Hobson celebrates the Steinway

Published: Thursday, January 12, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 11, 2006 at 11:34 p.m.
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Ian Hobson will perform Ravel Friday at University Auditorium.

Special to The Sun
For the last few years, the University of Florida School of Music has put on an annual Steinway Piano Festival in recognition of its commitment to become an All-Steinway School. This year's edition, the fifth, will be divided into two installments, with a follow-up program scheduled for April.
Of immediate interest is a recital this Friday evening at University Auditorium, which brings to town Ian Hobson, a pianist of considerable international renown and accomplishment.
Currently, Hobson is a professor at the University of Illinois and is a colleague with UF's Boaz Sharon at the Prague International Piano Masterclasses, a summer program presented in association with the UF College of Fine Arts.
Born in England, Hobson studied at the Royal Academy of Music and Cambridge University before attending Yale University, which has since honored him with a Distinguished Alumni Award. His international career dates from 1981, when he won first prize at the Leeds Piano Competition. His numerous recordings include the music of Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Moscheles, Hummel, Mozart, Schumann and Brahms. In other recordings, he has slipped into the role of conductor.
Not among his piano recordings so far is the music of Ravel, which will be the focus of his concert Friday night, specifically "Gaspard de la Nuit," "Tombeau de Couperin," "La Valse" and "Sonatine." The French bias in this case reflects the event's sponsorship by the UF-related France-Florida Research Institute.
The concert is free and begins at 7:30 p.m.
The Moscow-based Helikon Opera company is coming into town on Wednesday. At the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, the company will present the comic opera masterpiece by Johann Strauss, "Die Fledermaus."
Helikon Opera Artistic Director Dmitri Bertman founded the organization in 1990, and the troupe is comprised of more than 350 performers who maintain a repertoire of - currently -more than 50 productions.
"Die Fledermaus" will be sung in German, with English supertitles. The 7:30 p.m. performance will be preceded by a 6:45 introductory session led by UF's Opera Workshop director, Anthony Offerle. For ticket information, call 392-2787.
Up in Tallahassee, the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra will be putting in an appearance this Sunday at 4 p.m., under the auspices of the Tallahassee Bach Parley. Along with J.S. Bach's "Orchestral Suite No. 1," the program will include music by Marin Marais and George Handel.
The performance site is St. John's Episcopal Church, at the corner of Monroe and Call streets.
David Grundy can be reached at dmgrundy@aol.com.

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