CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — This year’s Summer Piano Institute at the University of Illinois will focus on the art of performing concertos – those virtuosic, multimovement works that typically feature a soloist accompanied by an orchestra. Ian Hobson, an Illinois professor emeritus internationally known for his concerts, recordings, conducting and adjudicating, chose to emphasize concertos partly because the collaborative nature of these works requires special abilities, and partly because concertos are a crucial component in most piano competitions.
Piano professor Timothy Ehlen will perform will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 on Aug. 2 | Photo courtesy Timothy Ehlen
“It’s a different skill set than solo playing,” he said, “and competitions put great store on concertos. The public loves the gladiatorial aspect of pianist versus orchestra.”
Twenty current and former Illinois piano students have registered for the Summer Piano Institute, and each will receive a private lesson from Hobson and piano professor Timothy Ehlen, who won the 1987 World Piano Competition and has performed recitals around the world. The students will receive further coaching from Hobson and Ehlen during master classes, 2:30 to 5 p.m. each day July 31 (Wednesday) through Aug. 3 (Saturday). The classes are open to the public, free of charge, offering a peek into the preparation process for a concert performance.
“I think it will be fascinating for music lovers,” Hobson said.
In addition to the master classes, the public is invited to attend three evening performances, also free of charge. On Aug. 1 (Thursday) at 7:30 p.m., Hobson will perform a recital of music by Brahms, Chopin and Schumann. On Aug. 2 (Friday) at 7:30 p.m., Ehlen will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, and Hobson will perform Brahms' Piano Concerto No. 1. The students will perform on Aug. 3 (Saturday), beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Samir Golescu, who is scheduled to receive his doctoral degree in music next year, will use keyboard transcriptions of the orchestral parts to accompany all of the concertos, both for students and for Hobson and Ehlen. “Samir was my student, and he is an experienced accompanist with encyclopedic knowledge of piano music,” Hobson said.
All events will take place in Smith Memorial Recital Hall, 805 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana.