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Old sounds, new year; Pianist, cellist to play music from 3 continents.

Byline: Eric Stanway

ASHBURNHAM -- The great American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once observed that "music is the universal language of mankind.'' This adage will be given due consideration Jan. 10, as the Cushing Academy presents "Music From Three Continents for Cello and Piano.''

The concert will take place at 8 p.m. at the Joseph R. Curry Academic Center Recital Room. Admission is free, but tickets need to be ordered in advance.

The featured performers are cellist Ning Tien and pianist Monica Tessitore, who will perform music by composers from three different eras and continents: Francois Francouer, French composer and violinist (1698-1787); Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer and pianist (1770-1827); Russian composer, pianist and conductor Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953); Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983); and contemporary Chinese composers Tian Lian-Tao and Song Tao. Although history and geography are distinctly diverse in this program, it is fascinating to observe how music knows no borders or barriers for communicating emotions. The most novel aspect of the concert is that Ning Tien will perform her parents' composition, inspired by the folk songs from the Tibetan highlands. It is dedicated to Tien, who premiered it at the Third World Cello Congress in Baltimore in 2000.

"This is part of a three-concert series that we schedule each year,'' said Desh Hindle, director of music programs at Cushing Academy. "Each of the concerts will feature a Cushing Academy faculty member, either as a creator or performer. The pianist, Monica Tessitore, is a member of our adjunct music faculty. She'll be performing with a colleague of hers, cellist Ning Tien. This was a particular program the two of them put together with the objective of contrasting a variety of musical styles from different parts of the world. At the same time, they wanted to explore the common musical language, so that the pieces can stand together, even though they're from different parts of the world. This was a concept they found particularly interesting. A highlight is a piece that was composed by the cellist's parents. As this is only the second time it has been performed publicly, it is particularly significant.''

"This is a very exciting event,'' said pianist Monica Tessitore. "We'll be opening with a sonata by Francois Francouer, in five movements. Then we'll be playing six variations on Opera 66, by Ludwig Van Beethoven. This is a theme from Mozart's opera, 'The Magic Flute,' by Mozart. As Mozart was very popular at the time, Beethoven took it upon himself to write seven variations on the aria, where the protagonist wonders where he is going to find love. ... .

"Up next, we have Sergei Prokofiev's 'Sonata in C Major'. It's a beautiful piece, about 20 minutes long. This will then be followed by 'A Rhapsody for Cello and Piano' by Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera, which premiered in Washington, D.C., in 1997. The piece features a lot of melodies and rhythms from Argentina. It's a very energetic piece.

"Then we'll have a piece by the cellist's parents, Tian Lian-Tao and Song Tao. It's a very melodic piece, with lots of Asian overtones.''

Ms. Tessitore pointed out that, even at this early date, a lot of the seats are filling up.

"We're expecting to get a large crowd for this,'' she said. "It should be a wonderful concert.''

To reserve tickets, email and include your name, contact information, requested event, and number of attendees. Unclaimed tickets will be released to the public 15 minutes prior to the show.
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Title Annotation:Weeklies
Author:Stanway, Eric
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Dec 26, 2014
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