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Two Generations of Piano Superstars Appear at 2018 Wassermann Festival

Thursday, Feb. 08, 2018


Brad Mehldau with Jeff Ballard and Larry Grenadier

Brad Mehldau appears with his trio at the Wassermann Festival with Jeff Ballard on drums and Larry Grenadier on bass, two of the most respected jazz musicians in the world in their own right.


The Wassermann Festival returns to Logan this spring with an exciting and diverse bill of performers. With four concerts from February through April 2018, the festival is sure to appeal to a wide array of music lovers. Guest artists include acclaimed pianists Daniel Hsu (February 21), Yekwon Sunwoo (March 17), Kevin Kenner (April 11) and Brad Mehldau (April 17).

The musicians presented this year display a juxtaposition of styles and experience.

“An intriguing contrast exists between the Brad Mehldau jazz trio and the classical pianists that make up the rest of the season,” Dennis Hirst, festival director and associate professor in the Caine College of the Arts, said. “Mehldau is considered by many the most influential living jazz pianist.”

At this year’s Wassermann Festival, Mehldau appears with his trio: Jeff Ballard on drums and Larry Grenadier on bass, two of the most respected jazz musicians in the world in their own right. 

Like Mehldau, Kevin Kenner has a distinguished reputation as a pianist. In 1990 Kenner was recognized internationally with three prestigious awards including top prize at the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw, the Terrance Judd Award in London and third prize at the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow.

It is easy to see a bright future and similar trajectory for the two younger artists performing at this year’s festival. In June 2017, Daniel Hsu was awarded the bronze medal at the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.  Hsu also received first prize at the 2015 Hamamatsu International Piano Competition, as well as first prize at the 2015 Victor Elmaleh Competition. Hsu released his first solo album in 2017 and is currently touring worldwide.

The gold medal winner of the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Yekwon Sunwoo, also performs at the Wassermann Festival this spring. Sunwoo has also received first prize at the 2015 International German Piano Award in Frankfurt, the 2014 Vendome Prize, the 2013 Sendai International Music Competition and the 2012 William Kapell International Piano Competition.

“I am thrilled with the level of talent on display at this year’s festival,” Hirst said. “Concerts will provide something valuable for everyone involved, regardless of musical background.”

Hirst noted that at this year’s festival there are two pianists that have defined their performances as among the very best in their respective fields and two pianists that have recently been recognized as new superstars in the field of classical piano performance.

The Brad Mehldau trio will perform in the newly renovated Daines Concert Hall in the Chase Fine Arts Center. All other Wassermann Festival concerts are in the Russell/Wanlass Performance Hall. All performances start at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $24 for adults, $20 for USU faculty and staff and $10 for students ages 8 and older. Tickets are available through the Caine College of the Arts Box Office located in room L101 in the Chase Fine Arts center or online via a link on the Wassermann website.

Writer: Drew Rogers, (479) 426-3707, dhrogers@aggiemail.usu.edu
Contact: Dennis Hirst, (435) 797-3257, dennis.hirst@usu.edu





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