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Arts and Culture

Internationally-Known Pianist Continues Beethoven Concerts

By Maggie Barrett

Internationally-known Russian-born pianist Yuliya Gorenman will perform all 32 of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, the most significant body of work written for the piano, in a series of eight concerts at American University.  

This concert will begin at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 4, in the Abramson Family Recital Hall at the Katzen Arts Center.

The concert will include Beethoven’s Sonata No. 13 in E-flat Major, Op. 27, No. 1(1800–01); Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2 “Moonlight”(1801); Sonata No. 15 in D Major, Op. 28 “Pastoral” (1801); and Sonata No. 16 in G Major, Op. 31, No. 1 (1801–02).

The Gorenman Beethoven Project  is the culmination of a four-year effort for the Gorenman. She first experienced Beethoven’s complete piano sonatas while studying at the Peabody Institute in the early ‘90s. She and her fellow students performed them all, with each performer taking on two or three sonatas.  

“That is when I first dared to dream about performing them all myself,” said Gorenman.

This is not Gorenman’s first ambitious Beethoven project. She has also recorded all the Beethoven piano concertos and the Triple Concerto in live performances with the Bavarian Chamber Orchestra in France and Switzerland.

Her connection to Beethoven goes beyond mere appreciation of his work as a composer. Gorenman can trace her musical lineage back to Beethoven through two centuries of teachers and students.

While working on the project, Gorenman will also be appearing at the Phillips Collection, with the Washington Performing Arts Society in solo recitals, and as a soloist with symphony orchestras around the country.

Since leaving the former Soviet Union in 1989, Gorenman has earned many awards and honors, including one of the top prizes from the 1995 Queen Elizabeth Piano Competition of Belgium.  In October 1997, she joined Billy Joel in a concert broadcast on National Public Radio to perform the world premiere of his classical works, which she arranged.  

She has performed extensively both nationally and internationally and is currently a professor of piano in American University’s Department of Performing Arts.  To listen to select audio clips of her performances, visit her Web site.   

Gorenman will continue her piano series through 2011, with one performance in the fall and one in the spring.