Performances & Events


An Evening of Gershwin for Two Pianos

James Giles, Aya Hagelthorn, & Logan Skelton

December 9, 2023 | 7:30 pm

Britton Recital Hall
Earl V. Moore Building
1100 Baits Dr
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Free - no tickets required

A presentation of Gershwin arrangements featuring guest artist James Giles (Northwestern University) and SMTD piano faculty members Aya Hagelthorn and Logan Skelton. The program will include Percy Grainger’s Fantasy on Porgy and Bess, as well as Logan Skelton’s own arrangements of George Gershwin’s songs and An American in Paris. This is a test performance in collaboration with the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Edition.


JAMES GILES regularly performs in important musical centers in America, Europe, and Asia. Recent tours include recitals in Toronto, Paris, Naples, Budapest, Manchester, England, and across Denmark. In an eclectic repertoire encompassing the solo and chamber music literatures, Giles is equally at home in the standard repertoire as in the music of our time. He has commissioned and premiered works by William Bolcom, Stephen Hough, Lowell Liebermann, Ned Rorem, Augusta Read Thomas, and Earl Wild. Most of these new works are featured on Giles’s Albany Records release entitled “American Virtuoso.” A native of North Carolina, Dr. Giles studied with Byron Janis at the Manhattan School of Music, Jerome Lowenthal at the Juilliard School, Nelita True at the Eastman School of Music, and Robert Shannon at Oberlin College. He received early career assistance from the Clarisse B. Kampel Foundation and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Italy with the legendary pianist Lazar Berman. The pianist was the recipient of a fellowship grant and the Christel Award from the American Pianists Association. He won first prizes at the New Orleans International Piano Competition, the Joanna Hodges International Piano Competition, and the Music Teachers National Association Competition. He regularly serves on competition jury panels and has been conference artist for many state music teachers associations. Dr. Giles is coordinator of the piano program and director of music performance graduate studies at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and during the summers is director of the piano program at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival. He gives master classes and lectures at schools nationwide, including Juilliard, Manhattan, Eastman, Oberlin, Indiana, Yale, New England and has taught during the summers at the Gijon Piano Festival, Obidos Master Classes, Artcial Music Festival, Eastern Music Festival, Bowdoin, Brevard, Art of the Piano, Colburn, Interlochen, ARIA, Pianofest in the Hamptons, and the Schlern Festival in Italy. His classes internationally have occurred throughout China as well as at Seoul National University, Hanyang University (Seoul), Ewha Woman’s University (Seoul), the Royal Danish Academy of Music (Copenhagen), the Sibelius Academy (Helsinki), the Chopin Academy (Warsaw), the Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester) and the Royal College of Music (London).

AYA HAGELTHORN holds the position of Director of Collegiate Class Piano and serves as the Coordinator of the Piano Pedagogy Laboratory Program at the University of Michigan. She also contributes her expertise as a valued member of the College of Examiners at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Her musical journey has taken her to diverse corners of the world, including Japan, Italy, Prague, and the United States, where her solo and collaborative performances have been warmly embraced. Beyond the stage, she is an active researcher in piano pedagogy and has presented her research at various local and national conferences. Her recordings of Chopin’s timeless piano compositions have left their mark in numerous films, documentaries, and educational productions. These recordings are readily accessible through MuseOpen.org and IMSLP.org, contributing to the appreciation of Chopin’s artistry. She earned her Bachelor of Music in Piano with a minor in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) before pursuing her Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Piano Performance and Pedagogy at the University of Michigan.

LOGAN SKELTON is a much sought-after pianist, teacher and composer whose work has received international critical acclaim. As a performer, Skelton has concertized widely in the United States, Europe and Asia and has been featured on many public radio and television stations including NPR’s “Audiophile Audition,” “Performance Today,” “All Things Considered,” and “Morning Edition,” as well as on radio in China and national television in Romania. He has recorded numerous discs for Centaur, Albany, Crystal, Blue Griffin, Equilibrium, Supertrain, and Naxos Records, the latter two consisting of collaborations with fellow composer-pianist William Bolcom. Skelton is a frequent juror for international piano competitions and regularly appears in such settings as Gina Bachauer, Amalfi Coast, Gijón, Eastman, Tunghai, Chautauqua Institution, American Romanian, Eastern, New Orleans, Poland International, Indiana University, Hilton Head, and the Prague International Piano Masterclasses. He is a popular presenter at music teacher organizations including numerous appearances at MTNA national conventions and EPTA World Piano Conferences, as well as serving as Convention Artist for many state conventions. Moreover, he has given countless performances and masterclasses at colleges and conservatories throughout the world. His Centaur Records compact disc, of all 20th century American solo piano music, is titled American Grab Bag: Piano Music of Our Time. As a composer, Skelton has a special affinity for art song, having written nearly two hundred songs, including numerous song cycles, many of which have been recorded commercially and performed internationally. His works are published by Muse Press. He has creatively reimagined various piano works of Liszt, Mozart, Bartók, and contributed substantially to the upcoming Gershwin complete editions of Concerto in F, Rhapsody in Blue, as well as two piano arrangements of An American in Paris and numerous Gershwin songs. A devoted teacher himself, Skelton has been repeatedly honored by the University of Michigan, including the Harold Haugh Award for excellence in studio teaching, and the Arthur F. Thurnau named professorship, among the highest honors given to faculty members at the university. Skelton’s own piano students and former students have won awards in many national and international competitions. His former students hold positions of prominence in music schools and conservatories throughout the world. He has served on the faculties of Manhattan School of Music, Missouri State University, and is currently Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Piano and Director of Doctoral Studies in Piano Performance at the University of Michigan.

Free Faculty Interdisciplinary North Campus

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