University of Toronto piano professor Enrico Elisi presents a lecture-recital on the piano music of Gioachino Rossini.
Professor Elisi will also present a piano masterclass on Saturday, January 14 at 11:00 a.m. in Esber Recital Hall which is free and open to the public.
From Public Stage to Private Parlor: An Introduction to Rarely Performed Piano Works from Rossini’s "Years of Silence”
Rossini, who was born just a year after the death of Mozart, lived to witness the innovations of Berlioz and Wagner – a world so ideologically different from the ancien régime. He had decided to abandon the theatre prior to the première of Guillaume Tell, at the height of his career, in 1829. Except for the Soirées Musicales (1835), the Stabat Mater (1841), and a few functional compositions, Rossini wrote practically nothing for nearly twenty-six years. Most importantly, he stopped producing operas. Much has been speculated about his withdrawal from public life; little attention has been devoted to the large body of keyboard compositions written during that period. Rossini maintained an over-protective attitude toward these pieces. He did not allow their publication and had them performed at his Parisian salon starting in 1858. Today, the mysterious fate of the Péchés de vieillesse – Sins of Old Age as Rossini affectionately entitled them – still prevails in the concert halls, since these compositions are seldom performed. The lecture-recital will focus on selected Rossini’s Péchés, supported by a Power Point presentation, and will highlight the most important elements in the shape of Italian music according to Rossini: “melodia semplice e varietà di ritmo” (simple melody and variety of rhythm). It will also show many colourful ways in which Rossini’s orchestral sound world influenced his piano writing and, finally, reveal the composer’s attempt to combine the two main trends in keyboard compositions of his time: intimate or sensitive and virtuoso. The lecture will be interspersed with the playing of several examples and will include a performance of selected works.
Born and raised in Bologna, Italy, Enrico Elisi has been hailed for his mastery of elegance, refinement, and fantasy. He regularly performs to acclaim throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia and his interpretations reveal “remarkable sensitivity, imagination and polish,” (Baltimore Sun).
In Italy, he has appeared in historical settings such as La Fenice Theatre, Venice; Palazzo Vecchio, Florence; Bibiena Theatre, Mantua; Pavarotti Opera House, Modena; Teatro Comunale and Sala Bossi, Bologna; Sant’Anna dei Lombardi Church, Naples, as well as the Amalfi Cathedral. He has also given recitals in various European countries including France, Germany, Slovak Republic and Spain. In Asia he performed in South Korea, China, Taiwan, and Singapore. Recent engagements include recitals at the Banff Centre for the Arts, Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, the New York Public and Morgan libraries, the Italian Embassy and National Gallery of Art, in Washington D.C., the Centro Cultural de España, in Lima, Peru, as well as several performances in Michigan, Ohio, Florida, and Tennessee.
Elisi has appeared with the Florence Symphony, Italy; Orchestra Classica de Porto, Portugal; Bay Atlantic Symphony, Greeley Philharmonic, Williamsport Symphony, Pennsylvania Centre, Penn State Philharmonic, Penn’s Woods, UNLV Chamber and Johns Hopkins Symphony orchestras, USA. He also debuted as soloist/conductor with the Green Valley Festival Chamber Orchestra and worked, among others, with conductors Gerardo Edelstein, Jed Gaylin, and Taras Krysa.
Among Elisi’s awards are top prizes in the Venice Competition (Italy) and the Oporto International Competition (Portugal). After winning nine first prizes in competitions in Italy and the US, and having garnered a dozen of other top prizes and awards, Elisi performed in Toulouse, France, and New York’s Weill Recital Hall as a La Gesse Fellow.
Via Classica, a German radio station, offered a two-hour broadcast of Elisi’s live recital in Hamburg followed by an interview (2008). Additional radio broadcasts include Montebeni Classica FM (Italy), WCLV Cleveland, UNC, KCNV Nevada Public Radio, and KGCS (USA). He also appeared in a TV broadcast for WPSU and Portuguese national TV.
An avid chamber musician, Elisi has performed at the Taos and Ravinia Festivals, and collaborated with principal players from the Baltimore, Chicago, and American Symphony Orchestras, as well as other well-known soloists such as violinists Qian Zhou, Charles Castleman, and Federico Agostini (former leader of I Musici). As a champion of new music, Elisi has commissioned and premiered works from composers of many nationalities. He also premiered Paul Chihara’s Two Images, at Weill Hall—a composition he subsequently recorded (for Albany Records) with Timothy Deighton and Anthony Costa.
A frequent guest at music festivals, Elisi appears and performs regularly in such settings as Cincinnati “Art of the Piano,” Montecito, Lee University, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Texas State University festivals, and the Chautauqua Institution (USA); Associazione Umbria classica and Amalfi Coast Festival (Italy); Ameri-China Foundation and Sichuan International Piano Festival (China). In 2017 he will be the featured artist at the Oklahoma Music Teachers Association State Conference, will perform at the American Liszt Society Festival at Northwestern University, and will also be in residence at the Valencia International Performance Academy and Festival, in Spain, and the new AmiCa Fest, in Sicily, Italy.
Elisi recently joined the distinguished Faculty of Music of the University of Toronto as an associate professor, having previously taught at the Eastman School, the Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Nevada L.V. His current and former students include prizewinner in competitions; hold teaching posts; performed with orchestras (including the Rochester Philharmonic and Dallas Chamber Symphony); gave debut recitals from New York to Caracas, Paris and Seoul; garnered fellowships and scholarships at summer programs and have been accepted in Artist Diploma, MM, and DMA programs in prestigious institutions in the US and abroad.
Elisi also presented hundreds of master classes, both in conjunction with his performing engagements, at Northwestern University, Boston University, Cincinnati College-Conservatory, Temple University, the University of Michigan, USA; University of British Columbia, Canada; National Conservatory of Lima, Peru; Accademia delle Marche, Italy; Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan; China Conservatory, Shanghai Conservatory, China; Academy of Performing Arts, Hong Kong; Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, Singapore; Jakarta Conservatory, Indonesia; Seoul National, Yonsei, Hanyang, Ewha Woman’s, as well as most other major universities in Korea. Elisi also held a two-year guest professorship at the China Zhejiang Art School in Hangzhou, China and since 2013 he has been teaching an annual workshop in Seoul.
As an adjudicator, he has been on the juries of the Tremplin International and the Concours de Musique du Canada, the Iowa, Peabody Yale Gordon, Julia Crane International, Fite Young Artist, Southern Methodist University Concerto competitions, as well as the Nevada, Maryland, Virginia, and Texas State Music Teachers Associations’ competitions and the Ameri-China Foundation Competition in Chengdu, China. In 2017 he will adjudicate the Dallas International Piano Competition.
After studying at the Conservatory of Bologna and Florence and the world-renowned Incontri col Maestro International Piano Academy of Imola, Elisi worked with Schnabel’s disciple Leon Fleisher at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. A year after graduating, at Fleisher’s invitation, he performed at the World Piano Pedagogy Conference in a joint recital with his mentor. Among his teachers were pianist Lazar Berman and Boris Petrushansky, respectively pupils of Goldenweiser and Neuhaus, as well as Alexander Lonquich, Franco Scala and Giuseppe Fricelli.