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Academy of Fortepiano Performance

Date: Wednesday, May 31, 2023
2:00 pm
Piano Performance Museum, Doctorow Center for the Arts, 7971 Main Street, Village of Hunter

This lecture/recital is free, but seating is extremely limited. Please call our box office at 518 263 2063 or email boxoffice@catskillmtn.org to reserve your seat.

Lecture/Recital with Stephanie Schmidt: Music at Home: The Life of a Square Piano in the early 19th Century

An aural journey to the past, featuring little-known works and composers chosen to match the personalities of the instruments. Taking inspiration from a time when home entertainment was, of necessity, locally-sourced, a variety of contemporaneous dances, transcriptions, character pieces, and folk-based music are brought back to life.

As a teen practicing scales on her great-grandmother’s cabinet upright of pre-1920s vintage, Stephanie Schmidt had no inkling that her life as a pianist would eventually circle back to even older keyboard instruments. With two completed degrees in traditional piano studies, and finished coursework towards a DMA at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, she continues to be mesmerized, distracted, and enriched by historical keyboard encounters—particularly through the fine collections of the Piano Performance Museum (Hunter, NY), Sigal Music Museum (Greenville), and of her chief mentor Dr. Andrew Willis (Greensboro, NC).

Stephanie has developed a special affinity for square pianos of the early 19th century, and has enjoyed several opportunities of showcasing these instruments through contemporaneous repertoire. Highlights include; performances on the original, restored pianoforte purchased by Governor John Motley Morehead in 1827, two solo recitals on Nunns and Clark unichord pianos (1830s), and a lecture recital on the liegende-harfe (lying harp) clavier (1790s) formerly belonging to civil rights activist Bayard Rustin.

While she remains engaged in both teaching and performing on modern pianos, Stephanie is convinced that experiencing the diverse beauty of old keyboard voices, while enchanting in itself, adds depth to more traditional musical activities.



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