Gobin Festival concert to serve as both welcome back and farewell

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's a combination "welcome back" and "farewell" concert as the Greencastle Summer Music Festival continues at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church.

Festival founder and DePauw University cello professor Eric Edberg is performing in Indiana for the first time since returning from a sabbatical in New York City.

Pianist Nariaki Sugiura, who has been a staff accompanist and part-time piano professor at DePauw for several years, has accepted an appointment to the University of North Dakota music faculty and will be moving shortly to Grand Forks, N.D.

Wednesday's program features a wide array of music.

"I wanted to play music with which I have a personal connection," Edberg said. "The first cello recording I was given when I started playing as a boy featured Pablo Casals performing Schumann's 'Five Pieces in Folk Style.' I used to put the record on almost every night when I went to bed, and would fall asleep to it. I fell in love with those pieces.

"During my student years I decided to wait until I was a professional to learn them, to give adult self a kind of treat. Well, now I've decided to take that gift from my younger self. This will be the first time I've performed them, and I'm very excited about it."

Edberg will also be performing the Saint-Sa'ns "Concerto No. 1" (with Sugiura playing a piano reduction of the orchestra part).

"Another favorite cello record was the great Leonard Rose playing this and other concertos. I couldn't believe it was the same instrument I was playing! Eventually I had the opportunity to play for him in his home (what a thrill that was!), to see if he would take me as a student at Juilliard. I played this piece for him, he accepted me, and I got into Juilliard. It's a piece I've always loved, and now that I think about it, a vehicle for some early triumphs."

Edberg and Sugiura will also play "Le Grand Tango" by Astor Piazzolla.

"This is an enormously fun piece," Edberg explains, "and shows a very different side of the cello."

Sugiura will perform solo pieces by Haydn, Henry Cowell and Alan Jay Kernis (whose music was celebrated in this past spring's Music of the 21st Century festival at DePauw) in addition to playing with Edberg.

Edberg said he and Sugiura have performed together many times.

"This is a wonderful artistic relationship -- a true musical friendship. We've played many recitals together, and he has accompanied many of my students. Nariaki is a tremendous artist, a terrific collaborator, and a fantastic accompanist and coach. While I'm sure we'll play together in the future, I'll miss having him at DePauw. So I'm glad we can celebrate his accomplishments here at Wednesday's concert."

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