Hill Auditorium will be illuminated with the artistic brilliance of pianist Murray Perahia and The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Orchestra on Saturday, March 24 at 8 p.m. This exchange of creative energies will be demonstrated in the works of Mozart, Handel and J.S. Bach. Since September 2000, Perahia has occupied the position of Principal Guest Conductor for the chamber orchestra.
Murray Perahia is a native New Yorker who began playing piano at the age of four. His formal education was obtained at Mannes College, where he majored in conducting and composition. Spending summers at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, he collaborated with such musical luminaries as Rudolph Serkin and Pablo Casals. He won the Leeds International Music Competition in 1972, which was a springboard for his engagements throughout Europe. From 1981-1989, he led the Aldeburgh Festival. Most noteworthy over this time period, however, is the development of his close friendship with the virtuoso, legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz.
In 1999, Perahia received two Grammy Awards. One was for his recording of Bach”s “English Suites” (numbers 1, 3, and 6), and the other was for Best Instrumental Soloist (Without Orchestra). When Perahia played in concert in San Francisco, The Chronicle reviewed him glowingly: “The performance was greeted with the kind of wild excitement that must have happened in California when they struck gold!”
Sir Neville Marriner founded the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in 1959. The group has grown considerably since those early days. Originally a conductor-less string ensemble that specialized in Baroque music, this group has grown in repertoire, membership and reputation. This artistic expansion has enabled the group to become the world”s most recorded chamber orchestra. The orchestra”s repertoire now includes music from the 17th century to the present day. Three directors have been responsible for this growth, all of which are legends in their own right: Sir Neville Marriner, Iona Brown, and Kenneth Sillito.
The Academy has won prestigious international awards, including 13 gold discs that were awarded for their soundtrack to the Milos Forman film, “Amadeus.” The orchestra also recorded the soundtrack for “The English Patient,” which won nine Academy Awards, including Best Sound.
Works to be performed will include Handel”s “Overture to Alcina (1735),” and Mozart”s “Symphony No. 40 in g minor, k. 550 (1788).” Murray Perahia will play Mozart”s “Piano Concerto No. 17 in G. Major, K. 453 (1784)” and “Keyboard Concerto No. 1 in d minor, BWV 1052 (1738-29),” by J.S. Bach.