USAO News Bureau

Many hands contribute to one unforgettable piano recital

Friday, October 25, 2013

It has been said that too many cooks can spoil a stew but attendees can anticipate a fine dish for the ears and eyes when Dr. Stephen Weber and Rhenada Finch collaborate in an upcoming piano recital emphasizing pieces written for four or more hands.

The performance is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the Alumni Chapel at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

The recital is free and open to the public.

After his intellectually and physically challenging presentation of the music of composer Franz Liszt last year, Weber, who is a professor of music and chairman of the university’s arts and humanities division, is excited to be presenting material that is light and fun.

“Though there is some ‘serious’ music on the bill as well, my main agenda for this concert was to select music that reflects the enjoyment one gains from working collaboratively on music,” Weber said. “The novelty of playing pieces for as many as eight hands at one piano just adds to the fun.”

Finch is the staff accompanist for USAO’s music department and coordinator of the Festival of Arts and Ideas. A 2006 graduate from the university, Finch has since become an integral part of USAO’s music department.

Weber says he is excited by the opportunity to perform with her again.
“It’s such a pleasure to work with a former student that has reached such a high level of artistry, continuing to grow her skills and musicality after graduation,” Weber said.

Highlights for the show include an arrangement of “Fuego,” by the string quartet Bond, a parody of composer Richard Wagner written by Gabriel Faure and the ever-popular “Cantina Band” song from the first Star Wars film.

The duo will also perform one of Weber’s compositions called “Choices.”

The score for each musician features eight lines of music. Each player chooses, spontaneously, the order in which the lines are played and lines may be replayed or skipped.

As a result, the outcome of the piece is different every time it is played.

Dr. Dan Hanson, professor of music, will join the duo on two pieces. The first, “Anyone for Tennis?” is a piece by composer Michael Cornick that is written for six hands at one piano.

This trend towards musician density will continue as senior Biology major Dian Sultzbach, of Oklahoma City, joins Weber, Finch and Hanson for a piece titled “Les Noces D’Argent for Eight Hands at One Piano.”

Weber, who earned his doctorate in fine arts degree from Texas Tech, has been on the faculty at USAO since 1995. He received the USAO Regents’ Award for Superior Teaching in 1997 and has been honored for scholarly activity three times, in 1998, 2003 and, most recently, in 2011.

More information about the recital can be obtained by calling 574-1239.