Freeburg & Perzina Pianos presents A Night at the Opera: A Rare Two-Piano Fantasy in Chapman Cultural Center’s theater on Saturday, Aug. 29, beginning at 7 p.m. This concert will feature pianists Dr. John Cobb and Christopher Tavernier. Proceeds will benefit Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra’s youth education program.
Patrons can expect the mesmerizing musical fantasies of 19th century Hungarian composer Franz Lizst, to be performed by 15-year-old pianist Tavernier and international performer and recording artist Dr. Cobb. Other musical selections will include Bellini’s Reminiscences of Norma and Reminiscences of Don Juanfrom Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Broadcast journalist Michael Cogdill of WYFF News 4 will emcee the concert; Jennifer C. Evins, President and CEO of Chapman Cultural Center, will be the keynote speaker.
“Our last two benefit concerts were complete sellouts at the Diana Wortham Theater in Asheville and the Tryon Fine Arts Center in Tryon,” Bob Tavernier, organizer of the concert and father of Christopher, said. “We’re expecting a great crowd at Chapman, too.”
Christopher Tavernier made his debut as the youngest concert pianist in North Carolina at the age of 13, performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concert No. 1 in B Flat minor with the Tar River Philharmonic Orchestra. This year, he was named the First International Perzina Artist by Perzina Pianos, the first to receive the distinction since the company’s founding in 1871.
Cobb is an international performer and recording artist known for his broad interpretive range and technical command. He studied with Claudio Arrau, whose teacher was a pupil of Franz Liszt. Throughout his career, Arrau (1903-1991) was renowned throughout the world as one of the supreme keyboard masters of the century. Liszt was a student of Carl Czerny, who was a pupil of Ludwig van Beethoven.
Tavernier and Cobb are set to begin the program with an eclectic prelude of some of Liszt’s most loved solo pieces. The two pianists will alternate, each playing parts of the composer’s powerful works, ending with a performance of Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, a composition arranged exclusively for two pianos.
In connection with this concert, the public has the opportunity to win a painted Perzina piano valued at $10,000 through a raffle. Perzina pianos, sold locally by Freeburg Pianos of Asheville, are among the world’s finest instruments, known for excellent quality and sound. Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg orchestrated having the piano painted by renowned visual artist Mark Anderson, who titled this original artwork, “Visions After a Sermon.” Raffle tickets are $25 each and may be purchased through Chapman Cultural Center’s Ticket Office, Artists’ Guild of Spartanburg, and Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra. They can be bought online at ChapmanCulturalCenter.org. Raffle tickets are sold separately from concert tickets.
“People will hear two of the most spectacular two-piano compositions ever written, starting with Liszt’s pieces that make listeners feel like they’re dreaming almost,” Tavernier said. “From classical piano to to sacred choral and orchestral music, these pianists will have you savoring each sensation and maybe giving into your darker side. This music is powerful.”
Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 per senior and student, available both online at ChapmanCulturalCenter.org or in the Center’s Ticket Office. Groups of 10 or more will receive a 10 percent discount.