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Fortepianist to Perform in Martin Chapel


World renowned pianist Andrew Willis will host a workshop and perform on the fortepiano, an instrument used by Mozart and Beethoven, Saturday, Nov. 19, in Martin Chapel on the campus of Eastern Mennonite University (EMU).

Willis will hold a lecture and workshop from 2 – 4 p.m., Saturday with masterclass, high school and college students. Following the workshop, attendees will have the opportunity to play the fortepiano, a precursor to the modern grand piano. Admission is free for all students, EMU faculty and staff and Harrisonburg Music Teacher’s Association members. All others are $15.

At 7:30 p.m., Saturday, the EMU faculty artists series will present Willis an in evening concert in Martin Chapel. Willis will play a five-octave fortepiano in the Viennese tradition.  Made in Philadelphia in 1986 by Vincent Dulin, it is a replica of a fortepiano made in Vienna circa 1790 by Anton Walter.

On a similar Walter fortepiano, Mozart premiered his greatest concertos in Vienna between 1784 and 1786. This will provide a unique opportunity to hear the music of Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn on an early piano and to learn why this type of instrument was suited to the music.

Admission is free. Donations are encouraged to support the EMU music scholarship fund.

Noted for his mastery of early keyboard instruments, Willis has performed across the United States and abroad on pianos of every period. His recording of Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata appears on Claves label. It is part of the first Beethoven sonata cycle on period instruments. Other recordings by Willis of Schubert Lieder and Rossini are available on Vox, Newport Classics and Albany records.

Willis is director of the University of North Carolina Greensboro focus on piano literature and received a DMA from Cornell University. He has performed with the Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, the Mozart Society of Philadelphia and the Apollo Ensemble.

For more information on the workshop or concert call 540-432-4226.

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