LAWRENCE – The Lied Center of Kansas and Collective Brands will present “Carnival of the Animals” and “Peter and the Wolf,” featuring Frederic Chiu and David Gonzalez, at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 13.
This family-friendly performance reinvents two classical music masterpieces for young audiences. Pianist Chiu and storyteller Gonzalez create a unique fusion of classical piano music and contemporary poetry. Chiu’s piano transcription of “Carnival of the Animals” introduces different animals through 14 musical movements. Gonzalez’s original, modern poetry adds an innovative flair to the show. The duo also collaborates on an updated version of the classic children’s work “Peter and the Wolf.”
“There’s nothing like having a narrative, a story, connected to music,” said Gonzalez in a webcam interview with the Lied Center, viewable at lied.ku.edu. “Take any movie and turn the soundtrack off. Take the music out of any movie and you are in a very different world – a very bald world, a world without much feeling, really. So when music and narrative come together, there is a really powerful connection. ‘Carnival of the Animals’ and ‘Peter and the Wolf’ exemplify that.”
“Carnival of the Animals,” written by French Romantic composer Camille Saint-Saëns in 1886, presents residents of the animal kingdom through classical music. “Peter and the Wolf,” written by Russian composer and pianist Sergei Prokofiev in 1936, uses the construction of a symphony fairy tale to help cultivate the musical tastes of children.
Gonzalez received a doctorate in music therapy from New York University’s School of Education and then taught there for 10 years. He hosted “New York Kids” on New York Public Radio for eight seasons and has been featured on Bill Moyers’ documentary “Fooling with Words” on PBS and “All Things Considered” on NPR. Gonzalez now travels doing public speaking and live multimedia performances featuring his original poetry. He has appeared before more than 5,000 audiences worldwide.
Chiu began studying music and computer science at Indiana University and then attended the Juilliard School in New York to pursue his music studies. He has toured in Europe and the United States with the Orchestre de Bretagne and has played with the Dayton Philharmonic, the Kansas City Symphony and the BBC Concert Orchestra, among others. Chiu has now released more than 20 albums and is highly respected in the classical music world. He is also well-known for creating interesting collaborations with other artists, including Gonzalez.
As part of his residency, Gonzalez will participate in Performing Arts 3to5, a Lied Center education program that introduces the performing arts to 3 to 5 year olds. As part of Performing Arts 3to5, teaching artist Priscilla Howe will present a workshop for teachers in the weeks before the performance and will visit participating classes following the performances.
The presentation is supported by Mid-America Arts Alliance with generous underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts, Kansas Arts Commission and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.
The program is presented in part by the Kansas Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.
Tickets are on sale at the Lied Center ticket office, (785) 864-2787 or (785) 864-2777 TDD; Murphy Hall box office, (785) 864-3982; and online at lied.ku.edu. Tickets are $24 for the public and $10 for students and youth. All seats are reserved. Discounts may apply.
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