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Distinguished University Professorship Lecture: Martin Katz, collaborative piano

“The Joy of Collaboration”

  1. Friday February 1 4:00pm
Rackham Graduate School (Horace H.), Auditorium

Today’s collaborative pianist is not the accompanist of a century ago. No longer a nameless silhouette behind a screen, collaborators now occupy a valued and respected niche within the world of piano. That niche becomes even more selective when one includes only the performance of vocal music with piano accompaniment. In his lecture, Professor Katz will seek to enumerate many of the techniques which any collaborative pianist must have at his or her disposal if a comfortable ensemble is to be created with any singer.

Incorporating a singer’s breathing into the flow of the music is very much the responsibility of his partner at the piano. Professor Katz will demonstrate from the piano correct, as well as incorrect, ways of meeting this challenge. 

The age-old argument of words vs. music is another very germane topic to be discussed. When vocal repertoire is involved, music must serve the text so that the two seem inseparable. These concerns do not occur in purely instrumental music. A collaborative pianist must be the servant of the poetry, no less so than his singing partner. Examples of this will again be given from the piano.

The two longest chapters in Professor Katz’s textbook concern themselves with playing repertoire originally for voice and orchestra on the piano. Arias and songs with orchestra might find themselves on a recital program, or a singer might need to audition with piano accompaniment repertoire that will lead to a performance with orchestra. The pianist must know how to create the atmosphere, the sounds, the colors of the orchestra whenever said repertoire is performed. These techniques will also be demonstrated in Professor Katz’s lecture.

Hopefully the lecture will not only make listeners more aware of what is actually going on at the piano but will also create the opportunity for the audience to appreciate and value the work which allows the singer to be his or her most expressive and most communicative.

A reception will immediately follow the lecture.

Free - no tickets required