Susan Keith Gray to play Beethoven Pianist Susan Keith Gray will highlight the fall concert of the USD Community Orchestra on Monday, Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. in Colton Recital Hall in the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts.
Gray, a faculty member in USD's Department of Music who is familiar to area audiences through her outstanding work with the Rawlins Piano Trio, will play the solo in the Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto, the composer's first concerto on a truly grand design. The piano concerto will conclude the concert, for which there is no admission charge.
The German poet, playwright, and novelist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, was once asked to name the person with the finest mind he had encountered over his long life. He answered, "Beethoven."
Considering the many philosophers, scientists, and literary figures with whom he had had contact, his answer was as surprising then as it is now. Vermillion area concertgoers will have the chance to confirm Goethe's judgement when the USD Community Orchestra presents an all-Beethoven concert.
The concert will begin with the Egmont Overture. Beethoven wrote both an overture and incidental music to accompany the tragedy, based on the life of the Dutch noble who was beheaded during the Inquisition for supporting his people's right to practice religion as they wished. This serious tone pervades the opening of what many consider Beethoven's finest overture.
The first half of the concert will conclude with Beethoven's First Symphony, a work filled with both youthful exuberance and intimations of the great works to come. From the first chord, which contains a B-flat (a daring and unprecedented stroke for a piece in C major) one can perceive Beethoven's struggles to break free from the restrictions of the classical symphonic form, which he inherited from Haydn.