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Pianists Maria João Pires and Julien Brocal to Share the Stage March 12

February 24, 2016

Concert Program Will Feature Four Beethoven Sonatas

MariaJoaoPires-JulienBroca_cred_MichelCooreman.jpgMiddlebury, VT—The Middlebury College Performing Arts Series welcomes renowned Portuguese pianist Maria João Pires to the Mahaney Center for the Arts on March 12. She will share the stage with her protégé Julien Brocal in a concert of Beethoven piano sonatas. This concert is part of Pires’ “Partitura Project,” a cooperative venture allowing musicians of different generations to exchange artistry and mentorship.

UPDATED PROGRAM:  Pires and Brocal will begin with a four-hand version of Debussy's Prélude à l’après midi d’un Faune (transcription by Ravel.) The they will take turns at the piano, with Brocal playing Ravel's Sonatine, followed by Pires playing Beethoven's Sonata No.31 in A-flat major, Op.110. After intermission Brocal will return with Ravel's Miroirs, and Pires will finish up the program with Beethoven's towering, final Sonata No.32 in C minor, Op.111.

The concert program will begin with Beethoven’s Sonata No.13 in E-flat major, Op.27, No.1, “Quasi una fantasia,” played by Brocal; followed by Beethoven’s Sonata No.31 in A-flat major, Op.110, played by Pires. After intermission, Brocal will begin with Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata No.14 in C-sharp minor, Op.27, No.2; Pires will answer with Beethoven’s towering, final Sonata No.32 in C minor, Op.111. They also may treat audiences to a work for four hands.

About Maria João Pires

MariaJoaoPires1-cred-FelixBroede-DeutscheGrammophon.jpgOne of the finest musicians of her generation, Maria João Pires continues to transfix audiences with the spotless integrity, eloquence, and vitality of her art. She was born in Lisbon in 1944, and gave her first public performance in 1948. In the ensuing decades, she went on to study with Campos Coelho and Francine Benoît, and later in Germany with Rosl Schmid and Karl Engel. This season alone, Pires will perform with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, London Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. In addition to giving concerts, she has recorded for Editions Erato and Deutsche Grammophon for fifteen and twenty years respectively.

MariaJoaoPires3-cred-FelixBroede-DeutscheGrammophon.jpgOver the past four decades, Pires has also dedicated herself to reflecting on the influence of art on life, community, and education. Perhaps the ultimate expression of Pires’ interest in social and educational development is the Partitura Project, a shared endeavor with a group of highly gifted young pianists. The aim of this project is to create an altruistic dynamic between artists of different generations, offering an alternative in a world too often focused on competitiveness. Pires explains, “This project is a natural extension of my research and one of the possible responses to my greatest concern, namely the future of classical music and of those who will ensure its continuation.”

Recitals as part of the Partitura Project include performances throughout Europe, and in Canada, Japan, and the U.S., including the concert at Middlebury with Julien Brocal, whom she praises for his “poetry, spontaneity, restraint, and a profound sense of structure and awareness of sound.”

About Julien Brocal

JulienBrocal2-cred-MusicChapel.jpgBorn in 1987 in Arles, France, Julien Brocal began learning the piano at the age of five and was performing on stage at the age of seven. He was trained by Erik Berchot and Rena Shereshevskaya at the École Normale de Musique de Paris Alfred Cortot.

In January 2013, Pires took Brocal under her wing at the Cité de la Musique in Paris, when she invited him to participate in the birth of the Partitura Project. Since 2014, the two have performed together in some of the world’s most prestigious music festivals and halls, including the Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall, the Opera of Firenze, the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, and the Auditorium Alfredo Kraus in Las Palmas. They have also shared more intimate recitals, given workshops together, and offered educational programs to children, all with the aim of introducing classical music to a broader audience.

MariaJoaoPires-JulienBroca_cred_MilosPopovic.jpgThe Maria João Pires/Julien Brocal piano concert will take place on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 8:00 P.M. in Robison Hall at the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts. The Mahaney Center is located on the campus of Middlebury College, at 72 Porter Field Road, just off Route 30 south/S. Main Street. Free parking is available curbside on Rt. 30 or in the Center for the Arts parking lot, in rows marked faculty/staff/visitors. Tickets are $25 for the general public; $20 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students (for Performing Arts Series Society members: $20 regular; $15 faculty/staff/alumni/emeriti/other ID card holders; and $6 Middlebury College students). For more information, or to purchase tickets, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to



Photo credits:

Maria João Pires, photo Felix Broede, courtesy Deutsche Grammophon

Julien Brocal, photo courtesy Music Chapel

Maria João Pires and Julien Brocal, photo Michel Cooreman

Maria João Pires and Julien Brocal, photo Milos Popovic

Mahaney Arts Center
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax