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Three themes, three concerts Piano on the Rocks International Festival IV April 26-28


Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo


Originally Published: April 22, 2019 12:04 p.m.

Piano on the Rocks International Festival was created on the initiative of Duo MusicAleph by pianist Sandrine Erdely-Sayo and narrator Elizabeth Peña, who share a common passion for music, literature, poetry, and for the magical city of Sedona.

This festival brings renowned international artists and competition winners to the city of light.

Artistic Director Sandrine Erdely-Sayo, and Co-Director Elizabeth Peña founded the festival in 2016 with one long weekend of concerts with three pianists. Since then, the annual festival has grown, and, in addition, is able to bring two well-known composers, two singers and will welcome its second student guest artist.

The 2019 festival, like the past three, explores the interconnection between solo piano literature, storytelling, and literature. Its mission is to create a fusion between music and literature through music and music through literature.

Festival IV explores three diverse themes: Invitation to the Dance, Sounds of Nature, and All-Time Favorites through works for one or two pianos, songs and arias. 

The Festival offers musical performances of the highest quality with the aim of building bridges across diverse cultures.

Repertoire this year includes compositions from the eighteenth through the twentieth century that provides a wealth of variety.  From Domenico Scarlatti to works by our guest composers, the Festival provides a cross section of compositions in various genres by well-known composer and those that our audiences will be hearing for the first time. 

The Audience members will hear spectacular musicians from all over the world featuring a wide range of works by Scarlatti, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt, Garcia Lorca, Debussy, the wonderful Piano Sonata for two pianos by Poulenc, the charming Cat Duet by Rossini, and other surprises.

This year, five performers known to Sedona audiences from previous festivals will return. They include Portuguese pianist Vasco Dantas, winner of several international competitions; American pianist Cynthia Raim, first-place victory in the Clara Haskil International Competition; French/American pianist Sandrine Erdely-Sayo, youngest recipient of the French Minister of Culture Award; narrator Elizabeth Peña, member of Duo MusicAleph and Soprano, Barbara Di Toro.  The three new artists to join the Festival include mezzo soprano Carla Dirlikov Canales, composers Anna Rubin and Andrew Rudin.

Mezzo Soprano Carla Canales has performed with opera companies and orchestras and has been recognized as an arts and culture advocate, including her work with the U.S. State Department, the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities and the Culture Summit Abu Dhabi; composer Anna Rubin has been active in electronic music and her work can be heard under the labels Seamus and Nema.

In addition to two recent awards by the Maryland State Arts Council, she has been honored multiple times by both the Ohio Arts Council and the New York Foundation for the Arts .; Anna Rubin’s works are often inspired by the world of nature. 

Her work For the Love of Bees, which will be featured at POTR, celebrates the centuries-long interdependence of humans and bees. Composer Andrew Rudin has been an important presence in the contemporary scene and received the American Academy of Arts & Letters Music Award in May 2018. Piano on the Rocks will celebrate Andrew Rudin’s 80th birthday during the festival. The Festival is thrilled to be able to bring performers of this caliber.

The Festival will open April 26 at the Church of the Red Rocks at 5 p.m. This concert is free. 

The subsequent two concerts will be held at the Sedona United Methodist Church on April 27, and 28th at 3 p.m.

While these performances are also free, a $20 donation is appreciated.

Visit pianoontherocks.org for a complete program description and more information.