for communicating his passion for music to audiences of all ages, The McGraw-Hill Companies honored him in September 2005 with the $10,000 Robert Sherman Award for Music Education and Community Outreach. His tireless pursuit to find, inspire, and collaborate with talents in every community results in unforgettable presentations that both expand worlds and hit close to home. From March 29 through April 2, he will be conducting educational performances in schools, rehearsals with high school choirs, and a masterclass with area pianists in Greater Bluefield.

“We are excited that Alpin will spend many hours of his residency working directly with students from our community,” said Moxley, “many of whom will join him on the stage for his grand finale concert.”

Hong’s educational outreach efforts also include performances with students. In Steamboat Springs, Colorado, he concluded one of his shows by performing Stravinsky’s Firebird and Latin jazz with 225 area band and choir students. His performance at the University of Iowa featured three young string students in a rendition of video game themes that left a new generation of musicians inspired and cheering. Joining Hong on stage at Bluefield College on April 2 will be local voices from the Bluefield (WV) High School Choir (under the direction of Kim Bird) Princeton (WV) High School Madrigals (under the direction of Allen Kade), and Bluefield College’s Variations (under the direction of Bryant Moxley).

Hong’s residency in Bluefield is made possible by Blue Mountain Performing Arts with special sponsorship from Cole Honda, Nissan, Kia, Subaru and assistance from Bluefield College, Bluefield High School, Chuck Mathena Center, Graham High School, and Princeton High School.

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