Virtuoso to perform "revolutionary" Beethoven piano sonata in Plymouth

Music lovers in Devon are to be treated to a free talk and performance by a leading international concert pianist and expert on Beethoven.

Dr Robert Taub has performed the complete cycle of 32 Beethoven piano sonatas – a Mount Everest for pianists – in New York, at Hampton Court Palace near London, and elsewhere, as well as recording them. He will perform in public for the first time since moving to Devon to take up the role of Music Director in the University of Plymouth’s Arts Institute.

In his presentation, Dr Taub will share thoughts on a range of music through the ages and offer fascinating insights into the life and work of Beethoven and other composers. He will also look ahead to some of the concerts coming up in the Institute’s public programme of music for spring 2019, and the ideas behind them, before giving a performance of Beethoven’s Sonata Opus 53 ‘Waldstein’. Afterwards, the audience will be invited to participate in a Q&A session.

The event, Music – a Multidimensional Continuum takes place on Friday 5 October at 7.30pm in the University’s Sherwell Centre.

A passionate and eloquent speaker on the importance and power of music from any period, Dr Taub has performed as guest soloist with many of the world’s foremost orchestras and conductors, including the MET Orchestra in Carnegie Hall, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, LA Philharmonic and others.

A graduate of Princeton University and The Juilliard School, he was the first musician Artist-in-Residence at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study. He has also held positions at Harvard and University of California in the United States, and Kingston University in the UK, and written a book, Playing the Beethoven Piano Sonatas, that has become a standard for musicians and performers. 

Dr Robert Taub

Music is a language that transcends all boundaries, and spans a spectrum of styles and genre. I’m interested in sharing the excitement of what it means to be a composer – and a performer – in any time period.

Dr Taub said:

“In the presentation I’ll ask: why do composers write what they do? There are choices made – notes that are accepted and notes that are rejected. What do the multi-faceted processes of composing entail? From a performer’s perspective, I try to understand why a piece was written, and what it means, and share as much of that as possible with the audience.”

“I look forward to performing the “Waldstein” Sonata, which altered musical perception in big ways. Beethoven composed it right after admitting first to himself and then to the world that he had a very serious problem – the onset of deafness.

“He was in the throes of serious depression but wrote this piece as part of coming to terms with his loss of hearing. It is ultimately optimistic – delicate in many places, and exceptionally energetic, even heroic.

“This sonata broke the bounds of everything that existed before, it was extremely new and revolutionary when it was composed and I like to make it sound that way today. I prefer to think about it in new ways, hear it in new ways, and play it in new ways. It is deeply expressive music that demands more from the piano than any piece previously composed, and demands more from the pianist too!”

The event is free but booking is advised. Reserve your place.

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