Romanian violinist Irina Muresanu will be among the world-class musicians scheduled to perform Friday and Saturday (Sept. 21-22) at Union College in the Rosewood Fanning Launch Celebration.
A new not-for-profit group organized by Kathy Pierone to host musical competitions, Rosewood Fanning will hold its first official event, the "Brioso" Piano competition, on June 29, 2019, at the Emerson Auditorium in the Taylor Music Center at Union. Friday's introductory event will begin at 7 p.m. at the Taylor Music Center, and Saturday's musical offering, which includes local pianist Findlay Cockrell, will also start at 7 p.m. at Memorial Chapel following a reception from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at College Park. The concerts are free and open to the public.
"Rosewood Fanning is a group that will be putting on competitions for young musicians," said Pierone, a retired state employee and long-time Albany resident now living in Rotterdam. "We're holding this launch so people can learn more about us. We feel great that Union College is working with us, and the musicians have been great. They are professionals and are getting paid, but they are being very generous with what they're charging us."
Muresanu will perform her highly-acclaimed violin solo, "Four Strings Around the World," during Friday's event. Her performances have been called "irresistible" by the Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times wrote following one concert that her "musical luster, melting lyricism and colorful conception made Muresanu's performance especially admirable."
She also performs as part of the Boston Trio with cellist Jonah Ellsworth and pianist Heng-Jin Park. All three will perform on Saturday night, as will soprano Andrea Gregori, mezza soprano Ivy Walz, pianist Pej Reitz, baritone Sidd Dubey and flutist Elizabeth Chinery, the latter a member of the Schenectady Symphony.
While Muresanu currently serves on the faculty at the University of Maryland, she has also taught at the Boston Conservatory and Harvard. She plays an 1849 Giuseppe Rocca violin and an Etienne Pajeot bowl.
On Saturday night, Cockrell, who has performed in the Capital Region for more than 40 years, will be joined by Reitz, Chinery, Harry Pellegrin and Schenectady County Community College's a cappella group, Vintage Harmonics.
Pierone got the idea for Rosewood Fanning a couple of years ago while attending the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island.
"I met Irina and some members of the Theatre Street Opera over the years and in striking up some conversations with them I asked them if they thought something like this might fly in Schenectady," said Pierone. "You hope you get this kind of support from musicians and lovers of music. I played the clarinet myself, but never professionally, and when I retired I made up my mind to do something musical. I was a volunteer manager for the Schenectady Symphony for a while and then I sat down with myself and said, 'let's think of something else productive that I can do.' "
Pierone is dedicating her effort to the memory of her stepmother, Frieda Belott-Pierone, a popular Capital Region pianist back in the 1950s.
"The Belott Sisters, my stepmom and her sister, Theresa, were a part of a very popular jazz trio," said Pierone. "My deep inspiration for Freida's musicianship inspired me to design a contest for passionate pianists, and the idea evolved to afford pianists an opportunity to showcase their proficiency. We're also going to have a competition for pianists who are arm- and hand-impaired."
Pierone said she has a lineup of impressive jurists for next year's event in June.
"We have musicians from all over the country who will be jurists," she said. "For our inaugural event, we hope to get pianists from all over the Capital Region, New York, and the border states like Massachusetts and Connecticut. And who knows. We have jurists coming from California, so maybe we'll get some people from the out west. I'm going to be attending a lot of piano recitals over the next few months."
For more information on Rosewood Fanning, visit www.rosewoodfanning.org.