Faculty recital features innovative concert pianist

Pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico will be the featured artist in the Music Department’s next Faculty Recital Series concert Jan.18.

Petrowska Quilico is widely recognized as an innovative and adventurous musician, and a leading interpreter of contemporary and Canadian repertoire. True to form, she will present an eclectic, exciting program for solo piano that combines new music with rock, jazz and a touch of pop.

Right: Christina Petrowska Quilico

The concert will feature two firsts: the world premiere of a five-part composition written for Petrowska Quilico by Canadian composer David Jaeger, and the first Canadian performance of Japanese composer Masamitsu Takahashi’s jazz-infused Capriccio for Piano.

Also on the program are two provocative selections from 16 Portraits by the late Quebécois composer Michel-Georges Brégent, plus works by two of Petrowska Quilico’s York University colleagues: a suite for solo piano by rags and boogie-woogie wizard William Westcott, and three pieces for piano by noted saxophonist and composer David Mott.

Two of the works by Mott and both Brégent pieces were originally premiered by Petrowska Quilico. She performed one of the Mott pieces, his piano concerto Eclipse, at the gala concert celebrating the opening of the Accolade Project in March, and a recording of that performance went into space with astronaut and York alumnus Steve MacLean on the shuttle Atlantis in September.

A prolific concert and recording artist, Petrowska Quilico has debuted more than 100 works, many written especially for her. She has collaborated with a long list of eminent international and Canadian composers, including Violet Archer, Pierre Boulez, Glenn Buhr, John Cage, Christos Hatzis, Lowell Lieberman, Alexina Louie, R. Murray Schafer, Krzysztof Penderecki and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

"It’s a great honour to be entrusted with a premiere," says Petrowska Quilico. "But it’s also a tremendous challenge. New works often live or die based on the first performance. So, when I’m introducing a new piece to the public, I feel a huge responsibility to both the composer and the audience. It’s a three-way dynamic. Together, we’re bringing a new work into the world. Hopefully, it will become part of the active repertoire and be played and heard again and again."

Petrowska Quilico has performed with most new music groups and chamber ensembles in Canada as well as many outstanding orchestras, including the Toronto and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestras and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Her concert tours, both as soloist and with her late husband, the Metropolitan Opera baritone Louis Quilico, have taken her across four continents. On the recital stage, her appearances include prestigious New York City venues such as Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall and Merkin Concert Hall. She has more than 20 recordings to her credit, including her world premiere performances of Ann Southam’s Rivers on a three-CD set, Canadian Composers Portraits: Ann Southam (2005), for the Centrediscs label.

Petrowska Quilico’s recital will take place Thursday, Jan. 18, at 7:30pm in the Recital Hall, Accolade East Building. Tickets are $15, or $5 for students. To order, visit the Fine Arts Box Office Web site or call 416-736-5888.

The Faculty Recital Series is a new feature in the annual season of public events presented by York University’s Music Department and consists of four concerts. Upcoming performances showcase clarinetist Patricia Wait on Feb. 22 and pianist Casey Sokol, a specialist in contemporary improvisation, on March 8.