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No composition seems too difficult for pianist Lang Lang. But on his latest solo record, Piano Book, the 36-year-old known for his finger-twisting virtuosity is exploring something simpler: Beethoven's "Fur Elise," Debussy's "Clair de Lune" and other pieces that accompanied him in the first few years of a lifelong love-affair with the instrument.

Pianist Jeremy Denk's latest album is a musical odyssey. Starting with the austere tones of medieval composer Guillaume de Machaut, Denk travels in time across the keyboard all the way to the 20th Century landing on the atonality of Karlheinz Stockhausen and the minimalism of Philip Glass.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify and Apple Music playlists at the bottom of the page.

Nathan Cone / TPR

Pianist Sung Chang first drew the attention of San Antonio audiences in 2016, when he was awarded the silver medal at the San Antonio International Piano Competition (now known as The Gurwitz International Piano Competition). Since then, he’s returned to the Alamo City nearly a half-dozen times.

“I like the city… and especially the audiences,” Chang said after performing for the Tuesday Musical Club on November 27. “They are always very warm.”

©Esther Haase / DG

On her previous album, “Wonderland,” Alice Sara Ott explored the music and myths of Edvard Grieg and his native Norway. Now “Nightfall,” which Ott calls “one of the most personal recordings” she has made, gathers music by three composers who lived and worked in France.

Mark Chen / Contributed Photo

A classical music duo is putting on an adventurous concert in Boerne next week.

 


Nathan Cone / TPR

“I actually remember the first time I came to San Antonio,” pianist Martina Filjak told me following her April recital at Laurel Heights United Methodist Church. “I really enjoyed the city. I think I really fell in love with San Antonio on first sight and it seems, really, that the love was mutual.”

Suzanne Pack

As part of KPAC’s 35th anniversary celebration, this week’s “Performance Saturday” features two piano recitals that were produced in honor of the milestone.

The first half of the program was recorded on March 25, 2018 at the home of Jeffrey Glass, MD, who hosted an intimate gathering of the “Class of 1982.” These classical music fans and donors were instrumental in the early success of KPAC (then at 90.9 FM) by giving of their time and talent, enabling the organization to grow and eventually merge with San Antonio Community Radio to create Texas Public Radio.

It's Monday afternoon and Désiré Mulumeoderwa is alone in his workshop, an oasis of quiet and creativity from the parade of motorbikes and perpetual hustle outside on Kigali's streets. The mud floor is littered with planks of wood in all shapes and sizes, scraps of plastic and other discarded materials Mulumeoderwa uses in his carpentry work.

Chairs, cupboards and bed frames are in various stages of construction around the dimly-lit shop. Off in a corner by the door is a project unlike any other.

Mulumeoderwa is building an upright piano.

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