For Immediate Release

Reach Out Kansas sponsors a cornucopia of world-renowned piano artists at KU for its 10th Anniversary

Reach Out Kansas sponsors a cornucopia of world-renowned piano
artists at KU for its 10th Anniversary

Reach Out Kansas, Inc. (ROK) will celebrate its 10th anniversary of bringing Music and the Arts to the people of Kansas, Metro Kansas City, and the region, through the Partnership for the Arts with the KU School of Music. Throughout its 10-year history, ROK has offered an array of arts events that are all free of charge and open to the public. Events will take place at Swarthout Hall, on the KU Lawrence campus.

ROK is sponsoring a celebration of the highly esteemed KU Piano Department, by sponsoring Piano Artists in Residence and Concerts during the 2018/2019 academic year, in piano performance, accompanying and vocal coaching, pedagogy, and jazz piano. Instead of the standard visiting artist masterclass, the ROK piano artists will teach and perform with dozens of KU students during their intensive residencies.

August 22, 2016, New York City—The powerful, prolific, and nuanced American pianist Steven Spooner has released a 16-volume cd box entitled “Dedications,” featuring a wide panoply of Romantic, Classical, Early 20th century, and contemporary works set to disc in the spirit of an homage to the great pianists of the Russian School.

Fired by an intense veneration of this tradition, Mr. Spooner decided early in life to focus his piano playing on the memory and recreation of this art of performance, which had its origins in the iconoclastic pianism of the great Russian virtuoso Anton Rubinstein. This quest has now culminated in a marathon undertaking of recordings made over just a year-and-a-half dedicated to the memory of four legends: Vladimir Horowitz, known universally for his high-voltage pianism; Sviatoslav Richter, who held sway over an immense portion of the piano repertoire and whose genius was stamped on any work or instrument he touched; Emil Gilels, who was one of the first artists to bring to our shores the best of Russian pianism; and the golden-toned American from Louisiana, Van Cliburn, who made history winning first prize at the 1958 first Tchaikovsky Competition. In addition, Mr. Spooner is honoring his former teacher Nodar Gabunia, by having set to disc some of his rarely performed compositions.

Pianist Steven Spooner has “everything: polished technique, musical intelligence, innate sensitivity, and a personality that reaches across the keyboard,” writes the Savannah Morning News. As solo recitalist, he has been engaged and often re-engaged at prestigious venues such as the Salle Cortot in Paris, the Shanghai’s Concert Hall for their Spring Festival, Budapest’s Great Hall of the Liszt Academy, New York’s Carnegie Hall, Rome’s Santa Cecilia, and Singapore’s Esplanade Theatres. For several seasons now, Mr. Spooner has even used serendipity in his piano recitals by allowing audiences to vote on the spot for one of several programs he has prepared, this to bring to the proceedings a welcome element of spontaneity.

In Singapore’s Straits Times critic Chang Tou Liang reviewed Spooner’s most recent Singapore recital as follows: “Like the pianists of the fabled golden age, Spooner was prey to composition and transcription himself. Three of his virtuoso etudes brought down the house” In addition Fanfare magazine added to this praise by asserting that Spooner is “a pianist in the tradition that many believe died with the likes of Horowitz, Arrau, Bolet, Cziffra and Wild.”

A prizewinner at each of the seven international piano competitions Spooner has entered, which includes the Ivory Classical Foundation Prize and the top award at both the Hilton Head International Piano Competition and the Artlivre International Piano Competition, Mr. Spooner also captured First Prize and was recipient of the Niekamp Career Grant as most outstanding pianist in French music at the Paris Conservatory.

Spooner has not neglected contemporary music His enthusiasm for new music has produced an ongoing collaboration with renowned Deutsche Grammophon composer, Mohammed Fairouz (commissioned by the ROKI Foundation) to premiere and record several of his works during the next few seasons. Mr. Spooner and his wife Jung (name) have created an internet-based performance outlet about all things piano, entitled A Life of Music.
In the words of the Washington Post, “Anything added to Steven Spooner’s dazzling, blurry-handed sweeps of the entire piano would have been dizzying.” But it is always Mr. Spooner’s understanding of the score that captures the imagination of audiences and reviewers from Poland and Russia to Singapore to the United States. “The International Liszt Competition on Thursday afternoon was ruled by the very professional, serious, and beautiful performance of Steven Spooner from the U.S.A. His playing was thought through to the finest detail from the beginning to its perfect conclusion. His Transcendental Etudes, Wilde Jagd and Harmonies du Soir of Liszt were virtuosic and emotionally stirring. The Schubert Serenade in Liszt’s transcription was both lyrical and clearly conceived.” The Breslau News, Wroclaw, Poland.

Mr. Spooner is an active collaborator and performs with a diverse and distinguished list of musicians including, the Borromeo Quartet, Violinist Renaud Capuçon, Silk Road Ensemble Bassist Daxun Zhang, Philadelphia Orchestra Trombonist M. Dee Stewart, and Baritone Chris Thompson. To date Steven Spooner has released more than 30 recordings on the Naxos, A Life of Music, and other recording labels. He has studied at the Paris Conservatory, Moscow and Tbilisi Conservatories in the former Soviet Union, and Indiana University, Bloomington. His 2008 win of the Ivory Classics Foundation Prize enabled him to study with the legendary virtuoso Earl Wild.

Mr. Spooner has served as guest artist-in-residence at the Paris Conservatory Summer Sessions and has been appointed to the Artist Faculty of the Colburn Music Academy, Amalfi Coast Music Festival, the International Institute for Young Musicians, Musicfest Perugia, the Adam Gyorgy Castle Academy in Budapest, and the JCoM Fest in Jakarta. Increasingly in demand for his humorous, engaging, and energetic masterclasses at major music institutions all over the world such as the Paris Conservatory, Milan Conservatory, Liszt Academy of Music, and the Shanghai and Beijing Conservatories and in America at Rice, Indiana, Colburn, Oberlin, Mr. Spooner serves on the piano faculty at the University of Kansas and is the winner of the 2014 Scholarly Achievement Award given to faculty members who enhance the university’s international reputation.

Press Release for Steven Spooner

Pianist Steven Spooner releases “Dedications"

Pianist Steven Spooner releases “Dedications,” a 16-CD box of works in honor of The Memory of Horowitz, Richter, Gilels, & Cliburn

Collaborations Include Brahms Quintet with Borromeo Quartet & Schubert “Winterreise” with Baritone Chris Thompson Highlights: Liszt B Minor Sonata in Two Versions on a Modern Piano & 1886 Bechstein Rarely Heard Works by Georgian Composer/Pianist Nodar Gabunia (1978) Contemporary Works by Deutsche Grammophon Composer Mohammed Fairouz DVD of A Live Steven SpoonerRecital Audio Liner Notes For Entire Set

The 2018/19 Piano Artists in Residence at the KU School of Music will include some
of the most renowned names in the piano world:

Sergei Babayan – The Cleveland Institute and The Julliard School
Jonathan Biss – Curtis Institute
Alexander Braginsky – University of Minnesota
Jed Distler – Artist in Residence for the WWFM Classical Network and Program Host for “Between the Keys”
Martin Katz – University of Michigan
Alexander Korsantia – The New England Conservatory of Music
Robert McDonald – The Julliard School and The Curtis Institute
Russell Miller – The Eastman School of Music
Julio Alexis Muñoz Ortega – Escuela Superior de Canto de Madrid
John Perry – Rutgers University, Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), USC
(Professor Emeritus)
Craig Rutenberg – Marinsky Theatre / St. Petersburg, Russia; formerly, The
Metropolitan Opera
Nino Sanikidze – L.A. Opera and Head Coach – L.A. Opera Domingo – Colburn – Stein Young Artist Program
Nick Weiser – State University of New York / Fredonia
Teng Zhe – Professor and Vice Dean of the Shanghai Conservatory
Sergei Babayan and Steven Spooner will present the ROK Piano Legacy Project – 10th Anniversary Concert on April 6, 2019.
John Perry – a Faculty Alumni of the KU Piano Faculty – will present the ROK Piano Legacy Project – 10th Anniversary Master Class in Piano Performance on
February 2, 2019.
Steven Spooner will begin the cycle of Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas in a series
called “Coffee with Beethoven” on September 16, October 28, and November 25. After each performance/talk, audience members can share a free cup of coffee with Steven provided by local vendors.
ROK will sponsor during its 2018/2019 Season, more than 30 Arts Events in Kansas and Metro Kansas City – including 2 Performances at The Kauffman Center – Kansas City, Missouri, the annual KU Vespers Concert at The Carlsen Center – Overland Park, Kansas, 3 performances at The Lied Center – Lawrence, Kansas, 3 performances at the Kansas State Capitol Building, numerous Recitals at the Swarthout Recital Hall in Lawrence, Kansas, and at additional locations throughout Kansas.

Reach Out Kansas Press Release 08/15/18


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