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Legendary pianist Ivan Moravec returns to Middlebury to perform April 19

April 17, 2009

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? At 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 19, veteran pianist Ivan Moravec will return to Middlebury's stage to perform a program of his specialties, including excerpts from Janácek's "Along an Overgrown Path," Debussy's "Les Sons et les Parfums Tournent dans l'air du Soir" and "Children's Corner Suite," and Chopin's "Ballades" in F and G minor. The highly anticipated event will take place in the Kevin P. Mahaney '84 Center for the Arts Concert Hall at Middlebury College.

Long recognized as one of the century's great pianists, Moravec's performances have prompted critics in search of parallels to call up such names as Gieseking and Richter. Yet his musicianship is riveting and penetratingly individual in style. As music critic Scott Cantrell of the Kansas City Star recently noted, "In Moravec's hands, the piano seems the utter antithesis of a percussion instrument. Notes aren't so much struck as set aglow. And tonal color is a real priority."

Born in Prague in 1930, Moravec had an early interest in opera. He later studied piano at the Prague Conservatory and the Prague Academy, performing during his student years in Poland and Hungary. In 1957 Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli heard Moravec perform in Prague and invited him to Italy for further study, where he participated in Michelangeli's master classes in Arezzo in 1957 and 1958.

Moravec made his American debut in 1964 with The Cleveland Orchestra and George Szell at Severance Hall, followed by his New York debut at Carnegie Hall. He has become one of the world's most acclaimed recitalists, and has also performed with the finest orchestras in all the major music capitals. His international festival appearances include the Salzburg, Edinburgh, Ruhr, Schleswig-Holstein and Prague Spring Festivals.

Last season, Moravec was The Belknap Visitor in the Humanities at Princeton University and while on campus appeared in recital, with the University Orchestra and taught master classes. The Belknap Visitors program was created to recognize distinguished individuals in the arts and letters and previous visitors have included Isaac Bashevis Singer, John Updike, Edward Albee, Arthur Miller, Roy Lichtenstein and Merce Cunningham.

In 2000, Vaclav Havel, then President of the Czech Republic, awarded Moravec the Medal of Merit for Outstanding Artistic Achievement. That same year he was honored as a recipient of the Prize of Charles the Fourth, the Czech Republic's finest acknowledgement of outstanding service to humanity. In 2002, he was honored with a Cannes Classical Award for Lifetime Achievement, an award given by several international music magazines to recognize the universal appeal of classical music.

He has recorded for Nonesuch, Supraphon, Connoisseur Society, Dorian, Pro Arte, Quintessence, Vox and Moss Music labels, and a number of his many recordings have appeared in "Record of the Year" listings in High Fidelity, Stereo Review, the New York Times, Time Magazine and Newsweek. He is also one of the pianists included on Philips' historic series Great Pianists of the 20th Century. 

This performance is sponsored by the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series. The Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall is located on South Main Street (Route 30). Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for seniors. A pre-performance lunch begins at 1:30 p.m. in the lower lobby of the Mahaney Center for the Arts. Reservations are required.
For tickets or lunch reservations, contact the Middlebury College Box Office at 802-443-6433 or