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GUSTAV ROMERO RECITALS (article first published : 2008-08-2)

Mexican-American pianist Gustavo Romero will perform 20 Beethoven piano sonatas at the Durban UKZN School of Music between August 5 and 15. Many of these sonatas are set for Diploma exams, teachers and students are encouraged to attend.

Gustavo Romero has a stellar reputation for both the technical brilliance and interpretive depth of his playing, as well as his commitment to in-depth exploration of individual composers. For the past eight years, he has prepared a series of concerts focusing on the music of one composer. So far, he has presented the works of Chopin, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Schumann, Schubert, and Brahms. These concerts take place initially at the Athenaeum Summer Festival in La Jolla, California, and during this Festival, Gustav Romero also lectures on the artists at the University of California, San Diego. In 2009, he will present recitals featuring the music of Mendelssohn and Hayden, in celebration of their 200th birth and death anniversaries.

A native of San Diego, California with heritage in Guadalajara, Mexico, Gustav Romero discovered his love and gift for music at age five, when being introduced to the piano of a neighbour. He started taking lessons, and gave his first public performances at the age of 10, while also winning his first piano competition. His early teachers included Ilana Mysior.

Following a recommendation by Bohemian pianist Rudolf Serkin, Gustavo moved to New York City to attend - and graduate from - The Juilliard School. In 1983 he won the Avery Fisher Young Artist Career Grant, and in 1989 First Prize in the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Switzerland. In 2004, Dallas radio station WRR selected one of his concerts as the best performance of the year. After five years as assistant professor at the University of Illinois/Champaign, Gustav Romero is now associate professor of piano at the University of North Texas.

He returns to South Africa to continue his ambitious project of presenting Beethoven's complete piano sonatas on three continents, in seven recitals, within three years.

On August 5, he will perform Sonata in C Major, Opus 2, No. 3 (1794-1795); Sonata in E Major, Opus 14, No. 1 (1798); Sonata in A Major, Opus 101 (1816) and Sonata in C-sharp minor, Opus 27, No. 2 ("Moonlight") (1801).

The works to be performed on August 7 include Sonata in F minor, Opus 2, No. 1 (1793-1795); Sonata in F-sharp Major, Opus 78 (1809); Sonata in E-flat Major, Opus 31, No. 3 (1802); Sonata in E Major, Opus 109 (1820), and Sonata in F minor, Opus 57 ("Appassionata") (1804-1805).

The next two concerts take place a week later with August 14 featuring Gustav Romero performing Sonata in C minor, Opus 10, No. 1 (1796); Sonata in G Major, Opus 79 (1809); Sonata in A Major, Opus 2, No. 2 (1794-1795); Sonata in A-flat Major, Opus 110 (1822), and Sonata in C Major, Opus 53 ("Waldstein") (1804).

The works to be performed in the final concert on August 15 include Sonata in E-flat Major, Opus 7 (1796); Sonata in G minor, Opus 49, No. 1 (1797); Sonata in F Major, Opus 10, No. 2 (1797); Sonata in A-flat Major, Opus 26 (1801); Sonata in E-flat Major, Opus 81a ("Les Adieux") (1810).

The concerts take place on August 5, 7, 14 and 15 at 19h30 in Howard College Theatre. Tickets R50 (R20 students/pensioners). More information from Arthur Dixon on 031 465 3358 or 082 695 8599.




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