Allison Park

On Wednesday evening, Yale School of Music visiting professor of piano Peter Serkin will perform a program comprising of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations as well as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Adagio in B minor and Sonata in B-flat major. The concert is part of the Yale School of Music’s Horowitz Piano Series, which highlights members of the School of Music faculty and brings many of the world’s most distinguished pianists to Yale.

The concert, which will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Morse Recital Hall, will open with Mozart’s Adagio, a short solo piano piece composed in 1788. Serkin will then perform the Mozart sonata, an 18-minute work composed in February 1789 that comprises three distinct movements: Allegro, Adagio and Allegretto.

“I am very much looking forward to the program, as the Bach ‘Goldberg’ Variations is one of my favorites,” said pianist Vanessa Haynes MUS ’19, who has been studying under Serkin at the School of Music since September of last fall. “Every time Professor Serkin’s fingers touch the keys, he produces many magical sounds that entrance the audience.”

Serkin has performed as a soloist with leading orchestras around the world and has made appearances in Boston, Chicago, Sydney and New York City. He has performed recitals in Hong Kong, Cologne, Philadelphia, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Santa Monica, Princeton and New York City.

A dedicated chamber musician, Serkin has made numerous recordings and has collaborated with other eminent classical musicians including cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Alexander Schneider, as well as the Guarneri, Orion, Shanghai and Dover string quartets. He is currently on the faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music.

“His lessons feel less like instruction from him but more a collaboration to help the students improve in their version of the music,” said Haynes.

Peter Fang MUS ’20, another current piano student, said that Serkin has been an “inspiring mentor to work with this past semester.” Fang commended the way that Serkin “embraces varied musical styles and genres … [and] conveys many inventive ideas and techniques” that inspire Fang to experiment with his music making.

“His detailed attention to color and sound within a dynamic range is formidable, and he is always inquisitive and sensitive to the composer’s wishes,” said piano student Stephanie Tang MUS ’20.

The centerpiece of the evening’s program will be 17th and 18th-century German composer Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations. The piece, composed in 1741, is widely considered one of Bach’s greatest and most recognized works. Recently, Serkin performed Bach’s “Goldberg” Variations at venues around the United States and toured Europe as piano soloist with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra.

Many of Serkin’s students are also excited to see their professor perform.

“I am very much looking forward to the program, as the Bach ‘Goldberg’ Variations is one of my favorites,” said Haynes. “Every time Professor Serkin’s fingers touch the keys, he produces many magical sounds that entrance the audience.”

Fang noted that overall interpretation and Serkin’s previous performances and recordings of the “Goldberg” Variations are some of his personal favorites.

“The way he presents the different characteristics within the piece is unique as the dramatic and romantic moments are expressed passionately yet gracefully through his thoughtful playing,” said Fang. “The dance-like atmosphere is heard throughout the piece — sometimes even a little jazzy and improvisational.”

The next Horowitz Piano Series concert will feature Roberto Prosseda and will take place on Feb. 13 in Morse Recital Hall.

Allison Parkallison.park@yale.edu