Willis will perform at National Music Museum Andrew Willis, whose live performances and recordings of the Beethoven piano sonatas have received critical acclaim in this country and abroad, will play Beethoven's Sonata in E Major, Opus 109, and other works, on Saturday, Sept. 13, at 8 p.m. in the Belbas Theater of the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science in Sioux Falls.
He will play a six-octave grand piano, built by Anton Martin Th�m of Vienna in 1815, � the year of the Congress of Vienna, when European leaders met to decide Napoleon's fate � from the collections of the National Music Museum at The University of South Dakota in Vermillion. The piano, along with 70 other rare instruments, is currently featured in the exhibition, Beethoven & Berlioz, Paris & Vienna: Musical Treasures from the Age of Revolution and Romance 1789-1848 on display at the Pavilion Sept. 12 through Nov. 2.
The 19th century was one of the most vibrant eras in terms of technical invention and visual variety in the history of western musical instruments. The highly decorated instrument includes seven pedals: una corda, harp, bassoon, damper, strong moderator, medium moderator, and Janissay (bells and bass drums). Such special effects were popular in Vienna at the time, particularly among upper-class young ladies, who were expected to provide music to entertain their guests.
Willis participated for many years in the musical life of Philadelphia, where he served as keyboardist for several seasons with The Philadelphia Orchestra and continues to appear frequently with the Mozart Society of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Classical Orchestra, and the Apollo Ensemble.
His recordings include the Hammerklavier and other Beethoven sonatas, as part of the first Beethoven sonata cycle on period instruments, a project directed by Malcolm Bilson and presented in concert in New York, Utrecht, Florence, and Palermo.
Intimate Beethoven and Berlioz a concert featuring the Ghost by Beethoven and Pilgrim's March from Harold in Italy by Berlioz will be performed by the Rawlins Piano Trio and Friends in the Belbas Theater at 8 p.m. Sept. 12.