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Twin Cities Concert Association Presents: Stephen Prutsman
Author: Twin Cities Concert Association
Published on Jan 10, 2007 - 9:35:00 AM

Weekends are never without excitement in the Grass Valley and Nevada City area. This Sunday, January 21, Twin Cities Concert Association proves this statement with a surefire exciting performance from Stephen Prutsman, pianist and composer with a world-premiere composition for Piano-Four-Hands.

As a composer, Stephen's long collaboration with the Kronos Quartet has resulted in over 40 arrangements for them. Other leading artists and ensembles that have performed his compositions and arrangements include Leon Fleisher, Dawn Upshaw, the St. Lawrence Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma, Spoleto USA, and the Silk Road Project. This Sunday, you will hear his newest composition, "Sara's band and her pet chatterbox", commissioned by TCCA for Piano-Four-Hands and to be performed with local pianist Aileen James.

"I first heard the phenomenal piano playing of Stephen Prutsman, when he auditioned in Philadelphia the fall of 1988 to perform in the 1989 National Piano Competition of the American Pianists Association, for which I was Artistic and Fellowship Director, and a regional judge." James says, "I am honored to be performing a world-premiere four-hands piano work with, and composed, by Stephen. TCCA commissioned this piece in honor of the 60th anniversary season and my friendship with this remarkable man."

Sunday's program will include Wagner/Liszt's Isolde's Liebestod; Haydn's Sonata in E flat, Stravinsky's Three Movements from "Petrouchka" and original compositions by Prutsman. Prutsman's stunning biography includes studying at Peabody Conservatory with Leon Fleisher, performing with violinist Pamela Frank of a sonata by Beethoven for the movie "Immortal Beloved", medal winner at the Tchaikovsky and Queen Elisabeth piano competitions and the recipient of the Avery Fischer Career Grant, which established his career as a concert pianist and led to performances in various prestigious music centers and with leading orchestras in the U.S. and Europe. He performed for TCCA in 1989, 1991, and in February 2003.

The concert begins at 2pm with a pre-concert forum hosted by Dr. Aileen James at 1:15pm. A reception follows the concert to greet the artist. This concert is sponsored by Laura Keranen and Desmond Gallagher, and Jeff Leiter.

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Pianist, composer and arranger Stephen Prutsman is known as one of the most versatile and innovative musicians of his generation, moving easily from classical to jazz to world music styles in his quest to explore and seek common ground in the music of all cultures and languages.

Born in Los Angeles in 1960, Stephen first began playing the piano by ear before moving on to more formal music studies. In his early teens he was the keyboard player for several art rock groups, including "Cerberus" and "Vysion" and enjoyed a moment of musical irony when he won television's "Gong Show" as a pseudo honky-tonk pianist. In college, Stephen supported himself by playing jazz in various clubs and lounges throughout southern California and by working as the music arranger and pianist for a nationally syndicated televangelist program.

In the early 90's he was a medal winner at the Tchaikovsky and Queen Elisabeth piano competitions and the recipient of the Avery Fischer Career Grant, which established his career as a concert pianist and led to performances in various prestigious music centers and with leading orchestras in the U.S. and Europe. In 2004, Stephen was appointed to the position of Artistic Partner with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, where he currently acts as composer, arranger, program host and pianist conducting concerti from the keyboard.

Stephen's dedication to the creation of new musical environments, coupled with his love for chamber music, led him to found music festivals in such far-flung places as the island of Guam and the border town of El Paso, where he served as music director for 10 years. He currently holds the position of Artistic Partner with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra where he hosts their chamber music series, and regularly travels with his trio Nobilis in Europe and the US as well as through interesting and diverse locales throughout the developing world.

As a composer, Stephen's long collaboration with the Kronos Quartet has resulted in over 40 arrangements for them. In the fall of 2006 Kronos will be presenting a retrospective of some of Stephen's works along with the world premiere of his new piece for quartet and sound design. Other leading artists and ensembles that have performed Stephen's compositions and arrangements include Leon Fleisher (his mentor and former teacher), Dawn Upshaw, the St. Lawrence Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma, Spoleto USA, and the Silk Road Project. As a pianist or arranger outside of the classical music world he has collaborated with Tom Waits, Dan Zane, Tony McMahon, Rokia Traore, and Asha Bhosle. His film work includes arrangements heard in "Big Bad Love", "The Man Who Cried" and a recording with violinist Pamela Frank of a sonata by Beethoven for "Immortal Beloved".

This season's premieres include "Septet", a work written by Stephen for the inauguration of the Michigan Chamber Music Society, a new work for piano four hands for Twin Cities Concert Association, and his contribution to a cycle of new silent film scores, performed with the St. Lawrence Quartet in Maine. Also forthcoming are a concert fantasy on themes from "Der Rosenkavalier" and collaboration with friend and composer Osvaldo Golijov on a violin and piano transcription of a Golijov aria. The current season with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will include "Worldbeat", (a new series featuring arrangements for the orchestra and folk musicians from Iraq, Iran and India); "Engine408" presenting music of living composers; and performances of piano concerti by Ravel and Mozart along with Stephen's own "Jazz Fantasy on the name B-A-C-H" for piano and strings.

Stephen's recent recordings include the MacDowell Piano Concertos with the National Symphony of Ireland and the Barber Piano Concertos with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Two new recordings are soon to be released under Stephen's own "Studio AJEA" label, (under the name 'Brotzman'): one of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier and the other a solo piano jazz album. Stephen lives in San Francisco with his wife Sigrid and their two children, Alexander and Eloise.

What: Twin Cities Concert Association

When: 2pm, January 21, Sunday

Where: Seventh Day Adventist Church, 12289 Osborne Hill Drive, off hwy 174, Grass Valley

Who: Stephen Prutsman, pianist/composer

Cost: $16 general, $14 seniors (60+), children 5-17 free with adult Tickets available at Mountain Mail + (Raley's center) or at the door

Contact: TCCA 530-470-9454 or www.tcca.net

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