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'Hurst hosts acclaimed pianist Emanuel Ax at free events

Monday, February 27, 2017

Legendary pianist Emanuel Ax will visit Mercyhurst University for two performances during a four-day residency in Erie in March.

Ax, who’ll perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (“The Emperor”) with the Erie Philharmonic on March 11, will present a master class for piano students on Thursday, March 9, and a recital and interview on Friday, March 10. Both events begin at noon in Mercyhurst’s Walker Recital Hall and are free and open to the public.

"We are thrilled to collaborate with the Erie Philharmonic to host Emanuel Ax, one of the greatest pianists of our time, for these two fantastic events,” said Dr. Nathan Hess, chair of the D’Angelo Department of Music at Mercyhurst.

During the master class, three young pianists will perform and receive one-on-one coaching from Ax. They include Grace Nowak, a senior music therapy major at Mercyhurst; Andrija Andelic, a 2015 piano performance graduate of Mercyhurst now pursuing a master’s degree at Duquesne University; and Deven Shah, a homeschooled high school junior who studies piano with Linda Kobler. Both Nowak and Andelic have studied with Hess, and Andelic currently studies with David Allen Wehr at Duquesne.

Friday’s recital is titled “Live from Studio Q @ Walker Recital Hall.” The public is welcome to attend for an up-close-and-personal concert experience, or can listen live on WQLN 91.3 FM or at WQLN.org. The hour will also feature conversation with host Brian Hannah.

Born in Lvov, Poland, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. His studies at the Juilliard School were supported by the sponsorship of the Epstein Scholarship Program of the Boys Clubs of America, and he subsequently won the Young Concert Artists Award. Additionally, he attended Columbia University where he majored in French. He captured public attention in 1974 when he won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, followed four years later by the coveted Avery Fisher Prize.

A Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987, his recent releases include Mendelssohn Trios with Yo-Yo- Ma and Itzhak Perlman; Strauss’s Enoch Arden narrated by Patrick Stewart; and discs of two-piano music by Brahms and Rachmaninoff with Yefim Bronfman. Ax has received Grammy Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas. He has also made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with cellist Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano.

In recent years, Ax has turned his attention toward the music of 20th-century composers, premiering works by John Adams, Christopher Rouse, Krzysztof Penderecki, Bright Sheng and Melinda Wagner. He is also devoted to chamber music, and has worked regularly with such artists as Young Uck Kim, Cho-Liang Lin, Mr. Ma, Edgar Meyer, Peter Serkin, Jaime Laredo, and the late Isaac Stern.