Famed cellist Peter Wiley will join Anna Polonsky in a marathon concert of Beethoven’s complete works for piano and cello on February 15. Presented by the Department of Music, the concert will take place at Skinner Hall and is free and open to the public.
The “marathon” comes in two waves with the first beginning at 3 pm. There will be a break to allow audience members to have dinner; the second portion of the concert begins at 8 pm. Attendance at both sessions is not mandatory but those who do stay for both will come away with a great sense of the changes in Beethoven’s composing throughout his life.
Wiley has had an illustrious career performing and teaching. He was named principal cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony at age 20 after just one year in the Pittsburgh Symphony. He is currently a member of the piano quartet Opus One, and teaches at Bard College Conservatory of Music. He has also been on the faculty of the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music since 1996. Wiley has been awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and was nominated with the Beaux Arts Trio for a Grammy Award in 1998. As a member of the Beaux Arts Trio, Wiley has performed over a thousand concerts, including appearances with many of the world's greatest orchestras. In addition, he has been cellist of the legendary Guarneri Quartet for eight years.
Anna Polonsky is an adjunct artist in music at Vassar. An accomplished pianist, she will perform at the concert, which will include five sonatas spanning Beethoven’s creative output chronologically, as well as three sets of variations. Polonsky says this a perfect show for music lovers. “The variations are all earlier works of Beethoven's, and are very charming, witty, and a showcase of virtuosity for both players. The five sonatas are representative of Beethoven’s writing throughout his life, from the early, tempestuous, Haydn-esque writing, to the profound, sublime late-Beethoven style.”
Polonsky has high praise for Wiley, with whom she has played in numerous chamber configurations. “Peter is one of the greatest cellists active today,” Polonsky says. “Hearing Peter in this repertoire will be a rare and precious treat for any music lover.”
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Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.