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Music professor performing piano favorites

Stephen Carlson

Dr. Stephen Carlson, professor of music at Bemidji State University, will perform some of his favorite classical piano works during a free recital Saturday, March 4 in Park Rapids.

Carlson's recital will be held at Calvary Lutheran Church beginning at 3 p.m. Admission is free.

"As always, I hope that the audience will enjoy hearing these wonderful works, some of which are seldom heard," Carlson said. "It is our job to convey what the composer wrote, and therefore, we have an incredible challenge. It requires our utmost effort."

The recital will feature several of Carlson's favorite pieces, including the following:

• "Six Variations, op. 34" — Beethoven's Six Variations, op. 34 features a new style for the composer, having a variety of themes played in different keys and at a range of tempos.

• Polonaise in A-flat major, op. 53 ("Heroic") — Chopin's "Heroic" was a piece that Chopin himself could not play due to his relatively frail nature. This piece reflects the dance characteristics on which it is based the underscores of this piece shows the stately character that one must convey in a polonaise.

• Three Movements from Petrushka — Stravinsky's Three Movements from Petrushka was arranged 10 years after writing the highly successful ballet for Arthur Rubinstein. The pieces give a brief story line of the ballet which is famous but seldom staged.

• Seven Preludes — Carlson will perform seven of Rachmaninoff's 24 Preludes which expand the short melodies common in the Baroque and Classical eras into complex polyphonic forms — two or more simultaneous lines of independent melody —— that push the technical, harmonic and rhythmic boundaries of the piano and tests a pianist's skill.

Carlson, chair of the BSU Department of Music, earned his doctorate in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Iowa. He also holds degrees from the University of Illinois and Gustavus Adolphus College. He has performed multiple times at the Minnesota Valley Somarfest in St. Paul, and has performed as a guest pianist with the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra. In 2005, he made his New York debut as a solo recitalist in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. He has traveled to colleges, universities and festivals across the U.S. and Canada performing as a soloist and as a master-class instructor.