WMU News

Fortepianist Malcolm Bilson performs in Dalton

Sept. 30, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Fortepianist Malcolm Bilson, one of the world's most respected interpreters of classical piano works, will perform Thursday, Oct. 2, at 8:15 p.m. in the Dalton Center Recital Hall at Western Michigan University.

Tickets for the Thursday night performance are available through the Miller Auditorium Ticket Office at 269 387-2300 and are $10 general admission and $5 for students and seniors.

During his two-day residency, Bilson also will give a free lecture Friday, Oct. 3, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall from 10 a.m. to noon.

Hailed as the "exemplary Mozart pianist of our time" by the New York Review of Books, Bilson has been at the forefront of the historical performance movement since the late 1960s. His performances and recordings of works by composers like Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven on replica and original five-octave late 18th-century pianos have in large part been responsible for the fortepiano's return to the concert stage.

Bilson studied piano performance at Bard College in New York and, from 1957­59, in Europe as a Fulbright Scholar. He completed his doctorate at the University of Illinois, where he subsequently joined the faculty, and in 1969 moved to Cornell University, where he is now the Frederick J. Whiton Professor of Music and director of the 18th-Century Historical Keyboard Performance Practice program. Shortly after joining Cornell, he met Philip Belt, who makes reproductions of antique instruments. It was Belt who introduced him to the fortepiano

"It was the first time I'd been able to play every note Mozart had written," Bilson explained. "The modern piano develops the tone slowly and is ideal for long, gradually unfolding lines but poor for phrases containing frequent changes in stress."

Bilson's residency and performance were made possible through support of the Kalamazoo Area Music Teachers Association, WMU's School of Music, WMU's Bullock Performance Institute, the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, and the Kalamazoo College Department of Music. Additional funding was provided through a Region 15 mini-grant from the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo and the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Media contact: Kevin West, 269 387-4678, kevin.west@wmich.edu

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