Brechemin Piano Series

Thursday, February 6, 2020 - 7:30pm
FREE
  • Piano image for Brechemin Piano Series

UW music students perform works for piano.

Alban Berg (1875-1935): Sonata, Op. 1 (1908-09)
David Lin, piano

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849): Scherzo in B minor, Op. 20 (1831-32)   
Flannery Youngblood, piano

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849): Fantasy in F minor, Op. 49 (1841)
D’Laney Jevas, piano

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827): Sonata in E Major, Op. 109 (1820) 
Yiyi Chen, piano

Craig Sheppard is a renowned pedagogue whose former students hold positions in major universities and conservatories in this country and around the world, including England, Germany, Argentina, Chile, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Known for his passion at the keyboard, allied to technical mastery and a deep commitment to both scholarly and historical perspectives, Sheppard celebrates more than fifty years on the international concert platform.  He has performed his most recent projects, the 24 Préludes and Fugues of Shostakovich, Opus 87, and Bach's The Art of Fugue in New York, London, Shanghai, The Forbidden Concert Hall Beijing, Jerusalem, and Oslo, as well as numerous universities and conservatories in the U.S.  His CDs of the Shostakovich met with critical acclaim in both national and international press.  In the July, 2016 issue of Fanfare magazine, Peter Rabinowitz writes: “What’s especially impressive is Sheppard’s sense of the music’s changing landscapes, his ability to shape its emotional trajectories.  This is a set full of interpretive astuteness that repays repeated listening.”  Bryce Morrison writes in the February, 2016 issue of Gramophone: “…clearly at the zenith of his career, he achieves a brilliantly inclusive poise and brio that go to the very heart of Shostakovich.  He ends the Fugue No. 24 in a blaze of maestoso glory and a storm of cheers.  Finely recorded, this is a memorable issue.”

In the April, 2011 issue of London’s International Record Review of Sheppard’s Last Three Piano Sonatas by Franz Schubert, Robert Matthew-Walker noted: ‘It was Hans Keller who said that All great artists are, by virtue of what they do, also great teachers, and those who have heard Sheppard’s recent recording on the Roméo label – particularly the complete Beethoven sonatas and Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, Books I and II – will know the truth of that statement.  The City of Seattle and the students at its University are indeed fortunate to have him in their midst.’  Sheppard’s recital début at the Berlin Philharmonic, featuring Chopin’s 24 Préludes and Bach’s Goldberg Variations, caused one critic to enthuse: ‘The pianist revealed himself an intimate connoisseur of Bach’s soul.’  Following Sheppard’s appearance at a recent Minnesota Beethoven Festival, the reviewer exclaimed: ‘With the recitals of Yo-Yo Ma and Craig Sheppard, the festival is off to a great start!’   

Craig Sheppard was born in Philadelphia and graduated both the Curtis Institute and the Juilliard School, studying with Eleanor Sokoloff and Sasha Gorodnitzki respectively.  He worked at the Marlboro Festival with Rudolf Serkin and Pablo Casals and in London with Ilona Kabos, Peter Feuchtwanger and Sir Clifford Curzon.  He gave his New York début in January, 1972 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and six months later won the Silver Medal at the Leeds International Pianoforte Competition.  Moving to London the following year, he played with all the major British orchestras on multiple occasions, as well as many on the European continent and many major orchestras in this country, working with conductors such as Erich Leinsdorf, Sir Georg Solti, Kurt Sanderling, James Levine, Michael Tilson Thomas, Aaron Copland, Yehudi Menuhin, Esa-Pekka Salonen, David Zinman and Leonard Slatkin.  Sheppard taught at Lancaster University, the Yehudi Menuhin School, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, in addition to giving masterclasses at both Oxford and Cambridge universities. 

Sheppard returned to this country in 1993 as Artist-in-Residence at the University of Washington’s School of Music, becoming a Full Professor in 2004.  Sheppard’s repertoire is eclectic, comprising forty-plus recital programs and over sixty concerti spanning all major eras of Western classical music.  He has collaborated with Wynton Marsalis, José Carreras, Ida Handel, Sylvia Rosenberg, Victoria de los Angeles, Irina Arkhipova, the Cleveland, Bartók and Emerson String Quartets, in addition to musicians of the younger generation, including James Ehnes, Stefan Jackiw, Richard O’Neill, Edward Arron and Johannes Moser.  He travels frequently to Europe, the Far East, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and South America to give concerts and masterclasses.

In 2010, Sheppard co-founded the annual Seattle Piano Institute with colleague, Dr. Robin McCabe, a musical boot camp for gifted young pianists that includes frequent private lessons along with supervised practice in dedicated practice rooms, masterclasses and seminars.  Sheppard's CDs can be found on the Roméo, AT-Berlin, Philips, Sony and Chandos labels.

Celebrated American pianist Robin McCabe has established herself as one of America’s most communicative and persuasive artists. McCabe’s involvement and musical sensibilities have delighted audiences across the United States, Europe, Canada and in seven concert tours of the Far East. The United States Department of State sponsored her two South American tours, which were triumphs both artistically and diplomatically.

As noted by the New York Times, “What Ms. McCabe has that raises her playing to such a special level is a strong lyric instinct and confidence in its ability to reach and touch the listener.” The Tokyo Press declared her a “pianistic powerhouse,” and a reviewer in Prague declared, “Her musicianship is a magnet for the listener.” Richard Dyer, the eminent critic of the Boston Globe:  ‘Her brilliant, natural piano playing shows as much independence of mind as of fingers.”

Her recordings have received universal acclaim. Her debut album for Vanguard Records featured the premiere recording of Guido Agosti transcription of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. Critics praised it as “mightily impressive.” Stereo Review described her disc of Bartok as “all that we have come to expect from this artist, a first-rate performance!” She was commissioned to record four albums for the award-winning company Grammofon AB BIS in Stockholm, which remain distributed internationally, including the CD “Robin McCabe Plays Liszt,” (AB BIS No. 185).

McCabe, earned her bachelor of music degree summa cum laude at the University of Washington School of Music, where she studied with Béla Siki, and her master’s and doctorate degrees at the Juilliard School of Music, where she studied with Rudolf Firkusny. She joined the Juilliard faculty in 1978 then returned to the UW in 1987 to accept a position on the piano faculty. In 1994 McCabe was appointed Director of the School of Music, a position she held until 2009.  She has held a Ruth Sutton Waters Professorship and a Donald Petersen Professorship in the School of Music. In addition, McCabe is a dedicated arts ambassador and advocate for arts audience development, frequently addressing arts organizations across the country. With colleague Craig Sheppard, she has launched the highly successful Seattle Piano Institute, an intense summer “immersion experience” for gifted and aspiring classical pianists that enjoyed its sixth session in 2015. Also In 2015, McCabe performed and recorded the complete cycle of Beethoven’s ten sonatas for violin and piano, with colleague Maria Larionoff.

The winner of numerous prizes and awards, including the International Concert Artists Guild Competition and a Rockefeller Foundation grant, McCabe was the subject of a lengthy New Yorker magazine profile, “Pianist’s Progress,” later expanded into a book of the same title. 

In 1995 McCabe presented the annual faculty lecture — a concert with commentary — at the University of Washington. She is the first professor of music in the history of the University to be awarded this lectureship. Seattle magazine selected McCabe as one of 17 current and past University of Washington professors who have had an impact on life in the Pacific Northwest. In 2005, to celebrate its 100th year as an institution, The Juilliard School selected McCabe as one of 100 alumni from 20,000 currently living to be profiled in its centenary publication recognizing distinction and accomplishments in the international world of music, dance, and theater. Today she is a highly- sought teacher at the University of Washington, with students from around the world seeking admission to her studio.

McCabe performs regularly throughout the United States, and in September of 2011 she made her first visit to South Korea. In October of 2015 McCabe gave solo recitals in Beijing, and master classes at the International Beijing Piano Festival.   She appears often as an invited jurist for international piano competitions, most recently in New Orleans, San Antonio, and Vancouver, Canada.  In June of 2016 she is invited to serve on the jury of the Gina Bachauer International Piano Competition.