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Classical Music

FotoFest 2014: Aperio Plays Rzewski In The Rothko

Pianist Brendan Kinsella & Aperio’s Michael Zuraw talk with St.John Flynn.


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For its final concert of the 2013-14 season, Aperio: Music of the Americas presents pianist Brendan Kinsella performing the monumental The People United Will Never Be Defeated! – 36 Variations on a Revolutionary Anthem by contemporary American composer, Frederic Rzewski.

Rzewski composed the hour-long, virtuosic work in 1975 on the eve of the United States’ bicentennial as a meditation on the 1973 overthrow of the Allende government in Chile. As well as being a huge contemporary contribution to the classical music canon, the 36 Variations are a powerful statement on political struggles, cultural hegemony, resistance, and revolution. In light of social upheaval across the Middle East, the meaning of this work has particular significance for listeners today.

Tying the performance to the 2014 FotoFest theme, Contemporary Arab Photography, Video and Mixed Media Art, the event also includes a discussion, led by UH historian Dr. Tom O’Brien and Hosam Aboul-Ela of the UH English department, focused on the parallels between the Chilean Revolution that prompted Rzewski’s composition, and current events in the Middle East.

Pianist Brendan Kinsella and Aperio artistic director Michael Zuraw talk with Houston Public Media’s St.John Flynn about Rzewski’s poignant work.

[The recording of Rzewski’s 36 Variations used in this interview features Marc-André Hamelin (Hyperion CDA67077)]

Aperio presents Brendan Kinsella performing Frederic Rzewski’s The People United Will Never Be Defeated! – 36 Variations on a Revolutionary Anthem, Thursday, April 3, 7pm, in the Rothko Chapel.