Piano Concert by Ulrich Urban – National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

by Marsha Dubrow, D.C. Travel Examiner, March 2008

The National Gallery of Art’s concert, featuring a world premiere based on a Mendelssohn work, celebrated the birthday of Felix Mendelssohn.  But he was a bit upstaged at his own birthday concert February 1 by the world premiere of Elizabeth R. Austin’s “Puzzle Prelude Vivace-Adagio (Mendelssohn)” which refers to his “Presto”, op. 16, no. 2. Baltimore-born Austin told me after the concert that she was “trying to provide a link with the past. New music might be approached through our great composers. In a way, I play a little joke on the audience by (juxtaposing my own music) with direct quotes from (classical) composers.. to challenge the listener to uncover the composer behind the music of the past.” NGA Music Department head Stephen Ackert commented that the “Puzzle Preludes are fascinating for me as (musical) tapestry.”  Austin has won many national and international prizes, awards, and grants, including a Rockefeller Foundation award.

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