Scarlatti sonatas, wine will flow on New Year’s Eve at the Phillips Center

Classical pianist Pnina Becher performs five sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, with each piece paired with a wine for tasting, on Monday at the Phillips Center. (Courtesy of Pnina Becher)

Published: Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 1:03 p.m.

This New Year’s Eve, music and wine aficionados can swap the champagne and take a tour of wines from the vineyards of Portugal, France, Spain and Italy.


Pnina Becher, ‘Piano Reserva — A Scarlatti Soiree’

What: Pianist Becher performs concert in which five sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti will be paired with a tasting of five wines.
When: 2 and 5 p.m. Monday, Phillips Center’s Squitieri Studio Theatre, 3201 Hull Road
Tickets: $65 for table seating, $50 for theater-style gallery seating; tables for eight available for reservation
Info: 392-2787,

Monday’s “Piano Reserva — A Scarlatti Soiree” encompasses both a wine tasting and live piano performance. The University of Florida Performing Arts event, which is planned for the Squitieri Studio Theatre in the Phillips Center, will feature 20 sonatas composed by 18th century Baroque composer Domenico Scarlatti performed by Pnina Becher, a world-renowned classical pianist. Becher grouped these sonatas into five sections, each of which will be paired with a wine from Tipple’s Brews.

Becher says this program, which will be performed at 2 and 5 p.m. Monday, is a treat for all the senses.

“It’s an opportunity to hear wine and taste music,” she says. “I hope it will open up a new way to look at Spain and Portugal and the many, many gifts they gave us.”

Becher, who studied at the Tel Aviv Rubin Academy of Music in Israel, says this program will take the audience on a journey back in time to the Europe in which Scarlatti taught music to the Queen of Spain and composed over 600 keyboard sonatas.

“This evening encompasses everything I love,” she says. “I’ve always dreamed of playing these sonatas, and I’m also a wine lover.”

Audiences will taste a sparkling wine from Italy, two wines from Spain, a port from Portugal that has been fortified with brandy, and an effervescent French wine to cleanse the palette.

Becher calls Scarlatti a “fountain of creativity,” and says though the composer was born the same year as Bach and Handel, 1685, his music radically differs from that of his contemporaries.

“No other composer of that era comes even close to his creativity and originality,” Becher says. “His story definitely deserves an evening.”

Michael Blachly, director of UF Performing Arts, says audiences will appreciate the depth of Becher’s musical talent. She has released two albums, one of Bach’s Goldberg Variations and another of Chopin, Debussy and Scarlatti compositions.

“She’s truly a wonderful person, and it will really be a matinee treat for New Year’s Eve,” Blachly says.

Becher, who currently lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., has performed in Europe, Australia, South America and the United States. This will be her first performance in Gainesville.

“Every time you sit down at the bench, you never know what will happen. Every performance has a totally different feel. It’s magic,” she says.

Hors d’oeuvres will be provided, as well as soft drinks and water.

Tickets for each performances are $50 for gallery seating and $65 for table seating. The Phillips Center box office opens Monday at 1 p.m.

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