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Mary Kunz Goldman Previews Remembering Yvar in the Buffalo News

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pianists join in a knucklebusting Mikhashoff marathon by Mary Kunz Goldman in the Buffalo News Gusto

Yvar Mikhashoff, who taught piano at UB from 1973 until his death in 1993, liked marathons. He once played a tango marathon that went on for hours. In this spirit, friends and colleagues of his, as well as former students, are joining on Saturday in a six-hour marathon of both his music and the music of other American composers. Among the pianists participating are Winston Choi, Anthony de Mare, Eric Huebner, Haydee Schvartz, Aki Takahashi and Amy Williams. Much of the music they will be playing is quite challenging.

The marathon begins at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Burchfield Penney Art Center with an hour of the music of American composers including Charles Ives, Buffalo native Nils Vigeland, Henry Cowell, Aaron Copland and Frank Zappa.

The 5 p.m. segment includes works of Mikhashoff and Eric Wubbels. At 6 p.m., a second round of American music involves compositions by Amy Williams, Lukas Foss, John Cage and others.

An hour of virtuosic transcriptions kicks off at 7 p.m. and features Mikhashoff’s arrangements of arias including Bellini’s “Casta Diva” and Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro” and “Vissi d’arte.”

The hour of 8 p.m. ushers in another segment of American music with works by Conlon Nancarrow, Morton Feldman, Virgil Thomson, Ives and others. The last hour, starting at 9 p.m., is all tangos. Among them will be some of the 127 tangos that Mikhashoff commissioned from 127 different composers, including Foss, Cage, Nancarrow, Vigeland and Buffalo’s Bob Berkman.