Performing Baroque music on the piano can seem intimidating to piano students, many of whom tend to take a negative approach to it by negating the expressive tools of Romantic-style performance. This presentation will briefly explore the subject, considering ways in which an informed positive approach can stimulate and inspire creativity.
Versatile pianist Matthew Bengtson has a unique combination of musical talents ranging from extraordinary pianist, fortepianist and harpsichordist, to composer, writer, and scholar of performance practice. An advocate of both contemporary and rarely performed music, he commands a diverse repertoire, ranging from Byrd to Ligeti and numerous contemporary composers. He has been presented in concerts across Europe and in the US including multiple recitals at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall. He has performed with violinist Joshua Bell on NPR’s “Performance Today” and XM Satellite Radio’s “Classical Confidential,” and appeared with the Reading, Pottstown, Ridgefield and Bay-Atlantic Symphony Orchestras. His recordings can be heard on the Romeo, Arabesque, Griffin Renaissance, Albany, Musica Omnia, and Navona record labels. Mr. Bengtson is best known as an authoritative interpreter of the music of Scriabin and Szymanowski. On his recordings of the complete Scriabin Piano Sonatas, the American Record Guide writes: “Big-boned pianism, rich tonal colors, and dazzling technique are on display here. Has Scriabin ever been played better?” Fanfare magazine calls him “a Scriabinist for the 21st century .. upon whom future generations can rely for definitive interpretations.” He is Assistant Professor of Piano Literature at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance.