Joaquín Achúcarro

Joaquín Achúcarro to present rare solo concert Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, in SMU’s Caruth Auditorium

Joaquin Achucarro 300pxThe Distinguished Performer Concert Series opens its 2017-18 season with a rare solo recital by world-renowned concert pianist, recording artist and Joel Estes Tate Professor Joaquín Achúcarro. The concert is dedicated to the memory of Jeanne Roach Johnson ’54, longtime friend of Meadows School of the Arts.

The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, 2017 in Caruth Auditorium, Owen Arts Center. Admission is $14 for adults, $11 for seniors, and $8 for SMU students, faculty and staff. Tickets are available from the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS), or online: bit.ly/AchucarroConcert.

The all-Chopin concert will feature six works by the 19th-century Romantic composer, including his Prelude, Op. 45 in C-sharp minor; Fantasia Impromptu; Nocturne, Op. Posth. in C-sharp minor; Barcarolle, Op. 60; Polonaise, Op. 53 in A-flat major; and, after an intermission, 24 Preludes, Op. 28. Following the concert, Achúcarro will fly to London to record these Chopin works for a new CD.

> In Memoriam: Dallas civic leader, SMU benefactor Jeanne Roach Johnson

The late Jeanne Roach Johnson (1932-2017) – Dallas civic leader, investor and philanthropist – was a longtime supporter of SMU and of the Meadows School. A lifelong music lover, she gave several major gifts to establish endowment funds and initiatives for Meadows piano programs.

“Whether they know it or not, Jeanne Johnson’s legacy of philanthropy at the Meadows School has touched virtually every single music student for the last 20 years,” said Meadows Dean Samuel Holland. “The impact of her giving included a complete renovation of the music practice room complex, new and refurbished Steinway pianos, and scholarships for deserving students – not to mention a major gift to the National Center for Arts Research.

“Over many years, in part because of her love for the piano, Jeanne and our distinguished artist-in-residence, Joaquín Achúcarro, developed a warm and wonderful relationship. Jeanne was seen at virtually every piano event at the Meadows School and eagerly followed the careers of Joaquín’s students and alumni. I can’t imagine a more fitting tribute for this great lady than for Achúcarro to dedicate this recital – of repertoire Jeanne particularly loved – to her memory and her legacy.”

In October 2015, the French magazine Diapason selected Achúcarro’s BMG-RCA recording of Bernard Herrmann’s Concerto Macabre for Piano and Orchestra with London’s National Philharmonic Orchestra as one of “The Best 100 Piano Recordings of All Time,” along with such legends as Rachmaninoff, Horowitz and Rubinstein. He has even had a planet named after him: The International Astronomical Union christened the miniplanet 22191 “Achúcarro” in his honor.

Since winning the 1959 Liverpool International Competition, Achúcarro has toured 61 countries and played in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Berlin Philharmonie, Royal Albert Hall and Sydney Opera House. He has performed with more than 200 major orchestras, from the New York, Los Angeles and London Philharmonics to La Scala of Milan and the Tokyo Symphony. He has also played with more than 350 conductors, including Claudio Abbado, Zubin Mehta, Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Seiji Ozawa and Sir Simon Rattle.

He has also received the highest honors in the arts bestowed in his native Spain: the Gold Medal of Fine Arts, The National Award for Music and the Great Cross of Civil Merit.

> Read the full story at the SMU Meadows homepage

SMU Meadows and Dallas Chamber Symphony host international piano competition, March 12-15, 2014

Dallas Chamber Symphony logoEighteen young pianists from around the globe will come to Dallas March 12-15, 2014, to participate in the second annual Dallas Chamber Symphony International Piano Competition. The event, a community partnership between the Dallas Chamber Symphony and SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, will be hosted in SMU’s Owen Arts Center.

The event will consist of three rounds of competition before a distinguished international jury panel, as well as master classes and private lessons from renowned SMU faculty. Twelve pianists have been selected for the master classes taught by Joaquín Achúcarro, professor of piano and Joel Estes Tate Chair, and Carol Leone, associate professor and co-chair of the keyboard department.

The first place winner will receive $1,500 and will perform his or her winning concerto with the Dallas Chamber Symphony this fall at Dallas City Performance Hall. Second and third place winners receive $1,000 and $500, respectively.

Stock photo of a grand pianoThe pianists chosen by audition for the quarter-finals are from China, Cuba, Russia, South Korea, Thailand and the U.S.  Two are SMU Meadows graduate students: Lizhen Wu (China) and Dario Martin (Cuba), both of whom are studying with Achúcarro.

All of the finalists are professional or pre-professional pianists under age 25, and most have won multiple competitions in their home countries and elsewhere.

The international panel of judges includes South African native Petronel Malan, a concert and recording artist, Grammy nominee and winner of multiple gold medals at international piano competitions; Roger Lord, first prize winner of the major Canadian competitions, international performer and currently professor of piano at the Université de Moncton in Canada; and Deniz Gelenbe, a native of Turkey, hailed by critics in France as one of the world’s best chamber musicians, an international master instructor and adjudicator, and currently head of piano and organ at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London.

All competition rounds and master classes are open to the public; admission is free, but tickets must be reserved in advance.

> Read the full story from SMU News