Pianist Michelle Cann — a “compelling, sparkling virtuoso” (Boston Music Intelligencer) — returns to Caramoor with a powerful recital of works by Margaret Bonds, Florence Price, Clara Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and Frédéric Chopin. Cann’s curated suite of piano masterworks breaks the classical music mold to fuse feminine perspectives and idioms of Black vernacular with European traditions.
Bound by location and circumstance and impeded by prejudice, Black composers Florence Price and Margaret Bonds began as child prodigies and, despite each receiving major acclaim during their lifetime, both were largely forgotten in the years following.
Price’s Sonata in E Minor interjects notes of dance, folk spirituals, jazz, and blues into classical passages. And among Chopin-esque cascades, her masterwork Fantasie Negre No. 1 borrows its melody from African American folk songs.
Similarly, Bonds’s Troubled Water takes its theme from Wade in the Water, adding a traditional European structure to the spiritual.
Clara Schumann, whose distinct composing voice was overshadowed by that of her husband Robert, is represented by Quatre Pièces Fugitives, Op. 15 — a collection of romantic and introspective works that takes its name from its unrestrained nature, which break formal conventions of the time.
Ballades by Chopin and Brahms round out the program and add a purist view to the conversation.
Frédéric Chopin: Ballade No. 3 in A-flat Major, Op. 47
Florence Price: Sonata in E Minor
Johannes Brahms: Ballade in D Major, Op. 10, No. 2
Clara Schumann: Quatre Pièces Fugitives, Op. 15
Florence Price: Fantasie Negre No. 1
Margaret Bonds: Troubled Water
Michelle Cann, piano
Pianist Michelle Cann made her orchestral debut at age 14 and has since performed as a soloist with numerous ensembles including The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Florida Orchestra, the North Carolina Symphony, and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
A champion of the music of Florence Price, Cann performed the New York City premiere of the composer’s Concerto in One Movement with The Dream Unfinished Orchestra in July 2016 and the Philadelphia premiere with the Philadelphia Orchestra in February 2021, which the Philadelphia Inquirer called “exquisite.” She has also performed Price’s works for solo piano and chamber ensemble for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Detroit, and the New World Symphony, among other presenters.
Cann regularly appears in solo and chamber recitals throughout the U.S., China, and South Korea. Notable venues include the National Centre for the Performing Arts (Beijing), the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), and the Barbican (London).
Cann has appeared as cohost and collaborative pianist with NPR’s From The Top and has been featured on WRTI-FM and WHYY-TV in Philadelphia. Her summer festival appearances have included the Taos Chamber Music Festival, Yellow Barn, Perlman Music Program, Music Academy of the West, Geneva Music Festival, and Pianofest in the Hamptons, where she serves as artist-in-residence.
An award winner at top international competitions, in 2019 she served as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s MAC Music Innovator in recognition of her role as an African-American classical musician who embodies artistry, innovation, and a commitment to education and community engagement.
Cann studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Curtis Institute of Music, where she holds the inaugural Eleanor Sokoloff Chair in Piano Studies.
Michelle Cann appears by arrangement with the Curtis Institute of Music.
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