As an early autumn treat for the Camrose community, two free piano recitals are being offered by Augustana’s Fine Arts Department. The programs—each thirty- five minutes in length and beginning at 12:15 pm in the Chapel on Wednesday, September 12 and Friday, September 14—feature pianist Milton Schlosser performing works by composers W.A. Mozart, Johannes Brahms, and Frederic Rzewski. As well, pre-recital talks beginning at noon will be given by fourth-year piano major and President’s Citation Winner Elizabeth Clarke.
The piano pieces to be performed highlight Schlosser’s diverse musical tastes and skills. Mozart’s Sonata in F Major (K. 332) was composed in 1783 while the famous composer and keyboard artist was in Vienna. The sonata’s three movement reveal the composer’s unique ability to balance various musical effects; beautiful melodies and playful virtuosity are highlighted and interwoven by the most ingenious of means.
Schlosser also tackles Johannes Brahms’s piano pieces from the collections Opus 117 and 118. In 1890, at the height of popularity as a composer and concert pianist, an exhausted Brahms declared that he would compose no more, stating “it is high time to stop.” However, he then proceeded to write some of his most significant and moving piano works, including those from Opuses 117 and 118. Schlosser will record these pieces for CD release in October.
The final work to be presented is an arresting piece composed by American Frederic Rzewski entitled Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues. A tour de force within contemporary piano music, the work creates the soundscape of a working cotton mill. The piece is based upon a historic blues song that evokes the difficult working conditions in American cotton mills. Schlosser’s CD recording of this work has garnered international attention, as evidenced by its being broadcast on BBC Radio.
Schlosser has been a resident of Camrose for almost three decades. During this time, he has established himself as one of Canada’s premiere undergraduate university piano instructors. He was invited to present a lecture at UBC last year entitled “The brain after performance: What every musician needs to know about practicing.” Over 60 students and their professors were in attendance.
His current piano students are some of the University of Alberta’s top scholars, having won major campus-wide academic scholarships. They are also some of Alberta’s top performers; by way of example, student Johnathan Raine performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with members of the Edmonton Symphony in May.
Those unable to hear Schlosser perform in Camrose will have an opportunity to hear him in Edmonton within a single recital format. On Sunday, September 16th at 3 pm in UAlberta’s Convocation Hall, he performs a benefit concert. The proceeds from this concert go to the Edmonton Branch of the Alberta Registered Music Teachers’ Association (ARMTA) to assist music students of all ages. Tickets will be available at the door.