BMF presents ‘Close Encounters’ Saturday in Breckenridge |

BMF presents ‘Close Encounters’ Saturday in Breckenridge

Daily News staff report
Chu-Fang Huang

Music director Gerhardt Zimmermann and The Breckenridge Music Festival are pleased to present “Close Encounters of the Musical Kind,” a Festival Orchestra Series event at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Riverwalk Center in Breckenridge.

The evening’s concert will feature guest pianist Chu-Fang Huang, winner of the 2005 Cleveland International Piano Competition and finalist in the esteemed Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, performing Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G.

“At 23, Chu-Fang Huang has everything in place for a high-flying career,” says The Birmingham News of a recent recital performance. “Clarity, poise, lucid phrasing, dead-on technique and stunning good looks were in abundance at the pianist’s electrically charged recital.”

Huang burst onto the concert scene in 2005 as a finalist in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and first prize winner of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, which brought her rave reviews for performances as soloist with the Cleveland Orchestra and her recital at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. Shortly thereafter, Huang won the 2006 Young Concert Artists International Auditions, where she holds the Mortimer Levitt Piano Chair. Ms. Huang made her concerto debut with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater and was presented in her Kennedy Center debut in the Young Concert Artists Series, to rave reviews. Her recording of Scarlatti sonatas was recently released on the Naxos label.

Of her recent performance of Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, the New York Times stated, “Playing a repertory staple like the Grieg Concerto takes some daring, since it is hard to distinguish yourself in the piece. But throughout the performance by the Chinese-born Ms. Huang, you sensed the excitement of a young pianist who could hardly wait to get her turn at it. She played with richly mellow tone, vivid colorings and Romantic flair. In a piece that is often the occasion for expressive liberties, Ms. Huang gave a refreshingly direct, honest and sensitive account.” The Washington Post said of the same performance, “Her fingers flew over the keyboard, managing onrushing octaves and other technical hurdles with seeming ease. She unfolded lyrical passages with a fluid legato and tonal warmth, which she blazed through Grieg’s more passionate forays with demonic, impetuous intensity.”

In addition to her performance this evening at the Breckenridge Music Festival, this season Ms. Huang performs with the Detroit Symphony and conductor Andrew Grams at the Meadow Brook Music Festival, playing both Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and appears with the orchestras of Owensboro, Syracuse, South Bend, Stockton, and Pasadena. Other concert appearances include recitals and educational residencies at Iowa State University, the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts and for the Pro Arte Musical series in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Ms. Huang has given New York recitals in the Young Concert Artists Series at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, the Morgan Library and Museum, at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and in Chicago, Philadelphia, Fort Worth, and Palm Beach. As a chamber musician, she has toured with Charles Wadsworth and Friends and played at the Young Concert Artists Festivals in Tokyo and Beijing.

The concert will also showcase the Festival Orchestra in Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, Bizet’s Prelude to Carmen Suite No. 1, and Gershwin’s An American in Paris. Guest conductor Debbie Kullby will lead the Bizet, an opportunity that she won at last year’s BMF live auction at the Gala. The prize is still up for grabs this year at the Gala on July 29 at Beaver Run Resort, Breckenridge.

A full concert listing for the Breckenridge Music Festival’s 2011 Concert Series can be found online at or by calling the main office at 970-453-9142.

“Pianist Chu-Fang Huang joins the Breckenridge Music Festival on July 23rd with performances of the Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G and Liszt’s Piano Concert No. 1”

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