Contact: Wendel Sloan at 575.562.2253
PORTALES---Eastern New Mexico University will host John Olsen and his students in a piano concert on Sunday, April 18, at 3 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church in Portales.
Olsen, professor of music, will perform “Schubert Fantasy in F minor” with guest pianist Cheryl Pachak-Brooks in a special rendition of the piece on two pianos. Other pianists include Xiaodan Chen, Chenggang Wang, Sarah Christensen, Haeri Choe and James Golden performing duets by Claude Debussy and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Two solo selections will also be performed including “L’isle Joyeuse” by Debussy and “Prelude Op. 23 No. 2” by Rachmaninoff. Olsen says, “It will be a wonderful contrast of pieces from early romantic through the impressionist periods in music.”
The showcase of Olsen’s students displays their success as competition winners, and now as upcoming graduates going on as scholarship recipients to major American universities and conservatories for graduate studies. Two students, Chen and Wang, will graduate this year and have received large scholarships at Indiana School of Music and Utah State University, respectively. Olsen comments that it will be sad for him to see them leave ENMU; however, he is very pleased that the education they received at Eastern prepared them for future successes.
According to Olsen, the public performances give students a chance to challenge themselves by preparing for a public exhibition of their technical skills, musicianship and handling their “nerves” on stage. “It also really motivates them to practice even harder and become excellent pianists and musicians.”
Olsen says the performance of these pieces will be exciting and, hopefully, emotionally enriching for the audience. “The music is passionate and difficult so fingers will be flying and energy will be everywhere on stage. The bottom line is to share one’s musical gifts, communicate the composer’s intent, and have fun at the same time, which is no easy task,” laughs Olsen.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Kathi Fraze at 575-562-2377.