Achúcarro performs during Europe Week in D.C.

Joaquin Achucarro with Ambassador of Spain to the U.S. Jorge DezcallarJoaquín Achúcarro, Joel Estes Tate Professor of Piano in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, took part in the Spanish Embassy‘s celebration of 2009 Europe Week with a performance May 17 at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. Among the attendees was His Excellency Jorge Dezcallar, Spain’s ambassador to the United States. Achúcarro is a native of Bilbao.

Europe Week, sponsored by the Delegation of the European Commission to the USA and the Embassies of the Member States of the European Union, features events “designed to create a better understanding of the European Union” and “celebrating … the EU’s transatlantic relationship with the U.S.,” according to the EU’s Europe Week website.

The performance was one of the inaugural events announcing the Joaquín Achúcarro Foundation. Dallasite Janet Kafka, an honorary consul of Spain, conceived the idea to observe the 50th anniversary of Achúcarro’s debut by establishing a foundation in his honor. She developed it with two international artists who are also Achúcarro protégés: SMU faculty member Alessio Bax (’96, ’98) and his wife, Lucille Chung. The two are now the foundation’s artistic co-directors.

Emma and Joaquin Achucarro with Alessio Bax and Lucille ChungThe Joaquín Achúcarro Foundation will help provide young pianists with performance opportunities and grants for continuing study and travel, as well as help underwrite master classes for up-and-coming students. To date, the foundation has sponsored three master class series at Dallas’ Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

In addition, Achúcarro is the subject of a forthcoming DVD on the Opus Arte label that will include a new performance of Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto with conductor Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra. Achúcarro made his professional debut with the orchestra as the winner of the 1959 Liverpool Competition.

Top right: Joaquín Achúcarro and Ambassador of Spain to the United States Jorge Dezcallar. Lower right: Alessio Bax, Emma and Joaquín Achúcarro and Lucille Chung. Photos © Greg Schaler.