Famed pianist and Littleton resident Marjan Kiepura gives brilliant, dynamic concert performance in Gorham
By ELIZABETH HILL
Special to "The Courier", Littleton, NH
Sunday, May 21, was the date of yet another historic musical event for the White Mountains. Marjan Kiepura, scion of an exceptional European musical family (his father, the world famous Polish teno Jan Kiepura, and his mother is the beautiful Hungarian soprano Marta Eggerth) brilliantly played his widely acclaimed Chopin program for a wonderfully enthusiastic audience in the excellent acoustical space which the Gorham Congregational Church provides.
For those in the audience, the date will remain long in the memory. It was cold and the third week of rain, cloudy skies, and no sunshine. Then the power of great music performed by a great artist transformed both the space in which it was performed and the audience for whom it was performed. With the beginning notes of the music there was suddenly warmth and light and joy!
Before the concert began, Jane Knox-Kiepura, elegantly dressed, with excellent diction and great eloquence presented an imaginative biography of the legendary Polish composer, Frederic Chopin, from the early period of his creative life in Warsaw and Vienna to his most fruitful artistic period in Paris.
Marjan Kiepura's artistic skill was immediately apparent from the first notes of his splendid program. Both in spirit and technique, Kiepura completely identified with Chopin's compositions. His program was meticulously wrought from Chopin's preludes, mazurkas, polonaises, and waltzes. The crescendo of his concert was the Polonaise Op. 40, No. 1 in A Major (The Military) where he- displayed towering artistry and profound knowledge of Chopin's work, revealing every nuance and subtlety from the composition. This piece, played so brilliantly and with such passion, brought the whole audience immediately to its feet with "Bravos" reverberating throughout the entire church - (as did the full concert, for at its completion the audience gave the artist an immediate standing ovation, again with resounding "Bravos")!
Between each selection, Kiepura graciously gave explanations and descriptions of the next composition he would play, revealing both his extensive knowledge of Chopin's music and his own emotional attachment to that music.
This created the perfect chamber concert, worthy of the most beautiful palaces of Europe or, in modern times, of the great museums, churches, and universities of the world - a brilliant concert and an enlightening lecture done with great knowledge, perfect timing, and immense charm.
Kiepura was born in Paris. His outstanding musical talent was early recognized, and at the age of 8, he was accepted to the Juilliard School Preparatory Division by Madame Rosina Lhevinne, where he became a long-time student of Jeaneane Dowis. He also studied with Menahem Pressler, Lily Dumont, Vladimir Padwa, and Dorothy Walters. He is in great demand as a performer and hag performed widely throughout the United States and Europe.
Chopin's truly great music and Kiepura's truly great artistry reveal to us "the boundlessness of mankind as a universal brotherhood". Marjan Kiepura's wonderful artistry and his willingness to share his talent and knowledge with us enriches us all.
Elizabeth Hill, now a resident of Randolph, was the founder and president of ELIZABETH HILL, LTD., International Artists' Management in Stony Brook, N.Y.